Deathrow chronicles the 22nd century sport of Blitz, which involves two teams of four players attempting to gain possession of a disc and hurl it through a goal suspended a few feet above the ground. Matches are eight-minute affairs, broken up into four quarters spanning two minutes apiece. To acquire the coveted disc, players are free to punch, kick, throw or slide-tackle opponents. Reducing an opponent's health to zero will have him or her removed from the arena for the remainder of the game; injuring all the opposition's team members results in an automatic win.

In addition to the visceral battles within the arena, the game offers characters that swear and taunt one another throughout the match, offering comments ranging from mild profanity to hand gestures to four-letter expletives. As each match wears on, power-ups can be collected to provide players with health or attribute boosts and credits. The team's strategy can be tweaked during a match as well, allowing a team to switch from a defensive frame of mind to a more aggressive one, among other variants.

Conquest mode lets players choose from a handful of playable teams, each differing in strength, toughness, speed, shooting, passing, and aesthetic appeal. In this mode, players will challenge tougher teams, climbing through the ranks and divisions, while earning credits that can be spent on improvements or unlocking game extras. These breaks in the action give players the opportunity to recruit new team members, improve the attributes of existing ones, or become embroiled in random events that can either help or hinder the team.

Matches can be viewed from two different viewpoints: Action and Sports. The first brings players closer to the action, offering a third-person view of the currently controlled team member, while the second provides a bird's eye view of the proceedings. Players will eventually have access to 18 teams (made up of 150 players) and 32 arenas. Multiplayer matches support up to four players on a split-screen, or up to eight players (one per console) by linking systems together. Deathrow also supports custom soundtracks, allowing players to import songs stored on the system's hard drive. ~ Gavin Frankle, All Game Guide