UFC: Throwdown - Review
What do you get when you throw two beefed-up guys in a ring, virtually no rules and a referee to tell you when the fight is over? One hell of a fight that's for sure. Developed by Opus for Crave Ultimate Fighting Championship: Throwdown (or UFC: Throwdown for short) is one of the most violent games ever seen on a console. Sure you may prefer the over the top action of Street Fighter or 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?
|Pin them down an pummel them.|
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. UFC: Throwdown includes over 25 actual UFC fighters including current UFC Champions like Tito Ortiz and exclusive newcomers such as B.J. Penn.
Controlling the fighters is fairly exciting although at times they seem a little on the sluggish side. 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 and holds can be performed by 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. Perhaps the most interesting thing about UFC: Throwdown is the way in which you can pit two completely different styled fighters against each other. It's possible to put a kick boxer up against a submission fighter, or a boxer against a freestyle fighter. This means that one method of defeating an opponent may not work against another with a different fighting style. 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.
|A rather beefy fighter.|
UFC: Throwdown includes several different game modes. These include the Training and Exhibition matches as well as the more standard Arcade and Career modes. In fact, it's the career mode that will have you most absorbed in this game. Beginning this mode sees you creating a fighter with their name, nickname, height, weight and clothing colour, and then its into the game. Before getting into proper fights you must enter sparring matches to improve your skills and learn new moves. During the career mode you will work up the rankings to become the UFC champion. It's quite a challenge too as the game can be pretty tough and relies on careful timing of the attacks rather then button mashing.
Unfortunately, UFC: Throwdown isn't perfect. In reality there is little difference between the game modes, with the variety being rather limited. The career mode, which is usually one of the more interesting features in a fighting game, unfortunately lacks any real variety. Unlike Midway's Ready 2 Rumble: Round 2 there is no training (such as weights or speed bags) and your abilities are only improved by entering fights and sparring sessions. Much like the Dreamcast game released a couple of years ago, I am a little disappointed in how easy it is to be put into a submission. Even when slaughtering an opponent it's not uncommon to see him pull a move on you and put you into submission where - for those unaware - you are forced into a position where you must quit, or have you arm broken. Also disappointing are the fight rings. Although they are probably based on real locations there is little variety in the backgrounds etc, which is disappointing.
|One of the brutal replays.|
Compared to the visual feast of games such as Dead Or Alive 2 or the upcoming Soul Calibur 2, the graphics in UFC: Throwdown are quite dull, but that's not to say they are bad. Everything can be described as functional and realistic rather then flashy. The fighters bodies look solid enough with tattoos covering many of them - although they aren't customisable or even possible on custom players. Likewise, the fighters' animation is quite solid with a wide range of moves for each fighter, however it isn't as fluid as you would expect. Still, you can 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 several different fighting arenas they are almost identical making the game feel very samey through the levels.
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. At last a developer has implemented some terrific crowds that really do respond to the action in the ring. Start pummelling your opponent, or start copping a hiding, and the crowd will go wild. Spend some time separated and the crowd will go very quiet.
|Check out the tattoo.|
Ultimate Fighting Championship: Throwdown isn't the greatest fighting game, but it is very solid. It is by far the most realistic fighting game on the Playstation 2. Personally I found it to be a much more rewarding title then THQ's WWF (or WWE as it's known as now) titles on the Playstation 2, although upcoming WWE Smackdown! 4: Shut Your Mouth may give it a run. Hardcore fighting fans will likely find much to enjoy in this title. It's fun, brutal and definitely worth a look.
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|GRAPHICS||Realistic rather then flashy, detail lacking in spots, but decent enough.||71%|
|SOUND||Great crowds and bone crunching effects, weak music and speech.||67%|
|GAMEPLAY||Several different fighting styles to master, 2-player is addictive.||81%|
|VALUE||Not too much difference between game modes, but it's pretty tough.||78%|
|OVERALL||UFC: Throwdown is a representation of a brutal sport. With over 20 real-life fighters fans of the sport will be in heaven. Fighting fans should also get some enjoyment out of the realism. Unfortunately there may not be enough variety in the game modes for some and the graphics are merely passable. This game is respectable rather then brilliant.