When it comes to organized fight games, few sports are as brutal as Ultimate Fighting Championships. The idea is to win, whether by knocking your opponent out, or performing a bone-cracking submission hold.
UFC: Throwdown, a PlayStation2 release from Crave Entertainment, is an excellent example of how games of this nature should be rendered. However, there are some drawbacks to the game that impede the progress toward total enjoyment.
But first things first. Throwdown is an option-rich game that will all players to compete in a variety of ways. There is the arcade mode (battle until you are defeated), UFC mode (a five-man tournament in different weight classes), tournament mode (up to eight can compete in a multi-fight tourney), career mode (build, train and then try to take a fighter to the top), exhibition mode (a single fight), and training mode (learn how to control your fighter).
Career mode is one of the more unique aspects of the game. You can pick the fighting style, determine height, weight, costume, name, home country, fighting style and strengths. You can even go into a skill-up challenge where you can improve your fighter before taking him into the ring.
When it comes to the game’s main menu, there seems to be a preoccupation with the start button. It seems to come into play when changing game-play options, or going into the game options. The interface is relatively simple, and presents an easy walkthrough to the actual combat.
When it comes to the pre-fight cutscenes (which mask load times), this game can be irritating. Fighters have few distinct approaches to the octagonal ring, and the music what there is of it is uninspired and repetitive. The pre-fight introductions lack lip synchronization, and does little to get players inspired for the main event.
However, when it comes to the fights, this game outdistances the majority of similar genre programs (such as boxing and wrestling). The animation of the fights is simply superb. Kicks, punches, takedowns and brutal, blood-splattering hammering are rendered with amazing precision. This game truly mirrors the harsh fighting styles of the UFC. Once the fight is determined, the game uses a nice motion effect to zero in on the finishing blow, then shows the final moments from various angles.
UFC: Throwdown asks players to put up with some average elements to get to the core of the game, then will delight fight fans with incredible animation. Some of the fights end quite quickly. If you get to another fight round, there is the obligatory card girl.
When it comes to fight programs and the actual fights, UFC’s designers know what they are doing and this game reflects that. The game has an option to turn down blood, but make no mistake about it, this is a violent game that mirrors the world of UFC fighting.