Thursday, July 18, 2024
EditorialWWE SmackDown: Shut Your Mouth Review (Classic Game Reviews)

WWE SmackDown: Shut Your Mouth Review (Classic Game Reviews)



WWE SmackDown: Shut Your Mouth was the successor to WWF SmackDown: Just Bring It and the fourth game in the SmackDown series. The game was the first title to be released under the WWE banner, following the lawsuit by the World Wildlife Fund in mid-2002. Shut Your Mouth was released for the Sony PlayStation 2 (PS2) in North America on October 31, 2002, in Europe on November 15, 2002 and in Japan on February 6, 2003. The game was developed by Yuke’s and was published by THQ. To this day Yuke’s is still developing games for the WWE; their most recent title WWE 2K19 was released on November 9, 2018.

Anybody who followed professional wrestling at the time will be greeted with a very familiar introduction. The same introduction that one would see if they were watching SmackDown every Thursday night on television. Once at the main menu, the player will see the traditional options: “Exhibition”, “Create”, “Season”, “Options” and one I always enjoyed “Videos”. The “Videos” option featured five different clips to choose from with different songs dubbed over them. WWE SmackDown: Shut Your Mouth (with Edge’s theme at time, Rob Zombie’s Never Gonna Stop), WWE Superstars, Divas (both with Raw’s theme, The Union Underground’s Across the Nation), Rob Van Dam (with his theme, Breaking Point’s One of a Kind) and finally Credits (with Hulk Hogan’s old theme at the time, Rick Derringer’s Real American).

Speaking of videos, I loved the mid-2002 clips on the right side of the main menu. Looking back at the main menu, the font choice was quite interesting to say the least. It’s not bland by any stretch of the imagination and I can’t say that’s a bad thing.

The roster for a 2002 release was stacked and featured the following names:

  • Al Snow
  • Albert
  • Big Show
  • Billy [Gunn]
  • Billy Kidman
  • Booker T
  • Bradshaw
  • Brock Lesnar
  • Bubba Ray Dudley
  • Chris Benoit
  • Chris Jericho
  • Christian
  • Chuck [Palumbo]
  • [Reverend] D-Von
  • DDP
  • Eddie Guerrero
  • Edge
  • Faarooq
  • Goldust
  • Hardcore Holly
  • Hollywood Hulk Hogan
  • The Hurricane
  • Ivory
  • Jazz
  • Jeff Hardy
  • Kane
  • Kevin Nash
  • Kurt Angle
  • Lance Storm
  • Lita
  • Mark Henry
  • Matt Hardy
  • Maven
  • Molly Holly
  • Randy Orton
  • Raven
  • Rhyno
  • Ric Flair
  • Rico
  • Rikishi
  • Rob Van Dam
  • Scotty Too Hotty
  • Shawn Michaels
  • Shawn Stasiak
  • Spike Dudley
  • Stacy Keibler
  • Stephanie McMahon
  • [Stone Cold] Steve Austin
  • Tajiri
  • Tazz
  • Test
  • The Big Valbowski
  • The Rock
  • Torrie Wilson
  • Triple H
  • Trish Stratus
  • Undertaker
  • Vince McMahon
  • William Regal
  • X-Pac

Looking back, I remember being extremely happy with the list and it felt like a step up from Just Bring It the previous year. While I would have liked to see Scott Hall in the game as a part of the nWo. It wasn’t a make or break thing for me that he was omitted from the finalized roster, due to his recent departure. If I had to define WWEs roster in 2002, I would point all fingers to this game. Now with that said, two of my biggest nit-picks come from the wrestlers theme songs and attires. It boggles my mind why some themes are correct like Saliva’s Turn the Tables for The Dudley Boyz; while The Hardy Boyz are stuck with a generic rendition of their theme.

I also don’t care for the guessing game for attires. If I want to play as Hogan in his nWo attire; I want to know which one it is right off the back. I don’t want to take a shot in the dark with the A, B or C options. It doesn’t seem like too big of a task to put a brief description of what each attire it. For example: nWo (Hogan) or Jean Jacket (Triple H).

Before I go any further and because I’ve mentioned music a few times. Can we give a shout out to how awesome WWF Forceable Entry was? Excluding Real American; every song that I’ve mentioned can be found on that CD.

Graphically, I think the game has held up rather well. Father Time is not always kind to gaming, especially when it made the transition into 3D. Yes, there are some rough edges, but the wrestlers and their attires look how they should. The arenas look fantastic and I am glad to see full pay-per-view arenas; unlike the generic arena we received in previous SmackDown titles. If anything didn’t get the age semi-gracefully memo, it’s the crowd. They look like blurry cardboard cutouts.

My biggest nit-pick graphically comes from the aprons in the arenas. It may be minor to some, but I like arenas to look as replicate how they are on television as much as possible. This statement stands true to this day with the Create an Arena/Show feature in modern titles. The aprons in Shut Your Mouth have the same logo all the way around. When something like the SmackDown arena should have the SmackDown logo parallel to each other and parallel to each other.

Shut Your Mouth features the following arenas:

  • Raw 2002
  • SmackDown 2002
  • Sunday Night Heat 2002
  • Royal Rumble 2002
  • No Way Out 2002
  • WrestleMania X-8
  • Backlash 2002
  • Insurrextion 2002
  • Judgment Day 2002
  • King of the Ring 2002
  • Vengeance 2002
  • SummerSlam 2001
  • Unforgiven 2001
  • No Mercy 2001
  • Rebellion 2001
  • Survivor Series 2001
  • Vengeance 2001
  • Armageddon (Custom)
  • Backstage Environments:
    • Locker Room
    • Parking Lot
    • Train Station
    • Time Square
    • VIP Room
    • The World
    • Winter Times Square
    • and more

Gameplay, Shut Your Mouth remains true to the arcade feel that the previous SmackDown titles had. No selling doesn’t seem as prominent in this game and that is a welcomed addition. Without reading the manual for the entire control scheme. The basics are as followed:

  • The d-pad or left analog stick moves your superstar of choice.
  • The circle button performs an irish whip.
  • Circle plus a direction performs a grapple attack.
  • The x button performs a strike attack.
  • The triangle button runs and climbs onto objects.
  • The square button reverses strike attacks.
  • Square plus a direction reverses grapple attacks.
  • L1 performs a finishing move.

Unlike the abysmal WWF War Zone and WWF Attitude titles; the SmackDown series has always been a series that is easy to pick up and play. However, the controls weren’t perfect here and I am primarily looking at the reversal system. Similar to my gripe about the attire guessing game; reversing grapple attacks has the same problem. I would rather have a single button to reverse grapples and another to reverse strikes. Luckily, this was fixed in WWE SmackDown: Here Comes The Pain when gameplay went through an overhaul (future review).

There are no new match types added into Shut Your Mouth, but are new match types really needed here? I don’t think so! There is plenty to do, especially in Falls Count Anywhere and Hardcore matches. Want to kick some ass in WWE The World (remember that place)? Go for it! Want to go back to the Shotgun Saturday Night days and fight in a train station? Do it! You can even climb the fist in the SmackDown arena or the chair at King of the Ring. Truly take things to the extreme and watch you and your opponent nose dive off of the fist.

Before finalizing this review discussing the season mode; I want to briefly cover Create a Superstar. Now creating wrestlers has never been my strong suit in these games. I am thankful for Community Creations now and CAW websites back in the day. However, from what I gathered the CAW system here is stellar. There are plenty of fictional and real superstars to create. Whether it be Scott Hall to put him in the nWo or that blue chipper John Cena, the options are there. Unless I am missing something, I always hated how the CAWs never had teeth. It bugged me having a CAW of somebody like John Cena or Rey Mysterio that looked like they were awaiting dentures when they opened their mouths.

I know that I am not alone here when saying that the season mode in Just Bring It left a sour taste in my mouth. Instead of having three matches on average and being done, now you get two years. Shut Your Mouth takes place following the 2002 draft and you get the option of drafting for Raw or SmackDown. You can let the A.I. auto draft, but what’s the fun in that? Season mode includes enough twists and turns to keep wrestling fans wanting more. From siding with Ric Flair or Vince McMahon to rival against the opposing side, eventually siding with both Flair and McMahon or rivaling them both and an ultimate pay-off at WrestleMania.

Each week you start in a first-person perspective and are able to explore the SmackDown Arena as it’s called, The World, the train station, request title shots from your brands owner and talk to fellow superstars. Keep in mind talking to superstars doesn’t always go favorably and you may end up in an unwanted match because of it. In-game unlockables are done by winning matches at pay-per-views. Because each pay-per-view offers multiple unlockables; it offers a sense of replayability to the game to unlock everything from movesets to attires to arenas. Oh, the wonderful days before purchasing Accelerators to unlocking everything the game offered.

In short: Regardless of my complaints, WWE SmackDown: Shut Your Mouth holds up well and has my stamp of approval just as much as it did nearly seventeen years ago.

If you enjoyed this review and would like to see me review other classic wrestling games. Feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments and I will take it into consideration.

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