360 XBLA Review - Deadliest Warrior

19th July 2010 - Based on the hit TV series where scientists of sorts study, research and reenact fantasy bouts from the worlds greatest fighters from throughout history, for example; who would win between a Pirate and a Spartan. That’s right, they bring to life every little boys dream of seeing Ninja’s, Viking’s, and even Samurai going at it to the death. And this game lets you play out these magical fights with a surprising amount of enjoyment. But will this XBLA game be as big a hit as the show?

As you already have a general idea of what the go here is, let me start by saying that The Deadliest Warrior is quite possibly the greatest idea for a fighting game I’ve ever heard of. But an idea cannot go far without the driving force of execution behind it.

To be nice, we are dealing with an Arcade game here, so you cannot honestly expect much quality. And given that was the mindset I came into this game with, I was very happy to see and realize that this game is actually executed very well. The fighting mechanics are actually better than a lot of ‘real’, or full-price fighting games. You have your high, mid and low attacks and character sensitive ranged attack. Actually, every character has a personal set of moves divided over two different weapons interchangeable throughout the fights, plus their ranged attacks. As you play through the games Arcade mode you will even unlock new weapons, ranged attacks and even armour for each character.

You can take the fight online, but only if you’re lucky. Not only is it insanely difficult to actually find a joinable match, but as the scenario seems to play out, it will be a laggy experience and result in some sort or rage inspired forfeit. The game is a great, and very difficult single player experience, and even better as a local multiplayer fighter, same as most fighting and even racing games go today.

The fights are generally over very quickly in The Deadliest Warrior, as it seems the developers have really given it all a ‘realistic’ sense, despite the crazy mash-up of characters. You can even end fights in one perfectly executed 3 or 4 button combo if the enemy doesn’t block and parry right. And at first it may seem pretty lame or stupid, but it soon becomes one of the main reasons you will love the game.

Perhaps the worst thing about The Deadliest Warrior is the amount of options you have for a fight. No, not options like gore, difficulty, gamma etc, but rather range of different fighters and fighting arenas. There are a total of only 8 fighters, and while they may all be very different and unique, it really isn’t enough to satisfy all your fantasies of seeing things like Cavemen fight a Cowboy. And to make matters worse there are only 4 (plus one unlockable) arenas to fight each other in. It makes a lot of the fights seem a little similar and even though isn’t a major thing for a fighting game, does make a difference in the end. Lets hope to see some downloadable character packs in the future!


Like I said with the gameplay; this is an Arcade game and you really cant hold much against it for its price tag. And again I end surprised by just how good the detail of things here is. The characters not only have their realistic and sensitive move sets, but also move as fluent and realistic as you would expect them to really move.

What I mean to say is, the animation of all the characters in this game is amazing! As they walk, attack and fight, these fighters look like the trained soldiers and warriors you see in high-end epic films like Troy, or Kingdom of Heaven. It all adds a good amount of fun and depth to the countless fights you and your mates will have playing this game.

But animation aside, The Deadliest Warrior is actually a pretty ugly game. You would think with the small amount of possible environments, the ones you are given would actually look nice, but no. The environment and majority of the textures are quite ugly and very gritty- and not in the Gears of War type of way which makes things look all the more brutal.

There is pretty much nothing to be had here. The fighters all have their expected grunts and groans, and apart from the strange and oddly amusing things that come out of the Pirates mouth as he jumps and dodges around the place, everything here is mediocre and best. Even the potentially awesome battle music score isn’t present so its like I said; there’s nothing noteworthy here.

Personally I believe the miniscule price tags of 800, 1200 and even 1600 Microsoft Points Arcade games are always good value, as most $100-120 games these days don’t even give off many hours of playtime. But I understand that a lot of people still wouldn’t be happy about digging out 800MP for a title as small as this. So its to those people that I say for this small price of 800MP, you are getting to satisfy any and all (most of, anyway!) your childhood dreams of seeing these historical warriors square off and biff it out! You cant put a price tag on that!

But aside from sentimental value, The Deadliest Warrior is an addictive, fun and ultimately awesome Arcade title worthy of any collection, even if it is second in graphics and style to the bigger fighting games. There are untold amounts of fights to be had before you and some mates bore of this.

The Deadliest Warrior is a great, albeit very difficult, single player experience, an even better multiplayer fighter, and although it has some major network issues, the fun isn’t limited by the offline modes. Its fun, addictive and above all else; The Deadliest Warrior is awesome. Its got a great choice of wholly unique fighters and is animated very well. And apart from a few scrapes here and there, it’s a solid title and definitely worth checking out if you’re a fighting fan.

AAG SCORE: 6.9/10

+ Great concept, executed with great gameplay mechanics
+ Very effective and detailed character movement and animation
+ Pirate vs. Viking! Seriously!

- Not many characters to choose from limits replayability in fights
- Even less fighting arenas seconds limitations
- Under par graphical features and textures on characters and environments


Reviewed and Written By John Elliott