If youíre going to enjoy Deadliest Warrior you need to leave your pretensions with your imported Scott Pilgrim comics and your Melbourne Film Festival tickets, because things are about to get
The premise is simple - it couldnít be more so. Deadliest Warrior is a TV show where Ďscientistsí pit ancient warriors against one another in an effort to see which one might come out on top. The show features science more suited to Brainiac than Mythbusters, to give you an idea of what youíre in for.
The game follows a similar style - thereís no science here though, just swords, axes, shuriken and decapitated limbs. Basically, you pick from the range of warriors, select your opponent and then battle to the gruesome, bloody death.
The warriors include Pirate, Viking, Knight, Ninja, Samurai, Centurion, Spartan and Apache. Thereís an option on the menu for Downloadable Content which seems to hint at more possible warriors, though none exist yet.
Each warrior has their own distinct weapons, though
all the weapons follow the same set - normal, long and ranged weapons. The Knight has a Broadsword, Halberd and a Longbow, for example.
Certain warriors have other advantages beyond their actual weaponry - the knight has heavy armour and a shield, so he can block ranged attacks and absorb some damage. Heís slow as a result. The Apache has no armour, no shield and a knife as a weapon. His long weapon is a pair of axes. His advantage is outstanding speed and a quick fire ranged weapon - allowing him to strike from afar.
The gameplay itself is actually very similar to one of my favourite fighting games of all time - Bushido Blade. Like Bushido Blade, timing is everything in Deadliest Warrior, and a minute error can quickly turn into a loss.
Those losses are brutal and hilarious. Iíve seen the Knight dropped thanks to a carefully placed spear by the Spartan - through the slit in his visor. I watched a Viking lose an arm only to cleave the head off my Samurai - his one armed victory salute punctuated by the three arrows he had sticking from his stomach.
Superficially speaking, the combat is simplistic. You have a high, medium and low attack - plus your ranged attack. Newcomers will probably mash buttons to satiate their immediate blood lust - once youíve played through the gameís arcade mode youíll understand the timing of each warrior better, and youíll be able to guard, parry and attack with finesse.
The gameplay is all in full 3D as well - allowing you to take full advantage of the speed benefits each warrior may or may not have. The levels arenít especially varied, but attention to detail is evident in the props in each one i.e. the Japanese garden features authentic looking statues - which you can use as cover from arrows.
The warriorís have special moves too - the Ninja blows disorienting dust to blind opponents momentarily, while others have moves designed simply to deliver devastating damage quickly. Each special though, when done with the correct amount of remaining health, results in a special finishing move - the Samurai clubs his enemy and removes his head, the Spartan stabs his enemy ala Brad Pitt in Troy.
The Pirate is the only one with no special fatality cut-scene - instead, if timed right, the bomb he throws blows his enemy to pieces. And if itís timed wrong...
Thereís extra weapons on offer to players who power through the arcade game as well - allowing the Samurai to get his hands on a Naginata, the Viking gets to throw two spears at once and so on. Different armour is also available, so youíre not stuck playing the lumbering Knight if you want to wear just chainmail instead of full plate.
There are some hitches - the graphics arenít amazing and thereís a bit of slowdown from time to time (usually when you load a new battle). Clipping glitches crop up from time to time as well - hands or arms through shields are usually the culprit when they occur.
None of those issues really matter in the face of what Deadliest Warrior really is - an outstanding game for the asking price. The depth of the fighting system wonít be apparent until after at least an hour of playing - a length which might prove too long for some - but at 800MS points itís worth the time.