WWE Aftershock «

How do you review a wrestling game for a handheld — especially one that tries so hard to emulate the console big boys? It’s not an easy task, because one must factor in the technological limitations. But, at the same time, the developers had to do that before they made said game, and come up with the best solution to make the most of it. In all honestly, I don’t know that the makers of WWE Aftershock did that.

The N-Gage needed a wrestling game, no doubt. Of course, I’m a little biased and think every console needs one. I’m surprised and pleased that Nokia would go after the WWE license, and put in miniature versions of some of the company’s biggest stars. Booker T, Triple H, and Rey Mysterio are all here, along with their authentic entrances.

Cena with the F-U, or is that a simple slam?

When the wrestlers enter the ring, though, they’re a little too similar. They all have the same four front grapple moves and ground grapple moves, making what would be a limited offensive set even more limited in its uniformity across the roster. The one exception is Rey Mysterio, whose size and speed result in different moves.

With so many face buttons to deal with, Aftershock has the luxury of assigning only one action to most of them. Hitting 1 is a pin. Hitting 9 makes you run. It’s a lot of memorization, but since it’s a pretty simplistic game, the learning curve is far from steep. In all, I’d say the game plays decently, though its stiff movements make for a bit more jerkiness than I’d prefer.

Aftershock has a good deal of gimmick matches, including No-DQ and First Blood, so your one-off experience will be entertaining. What it lacks is any type of mode that strings things together — a King of the Ring tournament just doesn’t cut it. The closest thing is Survival mode, which dishes out opponent after opponent, giving you a score and the option to save between each bout. It kept me playing for a while, but I would’ve appreciated even a rudimentary story mode instead.

Graphically, this can’t hold a candle to even the oldest PSone wrestling titles. I guess the amazing visuals in Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory spoiled me. The entrances are impressive, though, and feature things like Eddie’s car and Triple H’s water spit routine. As I said before, the movements are rather jerky, and the collision is a hair less accurate than I’d expect.

On the other hand, Aftershock features some of the best music I’ve heard in an N-Gage game. Entrance themes blare out of the handheld’s speakers with stunning clarity. John Cena’s rap and Y2J’s song even have lyrics. The sound effects are forgettable but at least aren’t annoying.

To summarize, this game plays decently, but doesn’t give you much of a mode to keep you playing. Bluetooth multiplayer could rope in those with N-Gage-owning friends, however. The graphics kind of blow, but the music rocks. It’s better than most handheld wrestling games I’ve played, but it jobs out to GBA’s Fire Pro Wrestling in a heartbeat. Now there’s a game that does the best with what it has!

 

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