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UFC Throwdown Review
game: UFC Throwdown
three star
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
publisher: Crave Entertainment
date posted: 09:10 AM Sun Aug 25th, 2002
last revision: 05:59 AM Fri Sep 23rd, 2005

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By Todd Allen

I really wanted to like UFC Throwdown, but I can\'t help being a little disappointed. This is a sturdy game and fans of the UFC will be happy I\'m sure, but what if you\'re not one of those? Your attitude towards this game will depend on what kind of a fighting game fan you are. When I consider a fighting game I want top of the line graphics depicting beautiful and intimidating contenders. I want lush surroundings that I can use. I want to knock my opponent through a wall after I nail a vicious combo. You\'ll find me in line for Tekken 4 and Soul Calibur 2. UFC Throwdown, though, asks you to forget all of those wonderful things.

This game tosses you into the Octagon where the spiffiest fighter may have two stripes on his trunks instead of one. All the glitz, glamour, bells, and whistles are out the window. This game is pure fighting with absolutely no attachments. If you believe that technical genius alone makes a fighting game, then perhaps Throwdown is for you. So let\'s break it down.

The UFC Throwdown stable holds 28 stars of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The fighters fall into either the heavyweight or light heavyweight divisions. The contenders are from around the globe and sport different fighting styles that range from submission fighting to kickboxing. Fighters may have individual strengths in the areas of punching, grappling, kicking, etc.

Throwdown offers a few different avenues for you and your favorite martial artist. There is an Arcade mode where your fighter must defeat 10 randomly selected opponents to emerge victorious. Also there is UFC mode. Your selection of fighters is broken up into further weight groups after which you begin the tournament. You must defeat five opponents with minimal health replenishment between fights. If you are able to give better than you get then the UFC title is yours. Other modes include exhibition and tournament modes where you can tweak the competitors. Lastly, there is the career mode that proves to be Throwdown\'s saving grace.

Upon choosing the career mode you have some choices to make about your creation. You must choose from seven initial fighting styles: Jiu-Jitsu, Pit-Fighting, Wrestling, Sumo, Submission Fighting, Pro-Wrestling, and Kickboxing. As you progress you may unlock three other secret styles. Depending on your style you\'ll have a basic costume with four different color options. You also have four different face models with their own skin tone. Next you\'ll finish off your fighter\'s physical appearance with his height and weight specs. With the awesome character creation standard set by the WWF/WWE titles in the back of your mind you\'ll find the limited creative license a sore spot. After that you\'ll finish off the process with tidbits like name, age, nickname, and country of origin. Let it be said that the great part about this mode is not the control you have over your fighter\'s appearance. All the coolness is tied into the moves you teach him and his growing strength and experience.

I really like how several games outside the RPG genre incorporate the importance of gaining experience. When you first start out with your fighter, he has a certain amount of ability points for you to play with. You can\'t use these points to directly affect your stats either. You have to complete certain challenges that have a two-fold reward. In most cases you must defeat opponents in a certain way, such as using submissions or kick attacks to complete a challenge. When you successfully complete a challenge you not only are awarded a new move to add to your repertoire but boosts to your stats as well.

When you\'ve spent all of your points on challenges you will obviously want to try them out. Throwdown provides five sparring matches for you to test your fighter. After you complete all five you are then eligible to enter the career mode tournament. If you survive the tournament and come out on top, your fighter gains a level. This is where Throwdown shines. Each time you ascend to the next level, you can change your fighting style to gain new moves. This opens the door on endless customization. After several hours in career mode my submission fighter was throwing in some pro-wrestling dropkicks and suplexes for good measure. You don\'t have to change styles if you don\'t want to either. You can become quite honed in your style as new moves open up with each level you gain. Undeniably, this mode is what will sell UFC Throwdown.

Just because you have an impressive list of moves at your disposal doesn\'t mean that you will dominate your opponents. Prepare to have all those fancy moves stuffed down your throat if you cannot come to grips with Throwdown\'s complex position and defense system. At any given second you\'ll need to know the pros and cons of any given position you find yourself in as well as what moves you can pull off at that point. On one hand you\'ll be very proud of yourself for mastering the complex strategy of this game. On the other, though, you\'ll be a bit frustrated as your computer opponent reverses your reverse again and again, resulting in two guys rolling around for five minutes getting nothing done. Whether this is your cup of tea may be doubtful. I just hope all of the UFC fans buy this game. Maybe then Crave will be able to afford a new graphics system.

The visual presentation in Throwdown is ugly. While I was playing, my friend walked up behind me and said \"wow is that Playstation you\'re playing?\" It took a minute to convince her that in fact I was playing a PS2 game. That is inexcusable. I admit that the PS2 may not be a graphical powerhouse per say, but the visuals in UFC Throwdown represent launch title quality at best. When companies are really showing what the PS2 engine can do, Crave shows what it did. Sadly Throwdown doesn\'t look much better than the first UFC games appearing on Dreamcast years ago.

Is this game for you? Probably not. We\'re at a time when companies are making fighting games really shine. Even wrestling titles have established wide appeal. With titles giving us so much, most gamers would be hesitant to give up these bells and whistles. UFC Throwdown may provide an enjoyable diversion, but it\'s doubtful that you\'ll latch onto it. Its appeal is narrow, but I\'m sure some will really love this game. As for me, if I want to get technical I\'ll play VF4.