Got $20 to burn? Don't have any matches? This is just as effective ...
Sometimes, you know when a game is going to be very, very difficult to take seriously, even before you crack open the cellophane. For example, when someone hands you a game that features WWE Wrestlers, in a car-combat game, it doesn’t take a Ph. D. to figure out that the result of that odd pairing is likely going to be less than stellar.
The premise behind WWE Crush Hour is that Vince McMahon…pardon, Mr. McMahon…has taken over all of the television networks, and his WWE SuperStars are now in place in every television program and commercial on the air. WWE Crush Hour is simply their latest television show, which puts the wrestlers behind the wheel of heavily armored vehicles to battle it out in front of the cameras.
There are various game types, from last man standing to most kills to simply driving around and collecting stars. They’re all named after different WWE gimmick matches, like Lumberjack or Hell in the Cell. Each wrestler has a themed car with a logo and style that’s fitting to his or her personality, but the only time you ever see the characters is when they’re taunting the other players or in one of the video clips. There is a season mode, where you battle through several arenas and match types, and the battles are occasionally interrupted by commercials such as Barbequeing with Kane. The AI in Crush Hour is very primitive, and the game requires very little skill outside of liberal use of the L-Button to powerslide around your foes. Going through the season mode gives you the opportunity to unlock new vehicles and arenas, but the reward really isn’t worth the effort you need to put in.
The announcer is WWE veteran Jim Ross, known for calling many of the WWE’s classic matches, but his commentary in Crush Hour is stilted and painful. The sounds of the arenas and fans aren’t much better, with only the aforementioned taunts giving the game much character. There are the occasional cheers and the constant vehicle sounds, but there’s literally no music to be found at all.
Crush Hour doesn’t look any better than it sounds. The textures in the game are low resolution and muddy, and the WWE characters don’t look nearly as good as they do in any of THQ’s other WWE licensed efforts The whole game generally has a very rushed and bush-league appearance. Destroyed cars explode into their constituent parts, but there’s no real excitement or flair to it.
Despite the ridiculous idea of pairing the WWE license with a car-combat game, the title plays surprisingly well. It has an arcade feel to it and is very fast-paced. While the single-player season mode is dull and monotonous, the two-player game really shines as a pick-up-and-play sort of party game. The game is sub-par, even bordering on atrocious in every other regard, but there is some genuine fun to be had when partnered with a friend. However, the lack of a four-player mode limits even the multiplayer feature’s potential.
The only real saving grace of this god-awful game is that it retails for only $20. A weekend of washing cars or mowing lawns is enough to pick up a brand new game, and that’s got some appeal. If you’re a big WWE fan, this might be worth a quick rental to see if you enjoy it, but even at $20, there might be more fun to have digging through a pre-owned pile than risking it on Crush Hour.