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There are three distinct season modes - Raw, SmackDown and ECW related - and focus on your attempt to win the championship. In between matches, you can explore the backstage area in first-person mode, searching random items such as briefcases or potted plants to find stopwatches that, once accumulated, grant you a workout period. Workouts are minigames like keeping two circle gauges spinning at the same time for jump rope or dragging the screen for weightlifting. Complete enough of these successfully and your character's moves will cause more damage or you'll upgrade your stats making you faster at pulling off moves or stronger in general.
Sadly, matches are always one on one, but that's because so much is crammed into the DS cart already. Character models aren't ugly in the least, neither are the arenas, and even the entrances look as they would on TV. Not to mention each of the 21 superstars have their own theme songs - and these aren't MIDI-tinny sounding either, but the actual licensed song.
With obvious limitations, THQ is making WWE Smackdown vs. RAW 08 on the DS as robust as possible. Utilizing only the stylus is a ballsy first-step, but one that'll hopefully pay off come fall. Watch this space for a review in mid-November.
Hey, this wasn't the only version of WWE SmackDown! vs RAW 2008 we got our hands on. The PS2, PS3, PSP and 360 versions are alike, but we've got unique screens for each - and they're totally different from the streamlined Wii and totally crazy DS versions. Click below and know the 'ledge.
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