a review of Wwe Smackdown Vs. Raw 2007
a videogame developed by Yuke's Future Media Creators
and published by THQ
for the microsoft xbox 360, the sony playstation 2 computer entertainment system and the sony playstation portable
text by Brandon Parker

1.5 stars

Bottom line: Wwe Smackdown Vs. Raw 2007 is “still real to me dammit.”

I think there’s a lot action video games could learn from wrestling video games. In most action video games, you run up, hit your opponent a few times, possibly with attacks that are either weak or strong. While that opponent is still going through his dying animation you’ve already killed the next six or so guys. There’s not a lot of time to get personal with your enemy.


Now me, I prefer circling around my opponent for a bit, sizing him up. We stare at each other for awhile maybe, move our fingers like we’re playing an invisible piano or what-have-you, then we start grabbing each other. There’s just something more satisfying to me about grabbing onto a man, trying to bend him into painful and awkward looking positions, reversing and countering my opponents moves while coming back from an ass beating, and generally just seeing two guys grappling on each other, pulling out their moves and trying to gain the upper hand.

The problem with wrestling video games for me is, they try too much to be like wrestling television. The wrestling you see on television is fake. Everyone knows this. For those who forget, you need only to make a wrestling related purchase and the sales clerk will undoubtedly inquire of you, “You know wrestling is fake, right?” as a reminder. It’s possible he might not say this verbally, look for clues in his body language such as a rolling of the eyes. You can also hear it from friends and family, if you have any of those and are comfortable enough around them to bring up the subject of wrasslin’.

Video games are fake simulations of “things,” you push buttons and if the game is good enough are tricked into thinking the task you’re performing is enjoyable. But wrestling is already a simulation. You watch it and if it’s good enough are tricked into thinking the two guys wrestling each other are really two guys pissed off at each other and wanting to beat the other guy, and JESUS look what he just did to that guys HEAD! Video games have their own limitations that require you to have a suspension of disbelief, I don’t see any reason they need to take on wrestling’s limitations as well.

In SmackDown vs. Raw 2007, there’s a part in the single-player storyline where you get hit on the head with a magic wand and as a consequence are turned into a female. This part got me a little excited, I think I even leaned forward to get a closer look. Here, I thought, maybe the designers have finally realized they don’t have to be shackled into pretending the game is a real TV show with real actor people. But they took the easy way out like the compromising bitches they are and went for the, “it was all just a dream,” bullstuff.

In a wrestling video game, Undertaker can really be a guy who comes back from the dead, instead of a guy who pretends to be dead. An old woman can really give birth to a hand. Why not have somebody, say Kurt Angle or whoever, get knifed to death in the locker room by some crazy wrestler out for revenge. Maybe Kurt spilled coffee on him, I don’t know. Anyway, say later on you’re investigating the murder, new clues surface, etc., and it turns out the guy who murdered Kurt is your opponent this Sunday, at the PAY-PER-VIEW! Not only that, you’re wrestling him in a flaming cage and there’s going to be a lion in there as well. You’re going to need help for this one so you talk to Papa Shango, who resurrects Kurt Angle as a wrestler eating zombie with his voodoo magic so you two can go and get your vengeance at what I’m sure is the VENGEANCE pay-per-view. If Vince McMahon could get away with that I know he’d do it. So why hold back in the video game?


You know what my ideal wrestling game is? Let me tell you. Imagine somebody, let’s say Shawn Michaels, is trudging through some type of African savanna or Australian badlands type of terrain. He comes across a watering hole. He’s thirsty, so he gets a drink. Mmm, that’s good. Wait! He hears a gazelle approaching, so he climbs up into a nearby tree. The gazelle cautiously approaches the watering hole. He looks around for predators and, seeing none, lowers his head to get a drink. Shawn Michaels strikes! “ELBOW DROP FROM THE TOP OF THE OAK TREE ONTO THAT GAZELLE, BAH GAWD! HE JUST KILLED THAT DAMN GAZELLE!! HE’S GOT NO SOOWWWWLLL! The Heartbreak Kid lifts up that damn dead gazelle and lugs it across his back, carrying it across the wasteland to his tribal leader Triple H. A great feast is prepared for the coming attack on the Luchadore tribe a few hills over, but they get into an argument over the food. For example, Triple H might say, “I want the heart.” Then Shawn Michaels may say, “No.” Then they beat each other with steel folding chairs.


So I guess it would be something like wrestling, Snake Eater and Afrika. Some sort of survival grappling game. Compared to this ideal game, this, rogue nation of wrestle heaven, I have to say that WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007 doesn’t really come close. As a simulation of an actual episode of WWE television it’s pretty accurate though, but that’s more like living in wrestle hell. You have to listen to assy rock music at every menu and loading screen and have a roster of mostly generic and uninteresting people to play as. There’s also the repetitive commentary and stupid stuff like “bra & panty” matches.

I don’t have time for that nonsense. I’m a man and I just want to see two other men of great athletic skill pretend to fight each other. It’s also a bonus if there’s a compelling reason for their pretend fight. This hardly happens on TV wrestling though. So while it’s accurate as a TV wrestling simulator, they should worry more about making a fun wrestling game instead. It’s like a video game based on the game Madden based on the sport of football, when instead it should be a game based on modern day gladiatorial combat.

I still recommend you give it a play though if you’ve never played a wrestling game before or get embarrassed just from seeing it on television while flipping through channels. It’d be good for you to experience something new. You should round up three or more other people, get a controller for each of them, a multi-tap if you need one of those, and have yourselves a 6 man ladder match. It’s fun beating the stuff out of your friends, trying to be the first to climb up a ladder while anywhere around 4 other guys are trying to knock it down or get up there themselves. Next time you play Fight Night you’ll wish they had Tornado-Tag Matches.

–Brandon Parker


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