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XBox Reviews: Deathrow


Deathrow Screenshots


The Final Say!


Deathrow - reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: 18 October 2002
Review Score: 8.75/10 
Distributed By: Ubi Soft

Welcome to the sport of the future in Ubi Soft's Deathrow. Mixing two genres which we all love, sport and violence, Deathrow is sport of the future.


Incorporating brutal combat and a futuristic disc game, Deathrow presents itself with a gamut of gameplay options for all players, not to mention and impressive multiplayer support for up to 8 players for a fully fielded team.


The essence of the title is the bloodsport and Deathrow provides that in spades. There are two main options being the viewpoints that you will play the title in, one being the sports view which provides your contemporary overhead angle.


The other one and my preferred is the action view where you only really see the character you are controlling at any one time. There are guidelines showing you the angle of your throw and the position of the goals and where the disc is currently located.


Not only does this bring you into the thick of the fray, it also allows greater control over your player, especially when engaging in combat with the other team. The amount of moves available to players when fighting is staggering and I must confess that on more that one occasion I was happy to let the game's impressive AI look after the goal scoring whilst I ran around kicking butt.


Possibly the only problem with this game considering how much it does rely on violence is that when fighting there is a disconcerting feeling at times of being aloof from a lot of the action as it is occurring. The rumble in the controller doesn't respond at moments that I believe it should and the combatants don't always look as though they are truly hitting each other.


Graphically Deathrow is an absolute treat to look at and takes advantage of the powerful XBox graphics hardware. The title features bump mapping and specular lighting amongst other techniques to bring you gameplay and visuals that will immerse you in the game itself. It runs smoothly and doesn't seem to take many hits as far as frame rates go considering the amount of action taking place at any one time on the screen.


I guess before getting too much further into the review I do have to tell you that the game does include a LOT of obscene language and the use of such is pretty gratuitous. The main times I heard it was during fights and when one player would taunt another.


A favourite tactic of mine was to fully get involved with fighting the opposition and beating them out of a victory which is automatic if you manage to injure every player to the point that they cannot continue. The reactions of the players is wonderful with a large level of facial animations being used to display character reaction. The game is jam packed with features and each team has it's own unique characteristics, back story and abilities.

Arenas that you compete in are varied and well laid out. For the most part they are designed to enable fast paced action and quick goal scoring (if you wish to compete in the traditional way of course). Many effects have been used to make arenas genuinely exciting places to compete in and it was truly awesome to have some transparent flooring and seeing activity taking place beneath you. I did find that whilst I was getting used to the game that all the cool effects and scenery was actually a distraction to the game itself!

Being that there is combat involved, there are also injuries. With Deathrow, a victory means money and the ability to buy medical aid for your players. There is also a micro management module allowing player changing and very general customisation. There are a swag of other features for the game and they are listed below:

  • Multiplayer support for up to 8 players
  • Realistic mature language
  • More than 150 unique characters
  • 140 fighting + shooting moves + dozens of holds
  • Over 800 base animations
  • Highly detailed characters, using more than 55 bones and 7000 polygons for realistic character shape and lifelike movement
  • Facial animation capable of blinking, talking, expressing pain, anger, happiness and other moods
  • More than 15 combat arenas, each with their own unique architecture and gameplay elements
  • 18 playable teams, each with their own background, special abilities, and motivation
  • Automatic victory if you remove all of your opponent's players from the field of combat
  • Team management allowing you to customize your own team
  • Build players' statistics from match to match while gaining speed and power bonuses
  • Xbox effects such as bump-mapping, specular lighting and bumped reflection mapping
  • The ability for users to import their own music

In summary, Deathrow will not be everyone's cup of tea due to the language and yes some of the actual visual content. However it is an extremely strong title for older sports fans who don't mind trying something new. The attention to detail and high quality sounds are obvious and the sheer fact that the game does not play the same way twice will ensure a healthy life for it in your XBox.

- Tory Favro

Copyright 2002 www.impulsegamer.com