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UFC: Tapout

Dream Factory

Crave Entertainment


1 - 4


It's the Ultimate Fighting Championships! Real fighters. Real fighting. But who would have thought it'd be real short?


It's a sport that very few are aware of, but is easily the most bone-smashing, teeth-clenching and pain-staking fighting events out there. No special effects. No scripts. No mercy. Once you're in the ring, there's only one way out: beat the hell out of your highly skilled opponent or get the hell beat out of you and leave in a body bag.

Called the Ultimate Fighting Championships, it's a sport truly unrivaled. Placing fighters from around the world and highly trained in the Mixed Martial Arts, the UFC's goal is to prove which of the many martial arts skills - kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, karate, etc. - would reign supreme in an organized tournament.

"Open that Can-O-Whoop Ass 'cause you're going to need it."

You think karate's got the stuff over jiu-jitsu? Think a wrestler can take down a kickboxer any day? Well, now it's time to put up or shut up. Get in the Octagon and prepare for the beatdown of your life. [Note: Extreme forms of pain included.]


Pitting talented athletes of different skills against each other has never been more intricate. Sure, while other games such as Tekken, Dead or Alive and Street Fighter feature such an element, the way in which it plays out on screen and the toll it takes on each fighter doesn't compare to the emphasis this game puts on each match-up. For example, just as in real life where you'd automatically assume that a sumo wrestler would be much slower but more powerful in attacks and grabs than a kickboxer, the game follows suit accordingly. The fighting engine is truly like no other.

With this there's actually a strategy to be met in the game - with a strong emphasis on grapples and submissions. This is definitely one of this game's key areas of shine. Wrestlers have better grapple moves (as they should) and if they hit you, they knock a huge ass chunk of health out of your health meter. Kickboxers are generally more agile but lack strength in physical attacks and are susceptible to submissions and grapples. Even street fighting (my forte… *ahem*) finds its way in the game. With these guys there aren't any rules. You're just in for some ass whipping street style. Open that Can-O-Whoop Ass 'cause you're going to need it. [Note: bring a couple extra cans if possible.]

If you can't block it, then counter it. UFC boasts a very well scaled countering system that works much like the one found in the DOA series. See a kick coming in? Use the combo system to counter it and lay your opponent to the mat. And while you've got him down there give him the ole' high five - but a couple of times to the head.

The submissions and grapples system is the best out there. And this is yet another reason why you have counter buttons. Grappling your opponents will knock them to the ground and place you on top of them. But don't think that because you have the upper hand that you're not susceptible to a little pain as well. Even though you're sitting on top of the other fighter he (or she…this game has some secret girl fighters as well) can still block your incoming attacks and lay'eth the smack'eth down. In fact, some fighters - thanks to their martial arts skill - even fighter better when being grappled. That's yet another thing you have to keep in mind.

"The fighting engine is truly like no other."

And don't fail to remember that everything can be countered, including grapples. This is the most fun part of the fighting engine. You'll often times get into long rolling grapple matches with another fighter where you both continually counter the other's grapple and fight for the top position on the mat. Timing is extremely critical in this game, but it's more than worthwhile.

All in all there are over a dozen mixed Martial Arts in the game. Some of these include Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Karate, Shootfighting, Pro Wrestling, and Capoeira. The latter might sound a little familiar, as it should seeing as how that's the style that Eddy Gordo of Tekken 3 used. But don't expect to see the fighters in this game dancing around on the floor. This art is for fast and accurate attacks and evasion.

"... this game has no career mode whatsoever..."

There are over 25 real UFC fighters in the game, as well as some extra secret unlockable characters to be found as you progress through the game. The problem I had with the fighter selection is that all that is displayed about the fighter at the selection screen is his style of martial arts. No strength attributes, no defense facts, nothing. So, if you're new to this type of game or know nothing whatsoever about martial arts, you'll be picking all your fighters purely at random. Unless, of course, if you choose a street fighter.

UFC: Tapout ends up being a little lack luster in the game mode departments by offering only 4 different modes: Arcade, Exhibition, Tournament and UFC mode. Exhibition is a simple one-round, one-match battle between a fighter you select and a CPU opponent that you also select. Once the fight is over you merely go right back to the game's start menu. This mode I found almost to be completely useless unless you're trying to pre-screen a battle between opponents A-style against an opponent of B-style.

Arcade mode is much like your standard arcade fighting bouts that you'll find in many other fighting titles. You select a fighter and head through a series of randomly selected matches in an attempt to get the most consecutive wins. This is also the area of the game that you unlock secret characters, such as Ice-T, Femme Fatale and even the in-game ring announcer, Bruce Buffer.

Tournament and UFC mode are virtually identical. They consist of an 8-man multi-fight tournament heading for the tournament. The only different between Tournament and UFC mode is that the Tournament mode allows you to select what fighters will be in the tournament and who controls each fighter (you, a friend or a CPU player).

Each of these modes only goes one round, which only continues to kill the game's longevity. Oddly enough there's an option in the Option's Menu to take the rounds up to 5 rounds, yet when I do this it does nothing. It seems to only work when you're playing with a friend. WTF!?

The problem here is that when you take only 8 fighters and divide them up into a tournament you then have 2 fighters against each other to start off with. OK, so now that's only 4 fights at the start. Then the winners move up to the next fight. So now that's another fight. Then finally there are two fighters remaining. Now you left with having only 3 (yes, 3!) fights in the whole tournament - and each fight will be pretty short. Many tournaments are over in less than 5 minutes. And provided that this game has no career mode whatsoever these modes are somewhat pointless in regards to depth.

After taking 5 minutes to beat the Tournament mode you'll be granted with a screen that only shows the title belt and then it's back to the start screen. The UFC mode grants you with some ending credits (oh boy!).

There's also a Create-A-Player mode to be found in the game. You can choose from an assortment of around 120 faces, more than a 50 outfits, some strengths (i.e. quick and agile, powerful striker, etc.), your skin complexity, a nickname from a pre-created list, weight, height, a voice and more. And, of course, your fighting style can be chosen.

What bothers me is that everything about this mode is so pre-selected. There's nothing you can really create on your own to make your fighter truly unique like choosing a hairstyle, some anonymous items (sunglasses, etc.), shoes, tattoos or anything. It's pretty shallow in all regards and you're more likely to find people having the same-looking fighter if you have similar tastes.

There's no adjusting individual attributes with the exception of your life, stamina (how quickly your character recovers from using energy), punch and kick skill (these are both just referring to the strength of each attack). It was almost literally pointless to create a fighter, especially when the secret characters to be found in the game were probably what you wanted to make anyway since they have obviously different features from every other fighter in the game.

Compared to the PS2 version, which is scheduled to release in May (as of right now), the Xbox version is very weak in the gameplay department. No career mode, a rather shallow Create-A-Player mode and purposeless tournament modes - which the PS2 incarnation will have better of reach - makes this game seem second rated.


Pushing polygon power is what the Xbox is all about right now it seems, as UFC: Tapout is a visual masterpiece. Fighters look great at absolutely any given moment in the game. Skin textures and lighting is well captured, blood is a little cheesy due to it being mainly just round circles of red on the mat, but it's not that much of a problem.

Where the graphical engine truly shines is in the player introductions. Much like WWF Raw, UFC: Tapout boasts some amazing fighter intros. Crowds are fully captured in 3D and each seems to be doing a different gesture. There's even a nice TV-presentation and mist effect to the crowds in the intros that only enhances the experience. Fighters are gorgeous all the way around and even more so in the introductions with fully animated everything and even facial gestures. This is yet another eye candy title for the Xbox to place on its graphical trophy case.

"The submissions and grapples system is the best out there. "

The only bad side to the intros is that all of them are basically identical in all regards. I really only found myself maybe seeing 2 to 3 different introduction variations in all - most of which being just a different camera angle. This gets dull quite fast because after about 2 matches you've seen them all. The only different is the fighter that's walking into the ring. But even they do the same gestures. Sigh…and it is so pretty too. What really kills the presentation of the introductions is how it all flows smoothly until you get into the ring.

Once you step into the ring though everything changes (including sound, which we'll get into next). Those nice facial animations aren't shown until you hit a replay (which looks good) and the commentator covers his mouth with the microphone so that no facial animations besides the occasional blinking eye are noticed.

While it gets repetitive, everything is there for the fighter's introductions - the music the good sounding announcer - and then BAM...


…the music stops right after you get past the fighter information screen and you have to listen to the most boring announcer and pre-generated crowd ever. What happened to the nice sounding announcer in the fighter announcer? And the same goes with the crowd? Maybe it was the music. Or maybe it was a completely different engine being used there. Either way, the difference in quality from the announcer and crowd is immediately noticed and is much worse when the fight actually begins.

Crowds make one continuous and dull cheering effect and ring announcer is cheesy. And occasionally you'll hear someone in the audience scream something (usually a fighters last name) that sounds bland.

Punches sound more like someone hitting a body bag than anything else, but sound real good when you have someone on the mat and you hear the impact of their head hitting the floor. All in all it's pretty decent, just nothing special.

You'll have to adjust the game's volume settings to get it to sound pretty decent. I basically just turned down the crowd and sound effects to about ¾ of its max level and that did a little justice.

Each fighter makes various moans and grunts that are pretty nice seeing as how each has his own voice…somewhat. It would have been nice had some in-game fight music would have been thrown in for the hell of it, but that would be a little unrealistic… I guess. Still… it would have been nice.


After looking at the upcoming PS2 version with its career mode, more in-depth Tournament mode and a better Create-A-Player it became only obvious that this game was released so much earlier because the developers cut everything out of the game that makes its PS2 brother its successor to focus on tap out (no pun intended) some more graphic eye candy. Sadly, this seems to be a continuing trend with quite a lot of the recently released Xbox titles. Wreckless and WWF Raw both lacked features they needed and definitely focused on the graphics. This trend definitely needs to end.

Shallow game modes, lack of a decent create-a-player and almost god-awful in-game sound effects bring the score down. Adding to that no career mode and you have yourself a pretty standard punch-kick-grab fighting game in regards to game modes. Play this game definitely with a friend, as that seems to be the only way to save it from being a more than lack-luster solo play experience.

Dameon White
Wonders why Ice-T is so buff in the game.

UFC: Tapout: The Scores













The Final Word:  Still ending up being a pretty deep fighting game overall, UFC deserves some attention. Its flaws make it more obvious that the PS2 version will be much better, but if you're looking for a different fighting game for your Xbox right now then this is a good choice. If you're not a graphic whore, have a PS2 and only want to really get one version, then your best bet would be to wait for the PS2 version to come out in May, as it will be much deeper. Granted, not as pretty as the Xbox version, but much deeper nonetheless. Is this one worthy of owning? Sure is…due to it being a great fighting game overall with tons of strategic elements.

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