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Supremacy MMA: More Tekken than UFC?

Have I got bruise for you...

Developers Kung Fu Factory are happy to think of themselves as the underdog.

This, they say, is why they have chosen ex-UFC champ, now down-and-out Jens 'Lil Evil' Pulver to flog this game - he represents where they and Supremacy MMA are coming from.

Plus, being unsanctioned and unbranded works quite nicely in their favour. While games like THQ's UFC Undisputed and EA's MMA have official ties, this means strings attached.

Without licensees to appease, Supremacy MMA has, basically, used it as an excuse to go a bit mental... The developers are keen to tell us that Supremacy MMA is not a sports sim.

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It's a brutal, back-to-the-roots beat-'em-up with blood, limb breakages and no holds barred. It wants to go back underground and as far away from corporate rules and celebrity 'fighter skins' as possible.

So, while this game is fantasy and features imaginary combatants (Pulver aside), the journey your average scrapper might take is based on countless real life fighters and their rise to mainstream success.

The road, in fact, to supremacy. In terms of gameplay, this can mean illegal fights in prisons, warehouses, cage bars and abattoirs as well as fighters that are more than just a face on a character select screen.

For example, you could follow a convict trying to find his way after release from prison or a Russian ex-athlete who lost out on Olympic dreams thanks to injury. Giving back stories to combatants is no new thing, of course, and hints more at the approach Supremacy's combat is taking.

The developers name-check Virtua Fighter and Tekken as influences (rather than the obvious names) and consequently faster, arcade-style combat has been chosen over technical 'finger twister' and precise, ground-based bludgeoning.

There's definitely a decent pace to the action, with chained combos, plenty of counterattacks and a definite distinction between the different martial arts the fighters specialise in - plus, some painful-looking procedural bruising and gore.

We've yet to see anything quite as extreme as what has been promised (although we're not expecting, or hoping, for Mortal Kombat MMA) but there is definitely space for an uncompromising, this-sort-of-thing-really-happens, rags-to-riches MMA brawler that shirks a sterile simulator feel.

Now we just need to experience some substance beyond the developer's claims for ourselves...

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