WWE Crush Hour
Sony PlayStation 2
"WWE Entertainment Crush Hour takes the intensity, competitiveness, and brute strength from the wrestling ring to the world of car combat. More than 20 WWE superstars jump into their supercars for brutal vehicular carnage. Lay the rubber down in the Rock's speedster, cruise and bruise in the Hardy Boys' souped-up Woody, or pummel the competition in the Big Show's diesel. In 12 levels littered with deadly traps and hazards, it's going to take more than a three-count to win".
I have never played this game before now. In fact, I've actively tried to not play it. It's just a game I thought I wouldn't enjoy it. I can't even tell you why I didn't think I would enjoy it, to be honest. I mean, I like vehicular combat games like the Twisted Metal series, the Destruction Derby series, and, Vigilante 8. I also really like wrestling. That's why I've finally decided to go ahead and bite the bullet and try this game out. Hey, it might even be fun, right?
WWE Crush Hour was published by THQ and developed by Pacific Coast Power & Light (which sounds more like the name of a utility company as opposed to game developers) and was released in North America on March 17, 2003. One of the reasons I've been a little leery of this game over the years is because it was released as a "budget title" and budget titles aren't always the most fun games to play. A lot of times, even though they're cheaper than a top-tier game, you also get what you pay for. Sometimes they can surprise you, though. We'll see which is the case here.
The storyline for the game is an interesting one. Vince McMahon has bought out and taken control of all television channels. Now, he can make all WWE Superstars star in whatever television shows or commercials he sees fit. His latest, dastardly idea is to have the Superstars compete on a vehicular-combat game show called "Crush Hour". Like I said, if nothing else, it's a very interesting and believable (as far as anything in the WWE Universe being "believable" goes) backstory to set this game up.
There's a Season Mode available to play and a "one-off" mode where you play one match or fight or whatever you'd prefer to call it. There's also a hidden demolition derby mode that you can unlock if you win a match without using your weapons at all. This is a fairly difficult task to pull off, but it's fun to try and there are a lot of different wrestlers to choose from. Pretty much all of the top superstars of 2002-2003: Big Show, The Rock, HHH, Kane, Kurt Angle, Undertaker... the list goes on! There are also a few hidden characters that are really worth unlocking. Superstars like Ric Flair, Hollywood Hogan, and even Vince McMahon himself.
Each Superstar also has their own unique vehicle with differing stats from one another which is a must for a game like this. Brock Lesnar has a huge armored truck. Rikishi drives some sort of giant steamroller that has his name and a picture of his gigantic ass on the back of it. You know, the usual stuff. On a serious note; all of the vehicles are pretty cool even if you have to look at Rikishi's barely-clothed backside every once in a while. At least here you see it less than you ever did in one of his matches.
There are 12 arenas in which you try to vanquish your foes who, much like yourself, are being forced to compete in the carnival of carnage by Vince McMahon. I guess you just have to take out your frustrations on each other and try to survive. The stages are all fun and unique and feature various hazards like giant saw blades and lava pits. Each level is based on various matches and events put on by the WWE. There's a Royal Rumble arena and a Survivor Series arena. There's even an arena representing Lumber Jack Matches. Each of these arenas has different ways to win. For example, in the Royal Rumble arena, you have to "grab" a crown and try to avoid being hit by other vehicles which causes them to "steal" your crown. At the end of the round; the drivers not holding a crown are eliminated and the match continues until there's one Superstar left. This is a great way to mix up the gameplay with each arena you compete in. Also, as a bonus, J.R. does commentary for each match. You can't go wrong there.
When it comes down to actually playing the game; it's surprisingly fun. Each Superstar has a gun on their car (which does very little damage) and you can pick up "foreign objects" that are scattered about. The weapons are your bread and butter, so to say. They're far more effective than your machine gun. Aside from this, each Superstar has a "finishing move" that they can utilize whenever their "special meter" fills up. These are the most devastating moves in the game and do tons of damage. Other useful power-ups are scattered around the arena like a speed boost or health boost or even things like a triple damage power-up. There's definitely no lack of variety when it comes to ways to dismantle your opponent.
I have to admit, I wasn't expecting much going into this game but it really surprised me! It's a lot of fun to play and would be a great game to play with your friends. I'd really like to see WWE try this concept out again at some point. Especially since no one is really making games in this genre anymore.
Until next time... keep mashing those buttons!