Video Game: WWF No Mercy

WWF No Mercy is a Professional Wrestling video game for the Nintendo 64 that was released in late 2000; it was the last licensed wrestling game made by famed developer AKI (now Syn Sophia), who had previously made the Virtual Pro Wrestling and WCW vs. nWo series along with WrestleMania 2000 — and would go on to make the Ultimate Muscle/Kinnikuman games, the Def Jam Series, and two SimCity games for the Nintendo DS. It was also (along with WCW Backstage Assault) the last wrestling game for the N64/PSX era of gaming, which happened to coincide with the end of wrestling's Monday Night Wars era (and the WWF's Attitude Era); as such, the game is remembered very fondly by wrestling fans for nostalgic reasons.

That's not to say No Mercy is simply nostalgia — it's remembered as one of the best wrestling games of all time for good reason: in spite of its age, it remains a benchmark for future wrestling games to live up to even today. The game pretty much filled the N64 cart it came on with awesome: it featured a wide variety of match types, a gigantic roster for its day (bolstered by many hidden characters — including all four McMahons), a greatly improved Create-A-Wrestler mode, the addition of several oft-requested moves (including the Dudley Death Drop), and a surprisingly deep career mode that had numerous branching storylines for every championship (with the story changing based on whether the player won or lost — or, in a few matches, by the extent of their victory or defeat). A very shallow learning curve and a few match types where chance gave less experienced players an adequate shot at winning made the game great for playing with groups of friends and at parties. The easily-hackable nature of N64 ROMs has given it a still-active modding community, with more than a few e-feds still using the game to sim matches featuring modern day wrestlers.

No Mercy is not without its flaws, however. The graphics, though acceptable for the Nintendo 64's prime, are badly dated today. The gameplay, while polished and beloved by fans, can feel slow in comparison to the SmackDown vs. Raw franchise, especially back then when Smackdown was faster than it is now. A number of moves require ridiculously contrived set-ups (the Dudley Death Drop, for example). While the game was in production, The Big Show got in such trouble with WWF management that he was removed from the game entirely; his place in the storyline was taken by Steven Richards. Worst of all, though, is that the first few production runs of the game shipped with a defect built into the game's code that wiped all the save data after a set amount of time; as a result, the bug's in pretty much every known ROM of the game. Fans of the game think it's good enough that the bug isn't too much of a hassle.

THQ published spiritual sequels to No Mercy for the Gamecube in WrestleMania X8, WrestleMania XIX and the two Day of Reckoning games. While none came close to topping No Mercy, the gameplay similarities and Nintendo-only exclusivity made comparisons to No Mercy easy. AKI's Def Jam games — especially Fight For New York — are also considered spiritual sequels, since the engine used for those games was remarkably similar to the No Mercy engine.

Tropes used:

  • Action Girl: Every playable female. Deliberately invoked - see Xenafication below. Lita in particular was given a high flying stat of 4, which made her a decent character to play competitively.
  • Announcer Chatter: Averted in that matches don't feature actual commentary, and the only voice heard is that of the referee. The voices of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler can be heard in the intro.
  • A Winner Is You: Unlocking every path to the belt in Championship Mode is hard and takes a lot of time, especially the World Heavyweight Title. All it does is make the victory text crawl at the end a little different, and that doesn't even take effect upon finishing the last branch; you have to get 100% and then play one more time to see it.
  • Badass Grandma: Moolah and Mae Young in this game especially. If you choose to play as Moolah and Mae in Tag Team Championship Mode, Paul Bearer and Howard Finkle go Badass Grandpa and take their place in the storyline.
  • Boring but Practical: The move where you're outside the ring, your opponent's inside, and you reach in and pull them out (or if they're facing away from you, trip them). It's the one and only move that isn't blockable or reversable, and even on extreme difficulty the computer's AI isn't very good at avoiding it. Exploiting this is probably the only way to overcome the computer ones it goes into Reverse Everything Mode.
  • Bowdlerize: When the PAL version of the game was updated to remove the deletion glitch, it also removed visible blood.
  • Character Customization: Unique in that you could even edit appearances of in-game Superstars like you would a created Superstar. This means you can turn an in-game superstar into a completely different wrestler - and then this in turn extends to the championship mode and the cinematic intro! Yes, efedders and CAW addicts, you can "paste" your CAWs over top the real superstars and play championship mode with an entirely created roster.
    • Just pray your character isn't a Masked Luchador because the there are NO lucha libre style masks of any description in the game. The only masks are Kane, Mankind, and a full-face "Phantom" mask.
    • It should also be noted that you can only edit the default roster's appearance, not their movesets. To edit movesets you need a Gameshark and A LOT of time to enter all the codes.
  • Comeback Mechanic: Wrestlers have a invisible health bar that when depleted a sufficient amount triggers a comeback mode. Said comeback mode includes: radically increased spirit gain, submission moves grant continuous spirit, and an increase reversal rate. Contrary to popular belief, this isn't limited to the AI; players also have access to this.
  • Dummied Out: Unlike WrestleMania 2000 and WCW/nWo Revenge before that, entrances are limited to just the stage taunt - the walk to the ring and the ring taunt were cut. This was because the game was getting too big for the cartridge to handle and rather than make the unpopular N64 Expansion Pack required to play they cut some memory-draining bells and whistles.
    • The Japanese version featured a shootfighting mechanic. To be fair, the shootfighting had been dummied out of Wrestlemania 2000 as well, although it could be seen in WCW Revenge (most notably in Goldberg and Ultimo Dragon's movesets).
  • Fan Disservice: Since this game doesn't care about wrestler gender, you can play as a man in the Women's Championship story. There's a swimsuit competition in the story. He will put on the skimpiest bikini in the game and participate in it.
  • Fanservice: Many of the swimsuits from the bikini contest at Royal Rumble 2000 were included in the game as outfits. The swimsuit competition even appears in the game as part of the Women's Title storyline. The opening cinematic also has fanservicey shots of Terri Runnels and Debra.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The memory glitch could result in all of your saved progress going poof without warning.
  • Groin Attack: This being a wrestling game, they are plentiful, and are even punctuated with a bell's DING! when a Superstar is struck in the groin.
    • Groin attacks are also sold for a longer period of time than any other non-grapple move, and characters groin-stunned can't reverse attacks.
  • Guide Dang It: No Mercy neglected to include instructions in the manual on how to control a guest referee, and the referee actions were performed through the otherwise unutilized right arrow button. Checking for a submission is unintuitive as well - the button has to be pressed once so the ref gets in position to watch, and then pressed again while the wrestler is in the process of tapping out.
  • Head Swap: Or more accurately, model swap. Each character had four different models that could be selected. In a few cases, such as Taka Michinoku/Funaki and Mae Young/Fabulous Moolah, the latter was made into an alternate appearance of the former. And in the case of Taka/Funaki, the moveset the character was given was a combination of the movesets the two wrestlers used in real life.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The game features an impressive roster that's bolstered by unlockable characters like Vince McMahon and even André the Giant. Headshots and create-a-wrestler pieces were included for a few characters who didn't get included in the game, including Raven.
  • Multiple Endings: Considering the story keeps going whether you win or lose there are a lot of them. Also matches where you're not even personally involved in the case where you are the special guest referee.
  • Period Piece: Becoming one of the Attitude Era. The championship modes follow various storylines that actually happened quite closely, and the CAW feature reflects how much more popular long hair was than short hair at the time.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The WWF Championship mode follows the actual story lines of Triple H, Steve Austin, Mankind, The Rock, or Chris Jericho depending on what path you take.
  • Ring Oldies: Vince McMahon, Linda McMahon, Gerald Briscoe, Pat Patterson, Mae Young, Jerry Lawler, and Paul Bearer.
  • Rubber-Band A.I. : One of the most notorious examples of the trope. If you beat the computer player up too much, especially on the higher difficulties, it will suddenly start reversing everything and gaining spirit at warp speed. Players get all of these advantages as well in the same situation, but the reversal rate isn't as high.
  • Shown Their Work: The difference between No Mercy and the previous Wrestlemania 2000 really is amazing. The championship career storylines are accurate abridged retellings of the hot feuds of the past year such as the McMahon-Helmsley era, and this was one of the games that is greatly improved by having branching storylines depending on your decisions and win-loss record. The midi music is amazing, with full and accurate themes for several wrestlers and really impressive versions for everybody else, and the moves, taunts and outfits are pretty accurate missing only a few months before the game's release.
  • Take That:
    • Mae Young and The Fabulous Moohlah were given The Jackhammer as a finishing move. The Jackhammer was the finishing move of WCW star Goldberg. They were also given Sting's Scorpion Death Drop.
    • Ric Flair's move where he'd take a chop, face plant, beg for mercy and then poke the opponent in the eye was called the Old Man Flop in the game.
    • This game took place during the time period when The Stooges (Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco) were using Hulk Hogan's taunts and theme music, and this was included in the game.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Steven Richards. In WWF at the time he was mainly a managerial figure who relied on his stable to do his dirty work for him. But due to the aforementioned issues with Big Show being removed from the game, Richards was put in his place in the storylines as a main event caliber wrestler.
  • Underboobs: One of Terri's outfits features these. She'd worn the outfit in Real Life. During the cinematic intro, the camera does a slow pan up her body at an angle while she's wearing this outfit.
  • Would Hit a Girl: One of the last matches for the Women's Title has Triple H fight you for it. The game doesn't restrict your character selection either - you can play as a female wrestler and win the World Title. Or you can play as a male character, beat up a bunch of girls like a jerk and win the Women's Title if you prefer.
    • In the Tag Team storyline, your very first match has you fighting Mae Young and Fabulous Moolah.
  • Xenafication: To all the women (excluding Chyna, and only because she didn't need it). In the prequel WrestleMania 2000 all female characters were given the absolute minimum amount of stats and a dumbed down movesets (one shared move between all weak A grapples, one shared move between all strong A grapples, etc...). In No Mercy, the girls were given full movesets which usually included many moves that they didn't use in real life (e.g. Trish Stratus using the koppu kick, and this was back when she was mostly a valet to boot), and in the case of the ones who were more known as wrestlers than valets, enough stats that they could be played competitively.