The argument over who would win in a fight between one fighter and another has raged since the first time a kid said that his Dad could beat up another kid’s Dad. That is the premise of the Spike TV show Deadliest Warrior and Pipeworks Software has taken that concept and turned it into the easy to pick up yet incredibly brutal Deadliest Warrior: The Game for the Xbox 360.
Deadliest Warrior: The Game allows you to match up eight different fighters: Apache, Centurion, Knight, Ninja, Pirate, Samurai, Spartan and Viking. Pipeworks wisely chose to keep the roster limited to historical fighters who did not have access to firearms with the exception of the Pirate who has a one shot blunderbuss pistol. Each fighter is armed with one short-range weapon, one medium-range weapon, and one ranged weapon. They also each have their own special moves that can be used to knock down an opponent or trigger a finishing move a la Mortal Kombat if the enemy’s health is low enough.
The fighters have a high, middle, and low attack as well as a ranged attack to inflict damage with. Each has their own combos of the high, middle, and low attacks that can range from three to five button presses depending on the class the fighter falls in along with the finishing move. Certain weapon types also have advantages over certain types of armor. Piercing weapons do better against heavily armored opponents like the Knight, for example. Meanwhile, some fighters such as the Ninja and Apache are much more nimble which creates a kind of rock, paper, scissors scenario as you try to discover the best tactics to use against certain fighters.
Fans of the show will immediately recognize the same format, moves and weapons that were used for the fighters featured during the show. The Apache’s finishing move, for example, has him disabling his opponent by slashing the back of his legs before giving the final blow.
Oh, and did I mention that this is all very bloody? Because it is quite bloody. How bloody you ask? Think of the tea house scene at the end of Kill Bill Vol 1. Limbs and heads can be chopped off causing a torrent of blood to cover pretty much everything. Even a mini-game that involves chopping up pig carcasses results in copious amounts of blood covering the floor and the player.
Because the game attempts to be more realistic, fights can be incredibly short with just a few well-time blows all that is needed to take out an opponent. There are times when a ranged attack can result in a single fatal blow and a very quick end to a round. But the shortness of the rounds only gives the game a more intense flare as mistakes can be costly and protecting yourself by blocking, dodging or parrying is as important or more important than the actual attacks. Also, the damage caused by the attacks can result in you being able to mount a successful rally to win a round even if your fighter is injured.
Multiplayer consists of player matches, ranked battles, and tournament battles which are similar to Street Fighter IV’s asynchronous tournaments. You can quickly tell who has played a few matches already and who is just starting based on their use of tactics. Believe it or not, Deadliest Warrior requires some thought and strategy to survive instead of charging full speed ahead and button mashing. Those that fail to do so will quickly find themselves without a head.
For as fun as the multiplayer portion of the game can be, it’s also a source of frustration I had with Deadliest Warrior. I was never able to successfully use Quick Match to log on to a game and it would take several tries to get connected to a game using the custom settings. The best way to connect was to create my own match and wait for someone to join. For an otherwise enjoyable game, this was a bummer.
There’s also the issue of finishing an online match and being dumped back to the main menu instead of allowing the two fighters decide whether they would like to face off again using different fighters or in a different arena. Their only option is to find each other again in the matchmaking.
Sadly, these types of quirks are common in the game. The Arcade mode features four matches where you can unlock new weapons for your warrior. However, instead of allowing the player select the new and better weapon before they move on to the next match, players have to die in a subsequent match before they are given the option to change weapons.
Pipework Games is promising more content with new fighters used in the show and hopefully new arenas and challenges as well.
Despite the problems with multiplayer matchmaking, Deadliest Warrior: The Game is worth the $10 spent as the pluses overshadow the minuses at that price point. It won’t win any beauty contests but the game will leave you laughing or “Oh-ing and Ah-ing” over the simple, quick, bloody and brutal action. The core fighting mechanics are solid and discovering the different moves and tactics for each of the eight fighters was gratifying in an “easy to pick up and do some massive damage quickly” way. Plus, there’s the opportunity to have a Knight fight a Ninja or a Viking to take on an Apache Warrior. And who doesn’t want to see that?
Final Score: 80/100
Enjoy this article? Keep up to date on our latest articles by clicking the ‘Subscribe” button above or following us on Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube. Send tips to [email protected]