ECW Hardcore Revolution
For the longest time professional wrestling video games were much like games licensed for blockbuster movies: the premise was great, but the actual end product was seldom passable.
The sport, er, sports entertainment, exploded around the same time as video games rebounded with the NES in the 1980s. A few commendable games appeared in the 16-bit era, but it was the jump to a 3-D landscape which set the new generation of wrestling games apart from the old.
Acclaim was at the forefront of the hot WWF license for the longest time, producing the popular WWF Attitude. But as noted to any wrestling fans, the late 90s were a huge war between the big two promotions: the WWF and WCW.
When WCW’s license jumped to EA, their former publisher, THQ, went after the WWF – this left Acclaim with no wrestling property during the genre’s highest period in history.
Enter ECW, or Extreme Championship Wrestling, a third outfit which was smaller than the other two mentioned, but was growing from a regional company into a national brand. Acclaim swooped in and made a deal with the company, in which they would repaint their WWF Attitude series over with ECW trademarks and characters.
Make no bones about it: that’s precisely what Hardcore Revolution is. A rebadged WWF Attitude.
That could be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. For the WWF, THQ just rebranded their WCW vs. NWO World Tour game into WrestleMania 2000, with some enhancements, and it was wildly popular.
However, Hardcore Revolution was already built on what I felt was janky controls and sluggish gameplay to begin with.
Yes, it’s the N64 blocky characters, which was amazingly advanced for its time – but so much else about this game just feels more like a punch/kick brawler than a smooth-as-butter wrestling experience witnessed elsewhere.
Moves don’t really chain together well and you’re left with the feeling of those 8-bit and 16-bit button masher wrestling games as opposed to something “revolutionary”.
I will say that having the ECW theme to open the game will give you goosebumps. The amount of game modes and customization (including custom PPVs and create-a-wrestler) is more than aplenty to appease gamers looking for variety.
The roster or wrestlers, including some that can be unlocked, is a laundry list of most ECW mainstays too.
Usually, the fun in each of these games was watching the wrestlers’ entrances – and this is where the steam starts to run out for ECW’s title, as the company used a lot of cover bands to replay popular music hits. Those songs were unable to appear within the game and instead, you get the equivalent of a dubbed out, modified version for nearly every character.
The rest looks appealing – and the camera angles are a different approach than what you may see in other wrestling games of the era.
Yet, there’s something about ECW Hardcore Revolution that just seems off. That’s why I’m giving it a middle thumb – there’s some nostalgia and fans of WWF Attitude won’t mind the experience duplicated with ECW wrestlers.
But I didn’t care for Attitude either, so that’s why I’m somewhere in the middle of not being in love with this game.
The World Is Not Enough
I have to make some apologies for what I said about this game in other 007 reviews: it’s much better than I remember it being.
That said, the story mode is what really makes the game shine, as multiplayer didn’t hold a candle to Goldeneye or some of the follow-up games on the PlayStation 2 (such as Agent Under Fire). However, that’s no reason to skip on EA’s James Bond movie tie-in, as without Goldeneye stealing the spotlight for both a great FPS and credible movie licensed game, this one may have been more fondly remembered.
The controls are a bit funky to get used to, as is the off-centered, nearly “in the corner” gun view, but the rest of the game actually looks more realistic than Goldeneye did, following the same script as its movie namesake.
Also bare in mind, this is not the same game which shared the same name and movie tie-in on the PSX.
The visual style of the game differs from others in the Bond series slightly, but it’s a smooth experience with a lot of the other 007 effects left in place (including tons of gadgets used to complete obstacles). Seeing bullets fly from the weapons was also a nice touch which wasn’t often seen (or as detailed) in other games released at that time.
A wide variety of weapons are also at your disposal, including a harpoon gun!
Overall, the game differentiates itself enough from Goldeneye and other EA published 007 games that it stands on its own and should be a title played by Bond fans who are looking for a retro, FPS fix.
Easily one of my favorite games of all time. This took Goldeneye to a whole new level and pushed the limits of what was possible on the N64. Heck, replaying this, there are things I stopped and went “whoa” over that were done back in 2000. A lot of those concepts are still carried over to modern games. (I’d bet this game was a huge influence on Halo as well.)
Among the features include the various external tools, such as scanners and portable cameras. The ability to dual wield guns returns along with secondary options for every weapon. There were night vision and IR scanners, X-ray tracking guns (Farsight), sniper rifles, heat-seeking and manually guided missiles, plus so much more than I could possibly list here (or remember!)
This game is so great I may just play through it yet again! (I’ve beaten it several times in my lifetime.)
Note: the graphics are crude, but I discovered halfway through playing that I could increase the emulator settings as well as the actual game having a widescreen mode built-in. Therefore, you’ll notice a huge difference in the graphics when viewing my screenshots.
A launch title for the PS2, this was the first game I purchased for it. For those unfamiliar, TimeSplitters is a spiritual successor to Goldeneye and Perfect Dark as many of the old developers from Rare split and created their own company.
The game itself is… dated. A lot of the levels draw inspiration directly from those two games mentioned. It was a great game back then and it still has some fairly groundbreaking ideas it introduced. The in-game graphics aren’t a problem, but you can tell it’s an early title by the menus and lack of options (which the sequel more than adequately addresses).
For starters, this game ran at 60 frames per second and still ran smooth as butter on my PC as well as my PS3. In fact, the speed is blistering and the goal in each level is to retrieve a “key” and return it to essentially your “base”. The frame rate adds to the fast-paced action and gets your heart pounding as to whether you can get back before all of the “TimeSplitters” start appearing and attacking out of nowhere!
The game also offered an in-game level editor which allowed you to create your own boards to be used in multiplayer (locally) as well as a multitude of playable characters a la Goldeneye.
As such the game is worth checking out but be warned it has a very short campaign mode. It truly shines with multiplayer, where completing the story mode levels on each difficulty will unlock more goodies for use in multiplayer.
An extra challenge mode feature is also included and is like the one in Perfect Dark: but with some fun twists, such as shooting at monkeys carrying watermelons or smashing windows by throwing bricks.
I also want to go out on a limb and say the entire concept of shooting heads off of a zombie’s body (the only way you can kill them in this game) originated with TimeSplitters as well.
Overall, this was still a great journey back into time with good memories of multiplayer games around the TV before online play became a thing.