Pride FC: Fighting Championship (PS2)

Pride FC: Fighting Championship (PS2)

The Pride Fighting Championship is Japan’s premiere no-holds-barred fighting event. You may be familiar with mixed martial arts through the steel octagon of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but although the videogames may be similar, Pride FC is the greatest choice for fans of full-contact action.

Pride FC is the true update to UFC, and offers up the series’ first significant changes. Pride fighters duke it out with punches, knees, and a full complement of submission maneuvers—you can win by knocking someone unconscious or by making them tap. While on the mat, you can drop punches on your opponent, wrestle for position, or attempt a submission, like an armbar or choke. Also of note are the new positions, the butt-scoot and the standing clinch—there’s a particular feeling of satisfaction to be had from kicking someone while they’re down.

But it’s the fighters of Pride that make the game. Japanese pro-wrestler Kazushi Sakuraba, Brazilian jiu-jitsu master Royce Gracie, and the exciting Carlos Newton are just a few of the combatants you can use—and the resemblances to their real-life counterparts are striking. In fact, the graphics are impressive throughout, with smooth animation and even a delightfully gratuitous spatter of blood on the camera. There’s even a decent create-a-fighter system.

While there aren’t many complicated combinations to learn, Pride FC is a deep game, undeserving of the button-masher stereotype attributed to UFC. Learning how to master each of the fighters’ maneuvers and combos is great fun, particularly for two players. Not for the squeamish, Pride FC is a bloody, intense game that almost perfectly captures all of the excitement of the world’s premiere fighting sport.

Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Game Now.