The Attitude Era was probably the best era in professional wrestling. Vince McMahon captured lightning in a bottle and turned that into complete ownership of professional wrestling after he purchased the WCW for a mere two million dollars. It was a difficult battle though, for Vince, he struggled some during the Monday Night Wars, yet eventually became the biggest Heel in wrestling, soon WCW had nothing that could top the feud between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon. Wrestlemania 2000 was released on the N64 during the peak of professional wrestling, and while not the BEST wrestling game ever developed, (that would come a few years later on this very system) but still a fun romp through the squared circle. Unfortunately I didn’t have an N64 during its heyday, I purchased mine about a decade after it hit and I am a very latecomer to the system and this game. Nostalgia really won’t affect this review other than some fond memories of playing some wrestling games (I can’t remember which ones exactly) in my buddies dorm room. I cannot believe how much I love these imperfect graphics and just how much I truly miss this era in gaming.
Now I’m going to come out an say it bluntly, there is surprisingly a lot of content on this little black cartridge. I scrolled through the menu for what seemed like an eternity looking through all the matches and options I could enjoy with my funky N64 controller. I scanned through Exhibition, King of the Ring, Road to Wrestlemania, Pay Per-View and Royal Rumble options. There were also the Edit, Data and Options menu places as well, which are self explanatory. They do hide create a wrestler in Edit, so keep in mind that’s where you can create yourself or tweek an Attitude Era Superstar. Everything but Road to Wrestlemania is for you and some buddies, no matter how many Pay Per-View’s I created, they just weren’t as fun without a real person to battle. Same goes for King of the Ring, while it is nice to sit on that throne after sixteen grueling matches, it would just be more satisfying to defeat a person instead of A.I.. I wrestled the most in Road to Wrestlemania, this was the game’s campaign and seeing as I had no one to battle with I decided to sink most of my time into becoming the best Superstar I could be.
Seeing that the N64 controller is probably the poorest design of any Nintendo controller, controlling your wrestler can be tough at moments. When you finally find yourself in the squared-circle you press A to grapple and B to punch and kick. If you find yourself getting pummeled by a Superstar Left Trigger will be your friend for that is block. If you’re the one doing the pummeling then by all means use the joystick, that is taunt and raises your Attitude Meter. When you get the Attitude Meter full you can use your Finisher on your opponent to look even more bad-ass before pinning them. If you knock your foe out of the ring and want to keep beating them the Yellow Up button is your way out and into the ring. Once you decimate your opponent with punches, grapples and moves you can finally pin them with Left Trigger. Once again always try to do the finisher by going up to your nemesis and hit B with the thumbstick. It doesn’t unlock an achievement or anything, but this is the closest you will ever be to being The Rock!
Since this game is on the N64 it lacks some of the polish that PlayStation counterparts had, yes the graphics were blocky and insanely 32-bit, but the N64 lacks something very important. It lacks the full entrance to the wrestlers, now this isn’t a game breaking thing or stopped me from enjoying the game, but the nice entrances from WWF: Smackdown! are not there. Instead you get what the cartridge could handle, which are basically snippets of the entrances and some of the music, like I said, not game ruining, but the entrances are some of the best part of the game. The 32-bit graphics are not terrible, but it is funny seeing a flat version of a Superstar’s face on a blocky body. You can only tell who they are when they face you head on, other than that make sure you remember what color trunks your guy is wearing or you may lose the match. I know that a majority of gamers harp on these old graphics, but this is what I grew up on and I love going back to them they remind me of some really great times in my life.
This is one of the best wrestling games of this era and should not be missed if you have a working N64. As I said earlier, I miss this generation of consoles; I don’t really know why but when I see those lumbering, blocky characters my heart swoons for when times were better. Now do not get me wrong, I love the current wrestling games that are out there and am currently slowly playing my way through them, but it is this time period that makes me smile the most. Attitude Era wrestling with 64 bit graphics shoots me right back to college, and I jump back to that time period a lot with my N64 and Dreamcast; it’s a dirty little pleasure of mine. If you can’t get an N64 to enjoy this title, the closet replacement I could think of would be WWE 2K13; the whole campaign in that game is the history of the Attitude Era and I simply adore it; even if it is super hard to unlock all the matches. The best way to play though would be on the N64, with three other buddies rolling through a Royal Rumble or King of the Ring; those are some nights well spent.