Game Review

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Platform: Xbox
  • ESRB: Mature
  • Genre: Sports
  • Players: 1-4
  • Online: No
  • Developer: Southend
  • Publisher: Ubi-Soft
  • Suggested Retail: $49.99
  • Graphics: B+
  • Sound: B
  • Gameplay: A
  • Replay: A
  • Fun Factor: A
  • Reviewer's Wild Card: A-


Prison fighting can't be this fun

By Troy Roberts     January 22, 2003

As much as I love sports games, at times I feel like never playing a sports game again because they just get old. Now, obviously, time passes by, I remember that I love sports and can't do without it. But, it seems to happen every year. Especially when football season is over, which is coming very soon (so don't expect to see a ton of sports reviews from me). But I've recently stumbled across a game from Ubi-Soft that isn't like any other sports games; to be honest, it isn't like any game I've played before.

DEATHROW is a weird amalgam of numerous sports. In some ways it feels like basketball, and in others like hockey. You have an energized disc that you are trying to throw through your opponent's goal, which is a very small loop. So, you just run around, pass back and forth between your teammates. Oh yeah, the game is completely full contact (where you can just give a beat down to another player instead of playing the game). But, for some reason the game really resembles Blitzball from FINAL FANTASY X (just minus the water). And since the game within DEATHROW is called Blitz, it seems to really make me think that developer Southend looked at FINAL FANTASY X and said "Hey, we can make this a real game." And whether or not that is what they did, it isn't that bad of an idea.

DEATHROW runs pretty well on the Xbox, and there doesn't seem to be any slowdown from what I can tell. I'm not saying I'm surprised, but there is definitely a lot of action in this game. The game doesn't look half bad either. The character models look pretty realistic, and the backgrounds and arenas are drawn up pretty well also. One thing about DEATHROW is that it will take a few plays to get used to. It's not one of those "jump-in and go" games. It'll take a little time to learn what you're doing.

One great thing about DEATHROW is the multiplayer mode. Single player mode is pretty fun, but the game obviously shines when playing with a few friends. The games can get pretty tense too (one fun way I've found is to have 4 real people on one team against a computer opponent...never before has cooperation been so hard).

One thing you'll have to note when playing DEATHROW is the extremely foul language you are presented with during gameplay. And I thought the GRAND THEFT AUTO series was pushing it. Really, though, I understand that Ubi-Soft and Southend were going for this futuristic prison thing, but does the language have to be this strong? I can't really even play this in front of many people without the sound turned down or I get a look of disdain from them.

If you can stomach the language, or have a terrific mute button, DEATHROW really is a fun game that can be played alone or with a few friends. Sports games fans will probably get a kick out of this game because it is something new, and not a rehash of the same game with updated graphics like we're used to seeing. Check it out.


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