WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007

In the movies, a fighter on the rise usually gets a montage outlining his climb up the ladder to success and butt-kickery. If any game were worthy of such treatment, it would be WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007. Spanning five platforms and sporting a feature list almost as long as its title, this game has been putting some serious time in at the gym.

The SmackDown series - adding "vs. Raw" to the moniker back in 2004 - has become the franchise leader in wrestling games, WWE or otherwise. Now that it's no longer just a PS2 title, every version will have something new to offer, but the next-gen installments will boast the look of a champion.

The Xbox 360 and PS3 feature some of the most realistic player models ever seen. Superstars sport accurately inflated muscles, complete with veins. Bodies drip with sweat throughout the course of the match. Perhaps most impressive in regards to character models are facial features - they're both photo-realistic and offer a spectrum of expressions. (And yes, these are still next-gen screens; PS2, Xbox, and PSP screens have yet to arrive.)

Control has been simplified for both rookies and cauliflower-eared veterans alike. Instead of using the face buttons to execute grapple moves, you merely flick a direction on the right analog stick. Going deeper, it's possible to lift your opponent and carry them wherever you want, be it to the center of the ring for an uninterrupted pin attempt or near a turnbuckle post to do heavier damage. If you choose the latter (or one of the other hot spots - steps, railings, etc.), you'll be able to control just how many times you smack your foe's head into an immovable object. Feeling extra cocky? Throw in a taunt between thrashings.

Only the most boring wrestling matches stay in the ring from bell to bell. SmackDown vs. Raw 2007 gives you the opportunity to be among the rabid fans and even grab a bottle or crutch from the outstretched hands to pulverize your opponent. Audience areas are chock full of violent plunder. Set up a table, climb the balcony, then leap off the edge, into and through your foe, smashing the table in the process. Alternately,bash your enemy's skull into a nearby speaker with shocking consequences.