Deadliest Warrior is a game based on the US Spike TV program of the same name. It poses the hypothetical question who was the deadliest warrior of all time in the history of mankind, spanning all of time and the entire globe. The concept has been translated as a 3D one-on-one fighting game. It is similar in design to the Street Fighter games for instance, except that the focus is on deadly efficiency. Rounds generally last only a few seconds, the number of moves is limited (without combos), and the characters can only take very little damage. Every hit also renders them less able to fight with broken limbs, to fatal wounds and even amputation. In that way it is more similar to games such as Bushido Blade.
Every character has a very different fighting style, from the swift ninja to a sturdy and well-armored knight. They only have realistic weapons and the fighting style also aims to be authentic, without special moves or unrealistic gameplay. Weapons are used for melee combat, but also from a distance including projectile-based attacks. Before starting the game players get to choose a character and select the weapons from a limited pool. Not everything is available right away, it needs to be unlocked in the single-player ladder mode. The characters can move freely in the open, 3D arenas and also sidestep.
Multiplayer is supported for online tournaments and in the singleplayer mode there is a number of challenges, and mini-games based on show fragments where pig carcasses need to be sliced with a set time limit for instance. A large part of the animation was created through motion capture with the original actors of the show.