March 5, 2001
What do you get when you throw two guys in a ring, a referee to tell you when the fight is over and no rules? That's one hell of a fight. Ultimate Fighting Championship (or UFC for short) is one of the most violent games ever seen on a console. Sure you get the over the top action of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat or the fantasy action of Soul Calibur but this is real. Real men, real violence and some really good fun. What more could you want?
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the premier mixed martial arts event in the world. There are no flying chairs or unrealistic moves like all that fake wrestling crap. Spectators expect, and demand, to see true-to-life combat and that's what they get. Thanks to Crave you can now experience the brutality at home. One of the most impressive aspects, and one of the first things you will notice in the game, is the awesome fighters entrance into the arena. The crowds are simply amazing. Why can't they look this good in any sports game?
Controlling the fighters is fairly exciting although at times they seem to take too long to respond. As with the Tekken series of games the buttons are set up to control left punch, right punch, left kick and right kick. It gives you total control over the fighters and naturally combos such as holds are performed with pressing multiple buttons simultaneously. There really is nothing like landing a series of kicks or punches on an opponent to get a KO with little energy left yourself. UFC holds a lot of interest due to the number of fighting styles on offer. From kickboxing, wrestling, submissive, and freestyle it's all here. One method of defeating an opponent may not work against another depending on their styles. Due to the games setup the fights can last from a few seconds to a several minutes and changing the fortunes of a fighter can be as unpredictable as landing a couple of heavy blows.
UFC is loaded with several different game modes. These include the training and exhibition matches as well as the more standard UFC and Championship modes. In reality there is little difference between each one and the variety is rather limited. The career mode, which is usually one of the more interesting features in a fighting game, unfortunately lacks any real excitement. Unlike Midway's excellent Ready 2 Rumble: Round 2 there is no training (such as weights or speed bags) and your abilities are only improved by entering fights.
Unfortunately UFC isn't perfect. There are a couple of annoyances that are too noticeable to ignore. The biggest problem is that although fighters have different names their photographs are of the same person. During the Career mode I came across several people that all had the same photograph...? Another annoyance is the auto top off where your fighter will automatically call off the fight and admit defeat. On several occasions this happened when my opponent, who was being soundly beaten, got me into a headlock while on the canvas. The other annoyance, although this really falls into the sound category, is that the fighters are only ever referred to as "Player 1" and "Player 2" when the match result is being announced. All these guys have real names, why not use them?
Compared to the delights of Soul Calibur, the graphics in UFC are quite dull, but that's not to say they are bad. Everything can be described as functional rather then flashy. The fighters look quite flat and boring, but fortunately their animation is quite a bit better. Watch the blood fly as you pin your opponent down and smack them in the head a few times leaving them a bloody pulp. Although the game includes 17 different arenas they are almost indentacle. Don't expect to be fighting on a barge flowing down a river or in a historic castle.
Although not earth shattering, the sound in UFC is quite impressive. While the game doesn't include any commentary the blows are as meaty as I've ever heard in a fighting game. The music is a heavy rock and while impressive can become a little repetitive after a few plays.
Ultimate Fighting Championship isn't a great fighting game, but it is very solid. It is by far the most realistic fighting game ever seen. Were it not for a couple of silly oversights (such as different fighters having the same photograph and only being referred to Player 1 and Player 2 in the decisions) this may have earned much better marks. Compared to the very average WWF titles available on the Dreamcast this is a much better game. Hardcore fighting fans will likely find much to enjoy in this title. It's brutal, it's fun and it's, well another game on a dying system. Have a look at this game.