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Ultimate Fighting Championship (DC) Review

Background Info


I remember back in the day when I thought WWF Royal Rumble was the best wrestling game of all time. I was mesmerized by the great graphics and how real everything was. That was then and this is now. Today's “WWF Royal Rumble” is Ultimate Fighting Championship for the Sega Dreamcast. Don't get me wrong, UFC and WWF are on opposite ends of the fighting spectrum, but both games are revolutionary trendsetters nonetheless. I can honestly say that UFC is the most authentic fighting experience I have ever had (except for that one time in sixth grade…).

Presentation/Graphics : 98
Since I have been playing this game, I have been surfing the Web and looking at pictures of the fighters in the game. There is no doubt that UFC is one of the best-looking sports games to ever hit any console. Visually, UFC is in the same company as NFL 2k1 and Madden 2001. The graphics are that good. Unlike other sports games, the mapped faces do not look misplaced or awkward. Lots of sports games have mapped faces, but the faces usually look like the bodies are wearing Halloween masks! The bodies of the fighters are done beautifully. They don't have jagged edges and are, for the most part, correctly proportioned to their real life counterparts. I think that each body was created specifically for the specific fighter they were supposed to be. Even the tattoos are the same as the fighters in real life. It doesn't appear that there are three body shapes that are tweaked from fighter to fighter.

The Octagon, the ring where you fight, provides a beautiful atmosphere while you're pummeling your opponent. Since UFC has such an incredible frame rate, you can pummel your opponent without a single glitch. I think that the more games that are put out that have an outstanding framerate, a glitch-free game will not be a luxury, but a normality.

The wrestler introductions in UCF are the best I have ever seen in any game. In other wrestling games, the intro scenes are appreciated, but I usually skip over them or turn them off after the first day of gameplay. For some reason, I never did skip over or turn off the wrestler intros. I think they are the best part of the game. Not only is the cut scene cool, it is very detailed. Bruce Buffer comes out to announce the fighter's physical attributes, his hometown, and even his nickname. At the end of the intro, the ref comes out and yells, “Let's Get It On!” If your eyes are sore for candy, UFC will provide you with sufficient relief.

Presentation/Audio : 70
The sounds aren't of as high of quality as the graphics, but they are still very good. There is no play-by-play announcer in UFC and maybe that's a good thing. You make the only sound effects that you hear. Every punch to the face and every kick to the leg are heard. The soundtrack is very quirky. The songs do provide a fighting/martial arts mood, but the main menu song sounds a lot like Star Wars. Upon putting the game in my Dreamcast and loading it up, the first song I heard was something that sounded exactly like the Star Wars theme song. There are a few other tracks, but none are that outstanding. I think UFC rightfully put an emphasis on gameplay and graphics (probably in that order) rather than striving to put out a game that would top the Pop charts. It's not that I don't think the audio aspect of a game is important, but rather it should take a back seat to the game itself. This is the case especially for a wrestling game. Just keep the music hard rock and there won't be many complaints.

Interface/Options : 85
There are six game modes in UFC. You can play UFC mode, which allows you to win a Silver Belt, if you can win three straight games. You need a Silver Belt to play in Champion Road mode, where you have to beat twelve challengers to earn the gold belt. If you lose at anytime during those twelve games, you will have to start all over. Career Mode allows you to create your own fighter and pit him against other fighters. Basically, you create a fighter, who starts out with minimal skill points (punch/kick rating, endurance, etc, etc) and by beating other fighters, can earn skill points to make your fighter the next UFC Champion. The easier the opponent the fewer skill points you will earn. The harder the opponent the more skill points you will earn.

You can also play a tournament with eight fighters of your choice. There is an exhibition mode for a single match, or you can practice your moves in training mode. The training mode is very useful. There you can learn all the moves necessary to earn that gold belt. You can practice fighting in any position, offensive or defensive.

There are three difficult modes that will challenge gamers at every skill level. On rookie mode I have been able to dominate opposing fighters in less than a minute, and also have had five round battles. The same goes for the next two levels, contender and heavy hitter. You never know how the fight is going to turn out to be, just like in real life Ultimate Fighting Championships.

UFC has plenty to keep you busy. Even the most skilled player will have troubles attaining a gold belt. The heavy hitter difficulty mode is very tricky. If you make a mental mistake during a match on heavy hitter mode, you will probably lose. UFC is one of those games that is easy to learn, but difficult to master. The multi-player (human to human, not online) aspect is very fun in this game. UFC is a nice change of pace from the wrestling games that are out today.

Gameplay : 98
Never before have I seen a game that is so deep and difficult, yet so easy to learn. UFC can be as simple as you want it to be. There are two types of controls that are used. When you are standing you use one set of controls and when you're on the ground you use another. There are four main buttons that you use to attack. You have one button for each limb. B and A kick and X and Y punch, unless you're on the ground, then the four buttons are punches to your opponent. X punches the upper right part of the body, Y the upper left, B the lower right, and A the lower left. The simplicity of the controls is almost, “Original NES-esque”. Through those four buttons, you combine them to perform different moves and combos.

On the back of the jewel case, it states that there are thousands of moves and combos, including strikes, counters, and submissions. After playing the game extensively, there is no doubt that that statement is true. The button combinations seem endless. There are probably twenty or thirty unique submission moves alone!

As aforementioned, the game can be as simple as you want it to be. When I first started the game, I would jab a little here, and then kick a little there, then go for the grapple. I never once thought of trying to block my opponent's advances. I just saw my target and blindly went after it. This method worked the entire time I was on rookie mode, but as soon as I moved up to the next difficult level I was completely dominated. I had to learn to read my opponent and be patient. After a while I waited for my opponent to make a mistake and then I made my move. When you're playing defensively offensive, you can fight with anyone.

I'm a big baseball fan and when concerning one on one battle between your fighter and the CPU's, I think it is very similar to a batter facing a pitcher during a baseball game. You can be as aggressive as you want to be. Sometimes you are successful and other times you will strike out. If you can catch your opponent off guard and do the unexpected you will have success. If you can throw your opponent to the ground, you will be able to inflict the most damaging move in the game; punches to the face while having them pinned to the ground.

Just when you think you have discovered all your moves for a particular fighter, you'll accidentally press a sequence of buttons and do something really spectacular. I had taken a liking to Gary “Big Daddy” Goodridge. I had played almost all my games with him and thought I had learned all of his moves. Then, while I was in practice mode, he busted out a new submission that made me yearn for more. If you don't feel like finding out a particular fighter's moves by trial and error, you can press start and select moves list. The moves list will tell you all the moves your fighter can do.

The meter bars are very simple to read. Your life bar is red, but can be regenerated. You can regenerate your life bar by laying back and not being hit. Your stamina bar is blue. The lower your stamina bar is, the less powerful your moves will be and you become more susceptible to a knockout. The life bar is very important, but you really need to pay attention to the stamina bar. If your stamina bar is low you need to back off and try to block your opponents attacks. You can really be pounding into a guy, but if your stamina is low your hits will not inflict much damage.

UFC is the deepest fighting game that I have ever played. The potential moves seem endless. What adds to the fun is that almost every offensive move has a defensive move to counter it. So if you ever get bored with the game, you can try to win fights by only having your fighter complete reverses.

Replay Value : 95
As difficult as it is, as soon as you attain the gold belt, there isn't much left to achieve. The career mode is fun to poke at and will take a lot of time to complete, but the replay value is in the game itself. You can still have a blast playing exhibition games or going head to head with your buddies. I only wish you could play this game online where there could be leagues of human players going up against each other.

Overall : 96
UFC is the best fighting game I have ever played. I don't think the game is perfect, but is solid in every area. There was no real weakness in the game. The only thing I could think of improving on, would be a deeper career mode. If you are a gamer who loves fighting games, you cannot pass on Ultimate Fighting Championship.

By: Tim Martin 3/29/01

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