WWE Road to WrestleMania X8 – GBA – Review

The timing is perfect. Triple H runs across
the ring, and using the ropes to boomerang him back, delivers a spinning
blow to a staggered Kurt Angle. The master of a devastating ankle lock
isn’t wobbling anymore. He is flat on his back.

Triple H comes up behind him and kneels
to administer a submission hold that sounds like gears being ratcheted
into place. Rope break! Angle is hurting, but being the professional that
his is, he is far from through.

Road to Wrestlemania X8, a THQ, Natsume
and JAKKS Pacific release for the GameBoy Advance, is a two-dimensional
ring romp that is entertaining and packs a lot of game into the hand-held
console system.

The game features a wonderful WWE roster,
including The Rock, The Undertaker, Kane, Rob Van Dam (identified as RVD
in the game), Hollywood Hogan, Edge, Booker T, and Test, among other.

When it comes to game options, the program
has single player challenge mode, which includes Championship, King of
the Ring, Royal Rumble, Gauntlet and Pay-Per-View (you create the card).
There is also an exhibition mode that has an Exhibition fight, King of
the Ring, Royal Rumble and Team Battle. Multiplayer, in which players hook
up via the GameLink cable, has the same array as the single play exhibition.

Tag team events are fun, with superstars
working over an opponent, then running into the corner for the tag. The
screen blinks when it is time for the partner to make an appearance. However,
not all wrestlers, in spite of being rested, are able to dominate the minute
they enter the ring. A little bar at the top of the screen shows each wrestler’s
“special meter,” which is powered up and, once full, enables the wrestler
to perform his signature-finishing move.

The control elements take full advantage
of the GBA’s limited options, employing the A and B buttons in tandem with
other controls for a wide range of movement. There are close to 50 options
available with each group broken down into situation like grapple moves
from behind an opponent, or moves specific to a cage match. Give yourself
time to learn all the moves because while you can stab at the controls
and effect a decent attack, having a solid grasp of the controls will end
matches much quicker.

The sound is solid. Some of the signature
effects associated with some of the ring superstars are included (“Can
you smell what The Rock is cooking?” is easily the most famous). Yes, a
few of the effects are silly, like the ratcheting sound, but overall this
game features decent audio.

The graphical elements of the game are
two-dimensional. Wrestlers can move up and down across the ring, but this
is extremely stilted and awkward when compared to the animation of aerials
or body slams. And rather than create miniature wrestlers, the developers
have opted for a ring that exceeds the confines of the GBA screen, with
proportional wrestlers.

Road to Wrestlemania X8 is a challenging
and entertaining game that is well suited to this platform. The game does
a good job in the options department, and should be a hit with fans of
the sport and those up for an enjoyable foray into the fighting-game world.

This program is rated for Everyone.


Gameplay: 8

The minute you begin a match, the clock
ticks on and on and on seamlessly until the match ends. Wrestlers can take
advantage of their surroundings, in and out of the ring. Even tossing an
opponent outside the ring to get waylaid by an interfering wrestler is

Graphics: 7.8

While the graphical elements are two dimensional,
and a little stilted when moved vertically on the screen, the game still
does a good job of rendering animation that mimics the real thing.

Sound: 7

There are some nice elements to play against
the sillier effects. But overall this is average.

Difficulty: Medium

The game does have several difficulty
levels and the number of moves available will produce a learning curve
of 20-30 minutes to get truly comfortable.

Concept: 8

Wrestling games are not exactly new to
the console gaming world, but this program contains an excellent options
package while maximizing the resources of the GameBoy.

Multiplayer: N/A

This game does support multiplayer gaming
over the GameLink cable.

Overall: 8

This game fits the platform very nicely.
The game may not do a great job in vertical movement, and you may have
a time finding the right line that your opponent is on, but the game does
a solid job of emulating WWE wrestling while challenging and entertaining
game players.