Archive

Tag Archives: rick martel

N64-compilation2Post-Christmas Day and pre-new year, I often find myself revelling in old games – even more than usual. This time, WWF No Mercy, the last in an illustrious series of wrestling games made by AKI and THQ for the N64 between 1996 and 2000.

I haven’t played a new wrestling game in over a decade, so I’m not really in a place to judge them against today’s efforts, but I do know that I will still happily play No Mercy and, even back then, I found myself tiring of the successors and returning to it; I can totally understand why many still think it the best wrestling game ever made.

4691ffd672c2106fc61f76d0b69ba50f

Its strengths were abundant. There were storylines for every championship belt which ran on a clever branching path system, with wins and losses giving you different outcomes – some of these I’ve still yet to see after fifteen years, which speaks of its depth. Money earnt in this mode could be used to purchase extra wrestlers, arenas and other goodies. The game engine was simple to grasp, but very difficult to master, and rewarded strategy; even on easier difficulties, if you were caught being complacent or slow-witted, the computer opponent would capitalise and come at you with all they had, taking you to twenty or thirty minute wars. I remember finding this infuriating as a youngster, but now it just strikes me as perfectly aware of wrestling and the absurd drama that it is. It shouldn’t be a fair fight, and there should be a real sense of reward when you emerge the victor.

I also appreciated the custom creation suite, and how you could not only create your own superstars but edit the appearance of the in-game roster – this was something that wasn’t available in any other game at the time. It meant you could adjust their look in line with their real-life character. With emulation as it is, though, you can now take this a little bit further. Texture modding allows you to put pieces into the game’s graphics that weren’t there previously, meaning that you can effectively create textures for anybody. Having previously attempted a few this with the game’s predecessor, WrestleMania 2000 – of whom, Rick Rude, Andre and 1991 Undertaker stand at the head of this post – I thought I’d have a go with No Mercy now. I found it quite tricky mapping and aligning the textures correctly, since they are, of course, wrapped around the body and distorted accordingly, but I think I’ve finally started to get the hang of it.

Here are just a couple, firstly for “The Model” Rick Martel:

MARTEL-NM

And next up, stand back, there’s a Hurricane comin’ through!

HURRICANE-NM

Needless to say, there are people who have taken this much, much further than just modding a few faces and outfits. Many have produced entire rosters of superstars, along with the according arenas and sound effects to transform the very much 2000 No Mercy into something quite different – be it the WWF of the eighties, WCW or a pack of movie superheroes and villains. I’m sure people will be playing with this for as long as the game endures.

The aforementioned WWF eighties mod did grab my attention – the HD graphics lifting the visuals, and the passion of its creator is evident – it’s great fun to play!

wrestlefest-2While we’re talking about wrestling and the classic era: I had a go at some bonus superstars for WrestleFest, too – two Stings and a Bret Hart. As fun as the N64 frolicking was, it was much more relaxing to sit and put some pixels together!

 

martel-3Rick Martel was an established figure in the eighties, enjoying a mammoth reign as AWA World Champion, but I expect he is better known for his tenure in the WWF as The Model. I’d hope the reasons for this are becoming clear with my portrait. Unabashedly snobby, narcissistic and flamboyant, Martel’s new direction was not so much a breath of fresh air as a distinct whiff of Arrogance – that would be the brand of cologne he created, and brought to the ring in his oversized atomiser. He often played a blinder in the ring, thanks to spraying this deadly concoction in the opponent’s eyes.

Such underhand tactics were indeed the foundation for The Model’s biggest rivalry, with Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. Temporarily blinding Roberts with the stuff, the two met indirectly at a number of events before Martel was bested at 1991’s WrestleMania VII in a ‘blindfold match’, a concept inviting a match about as sensible and exciting as you’re imagining it to be.

Bar a mini rivalry – a rare villain-on-villain clash – with fellow narcissist Shawn Michaels which ended in a ‘no hitting in the face match’ at SummerSlam 1992, The Model’s next and last real feud was with Tatanka, against whom he fought for much of that year. The rivalry revolved around The Model stealing the Native American’s sacred feathers as he believed they’d make a fine addition to his wardrobe. Needless to say, the blow-off match had the feathers at stake, and The Model returned his stolen goods the hard way.

Though The Model was, astonishingly, kicking around until 1995, that was really it for him insofar as prominent storylines go; his few and far between appearances weren’t manufactured to mean much, and he slipped down the bill. This is a shame – though likely never to be a main event performer in the WWF, there were many junctures where it seemed he might go places and at least be given the Intercontinental belt at one point, but alas not. Perhaps the flamboyance of the character worked against him. He was a proven wrestler, though and, going by the enduring memories people have of The Model, solidified an entertaining character which still had mileage. I think he was underused, but then, so many of these men are. Still though, a great character, and great entertainment regardless of underwhelming storylines.

Though I feel as though I’m saying it every time, I am having fun with these guys, the last two in particular. The references for this weren’t fabulous, and I had to splice a few images together for the look I wanted. The result isn’t quite as polished as DiBiase, but I had such a good time with it that I’m not that bothered! I’m sure there are more to come.