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ups: Good roster of wrestlers.
downs: Poor animation; very poor controls.

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WWE Road to Wrestlemania X8
game: WWE Road to Wrestlemania X8
one star
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
publisher: THQ
date posted: 09:10 AM Sun Dec 22nd, 2002
last revision: 03:51 PM Sun Oct 23rd, 2005

by Jake Carder

Not everything lasts forever is a phrase that we all are familiar with. It can be associated with so many things in our life, no matter how miniscule the item might be. One who is all too familiar with this is Vince McMahon, owner of the largest wrestling entertainment enterprise in the world. Through the years he has witnessed the rise and fall of both its popularity and its fan base. Currently the industry is in a stagnant state hibernating until the next breakthrough--which won\'t happen anytime soon if Road to Wrestlemania X8 is any indication.

WWE Road to Wrestlemania X8 does not offer much in improvements over its predecessor. The roster consists of 16 WWE superstars; while not up to date with the current television roster, it is still comprised of the bigger named superstars that was on the roster at the time of the actual Wrestlemania event. Those wanting to play as the \"Next Big Thing\", Brock Lesner, will just have to wait until the next installment, but until then you can play as the \"Old Big Thing\" Hulk Hogan. There are, however, plenty of ways that this can be played. The majority of the game has you competing against the computer, working your way up the ladder in order to vie for a title shot. You have the opportunity to choose which belt you want to work for. If you happen to have a friend with a copy of Wrestlemania X8, you can play each other by linking the two GBA\'s together. There are plenty of options whether you want to play solo or with a friend. Options are not the issue here. Rather, the troublesome areas are the complete lack of any solid gameplay as well as the purely archaic technical aspects of the game.

The sounds are what you would expect from a handheld WWE game. Each superstar has their own entrance music that is faithful in a synthesized sort of way, but the results are uneven. The Rock has the words to accompany his music, yet HHH does not, for example. The rest of the audio palate is comprised of the usual fare of grunts and smacks

The previous game used a very stylized look, so in an attempt to update the game THQ has altered the look to make them more realistic. The final product resembles the old WWF Wrestlemania game minus the special powers that appeared on the SNES and early Playstation consoles. This Mortal Kombat look can be quite acceptable for the handheld market, so it is not an issue. The issue is with the animations. I have seen better animation in the old Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer than in this cartridge. The best description that can be given is that it appears as they filmed someone wrestling with action figures in their hands.

This poor animation greatly affects how the game is played, especially when you add in the lack of any controls. The controls are the worst I have seen in quite awhile. You can press the buttons all you want and they just don\'t seem to respond at all. Even the most rudimentary task requires you to continuously press the button until it decides to work. This creates a one-dimensional game that only allows you to strike if you want any success in a match. This is unfortunate because they actually took the time to put in every signature move for each wrestler to make them stand apart from the others.

This game has everything, yet nothing a wrestling fan would want. It has the solid roster with faithful moves and ambiance we want. However, it\'s all for not, due to the poor animation and absolute lack of responsive controls. Die hard WWE fans would be better off playing the first one than wasting any time on Road to Wrestlemania X8. The casual wrestling fan will be better off with one of the two Fire Pro Wrestling games which offer more depth and are superior in technical aspects as well.

Jake Carder (12/22/2002)