The PlayStation 2 has been home to many different wrestling games throughout its lifespan. From the hardcore (Fire Pro Wrestling Returns) to the nostalgic (Legends of Wrestling) to the oddball (Rumble Roses and Ultimate Muscle), the system has seen it all. One of the more well-known franchises when it comes to wrestling games is the WWE SmackDown series, which started on the original PlayStation and has seen itself improve and flourish in the PS2 era. For most wrestling fans, this series is the pinnacle of how wrestling games should be, and, in their eyes, no one has come close to that standard. Like the real life wrestling organization, however, SmackDown begs for competition from other wrestling games.
Enter Midway Games. With their new partnership with Total Nonstop Action (TNA), they're throwing their hat into the wrestling ring with TNA iMPACT! for the PS2. The game does not immediately steal the wrestling crown away from SmackDown, but it would have provided itself with a good basis on which to build future games if it weren't for the fact that it's appearing this late in the console's life cycle.
There are 25 TNA wrestlers featured in iMPACT!, including old TNA favorites like Jeff Jarret, Jay Lethal and A.J. Styles, as well as new faces to the company like Booker T. and Kurt Angle. Like a standard fighting game, other wrestlers must be unlocked through a combination of story mode and acquisition of style points. Style points are acquired by winning matches in any mode as well as pulling off different moves with your wrestler. In a way, this makes the fight more interesting, since you not only want to win a match but also pull off as many moves as possible to gain the style points needed to unlock a wrestler.