WWF No Mercy (N64): The Sickest Wrestling Game of All-Time
As a young kid, I used to drop quarter after quarter into the WWF Superstars and WWF WrestleFest arcade cabinets. It was the only true way to get a believable experience in a video game; since the NES and SNES games weren’t exactly that good (WWF Royal Rumble was kinda fun though on the SNES). However, when the Nintendo 64 came into town, I was simply blown away by what I experienced with both WWF WrestleMania 2000 and WCW vs. nWo World Tour and WCW/nWo Revenge.
However, neither game can compete with the brilliance that was WWF No Mercy, which was released in November 2000. Building upon the engine and gameplay style of WrestleMania 2000, No Mercy not only added new features but improved on just about every aspect of what made WrestleMania 2000 a great game. For starters, it was easy to pick up and play, yet if you were a veteran of the game, you knew how to take advantage of the vast moveset of each particular wrestler. Match types included Singles, Tag, Triple Threat, Handicap, Cage, Ladder, Royal Rumble, Iron Man and King of the Ring, with Royal Rumble and Ladder matches being my absolute favorite. Getting down on a Royal Rumble match with a group of friends was always a blast, but the introduction of the Ladder match was just too awesome.
Graphically the game looked better than WM2000 and also featured backstage brawls, while you could also break through the announcer’s table, pulling off some sweet moves like the Rock Bottom or Pedigree on the outside. My one problem with the game however, aside from some questionable AI, was that the entrances were cut short. Unlike WM2000, a wrestler was only shown getting up to the ring, but the intro was cut off before they could get inside of it and taunt the crowd. It wasn’t a huge deal, but it removed some of the coolness of the entrances.
One of the biggest updates however was in the Story Mode. In WM2000, if you lost a match during the story, you would only have the chance to retry the match. In No Mercy however, the story simply branched out into an alternate scenario, depending on whether you won or lost. To me, that was one of the coolest aspects of the game and made me want to replay the story over and over again to see what other scenarios I could come across.
And who can forget the memorable roster? It may not have seemed as amazing back then (and it was pretty awesome already), but looking back at it today, there were some huge stars on that list. Superstars such as Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, Chris Jericho, Christian, Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, The Undertaker, Tazz, Kane, The British Bulldog, Andre the Giant, Mick Foley and HBK, are some of the highlights, but there were plenty of other solid wrestlers to choose from. What made it even better was the fleshed out CAW mode that let you create just about anyone. Fortunately, AKI (developer) had included a lot of the moves and taunts from its WCW/now games, which made it easier to create guys like Hulk Hogan, Razor Ramon, Diesel, Macho Man, Bret Hart and more. The Create-a-Wrestler portion of the game could literally swallow you for hours and hours; for many players, months and years, and in fact, there are still plenty of fans who create mods with current wrestlers, as seen in the image below of Sin Cara and John Cena. You could also use the money you received from winning matches in the “Smackdown Mall”, where you could unlock more characters, moves, weapons and attire, to boost your CAW options.
While the RAW vs. Smackdown series was pretty good, it still can’t capture the awesomeness that were the N64 games, and to a greater extent WWF No Mercy, by which all wrestling games are judged by. WWE ’13 was a step in the right direction and the Attitude Era was a great piece of history to borrow from. Who knows, maybe a future WWE game will take us into the 80’s era (and no, WrestleMania Legends doesn’t count because the gameplay sucked).
It’s a shame that due to licensing, we never did get the rumored Virtual Console release of WWF No Mercy on the Wii, even with updated superstars, but there are always PC mods for those who want an updated version of the game. Still for players like me, who still own the game on the N64, I tend to play it from time to time if only to relive how spectacular that game was and to appreciate how well it’s aged – graphics notwithstanding.
So what were your favorite features from WWF No Mercy? Got a favorite CAW that you still use today? What would you like to see in a future WWE game that could borrow from No Mercy? Share your thoughts!