I am probably what you would call a light to average fan of pro wrestling. If I watched it every week I really get into it and become upset if I miss a day. But if I miss it enough, the attraction wears off until I happen to catch like three in a row again. Backyard Wrestling is a different beast. Take out most of the drama of the pros. Add some CRAZY risk taking wrestlers, lots of blood, barbed wire, hot chicks, a home video camera and you get Backyard Wrestling. Backyard Wrestling is a phenomenon that has been around for a long time but has only become “big” within the last five years or so. At the least, I am aware of the Backyard Wrestling “movement” but not much more. Eidos teamed up with Backyard Wrestling Inc. and ICP’s Jugaloo Championship Wrestling and Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This at Home was born… Prematurely.The graphics for Backyard Wrestling are average. Gameplay graphics feel somewhat dated as far as general look goes. There are around 30 different environments to duke it out in, including a backyards (duh), truckstops and malls. The environments look average but are highly interactive… More on that later. Moves look fairly good; they are fluid, fast and fun to watch. The game is also VERY bloody. Blood sprays everywhere with almost any move you use. Needless to say the game is rated M. Which is GOOD. Backyard Wrestling is all about the violence. This game would have been worse without the enhanced violence and gore. Graphics here are nothing special but not horrible either.The sounds are okay, the voice-overs suck and the music is great. The in-game sounds are average with punches, kicks, tosses and slams sounding real and the sound of gushing of blood accompanying especially nasty moves. Voice-overs for the most part are horrible except when ICP is voicing their in-game counterparts. Actually, the Insane Clown Posse is what kept me playing the game but I’ll talk more about that in the gameplay section. Not surprisingly the music for the game is awesome. A whole slew of great artist join ICP on the game’s soundtrack including talent from Roadrunner Records, American Records and Island Records (label for ICP and Anthrax.) It’s a great soundtrack and that is what is keeping the score this high.

Control is very straight forward and easy to learn. Unfortunately the game is a ‘button-masher’ and a half of the time it doesn’t seem to matter if you know what you’re doing or not. Some of the fancier moves (there aren’t many) take some skill but otherwise it’s just punch, kick and grab. After grabbing someone you can throw or slam them with a combination of O or X and a direction of the pad. The game is a little too fast and unwieldy to really feel like you have control of your character. I felt frustrated most of the game because it seemed like the computer opponents always got off moves when I felt it should’ve gone my way. It is because of this that it feels like there is a lot of luck involved, and not much skill.

There are a couple of game modes to play in including exhibition and tag team (which has to be unlocked) but the ‘meat’ of the game lies in ‘Talk Show’ mode. In this mode before each match you see a TV show that is a lot like Jerry Springer that plays through a backyard wrestling topic before every match. Each series of matches has a different locale and a different group of wrestlers to beat. Generally you unlock any wrestler or locale you beat. The locales are highly interactive, meaning almost everything can be broken, exploded, picked up as a weapon or slammed. In addition to the goal of beating your opponent, the locales have additional goals like break this many objects or beat your opponent in this amount of time or bust his head open with a box ten times. The ‘Talk Show’ mode gets very repetitive and really difficult. You will probably be throwing your controller across the room at your cat.

After unlocking all that content you’ll probably want to challenge your buddies, right?! Unfortunately, it feels like more of the same. Unless you’re a fan of real backyard wrestling you may not have too much fun with this one.

As I stated earlier, the Insane Clown Posse lends their character and talent to the game. They definitely made the game more fun and interesting. They gave me some of the motivation needed to continue through the game because, MAN, are those guys entertaining. Unfortunately the game was frustrating enough that I needed motivation other than gameplay to keep me playing.

In the end, there are plenty of things to unlock in the game, like characters, venues, tracks and more. Unlockable content is good. But there is only one way to play the game: Wrestle. There is simply not enough variety when it comes to actual gameplay. You start the match, mash your buttons and pray for luck, get frustrated, try again. Phooey.

The tons and tons of unlockable content in the game keeps this score high. As does the multiplayer aspect of the game. But the fact that the game just isn’t nearly as fun as you want it to be make the overall value of the game just stinky. ‘Nuff Said.Kudos to Eidos for entering a genre that will piss off almost every suit happy parent out there. Backyard wrestling is violent, bloody and mimics everything that makes the ‘sport’ popular, including the culture, music and even the violence. Thank you for not softening it up to get the ESRB rating down. This I applaud. Unfortunately the game isn’t a whole lot of fun. It’s not horrible but it’s just not that fun. I’m a fledgling fan of the backyard wrestling culture and phenomenon and want to see more. Make another one and MAKE IT BETTER!