I’ve never been a fan of MMA, yet there’s always been something morbidly fascinating with the idea of different martial artists competing in the same ring. Theoretically, it’s like pitting a lion against a shark; both are deadly creatures in their own right but, out of their comfort zones, it’s difficult to determine who would win. Strap up the king of the jungle in scuba gear and toss ‘em in a tank with a great white… now that’s pay-per-view entertainment right there folks.
Unfortunately, the reality is never as good. Mixed Martial Arts is really entertaining in a primitive, macho kind of way, but I could never hide my disappointment when I discovered it wasn’t exactly Bloodsport with Van Damme; Karate vs Sumo wrestling. How wacky would that be? Ultimately, we’ve got a bunch of guys flailing at each other in madness, waiting for the opportunity to wrestle their opponent to the ground for a bit of endless tangling… in trunks. Still, regardless as to how unorganised MMA appears to be, there’s an enormous amount of strategy involved when such conflicting combat styles clash. Oh, and the shark would sooo destroy the lion… discuss.
So, with the recent influx of MMA-based games, developers have had the opportunity to either capture the strategic spirit of the sport in legitimate simulation, or, they could abuse the sport’s chaotic potential with a more violent, arcade-style approach. The latest entry to the fray, Supremacy MMA, teeters confidently on the arcade side of the scales, but fails to go all out to exploit its gory possibilities. Instead, developers Kung Fu Factory present MMA fans with a below average brawler that, above all else, fails to nail the basics dictated by the genre.
As a more fast-paced and high tempo entry to MMA games, you would expect Supremacy to at least ensure fast and responsive controls which, to be honest, is absolutely crucial with this style of game. However, what we’re treated to are on-screen character models cycling through a bunch of slow animations that don’t seem to accurately reflect the commands that have been battered unto the Xbox controller. With this glaring fault slapping you right in the face faster than your CPU opponent, it could be said that Supremacy MMA has fallen flat on its face before it’s even taken off. Thankfully, that’s not exactly the case, as Supremacy does have its moments. Not many, but enough to somewhat redeem itself.
If you’re looking for a solo fighting game that’s worth your hard earned credits, you will be sorely disappointed with this game. Even if you’re a die-hard MMA fan, it won’t be long until you figure out exactly what you’re dealing with here. Firstly, there isn’t enough content to warrant a full price purchase; 12 fighters who all seem to fight the same despite their different abilities and a very daft story mode for each of the characters that feebly attempts to hide the fact that you just jump from one fight to the next. Secondly, the sport isn’t correctly represented, as toe-to-toe fighting becomes completely useless next to take-downs and submission moves. This usually results in entire fights being decided on the mat, where your CPU opponents are coincidentally unbeatable.
Luckily, Kung Fu Factory did get some features right. Boasting a beefy 18 certificate, Supremacy MMA is at least satisfyingly brutal. Pummelling your foes head into the ground over the course of a fight leaves the characters impressively busted up with cuts and bruises that ooze all over the ring. Plus, the knockouts are bone crunchingly abrupt, as the final blow leaves your opponent flat out on the canvas or even writhing around in pain with a broken leg. One could criticise that this glorification of violence and career-ending injuries doesn’t keep with the spirit of the sport but, trust me, by then you’ll have realised that Kung Fu Factory don’t give a flying crap about the science of fighting. The most shocking thing about its brutality, however, is a knockout by submission, as the game’s biggest anti-climax is seeing the burly brawlers tap out. Surely an MMA game that focuses so much on brutality would let you finish your foe with a broken arm or… decapitation. That would have me on the edge of my seat; if the athletes were fighting for their very lives!
If you have a mate to play this with, a few nights rental wouldn’t be out of the question as there is some fun to be had with seeing who can achieve the most violent finishing move. Everything up until then though, is downright dull. The graphics are ugly and dated looking, and the heavy metal soundtrack made me throw up a few times in my mouth, so a game that’s ultimately this difficult to tolerate for an extended period of time is almost impossible to recommend. Still, I gave it a shot. So, unless you like what you hear (no doubt due to some mental deficit), I highly recommend you… parry this one… eh? Eh? Consider yourself lucky, I got loads more of those. Best save them for Supremacy MMA 2 though.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox 360 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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