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August 14, 2005
WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2006 - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
25/11/2005THQYukes1-6, 4 $79.95

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Go on, whack him!!
During my teenage years Wrestling was a spectacle that could be seen on Free to Air TV and had charisma with legends such as King Kong Bundy, The Iron Sheik and of course Hulk Hogan. It wasn't long before I realised that it was all pre-determined bullshit and the move to pay TV spelled the end of my viewing days. It's all made up. Sure there's the occasional injury but more often then not it's an accident rather then intentional. Give me UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) any day - even in its weakest day it's more realistic and sports like then wrestling. But as we all know wrestling games can be fantastic fun so I approach WWE Smackdown! Vs Raw 2006 as a gamer, not a fan of the TV shows.

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This landing's gonna hurt.
Enter the ring for the fight of your life against top WWE Superstars in WWE SmackDown! vs RAW 2006. The game promises to deliver the deepest and most realistic wrestling experience ever with over 60 of the most popular wrestlers available in the game including many past legends as well as 17 stadiums. We don't have a full roster yet however you can expect to see the current champions and stars in the game including Triple H, The Undertaker, Batista, Kurt Angle, Edge, JBL (isn't that a speaker brand!?) and Carlito Caribbean Cool.

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In terms of actual gameplay the big new addition is a momentum system. As in real fights as a player gains an upper hand he will become more and more confident in pulling off the big moves. The game will have a similar system with your momentum meter filling or emptying according to your performance in the ring. Pull off some big moves, reversals or even play it up to the crowd and your meter will start filling up. In order to perform a finishing move you will need a full momentum meter.

Along a similar line a stamina system has been implemented in WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2006. If your wrestler uses up too much energy at the start of the match he'll struggle to gain the upper hand again so pacing your wrestler is the key to success. Even spending too much time running around the ring after getting in a couple of cheap shots will tire your fighter. It will, however be possible to regain your stamina slowly by holding down the select button.

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The all new Casket Match.
The number of matches is impressive however the developers are adding a couple of new modes including a casket match made famous by The Undertaker. Other new matches include Fulfill your Fantasy which replaces "Bra and Panties" but allows you to chose your outfit for female wrestlers (which includes nurse, schoolgirl, or French maid), and then perform "fantasty" moves such as pillow fights or a bit of a spanking. The third new match type is Backstage Brawl which take place either backstage, in a bar or in the carpark, and is pretty self explanatory we think.

Looking at game modes WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2006 will include 2 full seasons to play without story repetition and improved cut-scenes. Both Create-A-Fighter and Create-A-Championship will both be included as well as 100 different match types including Buried Alive and Bar Brawl backstage area to name a couple.

Grapically this game is a fair few notches above the previous game. The developers have spent a lot of time improving the wrestler models while the motion captured animation has been largely re-done with almost half the moves scrapped and started from scratch. Even the player entrances have been totally motion captured for improved realism.

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Remove the knee or lose the jocks!
Online gameplay has been confirmed for up to 4-players which is double the online players from last year while it will also be possible to chat while playing. Developers Yukes have also mentioned that gamers will almost certainly be able to transfer data between the PS2 and PSP versions of the game - characters and stats being the obvious choice however the PS2 game will have some options only unlocked by hooking up the PSP. As yet these remain under wraps.

You know what. While we have reservations about wrestling in general, and some of the previous wrestling titles left us a little bored, WWE Smackdown! Vs Raw 2006 has us pretty damn excited. At this stage there isn't a set release date for WWE Smackdown! Vs Raw 2006 in PAL territories however the American version is due out in mid-November and THQ Australia have said they are hoping to launch a couple of weeks later.