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WWE Wrestlemania XIX – GameCube

WWE Wrestlemania XIX – GameCube

WWE_WrestleMania_XIX_boxPlatform: Nintendo GameCube

Developer: Yuke’s

Publisher: THQ

Release Date (NA): September 8, 2003

Genre: Sports, Fighting

Nerd Rating: 5.5/10

Reviewed By: Steroid Gamer

In the world of professional wrestling the event known as “Wrestlemania” is the biggest time of the year.   It’s the equivalent of the NFL’s Super Bowl, or the NBA’s Championship Finals.  So when a game is titled Wrestlemania XIX (19, for those who are Roman numeral deficient) one would expect a big spectacle of “wrastlin”.   Well, don’t get too excited because the game’s title is kind of just a placeholder for that year’s current Wrestlemania title WWE Wrestlemania XIX is the second wrestling game to hit the Nintendo GameCube and has a lot of great improvements from the previous game Wrestlemania X8.  For starters, the visuals are drastically improved.  The in game combat (or wrestling) features a better, more refined control scheme.  Specifically the “counter” move has a sensitivity setting, so if you feel like the move isn’t registering (a big problem in last year’s Wrestlemania X8) than you can adjust it manually.  But for every bright spot the game had there was a big black eye on the other.  The roster had Goldberg and Shawn Michaels for the first time on the GameCube, but others like Shaun O’haire, A-Train, Charlie Haas, Rhyno, and more were left out.  The game featured both the new Smackdown and RAW arena stages, but only had 5 stages total.  While the PS2 game Smackdown Here Comes the Pain had a variety of more choices.  I’ll go into more detail on that later.  (See “THE OTHER GUYS” below)

Somehow this match seems unlikely.  Can't quite place why though.

Somehow this match seems unlikely. Can’t quite place why though.

The wrestling roster was pretty impressive for the time even though there were some big performers missing.  Each character had an alternate costume and most entrances were spot on to their real life counterparts.  (I’m assuming the ones missing music was because of licensing deals.  This happens frequently in wrestling games.)  Your match choices were pretty standard with Ladder matches, Tables, Handicap, Cage, and Tag Team.  Nothing new or spectacular.

Can the Undertaker defeat this cop? The better question is why is he fighting one? In a shipping yard no less.

Can the Undertaker defeat this cop? The better question is why is he fighting one? In a shipping yard no less.

The gameplay itself was good and your wrestler’s moves felt like they had real weight to them.  It feels electrifying to slap a foe in the face while playing as The Rock.  Stone Cold Stunning your opponent leaves them lifeless like a rag doll in the ring, and chokeslamming The Big Show rattles the ring and makes your fingers shake on impact.  Each wrestler has a variety of moves from strikes, to weak grapples, and strong grapples.  Strong grapples don’t work on your opponents unless they’ve been weakened and beaten up first.  A player could store up to three special finisher moves at a time.  It’s all pretty basic and standard for a professional wrestling game.  There’s nothing major to complain about here, but it still prevents from those “squash” matches you see in the real thing from time to time.   The opponent A.I.  is stupid is all heck unless you amp up the difficulty, but then it just becomes an unfair advantage.  The expert difficulty A.I. counters everything and gains “specials” at an unprecedented pace.  A pace you can never match.  So it’s not really recommended to play on that setting.

There is a pretty awesome create-a-character tool that has a variety of options that enable you to create the pro wrestler of your dreams.  There are even some templates for a wrestler’s move set and arena entrance that, while that aren’t explicitly said, are there for some omitted wrestlers.   Jeff Hardy and the NWO can all be created fairly easily.  I’m not certain why these wrestlers’s weren’t put into the game, whether it was copyright issues or the real counterparts leaving the company, but at least you could create them if you wanted to.

Wrestlemania XIX also featured a paint tool that allowed you to create your own tattoo or logo.  The idea behind this is awesome.  However, the execution not so much.  The controls for the paint tool are clunky and not precise, so creating anything other than a gooey blob is going to take an insurmountable amount of patience.

roster

The in-game roster is pretty good.

So, far you may get the idea that Wrestlemania XIX wasn’t that bad, and it wasn’t.  However, there is one HUGE glaring factor that prevents this game from going where it could’ve.  Plain and simple there is NO story/career mode.  Yup, this feature was missing from Wrestlemania X8 and it’s missing from this game as well.  Meanwhile, the other wrestling games released at this time, games before, and after this one have all had some sort of story mode. (at least all the good ones did).   I can’t give you any reason for why this feature was omitted, but it seriously holds back the game.

Believe it or not your objective here is to smash the GLASS wall Stephanie McMahon is  hiding behind.

Believe it or not your objective here is to smash the GLASS wall Stephanie McMahon is hiding behind.

Developer Yuke’s was nice enough to include “Revenge” mode which according to the game label “features an all new story mode”.  That is a blatant lie and while Revenge mode might have been a nice addition to a career mode it’s not a great substitution.  Revenge mode consist of five stages; Construction Yard, Parking Lot, Harbor, Warehouse, and Shopping Mall.  Each stage has four or five levels that have you performing stupid objectives against developer made create-a-wrestlers and the occasional WWE superstar.  Objectives like “break more objects than your opponent”, “destroy your opponents car first”, or “eliminate all foes” which means you have to throw about 10-15 wrestlers off a constructions site and into oblivion.  Most of these levels put you at a disadvantage making it a 3-1 handicap affair.  The mode is extremely repetitive and cheap.  As a result it’s not very fun.  The whole “story idea” is that Vince McMahon (WWE’s boss) has fired you and now you want….dun dun dun…REVENGE!  So you go around destroying things around the biggest event of the year Wrestlemania 19.  Because it makes total sense that causing thousands of damage in a nearby shopping mall is somehow going to hurt Mr. McMahon.  Yeah, it’s dumb.

Honestly though, as previously mentioned, if this mode had been an addition to the game, instead of a substitute to a career mode, it might be an occasional fun distraction.  Sadly that’s not the case here and instead you’re forced to look at Sony’s counterpart and wish that your game could have been something closer to that.

 THE OTHER GUYS?

The OTHER game.  released one month later exclusively to the PS2

The OTHER game released one month later exclusively to the PS2

So for a span of four years, 2002-2005, Nintendo GameCube owners were treated to annual release wrestling games and so were Sony PS2 owners.  The big difference is each system got their own unique, and exclusive, wrestling game.  Both games each year were published by THQ and developed by Yuke’s. For example in 2003, WWE Wrestlemania XIX was released exclusively on the GameCube and Smackdown Here Comes the Pain was released exclusively for the Ps2. Year after year it was always the PlayStation 2 game that was superior for a variety of reasons.  Yuke’s gets pretty close with the GameCube’s “Day of Reckoning” franchise, but still doesn’t make the GameCube games on the same level as the PS2 games.

This time around it was WWE Wrestlemania XIX (GameCube) vs. WWE Smackdown Here Comes The Pain (PS2).  Reading above should’ve given you a pretty good idea about what Wrestlemania XIX was like.  It was drastically inferior to Here Comes The Pain, and this is why.  The roster was bigger and better and featured more “newcomers” on the roster.  There were more arenas to choose from and two new game matches.  The Elimination Chamber and Bra and Panties match types were featured in Here Comes the Pain, but not in Wrestlemania 19.  Here Comes the Pain could have up to six active wrestlers in a match at one time, while Wrestlemania 19 could only do four.  Here Comes the Pain also had a story mode.  The funny thing is Wrestlemania XIX was only released a month earlier, so it’s not like Yuke’s learned a bunch of developing tricks in 30 days and that made the difference in the two games.  I’m sure some of these differences are related to hardware and engine issues but that still isn’t really an excuse.  Each year, GameCube owners would find themselves with the “little brother” stripped down version of what their PS2 counterparts had.

 OVERALL

Sweet CHIN MUSIC!!

Sweet CHIN MUSIC!!

WWE Wrestlemania XIX takes some good steps forward with its visuals, combat mechanics, and control scheme.  However, it is noticeably the inferior version of the two wrestling games released that year.  With a lack of match types, minimal roster, and few arenas it’s hard to look at as a must have from that year.  The game’s Revenge mode does nothing but make the player want to seek out Yuke’s and exact revenge on them for create such an agonizing mode.  Wrestlemania XIX is like a typical wrestling match, the little guy is going to be built up like he can win, like he’s got all the tools to defeat his bigger, badder opponent, but in the end it’s that same old heel getting the pin and the victory leaving the lesser of the two looking around in embarrassment.

Written by Sean Collins

Sean Collins


Sean Collins (aka Steroid Gamer) started playing video games when he was 8 years old. His first console was a Nintendo 64 and his first game was Mario Kart 64. He fell in love immediately and has been playing games ever since.

My current systems include; N64, Gameboy Color, Gamecube, Wii, 3DS, PS3, Vita, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox 360.

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  1. It’s hard to compare any wrestling game to Here Comes the Pain. It’s between Here Comes the Pain and Wrestlemania 2000 on 64 for my favorite of all time 😀

     

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