STAFF REVIEW of Deathrow (Xbox)

Thursday, October 24, 2002.
by Tony Ingrassia

Deathrow Box art OK, I know that Master Chief's deciples are going to be hot on my heals after this hits the Top 100, but i don't care, this game needs some seriouse attention. The Story in short...way in the future an underground game arouse, a great way for gangs to settle their "differences". Then a huge corporation took notice and turned it into a media event watched by everyone (Think Running Man)Now you have teams from Convicts, to Cops facing off in one of the most brutal sports around. No weapons, but no rules either. With the mass media & corporate america running this thing it's just fair to add side wagers, drugs(steroids), and sleezy managers to the mix. If you want to rise to the top you best leave your sissy genes at the door cause this is a no holds bar, can't run and hide, fast paced, death sport.............Welcome to Deathrow.

This is not going to be everyones cup of tea. Honestlly i got the game, put it in the box just to take a gander cause i didn't have alot of time to play at first. The Intro was awsome, then the game started and i was saying to myself, WTF?? I was a little dissapointed to say the least. Later that night i sat down for what turned out to be a 6 hour marathon. This game is deep, you control a 4 man team in a soccer like match, no , no kicking except the opponents ass. There are 2 circular "goals" at each end, and you use a "disc" to score. That's the simple part. 150 warriors, 18 teams, Single-Conquest-& Network play. The game starts with the disc popping up in the middle of the arena, as you sprint to get it before the oponent, controls are easy to pick up, offensivelly as well as defensivelly. 4 control schemes are available to customize it to your liking. The player you control will display a pass line as well as a shot line for the direction the disc will go, passing is an auto feature, and you will assume the player with the disc, although if your caught on deffense your team will go forward without you. You can adjust your team strategy on the fly with the directional pad. Normal is a balance of Off. & Deff. and you can tweek it to all out off. or lock down on deffence with a lead. Conquest mode is the tournament, there are 4 periods of 2 minutes each (can be modified)you score points by throwing the disc through the goal, the pace is fast because play does not stop because the disc stays in play after scoring, so you can follow it through and shoot again from the backside. There are power ups in each arena ranging from health to cash. Even a lockdown mode were you will be magnatized to the floor for a time. The big appeal, NO RULES!! Is your team mate trailing you with the disc, take out the goalie and clear a path. On deffense, punch, kick, flip, pile drive, there are over 100 moves to be had to steel the disc away from your opponent. When you execute a great flip or something it goes into a "Bullet time" effect, this also happens if you pull off a "One time" pass with an open shot on goal. The AI is awsome, they don't forget who did the taunting or the beating and will come after you. On top of all of this you earn cash for how many injuries you cause, knock outs, crowd appeal, etc..."Train" your team with cash and improve their stats, buy new members, health slots, and heal your guys in between periods. Victories give you Unlock credits, specifically for unlocking teams, arenas, and players, plus a couple of surprises. There is so much here it could make your head spin, but the bottom line is, it's a fast paced sport with no rules and a ton of action. High replay value on this bad boy.

Fantastic!! Well textured andd detailed. The charecter are nicelly done with the pace of the game. The arena's are highly detailed and offer great lighting effects. The colored "Speed" trail the disc leaves and the spark of it hitting the metal edges of the goal or any other metal surface are sweet. The Intro is still my favorite, you feel like your sitting down to watch the actual event unfold.

The soundtrack is nice, the ambient sounds are wonderfull, crownd noise cheers, big "UHGS" when you just miss or lay a good smack down on someone. The dialouge is perfect for this type of game, lots of swearing and F this and F that, but it fits the game well. Dolby Digital enabled, giving you a great sense of the arenas your playing in.

XBL would have been awsome for this title.

Overall: 10.0 / 10
Gameplay: 10.0 / 10
Visuals: 10.0 / 10
Sound: 9.0 / 10


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