WWE Raw – PC – Review

“Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?”

Yep, and whatever it is has curdled. Back
in February of this year, THQ released WWF Raw for the Xbox and the game,
though sporting some unrealistic fight elements (take that with a grain
of salt), was fast-paced and graphically very nice.

Nine months have passed and the game
has ported to the PC. What happened?  Perhaps the range of system specs caused the
game play to become mired in mud. Whatever is the case, WWE Raw is a plodding
mess with slow control responses, slow motion animation and horrible crowd

Now before wrestling fans unite to administer
a collective body slam, while blaming the host system for the slow game
play, it should be noted that the game’s minimum system requirements call
for a PIII 500 with 64 megs of RAM and Nvidia TNT2 or GeForce1, 2 or 3
video cards. The host system for the game is a PIII 800 with 640 megs of
RAM and an Nvidia GeForce4 Ti 4200 card ­ all well exceeding the minimum

So the game is launched and just for giggles,
Trish Stratus is matched up against The Big Show. The lucky CPU gets to
control Stratus while The Big Show is player controlled. Not very many
wrestlers in the WWE can get The Big Show up in the air. Trish may be stunned
to find out that she can muscle up all 7’2″ and 500 lbs. for that body
slam. And the woman is resilient. The Big Show can pummel her for almost
6 minutes before getting the pin.

When it comes to the controls, the game
is a little suspect as well. Using a gamepad, the game was ponderous and
reaction time was slow. But that wasn’t all that surprising when put in
relationship to the graphics.

Each superstar has the same spectacular
introduction featured on the televised programs, complete with fireworks,
and posing on either the ring apron or on the turnbuckles. And then the
camera pans the crowd, to take in the signs, and destroys the whole introduction.
Cardboard cartoon cutouts would look better.

One of the hallmarks of the WWE is the
sheer athleticism of its participants. These people are not only big and
strong, but fast and agile. They can perform aerobatics with assured ease
and are amazing to watch. This program doesn’t capture that. This is more
like mud wrestling than professional wrestling.

The game does sport a variety of options
(all identical to the Xbox version) and players can indulge in exhibition,
title matches, king of the ring in addition to creating a superstar. There
are two difficulty levels ­ normal and hardcore. You can also set the
game for a count out, pin, or submission, as well as select a manager who
can ‘interfere’ on your behalf. You can wrestle in a single match, tag
team (two versus two), tornado match (two versus two, but everyone can
get into the ring), triple threat (three competitors), fatal four-way (four
competitors), battle royal (four in the ring), and handicap match (one
versus two or one versus three).

The sound is well done and emulates the
televised version of this sport. As for controls ­ there are 43 moves
that can be used, but while the game does support a gamepad, the controls
are outlined only for the keyboard.

WWE Raw was a game that was fairly decent
on the Xbox. It just doesn’t translate well to the PC.

This game is rated Teen for mild lyrics
and violence.


Gameplay: 5.5

The wrestlers move excruciatingly slow
compared to real-life counterparts and this game is a rehash of the February
console release.

Graphics: 6

The wrestlers do look like their counterparts
and the introduction, as well as signature moves, are included. But the
animation is plodding and stiff. Frankenstein’s monster could seemingly
move quicker than The Rock.

Sound: 7

The game sports all the sound elements
associated with the television spectacle that is professional wrestling.

Difficulty: Medium

The game is keyboard oriented although
you can use and program a gamepad for some of the moves. However because
the keyboard has 43-keystroke combinations for the wide variety of moves,
this game doesn’t seem to let that translate well to a gamepad. The learning
curve for the keystrokes combinations is estimated at 40-45 minutes to
get comfortable.

Concept: 6

Porting this game to the PC would have
allowed for other variants to be included, but this game is a rehash of
the console program.

Multiplayer: 6.5

Several players can participate on one
machine in a variety of matches. This is marginally more fun, and spontaneous
than taking on the CPU.

Overall: 6

This is a game that should have been improved
or upgraded for the PC. It wasn’t. If anything, the console version is
much better and more fluid than the PC version.