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Deathrow is a sports video game for the Xbox that was released on October 22, 2002, about 1 year after the release of the Xbox. The game was developed by Swedish developer SouthEnd Interactive and produced by Ubisoft Entertainment. Although the game’s sales were unspectacular, it won awards and reviewers applauded the game's uniqueness and character Deathrow (game)#External links. Deathrow is backwards compatible with the Xbox 360.
Despite the game's title, the fictional sport it simulates is called Blitz. Blitz is a futuristic extreme sport set in 2219 A.D. that combines many elements of different sports such as hockey, frisbee and fighting. At the time of its release, Deathrow’s graphics used advanced techniques such as bump mapped surfaces and sophisticated lighting effects. Deathrow is also one of the first Xbox games to include a custom soundtrack. Players can load music from the Xbox console into the game to have it accompany their playing.
Deathrow is geared toward a mature audience. Throughout the game, many of the characters' taunts toward the other team use vulgar language and many of the fighting moves made characters bleed and bruise. One of the members of Southend Interactive stated about the game’s mature rating: “We wanted to do games we would like to play ourselves. Most of the team members just don't like kiddie games. Then Ubisoft and Microsoft wanted to spice up the game with more blood, brutality and of course swearing.”
2197: In Los Angeles, Blitz - an extremely violent illegal sport - makes its first appearance. It is said to be a way for gangs to recruit new members.
2218: Prime Network takes up the sport. It sets the rules and creates the BDA: the Blitz Disc Association. Exhibition matches, with big prize money, are held. The show becomes a big hit throughout the solar system.
2219: The 1st official Blitz competition. After a bloody pre-selection process, 14 teams are still in the running. They were picked for their drive in combat and their sheer brutality. The cybernetic, genetic and chemical modifications made to the participants promise levels of violence never before seen on TV. The credo of this new game is as simple as pie: THE SHOW MUST GO ON!
The official BDA team. They are rumoured to come from forced training camps set up by the network. They are cyber-modified and drugged up to the eyeballs - all at the TV channel's expense - and they'll put on a show to slay all those TV junkies out there.
"Convicts are the worst scum of the galaxy - the most hardened criminals, sentenced to death for the most abominable acts. The penitentiary governors lured them on with the promise that victory would lead to freedom, but it's mostly out of sheer bloodlust that they enter the arena. For these guys, it's victory or death."
"The Protectors - a private militia, much prized by the celebrities of New Beverly Hills - have chosen their finest guards for this prestige team. Their sophisticated equipment makes them highly mobile in the arena. They're dazzlingly victorious. They strike first, and they strike hard."
A team consisting entirely of genetically altered women. Their legendary speed and precision shooting give them a clear advantage in the arena.
- Black Dragons
- Training Droids
The ultimate team, they are powerful, fast, and cohesive as a team. They disappeared for some years but have recently returned, even more dominant than before. They have to be unlocked to play in single match mode and cannot be used in conquest mode.
Tutorial: Helps players learn the controls and game rules in a match against the training droids. The game pauses itself frequently for players to become familiar with moves and techniques.
Single Match: Play a single game. Players have the option to choose from different teams, arenas, rules and round times.
Conquest: In this mode players take control of a team and take it from the rookie leagues all the way to the championship, acquiring and training new athletes along the way. This mode is similar to "franchise" modes in other sports games.
Network: This is a network-enabled version of "Single Match" mode. Up to 8 players may participate at the same time.
There are two primary ways of winning a match in Blitz. One is by having a higher score than your opponent once time is up. Scoring is accomplished by throwing the disc through the opponent’s goal. Another method of achieving victory is by knocking out the other team in any given round. Players can knock out the entire team through relentless fighting. There is no overtime, so ties are possible, although in "Conquest" mode players must beat the opposing team in order to advance to the next stage.
Despite receiving solid reviews from Game Rankings,  and multiple awards from IGN, (game)#External links the sales for Deathrow were modest. The game was not well advertised, receiving only a single page advertisement in the Official Xbox Magazine for 3 issues. The game's publicity however was excellent and generated significant print and online coverage which generated a lot of word of mouth, and web forum posts. TeamXbox had to deal with so many threads about Deathrow that they added a whole message board devoted to the game. A few of the game designers also came onto the forum to talk to the fans and promote their game.
TeamXbox: Interview with Southend Interactive http://interviews.teamxbox.com/xbox/455/Deathrow-Interview-SouthEnd-Interactive/p1/
IGN: Deathrow http://xbox.ign.com/objects/480/480121.html
Official Deathrow Game Manual
Game Rankings: Deathrow
IGN Best of 2002: Action Runner-Up
IGN Best of 2002: Game Nobody Played
IGN Editors Choice
TeamXbox Breakthrough Game of the Year