The no-holds-barred martial arts tournament known as the Ultimate Fighting Championship has finally spawned a PlayStation interpretation of the sport, which comes with real fighters, tons of moves, and 32 different styles of fighting. The game, however, fails to deliver responsive controls or decent graphics, and this makes the UFC a disappointing game to play for even the most dedicated fan of the sport.
On the surface, Ultimate Fighting Championship looks as though it may be a not-so-pretty version of its Dreamcast counterpart. The game has more than 22 different fighters, 32 different styles, and various modes of play such as exhibition and tournament. The game's main mode of play is a career mode of sorts that's called championship road. In this mode you face opponent after opponent, increasing your fighter's ability along the way. The game even has a fairly in-depth create-a-fighter mode that lets you mix and match moves and skills as well as different appearances to make a custom fighter. But once you get past the menus, options, and basic premise of knocking out your opponent or making him or her submit, the similarities between the two versions of the game end.
The most debilitating problem the game has is its gameplay and control. Controlling your fighter is a hard and frustrating task due to unresponsive and sloppy controls that result in delayed and undesired onscreen action. The game gives you tons of moves to perform, ranging from standard strikes to complicated chokeholds and joint locks. Many of the moves require precise timing and multiple button presses to execute correctly, which is something that's hard to accomplish due to the game's controls. The AI of the computer opponents in the game are extremely single minded in their attack, if you're facing a grappler he or she is always going to try to take you down and make you submit. If you face a striker he's almost always going for a knockout. Knowing this makes fighting your opponents less difficult than fighting the game's poor control.
Visually, the game suffers from an array of problems including a low frame rate, sloppy character models, and poor animations. The fighters in the game just look plain bad, the punches they throw and the way they interact with one another is way too stiff, making them look and move more like rock-'em-sock-'em robots. The textures used for their faces and clothes are very blocky and pixilated looking. Even the game's menus and character portraits look terribly blocky and pixelated. In the audio department, "Big" John McCarthy's voice adds a bit of authenticity to the game. The game's sound effects and music are fairly decent as well.
In the end, Ultimate Fighting Championship for the PlayStation doesn't have anything to offer beyond the good name of its Dreamcast counterpart. No matter how big of a fan of the UFC you may be, the game's poor control and graphics just simply ruin the game and make it totally unenjoyable.