Deadliest Warrior: The Game Hands-OnBy Patrick Klepek - Posted Apr 12, 2010
Who would win in a battle between an Apache warrior and a Spartan gladiator?
Deadliest Warrior, a downoadable Xbox Live Arcade title based on the Spike TV show of the same name, intends to let gamers find out. The pitch? Placing pre-firearms warriors against one another in head-to-head matches to find out who would come out on top. Whereas the outcome is partially determined by the writers for television, the game version puts the conclusion in your hands.
Deadliest Warrior is coming from Pipeworks Software, a developer who's touched a number of franchises you're probably familiar with. The studio worked on the PlayStation 2 version of Electronic Arts' Boogie, two Prince of Persia games on PSP -- Rival Swords and Revelations -- and an update of Midway's classic Rampage franchise, Rampage: Total Destruction. Clearly, Pipeworks is used to working on licensed property, but they aren't that familiar with fighters.
The pre-alpha version of Deadliest Warrior that I recently both watched and played with showed promise as a downloadable extension of the series. It's certainly not going to be a replacement for other fighting games in your personal lineup, but if you're a fan of the show, there's something here; you get to become part of the fantasy that's made the show a hit.
Deadliest Warrior contains many warriors from the first season, one from the upcoming second season and all parties involved promised there was opportunity for downloadable content, if the game's a success. Key to that, however, may be be finding an audience outside of the show, though fans of graphic violence may like Deadliest Warrior too. At one point, I watched the developers throw a spear into a Spartan's head, causing it to be ripped clean from the rest of the Apache's body. One-hit kills are difficult to pull off, but doable.
The violence is both an entertaining visual effect and a reflection of how these battles play out on the show and, according to their predictions, in real-life. It wouldn't take four or five minutes for a battle between two ancient warriors to come to a conclusion -- it would most likely take a matter of seconds, if that. Deadliest Warrior's gameplay reflects such a combative outcome, as every match I participated in was over, violently, in over a minute or so.
Deadliest Warrior arrives later this year on Xbox Live Arcade.