There are times when I demand the finest from life; times when I want the correct cabernet to be served with my medium-rare porterhouse steak. Or when I want a game that exemplifies the best of the gaming medium and stands out as a work of art. Then there are the other times, or as I call them - most times, when all I really want is a cold beer, a warm burger, and game that makes me say, “holy shit that was awesome!”
Deadliest Warrior: The Game nicely fits in to that second category. For those unfamiliar with the show, let me explain. Each week a group of “experts” pits two historical warriors against each other in series of scientific tests to prove who is better fit for combat. This is done by repeatedly slashing and stabbing ballistic gel dummies filled with red goo. Once the goo data is compiled, they then pit the historic bad-asses against each other in dramatic re-creation. And that is where the game comes in.
The game at its core is a standard fighter: you choose one of eight historical warriors and then face the others in a one-on-one fight to the death. For me, a fighting game needs two things to be worthy of my time: interesting characters and an engaging fighting system. The characters at face value are fairly generic, consisting of a Knight, Pirate, Viking, Ninja, Samurai, Spartan, Apache, and Centurion. However, the game does its best to give some personality to these otherwise bland individuals. For example, a victory with the Pirate usually ends with his swigging a drink, falling over, and farting audibly. Classy, no, but funny the first time around.
The fighting system is the real surprise for me. It is good, and more importantly fun. Each character has 3 standard weapons: one each for short, medium and long-range attacks. A variation of each weapon can be unlocked through arcade mode game play. The rounds are fast with most fights lasting less then 10 seconds. The quickness of the rounds means that at times you need to be smart on what attacks you use as opposed to being faster on the button. For example, the Knight can be quite effective with his sword (medium-range attack), but a well-timed shot with his crossbow (long-range) can end a match instantly. However, shots from the Knight can also be slow and leave him open to attack, like allowing the much faster Ninja the time he needs to lop off your head. If you are the kind of fighting fan that enjoys complex combos, look elsewhere as this game doesn’t really have them or need them.
The game has two mini-games that you play during the arcade mode: a pig carcass slashing mini-game and a hack-a-character-to-pieces mini-game. Both are short, relatively easy, and only serve as way to unlock new weapons. As a fan of the show, I would have loved to see more “training” mini-games to add some depth to the single player. A shooting range or a ballistics-gel slashing dummy would have been nice additions and nods to the show. It is hard to find too much to complain about this game as a ten-dollar release. If you are a casual fighter fan that feels overwhelmed by the experts that excel in Street Fighter IV and enjoys the occasional fart joke followed by copious amounts of blood and gore, Deadliest Warrior: The Game, may be just what the fake TV-combat doctor ordered. Very Good Outstanding | Very Good | Fair | Poor | AwfulRecommended Buy Price: $9.00Current MSRP: $10.00Deadliest Warrior: The Game was provided for review by Spike Games. I have played the game for four and a half hours accumulating 2 out of 12 Achievements for 30 GamerScore and 1 of 2 avatar awards. Deadliest Warrior: The Game is available exclusively for the Xbox 360.