Wrestling and video games have always been an interesting mix. There were some interesting classics starting out like Tecmo Wrestling, Tag Team Wrestling, and the endless stream of LJN WWE games. It wasn’t until the 32 bit/64 bit era around the time of the much fabled Monday Night Wars in wrestling where the licensed wrestling games really stepped up (no disrespect to the already excellent Fire Pro Wrestling series). Now, on the final week of the Road to Wrestlemania, lets take a look at 5 chosen games that are arguably some of the best wrestling games of all time.
WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2006
The early SmackDown vs. RAW entries were some of the best wrestling games out there, and arguable the best one is the 2006 edition. It has a lot of variety of match modes, single player content, create modes, and good gameplay in the series. While today’s games might have more realism, they lack the one thing that makes a video game great. “A LOT OF STUPID STUPID FUN.”
WCW vs. the nWo: World tour (Nintendo 64)
I could easily make 4 entires in the top 5 all of the AKI developed Wrestling games. Up until then, in North America, wrestling games didn’t receive much love from developers nor the fans that played them. That was until this game was released. It just was a lot of fun. Finally, wrestling fans got the first wrestling game that had enough realism but also enough fun factor.
WWF Wrestlefest (Arcade)
It is a shame this was only released in the Arcades because Wrestlefest is one of the most often overlooked wrestling games ever released, but those that spotted one of these machines in their local pizza joint in the early 90s knew that this was something special. It is also the first game to have a Royal Rumble. How cool is that?
WWE SmackDown 4: Here Comes the Pain (PS2)
I recently went back to revisit this game. It is one of the greatest wrestling games of all time for a good reason. The variety of match modes, story (season mode), and create modes make this one of the best. The roster is also interesting. Not only do you have the bonafide legends like Stone Cold, The Rock, and Eddie Guerrero, but you also have a rookie John Cena (pre-Saiyan Cena days), and some really obscure names like Rodney Mack and Rico. Honestly, playing this game and seeing Eddie Guerrero’s entrance still gets me choked up.
WWF No Mercy (Nintendo 64)
This is it, this is the grandaddy of them all. As I said earlier I could easily list this, World Tour, Wrestlemania 2000, and WCW/nWo Revenge all in the top 4 without getting much of an argument from people.
WWF No Mercy still receives a lot of attention from the modding community and with the right emulator and just enough hoops jumped through, you can play the game with new moves and recent wrestlers. Whether that is worth it or not is entirely in the eye of the beholder.