Gaming's greatest blood sports

Smash TV (1990)

It’s an ultra-hyphenated arcade classic! Far away in the distant land of 1999, you’re the star of a game show which involves you killing hordes of dudes and robots to win stuff like toasters. Unlike most conceptual blood sports, Smash TV isn’t about gaining freedom - contestants enter willfully to win great prizes. I’d buy that for a dollar!

It’s a hard game, sometimes stupidly so, and the design is full of quirks, but it’s all worth it -  especially since if you collect enough keys you might just find your way to the secret pleasure dome! The dome is full of Smash TV models who want to molest you with their neon pixels.

Above: Eat our colors!

But don’t get too comfortable – here comes Evil MC! The host has apparently become a giant robot thing that shoots eyeballs at you. Not lasers out of his eyeballs, just eyeballs. This game is severely awesome (and you can download it on the ol’ XBLA).

To get a better idea of the game's awesomeness, and to see pixely bikini babes, watch the video below.


Unreal Tournament (1999)

Competitive deathmatch became extremely popular around 1999, and Unreal Tournament was designed to satiate gamers' hunger for twitch combat, doing away with the previously standard single player FPS story involving keys and doors. All you really need are arenas and bots and good capture the flag and you had a hit among the hopelessly competitive.  The game looked great for the time, and received some of the most positive reviews of any PC game ever. The series continues to thrive - though with significantly more competition.

Quake III Arena (1999)

Released just days after Unreal Tournament, Quake III Arena likewise did away with silly things like linear levels and reduced the concept of first-person shooters to a series of arenas populated with networked players and/or semi-intelligent bots. Oh, sorry, there was a story: “The greatest warriors of all time fight for the amusement of a race called the Vadrigar in the Arena Eternal.” Well then.

Quake III was praised for its graphics and refined, balanced gameplay. If you’re hip and stuff, you already know that it has been modified and released for free as a browser-based (but super fast and good-looking) game which is now in open beta at

DeathRow (2002)

DeathRow has surprisingly little to do with death row. Instead it’s about a sport called Blitz – a super-violent sport invented in the future and televised for the masses.

Despite being relatively well-received, DeathRow only managed mediocre sales. It’s a shame, because for a made-up futuristic beat-em-up sports game, it’s pretty entertaining. Also, there’s swearing, which was apparently a big deal in 2002…

IGN: “Originally touted as having ‘realistic mature language,’ it was hard to understand just what that meant. Now it's clear. Many games with bad words just sort of throw them out. But Deathrow makes cursing an art form.”

GameSpot: “Deathrow's graphic violence and excessive swearing mean it's not exactly the game to get your kid brother, but most Xbox owners should find in it a highly gratifying experience that's equally well suited for single-player or multiplayer mayhem.” "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?"

GameSpy: "Cons: Foul language; awkward controls, takes a long time to unlock new material."

Note: Don’t get your kid brother TalkRadar. Also, refer to swearing as “realistic mature language,” because it’s funny.

Manhunt (2003)

Oh Rockstar, you and your controversial games that are illegal to sell in multiple countries. Manhunt, inspired (like many of these games) by The Running Man, pits you against The Director, a deranged voice-in-your-ear which instructs you to kill gang members in gruesome ways (to make his snuff film better). Oh, and the police are in on it. The game was such a great talking point that it was implicated in a UK murder (the police denied the claim).

Manhunt 2 received even more controversy, and had to be toned down before release (Nintendo and Sony aren’t too fond of adult rated games on their platforms). Fortunately for our morbid curiosity, nothing escapes the internet. We pulled this video out of the ether to show you what Manhunt 2 would have looked like, had it not been censored. Be warned, it gets rather… cringey.

MadWorld (2009)

MadWorld takes place in Varrigan City, which has been fashioned into a giant game show called Death Watch. The show is, as you may have guessed, about people dying. More specifically, it's about people being killed... by you... in fun and exciting ways. You are Jack, an absurdly buff dude with a chainsaw for an arm (inspired by Ash Williams?), and you've got a knack for creative dismemberment. Sounds fun enough, and the Frank Miller-esque art style doesn't hurt. 

MadWorld is scheduled to release this month, so keep an eye on our reviews to find out how the Wii’s matureyist game (next to Manhunt 2, perhaps), fares.

Mar 10, 2009

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  • 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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