Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat is a retail release of two previously released Xbox Live Arcade titles; Deadliest Warrior: The Game and Deadliest Warrior: Legends. The retail copy also comes with a bonus DVD featuring episodes of Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior show, including a few unaired episodes.
Having both titles in one package will gives fans of the show plenty of activities to do. Deadliest Warrior: The Game will put you in control of 12 of the fiercest warriors from the history books, battling in five different arenas. Ranging from the likes of Roman centurions to ninjas and pirates, it accurately details the different appearances and combat styles of these famous groups. The Apache, without any armor is agile and strikes quickly while the knight is slower but has strong direct attacks. Each warrior uses a mix of ranged, mid range and close combat weapons during every battle that feel like an accurate representation of what that individual would use.
New distinct weapons can be unlocked for each warrior by completing arcade mode. Arcade mode is the standard single player mode that consists of your chosen warrior doing battle against the rest of the Deadliest Warrior roster.
In addition to arcade mode, there is also battle and practice mode. Battle allows you to play against either a computer opponent or a human opponent locally or over Xbox Live. While the online player base for the game is shallow, playing against a friend locally as two figures from history can be fun.
Practice mode gives you the opportunity to practice your moves against a non-combative computer character. Surprisingly there are quite a few combos available for each character, which breaks down further by weapon. While the combos only consist of three to four button presses and are not as intricate as other fighting games, they add depth to the combat.
The developers included a few welcome elements that elevate the first title. Including the ability to save footage of a map to watch later, which is something many top tier fighting games still have not included. It also tracks various statistics from every match, which is great for those who want to improve their fighting prowess. My favourite feature is the historical facts that ease the burden of the long loading screens. Learning about the warrior I choose is a great way to integrate the historical elements of the show.
All of the above listed features are also included in the second game, Deadliest Warrior: Legends. Instead of using general types of warriors from the past, Legends uses actual historic figures such as Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. In terms of presentation, Legends shares many elements with the previous title but makes a few bold choices that change it dramatically.
The first departure from the formula is the removal of the health bar. There is no arbitrary amount of health for each character. Instead each character can die due to realistic attacks. Shooting an opponent in the head with an arrow is a one hit kill that ends the round immediately. The only way to determine how much damage has been dealt is a heartbeat sound that signals when one character is close to death. It doesn’t differentiate which character is hurt but this can easily be determined by how the fight has progressed. A timer has also been added to each fight to make sure they don’t last longer than two minutes.
Each historical figure also has their own level to do battle in, which are more open and include much more depth than the levels of the first game. There is also an added graveyard level that is unique to this double package. This rounds the total amount of levels to twelve in legends, over the twice the amount of levels in the first game.
The two new modes present in Legends are training mode and Generals. There is a practice mode to hone your skills but training mode gives a great tutorial regarding the basics and advanced fighting concepts of the game. The lessons taught give a surprising amount of details while allowing you to practice each lesson before moving on to the next.
Generals is a very cool mode that is a nice change of pace from the standard combat of Deadliest Warrior. In generals you control the army of one of the game’s characters and must successfully take over your opponent’s castle. With a limited amount of soldiers you must conquer neutral territory and enemy troops as your make your way to the opponent’s capital. Generals is essentially a table top strategy game that uses dice roll to determine how successful each battle is. Whenever your army attacks a castle it triggers a fight between your character and the character who holds control of the castle. Generals mode is a bare bones strategy mini game but it is a fun addition to the traditional fighting game.
Graphically Legends is a decent looking game but there are many better looking fighting games available on the Xbox 360. Each character model is authentically detailed, as are their unique battle arenas. Legends is a visual step up from the first game which could pass for a original Xbox title.
Due to the small community of both titles it is hard to find a match online. Once you have beaten the arcade mode of both games with every character on varying difficulties and have nabbed every achievement there isn’t much more to do unless you have a second player ready for a historic beat down.
The Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat package offers two surprisingly robust fighting games that are authentic to both the television series and the historical figures present. Compared to a traditional fighting game, Deadliest Warrior lacks the depth of fighting game mechanics and the online community needed to flourish and produce longevity. As an adaptation of the Spike TV program, it accurately portrays the best aspects of the show; battles between historical figures with varied strengths and weaknesses and attention to historical detail. With the inclusion of a DVD containing unseen episodes of the TV show, Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat is a great package for fans of the show.
This review is based on a retail copy of the 360 version of Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat.