Mandatory Gaming Battles: ‘WWE 2K19’ vs. ‘WWF No Mercy’ (N64)
Pro-wrestling is like a french fry dipped in milkshake: you either love it or you hate it. But one thing that can’t be denied is that everybody loves a good wrestling game. And gamers of a certain age will definitely remember the best grappler of gaming’s golden age: WWF No Mercy for the Nintendo 64.
Current-gen gamers aren’t lacking in heavyweights either. With WWE 2k19, they get to enjoy the best-looking wrestling game ever. But looks can be deceiving. Which game is truly the best of them all? It’s the three-count that matters, and in this Pixelated Playoff, we’re putting them head to head in a showdown bigger than any Wrestlemania main event. It’s gonna be a slobber-knocker!
Another bruising Pixelated Playoff: ‘Street Fighter’ v ‘Mortal Kombat’
Round One: Presentation
It might be a bit ridiculous to start with a round where one game has a clear advantage. But we still need to showcase the strengths of each, and 2k certainly beats No Mercy as an audio-visual experience.
Sure, some of its renders still look a bit "uncanny valley." But there’s no denying that we’ve come a long way since No Mercy’s days of rough-sounding entrance themes and pixely faces pasted on to polygons.
Round Two: Rosters
WWF No Mercy’s roster is huge for a N64 game. It was released around the peak of the Attitude Era, and boasts every single wrestler who made it onto WWF’s TV shows at the time. You could even wrestle as Kai En Tai!
But the sheer amount of space on current-gen consoles leaves so much room for more. 2k19 has the entire roster of Raw, Smackdown! and NXT available, and still provides additional "classic" wrestlers to fight as. And then there’s Create-A-Wrestler mode, allowing you to create any legend (or monstrosity) the game doesn’t provide for.
Round Three: In The Ring
The WWE 2k games have definitely improved in the gameplay department over the years, and 2k19 can still deliver a solid bout of wrestling action. But all too often, its controls are unresponsive and moves don’t work out, meaning matches don’t flow like they should.
With WWF No Mercy, the moves were always easy to get out. Special moves could also be pulled off with a simple tweak of the control stick once you filled your momentum bar. It resulted in matches that felt like they built toward an epic climax, and felt ridiculously good to win.
Throw in weapons and the ability to actually knock your opponents out, and there’s no denying No Mercy is still the better game to play.
Winner: No Mercy
Round Four: Match Modes
A variety of different gameplay modes can enhance a game tremendously. WWF No Mercy certainly had a generous line-up of match modes for its time. But it’s dwarfed by the amount made available in WWE 2k19, which includes classics like the TLC Match, and Hell in the Cell.
But No Mercy has one little extra: barnstorming backstage brawls. These matches were both ridiculous and hilarious -- pitting you in environments from locker rooms to sports bars. Slamming your friend’s head into a wall was never so much fun -- and only half as painful.
Winner: No Mercy
Round Five: Career Mode
What’s a good wrestling game without a career mode? WWF No Mercy’s version was actually broken down into separate storylines -- one for each WWF title -- that branched off in different directions based on how well you did in each match. Considering some of the plots used were based on real WWF storylines, it was also great fun to play.
2k19 puts you in the boots of a young rookie slamming his way to the top, from your early days in indie wrestling to making it as a WWE main event star.
It’s certainly got its fun moments, but it still gets repetitive.
Winner: No Mercy
We know it’s controversial, but we’re gonna give No Mercy the championship belt.
Overall Winner: No Mercy