UHF > UFC.
UFC Throwdown is Crave/Genki's game based on the multiple-fighting-style Ultimate Fighting Championship - as seen on TV! The game features a ton of fighters, moves and modes, and perhaps a whole day worth of amusement!
The basic gameplay operates on four commands - left punch, right punch, left kick, right kick. Grabs, counters, and tap out attempts are performed by hitting a specific pair together. They're fully configurable, and extra buttons (L and R by default) can be configured to be a convenient pair of buttons. This is handy because B and Y might be a little tough to hit together.
In the ring (er, 'octagon'), the character is in free eight-way movement. There's no crouch, but that's definitely not needed at all anyway. Guarding is done by holding the stick or pad away from the opponent. The controls are simple and fairly comfortable.
Now for the game modes:
Arcade Mode - This could be better described as an endless survival mode against the computer. Beat up the other guys until you lose once.
Champion Mode - Silver belts are earned for characters here by defeating a number of fighters from the same character's weight division.
Legend Mode - Gold belts are earned here. Similar to Champion mode, except it's tougher and no continuing is allowed.
Tournament Mode - An eight fighter elimination tournament. One to eight human players can participate.
Exhibition Mode - Set up single matches for human vs human, human vs CPU, or CPU vs CPU.
Career - Create or load a custom character, and spar computer opponents to build stats. This is described in detail below.
Training Mode - Practice moves, counters, etc, in this mode against an adjustable sparring opponent.
Options - Standard options here - controller setting, sound setting, time limit, records...
Initially, there are 28 real life UFC fighters selectable from five different weight divisions. Six more characters are unlockable. Additionally, there's a character creation mode. There are few custom character options at first - the fighting styles and body types are unlocked by getting a silver belt with the corresponding original fighter.
Creating a character entails playing through a career mode. You gain points by playing single spar matches against other fighters, and add them to the various attributes of your fighter. Of course, custom fighters are playable in any mode.
Unfortunately, the character creation mode is very basic - there's nothing like wacky giant hats or sunglasses or custom theme songs or anything like that, except for one character model that has a giant 'fro.
There are over 40 fighting styles. Yow! Each has its own set of basic jabs and chains, and balances between pin moves, standing moves, and other attributes.
Here's a sampling of how the matches generally play out - matches in UFC Throwdown are generally very short.
- The fighters hit each other with a lot of chain combos and one of them gets knocked out.
- A successful grapple or counter, and the victim is mounted and forced into a submission, or punched in the face until candy comes out.
- Judge's decision after three rounds without a KO or tap out. Rarely happens.
Performing a tap-out move successfully means an instant victory. These can be countered fairly easily - but until then, they may be a bit frustrating and bothersome.
Unlocking secret characters is done by obtaining all of the belts in certain categories. This means beating the computer again and again and again. It's a magical, wonderful odyssey of tremendous dullness. Unless you're trying to unlock the hot card girl or you think Bruce Buffer is the coolest person ever, your time could probably be better spent elsewhere. Actually, that's about all there is to do for single-player objectives. There's very little lastability here.
Speaking of an investment of time, one of the more irritable things about UFC Throwdown is the amount of time in various menus of screens compared to the actual match time. Matches are super short, as short as a few seconds, but the time between matches is much much more - after losing a match, there's about a whole minute for winner announcement and game over screen before it's possible to select "continue." In two-player exhibition mode, there's no option to go back to the character select screen - you have to go back to the main exhibition menu and select two players over again before you can choose new fighters. This was the worst idea ever. The load times aren't bad, but at this point, it just doesn't matter.
The game is shined up nicely, however. Great character animation with fabulous facial expressions and great portraits of the actual UFC fighters are included in the package. On the audio side, there's awesome announcers, sets of nicknames for every character, and plenty of sets of grunts and yells for the fighters themselves. The catch is that there's no music during matches - just a couple of dull menu songs. The music in the game intro is "Singled Out" by Diecast, for some reason.
Despite the nice presentation, the game is only interesting for a rental, or perhaps half a rental. It does in fact contain a reasonable amount of fun for that period, so check out. Planning a long term relationship with this game, however, is a bad idea.