The Warriors ReviewCain Dornan
Telling the story of numerous gangs in New York City during the movies time period, The Warriors video game manages to provide more than a simple video game rehash of the scenes found in the movie. Instead, were pleasantly greeted with an abundance of backstory and character-building, filling in the holes and the dark areas of movie. As a result, The Warriors delivers an experience that directly complements the movie, offering up plenty of additional information and story that was overlooked in the original. This key feature makes the game more than a run-of-the-mill movie-to-game adaptation, as the game can stand on its own right perfectly well, providing an enjoyable experience complete with an engaging storyline that pushes you to play from start to finish.
Rather than simply re-hashing the events from the movie and mashing it together to form a video game, Rockstar has decided to set The Warriors game primarily before the events of the movie. For those unaware, the movie followed the experiences of a somewhat unknown gang from Coney called The Warriors, who are framed for killing the leader behind the largest gang in NYC after attending a mysterious meeting between gangs from throughout the city. With both the authorities and countless gangs from throughout the city now hunting for their blood, The Warriors now need to make their way back to the safety of their turf before their captured or killed.
The Warriors game clears up many of the holes that were left in the original movie storyline, in addition to providing a full backstory on each of the key Warriors gang members, with bonus optional missions that show how they came to join the group. The majority of the game is set before the events of the movie, showing how the gang worked up their reputation by defeating other gangs and subsequently increasing their street rep. While the story isnt wide and expansive, it does manage to come up with some interesting worthwhile tidbits of information that contribute to the movies storyline quite significantly, which ultimately renders the game almost as a must-have for big time fans of the movie.
The game begins with a cinematic showing The Warriors trip to the meeting, headed by Cyrus of the Gramercy Riffs. We watch on as a mysterious gang shoots down Cyrus during the key moment of his speech, followed by the meeting becoming immediately overwhelmed by police as the blame for Cyrus murder shifts to Cleon, the leader of The Warriors. Were then taken back several weeks prior to the meeting, where we first meet up with The Warriors as theyre trying to set theyre place in the world. The game sees you playing as each of the key characters from the gang, as well as readily being accompanied by fellow gang members in which you can issue some basic instructions to.
The majority of the missions in which you embark on involve robbing stores for goods or breaking into cars to retrieve radios, which all translate into cash which can then be used to purchase flash (drugs that replenish your health) or spray cans to lay down your mark across the city. Youll also take on rival gangs often, beating them to gain new territory, protect existing territory or to simple up your gangs street cred. There isnt a great level of depth in the missions, nor is there much variation between them. Regardless, theyre still surprisingly enjoyable to play, partly due to the games engaging storyline and its strong fighting system.
Despite it appearing to be rather basic and skin-deep to begin with, as you progress youll soon discover that the fighting system can be as straightforward button-mashing or varied, organized fighting as you want. Rockstar has always had the natural talent of injecting a game with solid and addictive gameplay, and The Warriors is a clear testament to this. The fighting mechanics allow you to simply tap the square and X buttons repeatedly to knock down your opponents. Or, if you choose, you can mix up the moves with a combination of grabs and tackles, using your environment to throw them against, or team up with a friend to deal some bone-breaking blows. Adds to this the variation between each of the gangs fighting styles, as well as the noticeably tougher cops who will hunt you down heavily, theres quite a bit of fun to be had with the games fighting elements. While most of the fights we encountered were straightforward, there are the odd occasions where a single move that is pulled made us raise an eyebrow and smile due to the coolness level.
In addition to the key storyline, theres a collection of extra things to do that will keep you busy beyond the 8 hour long key storyline. As well as partaking in the aforementioned bonus missions that explain why each key member of The Warriors joined the gang, you can also test your muscle in the Rumble mode, which is simply a brawling mini game where the last man standing is the winner. The mode doesnt really hold any true gameplay life, and its unlikely youll spend any real time with it. Alternatively, you can also wonder the streets of Coney in-between missions, meeting up with the locals and completing the tasks they have for you, which range from stealing to accumulate some money or patrol your turf to make sure none of the rival gangs are causing havoc.
Theres also the Armies of the Night mini game, where you can play through a classic arcade side-scrolling beat em up as you make your way through a series of levels beating down scum. Its not exactly an outstanding little game, but it does offer a worthwhile look for those fond of the classic arcade fighters. If these fail to keep you busy for awhile, and you manage to find some friends with copies of the game also, you can also play some two player wireless multiplayer, which includes the ability to play through the story missions in a co-op environment.
Rockstar has never been too flash with the visual side in their games, often delivering experiences that can be rather luckluster in the graphics department. The Warriors hardly offers any mind-blowing visuals, with some very basic character detail with even more so basic environment detail adorning this experience. Add to this the frequent and noticeable slow downs during high action sequences, and The Warriors turns out to be a bit of an eyesore. Regardless, Rockstar still manages to capture the personality of the movie and embed it into the game, providing an atmospheric experience that lives true to its movie that its based on.
Of course, the games authentic atmosphere isnt produced solely through its visual presentation. The sound aspects come into play also, with some of the original voice actors returning to lend their voice to the game. Furthermore, the games soundtrack is very appropriate, offering some distinct music that fits well and will be instantly recognizable by fans of the movie.
Its certainly not perfect, but The Warriors proves to be one of the better video game adaptations of a cult classic movie. Rockstar has done a superb job at catering for both the long-time fan and the newcomer, providing an experience that is enjoyable throughout and engaging thanks to its great storyline. While it is an ugly duckling graphics wise, if youre looking for a good brawler and yet to try out the console version, The Warriors on the PSP is well worth a look.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.