Review By: J.
the Ultimate Fighting Champion has remained the most
brutal display of rare physical talent on the planet. This
mixed-martial arts competition pits the world’s toughest (and
craziest) head-to-head in a no-holds-barred bloodbath to see who
leaves victorious, and who leaves in a coma. Now this real-life
"King of the Iron Fists" tournament has landed
on the PS2, bringing with it some of the most intense and
realistic fighting action ever seen in gaming. Prepare yourself,
because UFC: Throwdown is here to kick ass and take
Ultimate Fighting Championship appeared on the Dreamcast it
set a new standard for fighting games. Its unmatched realism
captured the imaginations of wrestling, boxing, and traditional
fighting fans the world over, introducing a brand new audience
to Ultimate Fighting. Being released on a near-defunct
system, however, limited the game’s commercial potential.
Crave has since set out to put a UFC title on every platform,
and has so far succeed, but while the Playstation 2’s version
may fall slightly behind the Xbox’s UFC: Tapout in
terms of visual detail, Throwdown’s expanded career
mode, along with the series’ trademark depth and multiplayer
mayhem, makes this version well worth the purchase.
players can pick from one of over 25 real-life UFC greats,
including Chuck Liddell, Macro Ruas, Dan Severn, Frank Shamrock,
Vitor Belfort, Gary Goodridge, and of course Tito Ortiz. After
choosing your "weapon", you can compete in a number of
modes, including a single match Exhibition, a customizable
Tournament, a grooling10 match Arcade mode, and "UFC
Mode", where you fight to earn a title shot. A Training
mode lets players get comfortable with the game’s staggering
number of combos, submissions, reversals, and mounting
positions, and a Career mode allows players the opportunity to
create their own combatants, complete with player created
fighting styles, then pit them against the toughest of the tough
in the UFC, or against another player’s creation. Just be
prepared to have almost no choice over how your character will
look, as Throwdown offers only a handful of basic options
in this department. However, I would consider it a fair trade
for being able to create your own fighting style and completely
customize your players move set.
keep players coming back to this game time and time again is the
gameplay. Throwdown is a frantic, fast, and brutal game
in which combat can be as complex, or as straightforward, as you
like. Think the best way to win is to tackle someone to the
ground and pound the crap out of them? You can do it. Rather win
the match by unleashing a barrage of standing combos on a foe?
You can do that too. Are you a wrestling fan and would rather
put someone away with a quick Tapout? It’s all up to you! Each
character has their own technique and each player will develop
their own strategies for victory along the way. In this respect UFC:
Throwdown perfectly captures the essence of what the
Ultimate Fighting Championship is all about.
doesn’t leave the defensive player out in the cold though.
Counters and reversals play as big of a role in Throwdown
as offensive attacks. Any move can be countered, reversed, or
broken out of by rotating the right analog stick and tapping the
face buttons rapidly, and a reversal can even lead to instant
submission hold. This adds some extra spice to the two-player
game. That is because bouts are more of a physical endurance
match than a test of player skill superiority. The person whose
thumbs give out first, from all the none-stop rotating and
button mashing, is the one to fall to the submission hold. This
means that you have to wear down your in game opponent just as
much as his real-life counterpart, giving UFC: Throwdown
the same sort of physical edge as a rhythm game or a Dance
Dance Revolution machine. As you can imagine, this adds up
to some truly legendary multiplayer showdowns.
gameplay in Throwdown is tight, the engine could use some
polishing. The game is loaded with bugs, glitches, lock-ups, and
other errors that will force you to reset your system. This can
be really painful if, say, you were in the middle of the Career
mode and unable to save your progress before the game froze. The
number and frequency of errors seen in this game is really
unacceptable and should be corrected in later shipments of the
game. The visuals could use a kick in the pants, like livening
up the emotionless character models or revamping the drab
presentation. Although it doesn’t take much away from the
game, the colorless look of Throwdown could stand to be
improved. I’m not saying Crave should go overboard and turn
the next UFC game into Super Mario Sunshine, but the
palette could really use some richer colors. One good thing can
be said about the engine though: it has short load times. It has
really short load times. They are some of the shortest I’ve
seen in a PS2 game. Matches can load in under five seconds,
which is a real nice feat to accomplish, especially since load
times keep getting longer and longer with each wave of new
So far my
only real complaint about the game, aside from all the glitches,
is that it should play a whole lot faster, a whole lot messier,
and a whole lot bloodier than it does. As a fan of the real
Ultimate Fighting Championship I know that most matches have a
sloppy beauty and an ugly sort of grace to them. The fighters
move lightening fast and no attack or position or submission is
executed flawlessly. It all has this Fight Club style
messiness to it, and is one of the things you grow to love about
the UFC. All the UFC games, on the other hand, have had this
neat perfection to them. The players move with a slow
calculation that isn’t really seen in the UFC, mounting
positions are picture perfect, and matches looks choreographed.
Not to mention there is a real lack of blood in the game.
nearly impossible to sit through a UFC bout without wincing at
least once. These matches get as brutal as a prison fight, sans
the shanks. They get bloody within seconds of the starting bell,
and fighter’s faces begin to bruise and swell shortly after
that. This doesn’t seem to translate into the game though.
What little blood there is in the game is only seen at the very
end of the match, and the player animations don’t do as good
of a job selling the pain they are suppose to be in as they
could. I’m not asking for Mortal Kombat levels of gore,
but realistic model damage that accrues over time (or even
carries over from match to match) and ramped up bleeding would
be nice. It would also be great to see more emotion on the
player’s faces when they are really taking a beating.
the feel of the UFC.
is just as deep as it is chaotic.
to create your own fighting style in the Career mode is
- One of
the best multiplayer experiences since Tony Hawk.
- Very fast
are a bit bland.
- Full of
bugs and system freezing errors that force you to restart the
could use a makeover.
- Not enough
choices over the look of your character in the Career mode.
- Still not
as fast or as brutal as the real UFC.
It is worth
overlooking Throwdown’s shortcomings to experience a game
as exciting and rewarding as this. It is one of the best
multiplayer experiences you will have on a console this year and
highly recommended for anyone looking for a fighting game with
some realism and depth. This game feels just like how a UFC title
should, and is only held back by its many bugs.