The Nintendo 64 is a controversial video game console. People can point out (correctly, I might add) that it was a huge misstep by Nintendo to use cartridges instead of discs, and that this was the generation where they relinquished their strangle hold of the gaming world. You can certainly argue that the 64's controller was a disaster. The games haven't all aged particularly well. But if there's one thing most gaming pundits can agree on, it's that the Nintendo 64 played host to arguably the greatest wrestling video game library in history. And the Heavyweight champ of that library? WWF No Mercy.
No Mercy is wrestling video game perfection. THQ's control scheme was spot on (many wrestling games are still compared to it today), and the gameplay was addictive and fun. It came with an insane career mode, that featured full fledged storylines with various branches and endings, which was a huge improvement from the traditional "beat 9 wrestlers and win the title" career modes seen in most games. Every WWF Championship was up for grabs, each with it's own angles, and you could defend the titles in exhibition mode!
It certainly helped that this game released while the WWF was the hottest thing on TV, too. Everyone watched wrestling around this time. The roster of wrestlers that appeared in this game was an absolute all-star cast. Remember that this was before 2K came along and started putting 350 wrestlers in each game. The Rock, Stone Cold, Mankind, Triple H, Undertaker, Kane, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit (I know, I know), The Hardys, The Dudleys, Edge and Christian. So many memories....
The create-a-wrestler feature was deep and flushed out, too. My buddies and I were deep into our backyard wrestling days when this game came out (Cold Lake Championship Wrestling FTW!!), and we would wrestle all day, and then go inside and play this game all night. And in addition to most of the standard match types, you could have ladder matches! (I'll argue to this day that the ladder matches in this game still handle better than modern wrestling games). You could wrestle backstage! You could hit your opponent with a giant brick of cheese, for God's sake!
WWF No Mercy has a permanent home on my favourite games list, as it does for most wrestling fans. My buddy Andre is my guest this week, and we spent half an hour marking out over the peak of 64-bit wrestling. Enjoy!