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Game Name : Deathrow
Date Reviewed : 2003-02-25 06:27:42

Written By : Daniel Crabtree

I couldn't help but get excited about the launch of Deathrow, with game play similar to that of the excellent speedball series it looked set to stun. Initially I was quite disappointed by the game, it hadn't manage to live up to my overly high expectations. Despite this Deathrow is still one of the best Xbox titles available and it's game play especially with a few friends is fantastic.

When you start to play through the game the number of options, strategies, tactics, levels and team characteristics lead to a complex game that can be played for quite some time. But the game has been criticised for it's use of strong violence and swearing. The strong level of violence when playing with 'no rules' and throughout the game in general isn't anything to be disappointed at. But the swearing which is actually very quiet and hard to hear wasn't necessary and does nothing but restrict the games audience. Due to this I cannot recommend this game for younger gamers.

The main part of the game has you playing through a tournament, working your way up from the bottom of the ladder. Between games you will have the opportunity to buy new players, train existing players, health damaged players and substitute players. You even get the opportunity to purchase drug's for your players, which may have serious unwanted side effects. The matches are broken up into 4 quarters, during the match your players can become injured or even knocked out. At the quarters you will get the opportunity to heal your players or make substitutions. Healing your players at this stage costs twice as much as between games, but if you're players are not fully healed they can be knocked out more easily and are much slower. This leads to interesting tactics and game play both on and off the field of battle and each match is a battle. While your main aim is to get the ball in the other teams goal, how you do this is up to you. The game's is played using a sharp spinning disk, players must obtain possession of the disk. To get the disk you could slide tackle an enemy with the disk, be passed the disk by one of your computer controlled team mates, pick it up from the ground or just kick and punch a player until he drops it. You can also bet on the matches, one option for a triple your money bet is to win by exactly 2 goals - Quite a hard task. Especially with games going up to 30 goals in some cases.

Team work is crucial and the computer controlled opponents seem alot tougher than your team mates, on normal difficulty and up. You can control in general your team mates strategies, you can set them into a neural, strongly offensive, offensive, strongly defensive or defensive, but more options on their exact strategies would have been useful. This encourages you to get some friends to team up with you against the computer and this leads to the most fun you can have with the game. You still play the game in the same way but now new strategies and opportunities are opened for you as you can now coordinate your moves with your team mates. The game also features a number of things to unlock, you earn points which you can use to unlock bonuses. My favourite bonus would have to be the multidisk mode that lets you have 3 disks in play at once. The levels are also many and varied, with each opposition you face having it's own unique arena. Some allowing goals to be scored from both in front and behind the goals, some with ramps, or tunnels. These unique level designs make for more interesting strategy and game play. Now onto what options you have in game, you can jump, run, shoot, punch, kick and all those kinds of things, but you can also do the games signature move - Deathrow. To do this you just hold onto shoot button for a while and the disk goes green once powered up, you can then shoot the disk towards the opposing team or their goalie and it will slice right through them knocking them to the ground. The variety in Deathrow is quite astonishing, you have the variety of level designs, the variety of extra options and the variety of game tactics, in addition to all this variety you have a wide variety of interesting teams to battle as and against, from the prisoners to the police force, the military to the robots the teams are full of diversity, and they all have different characteristics and looks.

If you're a fan of the older speedball series you're going to love Deathrow. Overall it's a great game, with beyond excellent game play.

Graphics: 8 / 10

Sound: 8 / 10

Game Play: 10 / 10
This is where the game really shines, the number of strategies and tactics and unique level designs makes for some great action especially with a few friends.

Overall: 90%
A good game worthy of being in your elite Xbox collection, featuring superb game play.

Pros:
Good variety of level designs
Great game play
Excellent multiplayer support

Cons:
Unnecessary swearing



Title: Deathrow
Game Type: Action, Sports
Players: 1 - 8
Content Rating: Mature
Developer: SouthEnd Interactive
Publisher: Ubi Soft

Links:
SouthEnd Interactive - http://www.southend-interactive.com/
Ubi Soft - http://www.ubisoft.com/

 
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