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‘Undisputed’ makes all other UFC games tap out

It’s unfathomable how video game players get riled up over the stupidest stuff. The other day, I was playing “UFC 2009 Undisputed” online — against an anonymous kid who sounded 14 — and he whined that I was kicking him, you know, with my feet.

Maybe he hasn’t heard that UFC is the sport that calls on you to kick, punch and wrestle people to the ground.

This kid kept calling me “gay” — which is not a put-down, and he hasn’t figured that out yet — but right after that, he would pin his character’s shirtless, sweaty man body on top of my character’s shirtless, sweaty man body and writhe atop me.

Oh, situational irony, I love thee so.

Anyway, I thrashed him.

“I’m filing so many complaints against you!” he whimpered like a crybaby over our Internet headsets. (I’m not sure what part of the country he was playing from.)

Don’t let that brat keep you away from “UFC 2009 Undisputed.” None of the other gamers I fought online kicked up a fuss. (Although, we could all complain that the online version of “Undisputed” doesn’t have the smoothest frame-rate.)

Besides, most of the fun of this game comes not online but from playing it alone, offline. The fights here are sleek, intuitive to figure out, and very fun.

“Undisputed” comes with almost the whole UFC lineup of mixed martial arts stars — Brock Lesnar, Chuck Liddell, Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, B.J. Penn, Rampage Jackson, Rashad Evans and on and on.

But it’s the career mode that’s most enticing. You build your own man from scratch. You pick his age, his trunks and his height.

In between bouts, you must train your guy with a sparring partner, which is fun. And you send him through an off-camera system of conditioning to build his strength, speed and stamina.

At first, I didn’t want to train my guy. I just wanted to fight. But after a while, training became an addictive brain game, just like it does in the career mode for “Tiger Woods” golf games. Building a character from scratch is nothing new in games, of course. It’s the execution that’s entertaining.

As for the fighting, this is the best “UFC” game so far — by far. Unlike previous “UFC” games, this one loads fights fast enough (but it’s still a wee too slow loading; and it takes 20 clicks of one button to apply one sponsorship logo onto my dumb trunks).

There’s a lovely variety of punching, kicking, grappling and submission moves. (It took me an afternoon to command them all.)

As a bonus, actor and stand-up comedian Joe Rogan announces. He’s more involved than most sports announcers. He’s a UFC commentator in real life, and his excited exclamations about violence are oddly thrilling.

Like: “Brutal punches! Standing over him! Punching his face in!” And: “You see him standing over him, just pounding his face in!”

Granted, that’s a lot of “pounding his face in” and “punching his face in.” But it’s far, far preferable to that snotty little whiner who plays “UFC” online but doesn’t want to get kicked. Waaaaah.

(“UFC 2009 Undisputed” retails for $60 for Xbox 360 and PS3 — Plays fun. Looks very good. Challenging. Rated “T” for alcohol reference, blood, language, mild suggestive themes, violence. Four stars out of four.)

What do you think? Tell me at delfman@reviewjournal.com, or post your reviews and rants at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

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