Backyard Wrestling: Don't Try This at Home

Review

posted 10/15/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
Remember ECW? Paul Heyman’s little startup promotion based out of New York that held events in bingo halls? Well if you do you’ll remember just how much unnecessary violence was present in each of those weekly events. Apparently the guys at Eidos were huge fans of the ECW because they’ve developed Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This at Home, a game that pays homage to the likes of Sabu, RVD and all of those little idiots who were made famous by those cheesy little backyard wrestling videos. Now those idiots have a game to call their own, and like the Acclaim-developed ECW games, it’s a stinker of all sorts that should not be played by anyone who values their sanity.

For the uninitiated, Backyard Wrestling is a line of videos which showcases idiots doing all kinds of crazy wrestling stunts in their backyards. From putting people through burning tables to beating others with barbed wire 2x4s, it’s the epitome of violence. In fact it’s more or less an unorganized version of ECW and instead of the likes of Sabu or Taz you get some 15-year-old with low self esteem. It’s the fight club of the new millennium, and next to bum fights, it appears to be what’s “hip” with the kids these days.

Speaking of Sabu, he’s managed to weasel his way into yet another wrestling game, as has the Insane Clown Posse. Instead of creating a cast of fictional characters or signing on the morons from the actual videos Eidos went out of its way to sign some independent wrestlers. In addition to the aforementioned Sabu you’ll be able to assume control of one of the Miller Lite girls, Tom Dub and a bunch of other guys that you’ve never heard of before. With that in mind it must be assumed that this game can’t succeed on name value alone so thus it panders to what every teenage boy desires, excessive and unnecessary violence.

Sometimes you just can’t help but wonder why a game was even made in the first place. Like the lame license that this title is based on, the game is just a horrible, unorganized debacle of sheer mayhem and lunacy. Not that I don’t like a little bit of chaos and mayhem every now and then, but I’d like it to be executed in a fun and entertaining manner. Backyard Wrestling is neither and actually has more in common with a 3D fighting game than a 3D grappler. Here’s how most of the bouts break down, run, run, run, pick up object, hit opponent with object, run, run, run, pick up another object, hit opponent with it. Repeat until opponent can’t get up and then pin to mercifully end the match. This is one of the worst games of the year, as if the annoying TV spots weren’t enough of an indication.

To show just how shallow this title is each wrestler has about eight different grapples in their arsenal. This pales in comparison to the dozens and dozens of moves that the wrestlers in the THQ or even EA Sports BIG titles have. Sure it’s geared more towards the ADD-infused action oriented youth of today, but there has to be some meat for the gamer to chew on. Instead of focusing on grapples the spotlight is placed squarely on the weaponry and how you can use it. Making matters worse is the horrific controls that successful mimics the feeling that one must get when trying to drive a boat on ice. They’re just far too loose and the overly sensitive analog sticks make this game damn near unplayable. Because the animation is a bit jerky and the game moves a bit too quickly, it can be difficult to even line yourself up with your opponent. As a result you’ll just sort of run around and rapidly press buttons aimlessly until you manage to make contact with an opponent.
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