I think it's the Centurion, personally. He is the Deadliest Warrior. Those emotionless eyes detail years of painful conflict (as opposed to slightly lacklustre modelling), his basic sword combo brings a family-sized serving of pain and the guy's shield has ever-so-slightly more durability than two ice cream wafers smooshed together - which is more than you can say for the wussy Knight, at least. It's definitely not the Pirate, that's for sure: he might drop the F bomb every now and then, but he couldn't take out an Apache if his life depended on it. Which it does, seeing as this is a one-on-one fighting game. Don't pick the Pirate, basically.
But where are the other Deadliest Warriors, such as William Wallace, Jesse James and Al Capone? How come Vlad the Impaler can't square off with Sun Tzu? This game just never quite goes as all out as its TV show inspiration (a 'who would win in a fight' faux-documentary currently airing on Bravo), refusing to let you take sides in a confrontation between the IRA and the Taliban. Then again, maybe the developers are just preparing themselves for a sequel.
This is a fighting game designed to appeal to people who don't have the patience or desire to learn the genre's intricacies, people who want immediate gratification. At points the approach almost works: if you want to hack off arms, legs and heads then Deadliest Warrior has got you covered. Its closest source of inspiration is probably 1998's 'one hit and you're dead' Bushido Blade, though it gives you a bit more health and adds in loads more gore.
There are eight Deadliest Warriors to choose from: Apache, Centurion, Knight, Pirate, Viking, Spartan, Samurai and Ninja. Characters are divided into two primary types, those who have shields and those that don't. The latter are generally the nippy ones (Ninja, Apache) and can leap around with more bounce than a monkey on a pogo stick, but the armoured chaps can block attacks. It's a risk/reward kind of thing, you see.
Fights can be over in just a few seconds - a well-placed spear can lop a head clean off - so players tend to opt for defensive play. A round starts, you and your opponent circle each other for a bit, then you mash a bit of light/heavy attack before flicking the right stick and hoping your Deadliest Warrior jumps out of the way of the inevitable counter-attack. Dodge, Centurion, dodge!
There's not much more to it, really. If you can attack someone from behind then they're pretty much dead, and you can switch to a mid-range weapon if you want to try and attack from a distance. There are a few other things you quickly pick up, too, such as how you should dodge away from shields, not into them. And you need to be wary of enemy projectiles, while always keeping an eye on your stamina bar. It's all standard stuff. Try not to die, basically.