Gaming's greatest blood sports

Blood Bowl (1995)

Blood Bowl is a DOS adaption of the figurine board game of the same name. Again, it’s a more violent version of American football, except this time with fantasy characters and dismemberment.

Above: Since when is having more limbs than usual a “skill?”

A modern version is in currently in development by Cyanide Studios (based on the board game, not the original videogame).

Above: The latest adaption is to be released this year

Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball (1991)

It would be pointless to write a synopsis of this game when it is so well encapsulated by this product description, which seems to appear everywhere the game is referenced:

"When Bill Laimbeer played in the NBA, he wasn't exactly known for his sportsmanlike conduct. Now he's brought his rough-and-tumble style of basketball action to the SNES with BILL LAIMBEER'S COMBAT BASKETBALL. It's the year 2030, and Laimbeer is the commissioner of the pro basketball league. Seeing as he's in charge, he fires all the refs and throws the rulebook out the window - basketball the way he likes it. Now the players wear armor as weapons and mines are thrown from the stands, adding a whole new element to the game of hoops. You can create your own league of combat basketball by buying and selling players with up to seven other people in the league. Forget everything you know about the modern game of basketball, and get ready for a futuristic look at the game with BILL LAIMBEER'S COMBAT BASKETBALL."


For fun, here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

“The game predicts a  science-fiction version of the year 2030 in which there are only robot basketball players (excluding Bill Laimbeer).”

Robots… possibly, or maybe people in metallic armor. It can be hard to tell the difference. Actually no, they’re humans. Check out the super fast-paced gameplay:

Barbarian (Death Sword) (1987)

Another controversial game, Barbarian (Death Sword in the US) was scolded for depicting violence (including decapitations - no!) and women in bikinis (even worse than decapitations!). Mostly it was about barbarians fighting each other, and free posters.

Above: Free poster!

Pit-Fighter (1990)

Pit-Fighter was looking stupid years before Mortal Kombat was using digitized characters. In spite of its lack-luster console ports, the original arcade version stands tall as one of those games people remember liking. Just look at these spastic crowds and super-generic fighters!

While pretty much any fighting game could be categorized as a “blood sport,” if we included all of them we might as well have written “A bunch of fighting games” and left it at that. Pit-Fighter gets inclusion because the office insisted, so go play it.


  • Gahmah - March 12, 2009 3:41 a.m.

    Was that a poison barrel in pit fighter? Why'd he turn green? WHAT'S GOING ON?
  • reyalejandro13 - March 11, 2009 11:36 p.m.

    yeah... what a great article. blood is so much fun, especially in sprots form. I must say, when I first saw Smash TV on the XBLA, it was the first thing I downloaded. It is my most played game other than Halo. I can't wait for MadWorld. I need to play something other than Brawl and Mario Kart on my Wii.
  • peaceful765 - March 11, 2009 6:38 p.m.

    I had the free Barbarian poster on my wall when I was a kid. I had the speccy version of the game......I suddenly feel old.
  • Juriasu - March 11, 2009 2:35 p.m.

  • hot_heart - March 11, 2009 12:25 p.m.

    Man, Carmageddon is one of my all-time favourite games. I spent so much time playing that and the splat pack. Carmageddon II was also pretty good (besides those annoying timed missions) but TDR2000 just felt like it was missing something (or my expectations had changed by then). I would love to see a new incarnation but with that old-school feel. There was something about the first game that was so great. So uncomplicated. Great car and track designs, the engine noises and other sounds effects, that car weighting, the little touches. Smash TV is a classic and I used to play a lot of Unreal Tournament back in my uni days.
  • JimmySmurf - March 11, 2009 10:41 a.m.

    Oh my god, Deathrow is one of my favourite games of all time. Thank you very much for including it in this feature.
  • MarXmaN - March 11, 2009 8:56 a.m.

  • Romination - March 11, 2009 2:48 a.m.

    That kitty made me chortle in a childish and delicious manner. I never got to play Carmageddon, but I really wish I could go back and do it (orthattheymadeanewone). That looks illegally fun. i need it.
  • bamb0o-stick - March 11, 2009 12:55 a.m.

    Manhunt has got to be the sickest mature game out there. I've played the first Manhunt and will never look at a plastic bag the same way again. This is probably the only game that I would say could have a "negative influence" on a person who plays it. Seriously, I've learned more horrific things I can do with normal everyday objects on people from Manhunt than a Jason Bourne movie. Manhunt is one of those few games I wouldn't want to tell people I enjoyed, for fear that I'll be thrown into a padded cell. I've never even tried Manhunt 2, but by the looks of that entire ten-minute clip that game is like gazing into the depths of hell.
  • superspaz - March 10, 2009 11:04 p.m.

    @cyberninja: lol, ninja.
  • GamesRadarTylerWilde - March 10, 2009 10:47 p.m.

    @iluvmyDS: It makes my day that you also listen to Reverend Horton Heat. I went and saw them about a year ago - incredible show.
  • iluvmyDS - March 10, 2009 10:38 p.m.

    All I know is I was watching that Manhunt 2 video with Reverend Horton Heat playing on my itunes. It went together perfectly.
  • Pocotron - March 10, 2009 9:35 p.m.

    @Everyone Your pictures make you look like you all have a lot of free time looking for pictures that are obvious flame-bait
  • bioshocker - March 10, 2009 9:34 p.m.

    awwww I loved Death Rally Duke Nukem' ftw
  • GamesRadarTylerWilde - March 10, 2009 9:30 p.m.

    @CH3BURASHKA: Your picture makes you look like a small, curious bear with large ears.
  • CH3BURASHKA - March 10, 2009 9:23 p.m.

    @TylerWilde: Your picture makes you look like a damn infant. reCaptcha: 6-3 Kitching
  • superspaz - March 10, 2009 8:53 p.m.

    I love Manhunt, and can't wait for Madworld. Violence ftw!
  • EYE8URBRAINS - March 10, 2009 8:35 p.m.

    lol first great article :)
  • Bossco - March 18, 2009 5:36 p.m.

    What about Speedball 2 on the Amiga? Classic game.
  • MrPips - March 13, 2009 7:16 p.m.

    Mega Race was an awesome game! Not awesome by today's standards, but the graphics (even if pre-rendered) were pretty impressive for the time, just like Rebel Assault, which forced me to buy a super speedy 4x CD-Rom. I would really like to see a new Carmageddon game on the current consoles, even if it's just an XBLA game. A good 16 player online racer where death is on the line is what XBL is missing.

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