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April 5, 2005
Backyard Wrestling Don't Try This At Home - Review
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Certainly not the PS2's best graphics.
Just about every year since 1998 THQ has released a new WWE Smackdown wrestling game on the market. With each release they produce one of the best and most popular games of the year. They have spawned a few challengers but other than EA's Def Jam Vendetta and Def Jam Fight for New York none have stood up. Now developer Paradox is stepping in with their attempt at the grappling market. Has abandoning the ring for an outdoor environment helped their cause?

Backyard Wrestling Donít Try This At Home is based around a series of DVDís that sees average Joeís all over the world beating the hell out of each other in increasingly more brutal ways. Of course all of this is done in their own Backyards, acts like jumping of a house roof onto their mate or kicking a steel chair into someoneís head to slamming their friends through a wooden table are just a few of there tricks. This series of DVDís has developed a serious cult following.

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Crappy fighter models, with blood.
In the game you donít control any of these crazy young men and women, but instead you use a roster of wrestlers from various unheard of wrestling organizations. Probably the most well known of these is the JCW, which is founded by Detroit rap/rock clowns and Eminem nemesis The Insane Clown Posse. The groupís two main members Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J are playable characters along with Sabu, Pondo, Tom Dub, Rude Boy, Josh Prohibition and a few other misfits. The game also features plenty of hot chicks which are of course a wrestling must have, the most famous girl in the game is Tylene Buck formerly of the WCW. There is quite a large selection of wrestlers, though many of them have to be unlocked.

You unlock them by completing the games main mode, The Talk Show mode. This is set up as a reality show much in the same vein as The Jerry Springer Show. Before each match you get a reasonably funny intro movie with some trailer trash telling a story of their lives being ruined by local backyard wrestlers. After that it is on to the fights.

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Graphics are much improved.
To no ones surprise all the wrestling matches take place in various backyards. The games control system will be instantly familiar to anyone that has played a wrestling game before. You have the standard two buttons for attack, one to grapple your opponent and another to pick up and use the various weapons lying around the yards. The weapons you find are one of the games stronger points everything you see can be used as an instrument of immense pain. Barbed wire baseball bats, steel chairs are the main ones. The environments can also be used to your advantage; you can throw your opponents into nearby BBQís, Fences, Cars and everything else you see. Once you have given your opponent enough of a beating you can perform a finishing move by pressing the two attack buttons at the same time. These finishers are more over the top than the WWE games but not as good as in Def Jam Fight for New York.

As with all good brawling games you and your mate can beat each others heads in here. This does provide the most fun of the game. Flame grilling your mate is cool, but it does get old quickly. Without the lack of different game modes to fight in you will get bored and quickly go back to Smackdown Vs Raw for your two player showdowns.

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Graphics are much improved.
This game unfortunately is full of flaws. The first thing you will notice is the poor camera and sloppy controls. The camera flies all over the place, occasionally getting stuck or just shaking out of control. The controls themselves are no where near the standard of other fighting games. They are slow to respond and the analogue stick used to control your movements is extremely sloppy. Another area where this game is years behind the competition are in game modes, it only has Talk Show, Exhibition, Tag and King of the Hill modes. Compared to the Smackdown games that just isnít good enough. Another problem is the actual fights and how you win, you can pin your opponents but you have to get their health that low that it makes it rare to get a pin fall victory. To cap it all off the game gets boring fast.

The graphics again are well behind the competition. The visuals are chock full of clipping and other technical issues which really kill the look of the game. The levels themselves look alright, but getting stuck in them brings that positive back to earth. The only real positive for the visuals is the cut scenes, these are pretty high quality and some are quite cool as well.

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Graphics are much improved.
Here we go a real standout feature, the sound. This game features one of the greatest sound tracks for a game in quite some time. If you like your music nice and loud you will love this, Sepultura, Anthrax, Andrew WK, Rancid, the Dropkick Murphys and the Insane Clown Posse make up a pretty hard roster of talent. The effects during the game are pretty poor but the music makes up for it. If you donít like loud music though you will hate this.

When you are going against a powerhouse franchise like THQ's Smackdown you have to do everything right. Unfortunately Backyard Wrestling Don't Try This At Home has flaws by the truckload, and that is a shame because the idea behind the game is good enough. It just lacks the polish, features and control systems of the better grapplers out there. Itís a shame but only hardcore fans will get much enjoyment out of this game, there are simply too many better titles around to warrant buying this game.

Review By: Graham Darko

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version)
GRAPHICSLow detail and far too many glitches really bring the graphics down.
SOUNDA huge roster of metal bands providing a rousing soundtrack.
GAMEPLAYGets old fast, not even close to the standards set by Smackdown.
VALUEA few unlockable wrestlers and movies, but the game is wa too easy.
OVERALLBackyard Wrestling Don't Try This At Home is simply not good enough to get attention against the vastly superior Smackdown games.

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