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Pride FC Review
review
game: Pride FC
three star
posted by: Eric Qualls
publisher: THQ
platform:
date posted: 09:10 AM Mon Mar 10th, 2003
last revision: 06:49 AM Fri Sep 23rd, 2005



Combining the theatrics of boxing with the drama and pure athleticism of professional wrestling, the Pride Fighting Championship, on which this game is based, is truly a sight to behold. Of course, Pride isn\'t fake like boxing is. It is real, no holds barred combat where the only ways to win are to knock your opponent out or make him give up.

If you aren\'t familiar with the organization behind Pride FC, let me put it this way. In America, we have the Ultimate Fighting Championship. In Japan, they have the Pride Fighting Championship. The only real difference between them is that UFC uses an octagonal ring while PFC sticks with the more traditional square ring. These two mixed martial arts tournaments even share a lot of the same participants. So, to put it simply, if you are a fan of the UFC games that Anchor has developed, you will probably love Pride FC. Same concept, same gameplay, a lot of the same fighters, just a differently shaped ring. If you are a fan of no holds barred, realistic combat, then Pride FC is the game for you.

The main mode of the game is Grand Prix, and it is identical to the actual Pride FC event. It is a 16-man, single elimination tournament. Since it is handled as a straightforward bracket-style tournament, you only have to fight four matches in order to become the Pride FC champion. This is the main mode of the game, but it can easily be completed in less than five minutes. There isn\'t anything to unlock or anything new to see. As you can imagine, Grand Prix mode becomes boring rather quickly.

The other modes include a one-match mode where, obviously, you pick your fighter and an opponent and duke it out. Survival mode pits you against all of the Pride FC fighters in a series of fights to see how long you can last. Biography mode has information on the background of each fighter as well as pictures and a video clip. Training mode is just like the training in every other fighting game.

One of the most interesting features in the game is the Create-A-Fighter mode. It doesn\'t have nearly as much stuff as the Smackdown games have as far as editing the physical appearance of your fighter, but it has a wealth of options pertaining to how well your character fights. You can choose all of your characters\' moves and combos for each of the different fighting positions. This mode goes a long way towards adding replay value to a game that is severely lacking in the single player department.

The matches themselves look exactly like they do at a Pride FC event. Each fighter comes out to the same theme music and pyrotechnics that he would in real life. The fighters are introduced by the ring announcer in both Japanese and English, just like at the real Pride event. Once these long intros and other theatrics are done, it is time to fight.

Controlling your fighter is fairly intuitive. Each of the face buttons on the Dual Shock represents a limb. Pressing two buttons together performs a grapple. Different directions on the D-pad perform different moves and grapples, just like any other fighting game. What sets Pride FC apart, though, is that once you get into a grapple and throw your opponent down to the mat, you can then pin them down and proceed to rain blow upon merciless blow upon them. You can also put them into a submission hold for a quick victory. Of course, the person on the ground can fight back and even roll into submission moves of his own. The fighting system is fairly deep because there are dozens of different situations with different moves presented at each of them, but it still all boils down to whoever can mash buttons the fastest wins.

One of my gripes with Pride FC is that the matches are just too damn quick. Most of the fights are over in twenty seconds or less, which means that the game has longer loading times than fights. If you get in a couple of lucky punches or put on a quick submission hold, the match is over just as quickly as it began. This wouldn\'t be so bad if there wasn\'t so much loading and other junk to sit through, but I\'m spending far more time looking at loading screens than I am fighting.

Graphically, Pride FC looks great. The fighters are all fairly accurate representations of their real world counterparts. The faces are detailed enough that you can easily identify your favorite fighters. Or, if you\'re like me, you can pick former WWF superstar Ken Shamrock out of the sea of people you don\'t recognize. The faces all include detailed animation that does a great job of conveying pain and other emotions. Overall, everything is animated very well and has a nice smooth look.

The sound is also very good. Pride FC features all of music from the Pride event including all of the fighters\' entrance themes. The sounds of fighting sound about as good as they can with lots of thumps, bumps, and cracks. There isn\'t any color commentary, which is probably a good thing, but there is a ring announcer that introduces the fighters in both English and Japanese. The graphics and sound both mirror a real Pride event perfectly and will definitely help Pride FC appeal to fans of the sport.

Overall, Pride FC is a decent fighting game that suffers from one or two key faults. The lack of modes and unlockable items definitely hurts the single player aspect of the game, but multiplayer matches are still an absolute blast. Also, the matches are over in a matter of seconds and you spend a lot of time looking at loading and menu screens. I know that matches are occasionally over that quickly in real life, but I highly doubt that every match is over in fifteen to twenty seconds. Fans of the Pride Fighting Championship in real life or people who liked the UFC video games will probably find a lot to like in Pride FC. For everyone else, rent it first.