Based on the decades-old movie, The Warriors, this videogame of the same name is apt to bring about its share of controversy. Don’t listen to talk-show radio for the next few months because the videogame industry is going to be taking it on the chin for this one.
Hopefully you’re not dumb enough to act out scenes and situations from videogame, movies and hip hop songs. The Warriors is an exceptionally violent game that focuses on gang activity. It’s loaded with adult content such as plenty of swearing. Of course kids are going to get their hands on this game one way or another and they are the impressionable ones that we have to worry about – especially in the future when they are old enough to “act out” these enticing slices of life. Keep this game away from minors. You won’t be doing anyone a favor by letting some punk get his hands on this. That’s my public service announcement for this week. Now I’m going to finish my bottle of whisky, and this review, before I head home on the freeway. Don’t worry, I’m walking. Okay, stumbling.
The Warriors is one cool game. It’s not at the top of the heap as there are some issues I will discuss later, but you could certainly do a lot worse. It’s totally retro and unfortunately so are some elements of the gameplay. Treat it like a combination interactive movie and street-fighting game. The storyline is very strong but it’s essential to drive the interactive-movie aspect. The cutscenes are done very professionally with great acting and good graphics. You will learn how the various street gangs interact with each other and you’ll learn the origin of the Coney Island Warriors and how they were framed for killing one of New York’s most notorious gang leaders.
Taking to the New York streets undercover of darkness, The Warriors must make it from one end of the city to the other. Not only do they have to traverse 20 miles, they will face 100,000 enemy gang members that are out for revenge. Violence is a way of life with these gangs and that’s the currency required to sustain your life and get ahead in this underworld. To that end you will have a generous assortment of moves that you will put to use to attack and defend yourself from rival gang members. Aside from the standard punching and kicking, you will be able to grapple your opponents and throw them into various obstacles. You can also use other parts of your body to inflict pain such as your knees and elbows. You can throw things and although there are no guns anywhere in the game (okay, so it’s not totally realistic) there are an assortment of weapons such as bats, bars, bricks and bottles – and anything else that starts with a “B.”
One of the most remarkable trends in videogames recently is the ever-increasing intelligence of the artificial intelligence, and there is no exception here. The enemy is full of piss and vinegar and ready to smash you and your mates into the concrete given half a chance. They will swarm, flank and surround you if you’re not careful. Commands can be given to your gang members to help you out in certain situations. This adds more depth to the gameplay and makes it seem like these guys are really part of your gang. There are six commands in all and they really come in handy. A rage meter fills throughout the gameplay and allows you to inflict some extra-serious damage when engaged.
Missions can be accessed at different times, giving you a sense of freedom not unlike GTA. There are going to be inevitable comparisons between the two games and they are not unwarranted although I’m not suggesting that The Warriors is the next evolution of thug life in videogames. In some instances this game has more in common with NBA Street V3 than GTA, at least when you consider the variety of moves, combos and strings. But instead of shooting hoops you’ll be recruited to steal stereos, mug passersby, tag walls and pull some B&E. It’s just another day at the thug office.
Multi-player modes such as King of the Hill, Capture the Flag and various races add to re-playability of The Warriors, but nothing can compare to the co-op mode in which another player can join in at anytime during the single-player story mode and fight alongside with you. This player can stay with you or move in any direction he or she feels, as the screen will split to accommodate their quest while retaining yours as well. It’s a great way to experience and experiment with the game.
Both the PS2 and the Xbox share graphical similarities with The Warriors. It’s not a great looking game but it’s huge and historically accurate in some respects as the developers poured over locations of the movie and old photos of the areas to recreate the environment as it looked in 1979. Everything is period, from the tunes to the tacky clothes to the old-school vernacular. Slowdown does occur when things get a little heavy on the screen, but there are tons of things going on so I won’t be too hard on the game although I do expect a little more from the Xbox.
The Warriors is a no-nonsense game that features tight fighting controls that can easily facilitate the relentless action and often overwhelming odds. It offers lots of gameplay variety and a down and dirty story that gives us a fair representation of thug life in the 70s. Not to be missed.