Over the last couple years, THQ has dominated the ring-based fighting genre, with the squared circle in particular. Now they're poised to dominate yet another style of brawling, a mix of wrestling, kickboxing and karate. Some may say this is even more brutal than the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). This event is called PRIDE. None of you (or maybe very few of you) have heard of it, let alone seen it, as it’s based and aired in Japan. Instead of fighting in an octagon-caged ring, you’ll square off in a four-sided ring--the same type ring you’d see in the WWF. Now you might be thinking, "Why would a Japanese fighting game come to the US?" Well, because Pride is obviously a game that will appeal to the US audience. And with THQ ( renowned for publishing WWF games) and Anchor (acclaimed developer of UFC for Dreamcast and the upcoming WWF: RAW for XBox) backing the game up, you know we’ll surely get something good out of this.
There are five modes to choose from: Exhibition, Training, Tournament, Survival, and Grand Prix. Grand Prix is the single-player destiny mode (career) which is a major annual tournament in PRIDE. The others are pretty much self explanatory, except for Survival which we don’t know a lot about at the moment, but guesses point to a gauntlet like match.
Pride FC features 25 of the organization's most notorious fighters. Even though you’ve probably never heard of these guys in your life, here’s run-down of the confirmed competitors: Akira Shoji, Allan Goes, Carlos Newton, Dan Henderson, Daijiro Matsui, Gary "Big Daddy" Goodridge, Gilbert "The Hurricane" Yvel, "The Texas Crazy Horse" Health Herring, "The Russian Concussion" Igor Vovchanchin, "The Gracie Hunter" Kazushi Sakuraba, Kazuyuki Fujita, Nobuhiko "How does one man suck so?" Takada, and "The Axe Murderer" Vanderlei Silva. These rough-necks have a wide range of styles: kickboxing, freestyle wrestling, grapplers, all-terrain shootfighting experts, and brawling. Added, different styles have weaknesses and advantages over other wrestlers.
The visuals are shaping up well for this ring-fighter. The ring is well designed and detailed followed by an impressive 5,000 polys for each person. Moreover, Anchor has incorporated sweat effects and the loss of blood nicely. Each competitor also has his own distinct moves as well as their signature moves; in all, each fighter has well over 100 attacks. What’s also great is with the multitude of variables, the matches boast a great amount of variety. One match, you might need to use a ground game--hooking on a lot of submissions to your opponent, while in another match, it might just be a punching and kicking contest. The fighters also have their own entrances and victory celebrations.
Sounds like a good game, and being done by a very reputable developer Pride could surely shape up into one great brawler. Only time will tell, though, the game is scheduled for release in Japan soon, and here's to hoping it rates well. Pride FC hits stores this Summer. Check out our 20+ plus screenshots.
2/4/2002 Joseph Comunale