WWE Survivor Series
Game Boy Advance
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Today, I wanted to take a look at another handheld game (as I do from time to time). I always love a good portable game. Just yesterday, my 6-year-old nephew and I were playing Pro Wrestling (NES) on my Switch. It was his first time seeing and playing that classic and his first choice for who he wanted to wrestle as was The Amazon. Now that's a smart kid - I always went with the "monster heel" too. Will this game rank up there with being able to take Pro Wrestling on the go with you? Just like my last handheld review where I made the same comparison - probably not. It's hard to top that. We'll see what we're dealing with here, though, and give it a fair shot.
WWE Survivor Series was programmed by Natsume and released by THQ on October 12, 2004. We all know THQ's reputation for being hit and miss with their releases at this point but Natsume did develop Natsume Championship Wrestling for the Super Nintendo which was at least a decent game. Maybe there's hope for this one.
Survivor Series is the sequel to 2002's Road To Wrestlemania X8 for the Game Boy Advance which was also developed by Natsume but I must admit; I've never played that game yet so I'm not quite sure what to expect. I do like the title screen for this game. Flashes of lighting revealing the Raw and Smackdown logos eventually morphing into an "electrified" Survivor Series logo. Pretty awesome stuff. It's something that's at least attempting to get you pumped up to play the game. The opening theme, however, isn't great. Don't get me wrong; it's not bad or annoying like some but it's not great. Nothing to write home about anyway.
There are a fair amount of match types and options to keep you entertained especially considering this is a handheld title. You can wrestle in a regular exhibition match, have a King Of The Ring Style tournament, compete in a Royal Rumble, or have a tradition Survivor Series team battle. There's even a story mode available to try out.
From what I've played, the story mode is pretty simple and straightforward but it's not bad. You begin by choosing one of 16 available superstars from either Smackdown or Raw and then you get a few tryout matches from the GM of that respective show. You have to win at least one of these matches to advance to the "main roster". You only have to win one because just like actual pro wrestling; the point isn't always to win. You want to entertain the crowd.
Nobody likes constant squash matches or spammed maneuvers over and over so the game makes you entertain the "virtual audience" as best you can. I always like when developers add that little nuance to the gameplay. It makes you play the game differently and doesn't allow you to rush through it by doing the same thing over and over, thus making it repetitive. If you entertain the crowd and get some important wins then you begin to rise up the ranks of your particular brand. Do well enough and you can even switch brands and try to conquer the other show.
The matches themselves end up playing out pretty well, too. Each wrestler has an entrance with theme music but there aren't any camera angles or pyro. This is strictly a 2-D wrestling game. The wrestlers themselves seem to be made up of digitized polygons. Personally, I always kind of liked that style of graphics but to some, it may seem "blurry" and sub-par. The crowd seems to be made up of more traditional sprites as opposed to being digitized. All in all, it looks pretty good.
It controls pretty well considering it's playing on the Game Boy Advance which only has four buttons. The action seems a little slow-paced but I prefer that to an overly fast-paced, arcade-style match. All the animations and various moves seem really smooth. No complaints there. Each superstar also has use of their finisher which is always nice.
The roster is also stacked with 16 of the biggest superstars of the time to choose from including RVD, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, Undertaker, and Shawn Michaels. There's no "B-team" on this game. Almost every superstar in this game was either a main eventer at the time or at least they should've been.
WWE Survivor Series for the Game Boy Advance ends up being a fairly solid game when all is said and done. The story mode itself could keep you occupied and entertained for an hour or two. Considering other games that were available on the Game Boy Advance at the time, though, like the two Fire Pro Wrestling games; this game by no means tops the list as a must-play for the system but it's still one worth checking out.
Until next time... keep mashing those buttons!