Spartacus: Blood and Sand Review

Spartacus: Blood and Sand is a game based off of a new TV show on Starz.

Spartacus: Blood and Sand was developed by Artificial Life, Inc., the  developer of other commercial games like PANDORUM, BMW Sauber F1  Team Racing ’09, and Red Bull Air Race World Championship. Of course,  they’ve made other games that aren’t about getting someone else’s product  out in the open.

First of all, if by chance, you,  like myself, don’t watch TV that often, and haven’t even heard of the channel Starz, then you might be asking yourself how the game has such detailed live action footage. I was in the dark about this for a bit, and after snooping about the interface for a while, I discovered that the game is actually an advertisement for a show called Spartacus: Blood and Sand!

I thought to myself, “Well! This is certainly a good way to get your product out there, even if it doesn’t really work.”

But, if you’re strapped for time, I’ll just say this. Spartacus: Blood and Sand is NOT a good game.


When you start, you are given nine options, which, in order are Quick Fight, Story Mode, Challenge, Head to Head, Practice, Options, Ranking, Spartacus: The Show, and About.

Quick Fight takes you to a menu where you choose your character, and then fight Crixus. In this mode, you don’t have any control over the settings. It’s exactly what it says, and is perfect for those thirty second gaps between your life.

Story Mode takes you through a portion of Spartacus’ life, fighting each of the characters in turn, after you are shown a small, silent excerpt from the show, and a bit of text to explain what’s going on. The game has absolutely no difficulty curve, and all of the enemies are essentially the same, since all the attacks go in the same motion, do the same damage, and strike in the same area, regardless of where you attack. It’s disappointing, starting up a fighting game, where the battles are exactly the same, due to the lack of style, and absolute absence of any sort of combo.

Challenge has two modes, Normal, and Survival. Normal is much like Quick Fight, except you are able to choose your enemy, stage, and alter the options of the fight. In survival, you have to go through and fight all of Spartacus’ enemies, trying to hack through all of them so you can unlock an achievement. Your health recharges between each battle, so there is really no challenge involved.

img_00351Head to Head is a multiplayer version of Normal Challenge. You choose your character, your friend chooses his, you fight, and then you put your iPods away in disgust.

Practice Mode is a joke.

Well, at least I hope it is. You choose your character (like it matters who you are) and then you chose the opponents character. The match begins with your combo bar full, never depleting. The enemy doesn’t move, and all you do is beat the snot out of him, and since their aren’t combos, it’s not satisfying in any way shape or form. He can’t die, he doesn’t pose a threat, you can’t use a combo, and, and, and… it’s just horrible! You don’t put a practice mode in a game that needs no practice, much less if you can’t practice on someone who tries to prevent you from doing so.

Let’s move on before I burst into tears.

In Ranking you  can look at the achievements you’ve unlocked (a total of six, woo boy), look at the local, global, and within-your-friends leaderboards, and change your online settings, such as your profile, and whether or not your connected to your Facebook or Twitter account.

Spartacus: The Show gives you access to a trailer, a synopsis, a gallery, and a Starz Special Offer (25 Dollars cash back when you order Starz! Oh boy! I’m just giddy with excitement!)

Let me go into some detail about the gameplay, if I can do so without breaking my keyboard out of disappointment.

While in the arena, you are given the player three buttons to press, one to block, one to attack, and one that only does something when a little bar is completely filled up, which you fill by taking damage. It’s like a ‘Oh, just kidding, I was about to die, but instead I’ll just use this insane, instant combo button, and kill you.’

img_00381Most of, if not all of the time that you’re playing, you are likely to be holding the ‘joystick’ in the direction of your enemy, and then pressing the attack button wildly. Any attempt at blocking is destroyed by an instant ‘high attack’, and if they attack you once, then your character takes an eternity and then some to recover, so they are already attacking you again! The most exciting part of a battle, is at the end, when you are ordered to finish off your enemy, by cutting off their arms, head and torso in slow motion.

Again, this game isn’t fun.

Besides all of these demerits, there’s the annoying music in the background, graphics that could be better, on top of tons of other little things that I could pick at all day.

From my perspective, Artificial Life, Inc. got an order from Starz to make an iPod/iPhone advertisement-game. So they really quickly whipped together something, half finished, that is less entertaining than those ‘Interactive Ads’ that are floating around the internet.

Worst of all – It’s five dollars! Five dollars to have an ad stuffed down your throat, that doesn’t even taste good.To sum it up in eleven words, I would say this – ‘This is the worst game I have played on any console.’ Capiche?

Game Rating


Spartacus: Blood and Sand – $4.99

TwitterFacebookGoogle BookmarksDiggStumbleUponShare

    Totally agree with your review.

  • Tim

    Wow! Instant buy!

  • Jeroen Hofs

    Great review, couldn’t stop laughing!
    It allmost encouraged me to buy the game just to be able to experience it myself ;-)

  • sizzlakalonji

    It’s nowhere near as bad as this reviewer says. It’s not a fantastic game by any means, but it is not as bad as the reviewer makes it out to be. To be honest, while the reviewer chides Artificial Life for rushing out a project, this review seems rushed. This is the bloodiest, most violent game in the app store (maybe GTA notwithstanding), and whether that’s a selling point or not, perhaps it would be an important point to mention. I’m sorry, but the tone of this review sounds like the reviewer had a pre-conceived opinion before he even played the game.

  • mousie

    Did you really spend time on testing this game? If you did, you’d find out that there ARE combos in this game and different characters do different moves in the combos…like the girl does this kicking where none of the guys do.
    This game is not as rich as Blades of Fury, but I found it a pretty decent fighting game.

  • dd

    the game is free this weekend