Eerie, sophisticated and tense: that’s how we’d describe Ultimate Fighters, a Japanese martial arts-themed game from Playtech. The game’s reels are populated by expert street fighters, male and female, trained in various forms of hand-to-hand combat. This game has been painstakingly crafted in the image of a Japanese-style adult cartoon, and will make slot players of a certain age nostalgic for video games such as Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat.
Against the backdrop of an a dusky urban environment filled with modern and traditional Japanese architecture, the Ultimate Fighters meet on the reels to do battle for a bonus. The streets’ dark crevices make you feel that a shadowy figure might pop up at any moment to challenge you to a duel. The spooky atmosphere is enhanced by the menacing echoes of a gong being struck, and by the stern expressions on the faces of the fighters themselves. Although the reels are colorful and the combatants’ costumes decorative, the overall effect is elegant and serious. Ultimate Fighters and Chinese Kitchen – which could be described as a whacky and tacky slot – are definitely at opposite ends of the Asian slots spectrum.
Ultimate Fighters has eight fighter symbols and just two special symbols: the Golden Buddha Bonus symbol and the Dragon Scatter symbol. This slot has only three reels, so you win whenever the same symbol lands in a payline of three, horizontally, vertically or diagonally.
- Golden Buddha Bonus – a payline of three Buddha symbols automatically triggers the bonus fight round.
- Dragon Scatter – if you land more than four of these anywhere on the reels after one spin you win a prize of between 5 and 1,000 coins.
The rest of the symbols are the martial arts warriors, all dressed in the traditional get-up of their chosen art of warfare, and the referee. The characters are as follows:
- Sumo Wrestler
- Sambo Wrestler
- Girl Samurai
- Judo Wrestler
- Karate Wrestler
Unfortunately none of the symbols are animated. Note to Playtech: a few punches and kicks with some sound effects would definitely have taken this slot up a level.
Wagers and jackpots
The maximum jackpot in Ultimate Fighters is 5,000 coins for a payline of three Girl Samurai symbols. The rest of the symbols pay out (in real-money mode only) as follows:
- Sumo Wrestler – 500 coins
- Sambo Wrestler – 1,000 coins
- Geisha – 250 coins
- Judo Wrestler – 100 coins
- Ninja – 80 coins
- Boxer – 70 coins
- Karate Wrestler – 50 coins
- Referee – 30 coins
The available coin values for your bets range from 0.01 to 5.00. The slot has three reels and eight paylines. Each symbol slot on the reels spins independently of the others, and they stop spinning one by one, so just as with Chinese Kitchen, you could say that this game looks like it has only three reels but actually has nine.
Other Ways to Win
Ultimate Fighters has no progressive jackpot but does have a bonus round, activated by the Golden Buddha symbol as we said above. When this happens you’ll be automatically brought through to the combat arena, where two ninjas, one in red and one in black, are poised and ready to do battle under the watchful eye of the Buddha. Obviously, the “Player” fighter is you, the “Opponent” is the guy you have to beat. Expecting sleek yet lethal ninja-style duel? Think again! Your challenge is to defeat your opponent in, wait for it….a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. To choose your “weapon” click on the Rock, Paper or Scissors buttons on the left side of the screen. You and your opponent then display your over-sized hands. After three rounds your bonus winnings will be added to your total (if you’re playing for real money). Some players might find the tamer than expected “fight” a bit of an anti-climax, but we actually thought it was really funny. A good joke by Playtech.
Music, audio and graphics
Despite the lack of animation on the reels, the graphics in this slot are intricate and delicately sculpted. The faces and body shapes of the fighters are detailed and realistic, and Playtech have done a great job of imitating the Japanese cartoons for adults you might have seen on late-night TV. There’s not too much going on in terms of music, but the audio includes the gong sounds we talked about before, which lend authenticity to atmosphere of the game.
The Last Word
A good quality Asian slot; would have scored higher if there had been some animation on the reels as well as in the bonus round, but we can probably forgive Playtech for that since the game was released back in 2006 – 7 out of 10.
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