Forgotten Treasures #7 – UFC: Sudden Impact (PS2)

Rewinding back to 2004, The Ultimate Fighting Championship was still in its uphill climb to the top of the MMA world. While there have been other UFC games released on other systems like PS1 and Dreamcast, they were both niche titles that were quickly lost in the cadre of big name fighting games out at that time. (Tekken, Virtua Figther, Mortal Kombat)

And in 2004, Fight Night was the undisputed champion of combat sports games. But one game braved to take on the boxing king for fighting supremacy. UFC: Sudden Impact was released for Playstation 2 with little fanfare, only known to those who followed of mixed martial arts. It came out with almost no press coverage, quickly relegated to the “meh” games section in local game stores.

But ask anyone who’s ever played Sudden Impact, and they’ll tell you that it was the best $20 they’ve spent for a fighting game. While the game’s presentation leaves much to be desired, the fighting mechanics were ahead of its time; matched only by Japan’s Pride Fighting Championship.

Courtesy: GameRankings

The stand-up game was reminiscent of Tekken, in that dial-in combos were the norm. Each face button represented each fighter’s limbs. It was more of a fighting game than a combat sport simulation because fighting was more of memorizing button combinations to chain attacks together and less about combining strikes strategically.

The ground game (which at that time was still new in video game form) was serviceable, the player had to press two buttons to initiate takedowns, transitions were really clunky and defense were unbalanced. Submissions were quick too, with limited amount of moves available to each fighter.

One thing that Sudden Impact brought to the MMA game that was new was the cage positioning. A feature that UFC Undisputed 2009 didn’t even have. When the player gets the opponent backed into the cage, in different positions, they can then perform attacks or defenses that were specific to each position.

Courtesy: GameRankings

Fighter selection is a who’s who of MMA legends and future stars including Bas Rutten, Jens Pulver, BJ Penn, Matt Serra, Jeremy Horn, Dan “The Beast” Severn, Frank and Ken Shamrock. The game allows players to match up different weight classes; a feature missing from modern MMA games.

Graphically, the game didn’t stand the test of time. Character models are blocky, arenas and environments lack detail and animations were sub-par. Despite all of these, UFC: Sudden Impact still brought MMA to the forefont of gaming, bringing a (then) fresh style of fighting in comparison to Fight Night, K-1, and traditional fighting games.

UFC: Sudden Impact is now considered a rare title, so it is hard to find the game for lower than $30, and is even sold online for up to $150.  So if you find it in your local game store bargain bin, buy it. As it is an important piece of MMA gaming history.


About janhutchings

Canadian Game Industry Blogger / Contributor for @Sonyrumors & @ShogunGamer / Communications and PR Professional. Voice of Canadian and Indie Gaming.

Posted on May 7, 2011, in Forgotten Treasures and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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