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Wrestlemania XXI

01 Jun 2005

Baby Oil and Latex undiesWrestleMania can define a legacy, and yours is about to be written. Wrestlemania, currently at number 21 is an Xbox exclusive title that boasts the most realistic, life-like wrestling experience ever. Well, as realistic as a bunch of huge hairy apes pretending to get hurt can be. It throws in “celebrity” voice-over and commentary, fantastic sound and audience ambiance, an all-new pro-reversal system and motion capture technology and even the ability to create the ultimate Superstar Wrestler. With this career mode, you can watch your custom-built meat-head evolve as you earn new move-sets, costumes and abilities in your quest for the WWE Heavyweight Championship. Build the perfect championship belt and defend it on Xbox Live while gaining prestige with each victory you claim.

The pro reversal system at its core is nothing new. The triggers are used to counter strikes or grapples, but the Pro Reversal system has taken things a step further. Just about every move has a unique counter, meaning that there are more than 200 reversal animations. Quite frankly, it’s a sweet display during a match. To aid this, new reversal icons have been implemented to flash on screen during the moment you can reverse a move. This makes it a lot easier to take advantage of the many counter attacks at your disposal as some moves are literally as quick as the blink of an eye, while others give you several seconds to get into it. The two higher difficulties remove the visual cue however, which adds to the realism for experienced players.

The control system is pretty simple, allowing for four types of grapples using just two of the face buttons (by either tapping or holding A or B). Because the controls are so easy, it doesn’t take long before you can start pulling off just about any move in your superstar’s repertoire - including those ones where you fly off the ropes and land on your vital organs, etc. The majority of signature moves from each star can be found along with two different finishers, which can be engaged by hitting A and B when your Heat Meter is full. Sounds almost too simple, but it seems to offer a wide variety of actions when you’re actually in the game.

There’s also a pleasingly comprehensive list of match types to plough through. Standard one-on-one and tag matches, cage matches, hell-in-a-cell, ladder, table and chair scraps, plus the ever-popular Royal Rumble and bra and panties events. Okay, casket and buried alive matches still aren’t in yet, but surely that’s just a matter of waiting until Wrestlemania 22, right?