STAFF REVIEW of Deadliest Warrior (Xbox 360 Arcade)

Sunday, July 25, 2010.
by Stacy Code

Deadliest Warrior Box art Deadliest Warrior, developed by Pipeworks, is an attempt to take the concept of Spike TVs television show of the same name and translate it into a 3d fight game. Unfortunately, if you arent familiar with the TV show or have no interest in it, what youre left with is the game itself, and the
game itself fails on many levels - I dont think Id be amiss to call the game a flat-out failure.

The television program, Deadliest Warrior, presents an
interesting concept. Each week on the show two different
types of warrior are selected from history and a speculative
what if is explored - what if a Nazi S.S. soldier fought
a Viet Cong? What if Jesse James fought Al Capone? Its the
sort of speculation that usually took place on the
playground after school when you and your friends would
argue over whether or not Spiderman could beat up Batman.
The TV show studies the combatants, explains their history,
studies the effects of their weapons and techniques and how
they damage the human body, and then after consulting
various experts and historians, flimsily simulates the
battle in computers and re-enacts it for the screen with
actors. Its sort of one part History Channel to two parts
professional wrestling.

The Deadliest Warrior game presents the same concept. A
typical 3d fighter, you are given a selection of characters
and square off against the CPU or another player. In the
case of this game, youre offered eight historial warriors
from different eras - Apache, a Roman Centurion, medieval
Knight, Ninja, Pirate, Samurai, Spartan, and Viking. Each
fighter has a short, medium, and long range attack, and an
assortment of special moves and combos. Theres a variety of
environments to fight in - castle courtyard, Japanese
garden, and so on. All of the typical ingredients are there
for a typical fight game. And thats where the game ends.
Sadly, thats all there is.

Other than the cachet of the TV show title on the front of
the game, there is nothing to make this a worthwhile fighter
over another game. The production values are minimal - the
character models are simple and generic (the knight is a
very plain knight, the pirate looks like, well ... a
pirate.) and you get the feeling youre just playing a
Halloween costume - they almost border on caricature. The
animation is par, with some cool moves and swishes and a lot
of decapitations and amputations - theres more lopped-off
limbs than all of George Lucas Star Wars movies put
together. Textures are simple, there is no normal mapping,
bump mapping, lighting effects, reflections... visually, the
game feels very stripped down. Its graphically inferior to
even classic xbox fighters such as Kakuto Chojin whose
technology is now nine years old. In lieu of music, there
are environmental sounds - cicadas buzz in the Japanese
garden, crickets chirp in the medieval courtyard - but the
audio is minimal - a cacophony of generic grunts, groans,
clanks, clangs, and a token line or two for each character
to speak upon victory. A brief musical fanfare marks the end
of a match, and a music loop plays over the opening menu.
There isn't a cutscene or a cinema to be found at the
opening of the game - it's pretty barren, and there's not so
much as a text crawl to explain the premise of the show or
why these fighters have come together.

The real dealbreaker here is that I could get past an ugly
game with little character if there was some depth or
complexity to the fight mechanics, but they are unpolished,
unbalanced, and crippled by an engine that will frequently
freeze for about a sixteenth of a second in the middle of
combat - enormously distracting and in the case of a 3d
fighter, a total gamebreaker. Unless youre a fan of the TV
show, theres simply no reason to show up for this one and
even if you are a fan of the show, youll get over the glow
of seeing the logo on your screen after about twenty minutes
of playing this one. Instead, Im going to suggest to you
how the drudgery of household chores are more fun AND less
expensive than The Deadliest Warrior.

1. Detail your car. Armorall, Turtle Wax and some rags wont
run you more than fifteen bucks. Its nice to be outside
right now. Put on your iPod, have some time in the sun and
youll feel good about your clean car.

2. Wash your dishes. You know theyve been stacking up while
youve been playing games - go tackle them. A copy of
AC/DCs Back In Black (or the rock of your choice) will run
you about twelve bucks and some Lemon Fresh Sunlight dish
detergent certainly wont run you more than two. Youll rock
to the beats and youll be able to steal snacks from a clean
kitchen when you go back to your gaming.

3. Do your laundry. Whether you have your own facilities,
the washing machine on your apartment complex floor, or you
have to haul it to the local laundo, theres no reason
laundry should be a dull, wasted two hours of your day. A
copy of a favorite book or magazine, some cheese, crackers,
and fresh fruit wont even break ten bucks, and not only
will you be entertained, but youll be ABLE to entertain
should you happen to meet someone at the laundromat! If
youve got your own machines at home, do it anyway! Its
like a picnic in your back yard.

Deadliest Warrior is, unfortunately, a game without a home.
If you like a good fighter with some depth and complexity,
its not the game for you. And if youre just a casual
player who likes the show and is excited to try a fight game
that explores the same concept, you likely wont last an
hour through the lackluster production values. If there were
a TV show where fight games were pitted against each other,
Deadliest Warrior loses - Mortal Kombat kills it with
Flawless Victory, Street Fighter kicks it out of the ring
with Perfect, Soul Calibur runs it through on a blade with
Perfect, Killer Instinct brutally shows it No Mercy -
all the way back through gaming history.

Overall: 3.7 / 10
Gameplay: 4.0 / 10
Visuals: 3.5 / 10
Sound: 4.0 / 10


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