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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Fighting

 

Publisher

Crave

 

Developer

Opus

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q2 2002

 

 

- Good fighting game

- Flexible title, just as good for a quick match as a full on simulation

 

 

- Not exactly faithful to UFC reality (no counts for knocked down opponents)

- Lack of choices in body types for Career Mode

 

 

Review: X-Men: Next Dimension (Gamecube)

Review: Virtua FIghter 4 (Playstation 2)
Review: Dead or Alive 3 (XBox)

 

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UFC: Throwdown

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

Ultimate Fighting Championship: Throwdown is a better than decent fighting game for the PS2.  But let me explain.  

 

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For the uninitiated, the UFC is the mixed martial arts federation that is home to some of the most brutal competition in recent years. This form of entertainment can be so brutal that it's actually banned from some venues in the United States – needless to say, the live action is not for the weak of heart (or stomach). UFC: Throwdown (Throwdown) gives the gamer the opportunity to play as either a real-life UFC competitor (25 selectable competitors) or as a character developed through training.

 

The main idea is to match up people from diverse fighting backgrounds under one rule set, although over time, some martial art styles have garnered more success than others and are now predominant (such as shoot-fighting, Jeet-Kun-Do, Judo/Aikido, and general ground-and-pound styles). Although the majority of the current competitors come from those fighting styles – you can choose alternate styles like Sumo, traditional wrestling, professional wrestling, kick-boxing, Karate, Nin-jitsu, Kung-Fu… and so on and so forth. The matches consist of 3 round (3 minutes each round) fights (they may be slated for that time period but odds are it’s not going to take that long) that take place in “The Octagon”. The Octagon is a sealed ring – enclosed by a chain link fence and barricades (and is a great object to smash your opponents against).

 

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There are three ways to win a match: Judge’s Decision (that’s for losers… fight harder next time, sissy girl!), Knock-out (if you don’t know what that is maybe you should go put the game away before your parents come back), and Submission (the tap-out, usually achieved through some devastating joint-lock that could very well break a part of your body off and is by far the most entertaining way to defeat an opponent, not to mention emotionally fulfilling). The game is not especially faithful to 

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the rules of UFC such as standing counts for knockdowns or stopping a match if a person is taking a royal beating but then again it’s not as if people are going to get hurt playing a game, right?

 

The variety of game modes is one of the more valuable features in this title. For those looking for a quick fix of violence, the arcade mode is perfect; you can play against the AI or a human opponent in a quick match using either the real-life competitors or the ones that you created. UFC mode is a tournament that you can enter either in your own weight-class or in an open-weight division. UFC mode is where you unlock additional playable characters by establishing yourself as a dominant force (or one of extreme apathy to unlock one character). Career mode is a way of creating a fighter – you start with the fighting style and physical characteristics (not to forget to choose which outfit your fighter would look best in) and then learn moves and gain attribute points towards your fighter.

 

The attributes are broken down into 6 categories: Endurance (health), Stamina (recovery), Punching Power, Kicking Power, Grappling Ability (how well you can work the mat… yeah, I know that sounds bad but I can’t think of a more diplomatic way of saying it), and Speed. Initially, your attributes are directly tied into your base martial art and your body type (a big guy isn’t going to have high stamina or speed, and a small guy isn’t going to have devastating grappling ability or punching power). The training is point based; you start off with a set number of points that are spent in trying specific missions. These missions consist of completing specific tasks in a match (like stun an opponent a set number of times, knock an opponent out, make them tap and scream out your name in a Donald Duck voice… you know, the usual stuff). There are five levels of training – as you can guess, the difficulty of completing the tasks increases with the level that you’re on, as does the AI’s listing of moves and abilities. To pass to the next level, you must win in 5 sparring matches and then compete in a tournament (your placing in the tournament gives you additional training points, and the vicious cycle continues).

 

The action of the game is good; all of the characters look similar to their real life counterparts although I must admit to being disappointed in the low number of variables that can be changed for the create-a-character (so there weren’t any kick-boxers with my distinctive goatee and gi). The character designs and models are solid – all of the characters take blows and squirm just like real-life participants. The sounds are decent, but then the complexities of groans don’t exactly require Beethoven-like precision.

 

The fighting occurs in a variety of positions: standing (mostly strikes here, very few submissions available), guard position (both on ground, lower opponent has wrapped legs around waist of upper opponent – mostly strikes, some submissions, be wary of grappling that can reverse positions), mount position (straddling an opponent on the ground – half striking, half submission), and back mount position (sitting on an opponent’s back – if you’re on the bottom… you might be screwed). The trick is to manipulate your opponent into a position that you hold an advantage and can either wear them down or cause them to tap out.

 

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The fight system is really savvy, each character has two important meters: stamina and health and if either falls to zero you are knocked out. The stamina meter moves the most during the course of the match; as moves are executed you expend stamina but can recover it quickly by backing away from your opponent. The health bar represents the upper limit of the stamina; as you take damage in the match your health permanently drops. Needless to say, it is possible to be knocked out with a completely full health bar if you expend all of your stamina then get hit. All of the health-based concerns can quickly become moot if someone can lock on a submission though – there is no escape once they are completed (but they can be stopped in motion however) and the receiver always taps out. With these moves, a win can be quickly pulled out of the jaws of defeat on an unsuspecting opponent.

 

All in all UFC: Throwdown is a solid title that will appeal to those looking for a more realistic fighting game.

 

- Tazman

 

(September 9, 2002)

 

Hey, why don't you do ride your girl bike home and put on your sundress? You'll look so pretty.

                 - Father (The Brak Show)

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