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A few months back I wrote about my first hand experience playing the TNA Impact video game (which you can read here) and I couldn't wait until the game was finished and on the shelves. I've been a huge wrestling video game nut going way back. I can't even imagine how much money I sunk into WrestleFest or hours spent playing Acclaim's WrestleMania on the old NES because it had actual licensed characters. I had been burnt out by recent editions of Raw vs. SmackDown feeling they just didn't have much new to offer, but my love for wrestling games was instantly rekindled when I sat down to sample Midway's first foray into the genre.

We're now mere weeks away from the official release and Midway is whetting the appetites of rabid TNA fans even more by releasing new screenshots of the game along with a new trailer.

First let's take a look at what we already know.

The roster includes Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Booker T, Jay Lethal, Kurt Angle, Sting, Abyss, Scott Steiner, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, Christian Cage, Homicide, Hernandez, Rhino, Tomko, Jeff Jarrett, and Eric Young. The game's website mysteriously hints at six more characters, which will probably be announced closer to the release date. There are also strong signs that the game's downloadable content will include exclusive characters.

Personally, I would buy ten copies if Midway included Stomper, Cheex, or the Johnsons as some sort of easter eggs. I may have to spend hours with the game's Create A Wrestler module if they don't. The CAW sounds pretty interesting as you'll not only be able give your unique wrestler an individualized look and move set, but also be able to develop a customized style of wrestling.

I think the playable roster is going to be a big selling point as there are some wrestlers here that have been screaming to be in a video game for a long time. It's going to kick all kinds of ass to finally be able to have Samoa Joe deliver a Muscle Buster in video game form. As a huge fan of their work for years, I am going to completely mark out being able to finally control Alex Shelly, Chris Sabin, and Homicide on the screen. Hell, I can finally give the Motor City Machine Guns the push I've felt they needed for over a year!

The matches available to play include the standard single and tag team matches along with standard submission and falls count anywhere ones. Where Impact really takes it up a notch is when you factor in all of TNA's signature matches. I give the company as much grief as anyone, but they have done a decent job of branding their specialty matches except for maybe, Full Metal Mayhem, TNA's answer to "Tables, Ladders, and Chairs." That one is having a harder time getting over, as evidenced by Rhino having to go on a microphone recently to ask the fans to stop chanting, "TLC!" Full Metal Mayhem matches are in play though, as well Monster's Ball, and most incredibly, Ultimate X. If there in online Ultimate X play, sign me up!

The eight venues in which the matches take place is what most impressed me when I first saw the game in Orlando, especially after being able to witness first hand the insanity that is the Impact Zone. All things considered, there may not be a better place in America to watch wrestling and truly gives off the "fans are part of the show" feel that was last seen thriving in the old ECW Arena. Thankfully the Impact Zone is here, as well as three locations designed to give off an "independent" feel, and arenas set up in Japan, Mexico, Las Vegas, and England. This is the type of flavor that should give the game great replay value over time.

Both Midway and TNA are going above and beyond to get the word out, including a new TNA on IGN feature available at gaming website IGN.com. This is a nice idea that became shockingly great in execution as the video player gives fast playback in a crystal clear format. To borrow a phrase from Bigger, Stronger, Faster, TNA on IGN is like YouTube on steroids. The first episode has Jeremy Borash (who you should be watching on TNA's new Spin Cycle) interviewing TNA champion Samoa Joe. There's a lot of great stuff here as Borash gives Joe a bunch of questions from the fans and the Samoan Submission Machine explains, among other things, his workout regimen, his thoughts on the TNA Impact game, his favorite ride at Universal Studios, and the worst dressed people in the TNA locker room. The highlight is Joe explaining how the Kokina Clutch isn't a choke. Seriously, this is so good you need to head over there right now and check it out (don't worry, the link opens up in another browser so we'll be here when you get back).

And now we have the new trailer which you can watch here or check it out in widescreen by clicking this link. It's got everything a TNA fan could ask for, including: The Voice of TNA, Barry Scott, booming lines like "we are bound by the magnificence of one singular event…," action from the game mixed with live shots, and a Must Listen To moment about 24 seconds in when Don West does his best Howard Dean impersonation. If you're not excited about wanting to play this game immediately after that trailer ends, have someone check your pulse. This is about as authentic as you are going to get and a clear gauntlet has been thrown down to Raw vs. SmackDown and any other wrestling video game developer.

What I find most amazing is all the things Midway and TNA still have on the table for future editions of the franchise. Six Sides of Steel and the Knockouts division are the first two that immediately jump to my mind. The very idea of Velvet Sky as a playable character is now going to keep me up nights. The future of pro wrestling video games is looking brighter than ever and I'm about to lose another countless amount of hours being immersed in TNA Impact.

Links of interest:
Playing TNA Impact - My hands on experience playing TNA Impact with several TNA wrestlers, including Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Jay Lethal, and Christopher Daniels.
TNA Impact! Video game - Official site of TNA Impact.

Derek Burgan has been reviewing wrestling DVDs, comics, books, and other miscellaneous crap for the Observer/F4Wonline Empire since October 2005. He also writes the wrestling editorial comic strip Drawing Heat and the Gimmick Table for WrestleCrap.com along with being a contributing editor to Number1contender.net. He even has a MySpace page! He can be reached at: Derek@gumgod.com

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November 2006


by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).