WWE Crush Hour (A review/blog)
You got your Twisted Metal in my WWE! You got your WWE in my Twisted Metal!
OH SWEET! A WWE CAR COMBAT GAME! I CAN’T WAIT TO CHECK OUT THIS AWESOME CONCEPT!
1 Hour later….
(*headdesk*) FOR THE LOVE OF CM PUNK, HOW THE HECK DO YOU MAKE A WWE CAR COMBAT GAME THIS DULL?!
Oh hey! Didn’t see you there! Welcome to my review/blog on WWE Crush Hour for PS2 (also available for GameCube, but I will be reviewing the PS2 version). What is a Review/blog, you ask? Review/blog means that I will discuss more of my thoughts on the game than I would in a straight review like NASCAR Rumble, especially since there’s not much that I can go into detail with in this game (besides Sound and Gameplay). Moving on…WWE Crush Hour. What can be said about this game… besides the fact that it is essentially Twisted Metal “on training wheels” (remember this for later) and wrapped in the WWE License? Plenty, just keep reading.
Before we get started though, here’s the basic info for the game: THQ and Pacific Coast Power & Light released this game for the Playstation 2 and Nintendo GameCube on March 17, 2003.
The story behind the game is that WWE CEO Vince McMahon has now taken over the television airwaves and is airing any show starring his WWE superstars, including the game you are playing now. Unfortunately as interesting a story as this sounds, this doesn’t seem to be expanded on any further when you actually play the game (much like how the “story” in Animaniacs Ten Pin Alley isn’t expanded on much during the game either). You would think that with the WWE games (and the programming it is based off of) having very intricate storylines (*laughs uncontrollably*)… Sorry, I was saying you’ d think that with the wrestling games being based around expanding storylines that they would expand this story too but nope. One opening cutscene is what you get for this game (unless you get more at the end of the game, but I’m not aware of that at this point in time). The rest of the game involves picking your favorite WWE Superstar and their customized car and then blowing up the competition with the winner being the person who reaches a set amount of kills or most number of kills (ala Twisted Metal).
The game’s controls are functional and work like Twisted Metal’s control scheme, with the exception being that Crush Hour uses the traditional “hold X button to accelerate” as opposed to the muscle aching, possibly Carpal Tunnel inducing “hold Right Analog Stick up to accelerate”(used in Twisted Metal Black and Head-On). The only control issues I noticed here are that your car occasionally randomly slows down or activates turbo without you doing anything. I’m dead serious, there were times that I was holding down the X button and moving at a normal, breakneck speed when suddenly the car slows down to crawl (and then speeds back up again). There were also times when the car’s turbo was activated when I didn’t even push the turbo button. Other than that, the controls do work very well. Normally, I would also discuss the level design of the game…but I will be skipping that this time as I’ve only played in the “RAW” arena so far (Yes, 50% of the arenas are named after the TV shows and some of the Pay-Per-Views, with the 50% being environments like an Aztec temple). I will tell you this though; The “RAW” Arena is very well set up and kind of reminds me of a Mario Kart battle arena (minus the buzz saw hazards in the middle of the arena).
Now we get to the reason why this game seems so lifeless and dull for a car combat game with the WWE license. First, we’ll start with the sound. The music played on the game’s main menu does its job by hyping you up to play the game, but is also by and largely forgettable. Which is also the case with most of the music in the game outside of the Superstars’ entrance music (in fact, the menu music even sounds remotely close to the menu music in Twisted Metal 4). The voicework and commentary is even worse as the voice on the driver select screen is bland and just reads off the superstars’ name (ex. The Rock. Chris Jericho. Edge…) and to add salt to the wounds, Jim Ross (Good Ol’ JR) does the worst commentary ever on this game. That’s right, Jim “BAH GAWD!/OH THE HUMANITY!” Ross does the most boring, lifeless commentary for this game (and now I sound like Michael Cole, GDYTHQ!!!) Hear me out though, all of his assumedly scripted commentary consists of “Steve Austin/Stone Cold/The Texas Rattlesnake/ [insert superstar here] has:
-obtained a weapon
-has taken out/been taken out by an opponent
or “What a collision!” (Which is the most excited he gets in this game). I find this to be very disappointing because anyone that watches the TV programming knows that JR (much like Booker T) can be a very excitable person on commentary (which in turn makes the match more fun to watch). In this game, however, the writers or voice director gave him a bunch of extremely generic comments to fill in the spots between “Welcome to WWE Crush Hour” and “Thanks for watching, folks!”, which makes for a very disappointing commentary indeed. I will say that the brief catchphrases that the superstars say during the game are a bit funny but isn’t enough to add any excitement to the game. Not to mention that you’ve probably heard some of them a million times on TV or in Acclaim (RIP)’s WWF Attitude!
Finally we come to the gameplay, remember how I called it Twisted Metal “with training wheels”? That’s because it is. This game both feels and plays like a toned-down Twisted Metal as it has smaller arenas, fewer weapons and simpler combat. This is almost like a game you’d give to someone to warm them up for Twisted Metal as it’s very easy to play (read: easier to hit other opponents as even crashing into them lowers their health meter), Heck it even shares Twisted Metal’s difficulty curve at certain points as well. This may sound like a good thing, until you realize that this actually almost makes it a Twisted Metal clone, just by different developers…and with a slapped on WWE license too. What makes this even more devoid of creativity is that Twisted Metal’s actual competition (Cel Damage, Vigilante 8 and Full Auto to name three) actually builds upon Twisted Metal’s ideas by adding their own original spin to them. Crush Hour does not do this; it essentially strips down the formula to bare basics and throws in some WWE Superstars plus arenas. On the other end of the spectrum, at least the graphics look somewhat decent as the cars are very well detailed and the “Junkyard” main menu is pretty cool looking too.
So what’s the bottom line here [Stone Cold reference not intended]? Is this somewhat enjoyable or should wrestling and car combat stay separated? Well as one of the TVTropes.com tropes state, “Your mileage may vary”. This means that the enjoyment you get out of this game is proportional to how much you either enjoy seeing your favorite WWE Superstars blow crap up (and who doesn’t) or want to experience other alternatives to Sony/EatSleepPlay’s Twisted Metal franchise. Personally, despite my gripes on the game, I find that there are some quick bursts of fun in this game. Also as I mentioned earlier, I like how you can crash into your opponents’ cars to lower their health meter just in case your weapons don’t hit them (which seems to be the case with me whenever I play Twisted Metal). However, even with those positive points, I still would only recommend that you utilize GameStop’s 7-day “I don’t like it” policy on this game just to see what you think of it because as fellow WWE fan TWK (@TWKOfficial on Twitter, follow him after you finish reading this as he is awesome.) says, “Crush Hour is simply a guilty pleasure. It only succeeds due to its high level of camp.” Put simply if you are looking for a cheap ($2.99 for a used copy at GameStop) guilty pleasure or another car combat game, this may work for you. Otherwise, pass this over and grab either Twisted Metal Black, Twisted Metal Head-On, or any of the WWF/WWE Smackdown! plus Smackdown vs. Raw games. You won’t be missing much.
MegaDaffy gives this a 7/10.
+ WWE License
+ Car combat is always cool!
+ Blow Crap up as Stone Cold, The Rock and other WWE Superstars
+ Commentary by Good Ol’ JR!
+ Hear funny catchphrases from WWE Superstars
+ Easier to destroy opponents in Crush Hour than in Twisted Metal
– JR’s commentary is unfortunately extremely generic
– As is the music
– You’ve probably heard these catchphrases a million times already
– Crush Hour is essentially a toned down Twisted Metal w/ same difficulty spikes
– Story could serve as padding