Ultimate Fighting Championship Hands-On

We take the first playable version of Ultimate Fighting Championship for a spin to see how ultimate it really is.

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By far Crave's biggest title was UFC: Ultimate Fighting Championship. The game's developers had team members from Soul Edge and Tekken, and the game was rumored to have some excellent realistic fighting-strategy elements. To be honest I was a little skeptical. I mean, how does a fighting game capture the elements of UFC?

But Crave has pulled it off. UFC fights in a very realistic manner. You can either punch or kick your enemy until you knock him out, or you can force him to the ground and get him into a submission hold. The controls are set up much like Ready 2 Rumble - the top two buttons are punch, and the bottom two are kick. The left side is the left side of your body, and the right side is the right side of your body. Therefore, the right top button is a right-handed punch, while the left bottom button is a left-footed kick. Holding down both top buttons is a punch counter-grab and takedown, while holding down both bottom buttons is a kick counter-grab and takedown. Pushing both of the side buttons results in a standard lunge-grab and takedown. This fighting system works very nicely. If you're getting punched several times, you can simply counter and force your opponent down. From there you can attempt another grab or submission, or simply pummel him until he's knocked out. But be careful, because he'll have the opportunity to counter you while he's down.

Needless to say it's some dynamic fighting that's never really been seen before in a video game. I really, really like how this game plays. In addition to the game having its own fighting style, each of the game's characters has a unique fighting style. Some characters are kickboxers, who focus on dynamic strike attacks, while some characters are grapplers, who focus on getting their opponents on the mat then putting them into a submission hold.

I played through the UFC championship mode, which meant that I had to beat three tiers of progressively better opponents to win the tournament. Each of the games started with a wrestling-like intro, complete with music and flashing lights as your fighter made his way to the octagon. As he was doing so, a small bio would come up bulleting the character's strong points. The first two matches were easy as pie for me, but the third match went all three rounds and really paid off when I finally won. Between rounds the game showed the round-girls strutting around the ring with the sign. Thankfully, they were in prudish tanktops and cut-off shorts, and not squeezed into some flesh-revealing outfit.

I was most impressed with UFC, and I think it's a refreshing new take on your standard fighting game. It's not only well made, but it's highly addicting.

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