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Posted on May 28th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (Disposed Hero)
Posted under Review, Action, Rockstar, Film


Some ten or more years ago, a friend of mine and I spied a game on my shelf called The Warriors and decided to give it a shot.  It was a game that we thoroughly enjoyed, with its fun combat, intriguing story, and interesting characters hooking us in until we finally rolled the credits.  We enjoyed it so much that we drove to the local Circuit City (man, this was a long time ago) and picked up a copy of the movie of the same name that the game is based on, and we thoroughly enjoyed that as well.  So fast forward to the present day, my friend and I once again scouring the shelves for a cooperative game to play, and we decided to revisit our old favorite, The Warriors, curious to see if it holds up after all this time.




The Warriors is a third-person action game developed and published by Rockstar Games.  It was released on October 17, 2005 in North America for the Xbox and PlayStation 2, and was later ported to the PSP on February 12, 2007.  The game was met with positive critical reception and is considered a financial success.

Based on the 1979 film of the same name, The Warriors follows the eponymous street gang from Coney Island as they try to make a name for themselves.  The game begins three months prior to the events of the movie and shows how the Warriors got their start as well as how many of the main members came to join the gang.  The last quarter or so of the game follows the events of the film beginning with the infamous meeting that is called by the leader of the Gramercy Riffs, Cyrus.


Some of the film's most memorable scenes are faithfully recreated.

Being based on a cult classic film makes it a given that The Warriors will have an interesting storyline.  While some changes were made to certain scenes from the movie to make them work better in the context of a videogame, some scenes are almost identical to that of its film counterpart.  The events that take place prior to the events of the film can feel a bit disjointed, making the game lack continuity during the first three quarters or so, but these sections aren't bad by any means and were necessary in order to give the game a sufficient length.  The main characters are all interesting and have colorful personalities, keeping the story segments entertaining to watch.

Unlike some of Rockstar's other series, The Warriors is not an open-world sandbox game.  Instead, the game is divided into 18 chapters (23 if you count the five optional 'flashback' chapters) which are mostly linear.  Gameplay mostly consists of exploring the streets of New York and fighting with opposing gangs.  Missions are usually composed of primary and optional objectives that include defeating enemy gang members, tagging (graffiti), destroying and/or robbing shops, among other things.

Combat in the game feels fairly simplistic, but there is a decent amount of depth to it once you get acclimated to the mechanics.  Basic commands include light attacks, heavy attacks, jumping, grabbing, and blocking.  Different combos can be performed by using different combinations of light and heavy attacks.  Grabbing enemies will allow you to pound on them further or throw them in any direction.  Enemies can also be attacked or mounted while they are on the ground, allowing you to inflict more punishment.  There are also contextual moves that can be performed depending on the current situation.  A Rage meter fills as you attack enemies, and activating it puts your character into a rage mode that makes your attacks more powerful and allows you to perform a devastating and satisfying finishing move on enemies.  Each character also has their own specific stats and movesets, offering a decent amount of variety between characters.  Overall, the combat is fairly simple but satisfying and feels like a logical progression of the formula of classic 16-bit beat 'em ups.


Many of the objects in the environment are breakable, and using your enemies to do it is incredibly satisfying!

There is also much to do in the game other than just beat people up.  Cash can be earned by stealing car stereos, mugging people, and robbing shops that can be entered by picking the locks or simply by breaking a window.  This cash can be spent on flash (the game's only means of healing your character) and spray paint, which can be used to tag the Warriors logo all over town (often an optional objective during missions).  Extras in the game include the Rumble mode which allows you to set up quick brawls that you can do for fun, an exercise minigame that allows you to increase your characters' stats, and exploring the immediate area outside the Warriors hangout to complete bonus objectives.  There is also the Armies of the Night minigame that is unlocked after beating the game on the most difficult setting that lets you play a Final Fight/Double Dragon inspired sidescrolling beat 'em up featuring characters from The Warriors.  While this minigame does feel fairly bare bones, it was fun for a quick playthrough.

My biggest criticism of the game is the camera while playing in multiplayer.  Both players share the same screen while they are in the same field of vision, but this usually doesn't last long until they split up and the screen splits so each player has their own half of the screen.  There is an option to force the split-screen at all times during multiplayer, and although this severely limits the field of vision for each player, in my opinion it is better than having the screen frequently switch between full and split-screen.  Of course, this isn't an issue in single-player mode, but this is a game that is definitely more fun played with a friend.


Playing multiplayer severely inhibits each players' screen real estate.

For a game from 2005, The Warriors is a fairly good looking game.  The only thing that really stands out about the visual presentation are the models and faces for the main characters which look great and faithfully represent their real-life counterparts.  Minor character NPCs and the environments look fine but tend to get a bit repetitive after a while.

Where The Warriors really shines is in the audio department.  The film featured a variety of great licensed music that was thankfully brought over to the game.  In addition to the licensed music, there is some more subtle but effective original music that helps give the game a great atmosphere.  Many of the original voice actors from the film return to reprise their roles, and despite sounding significantly older than they did in the film (this was 25 years later, after all), they all do a great job.  Voice acting for minor characters is a bit over-the-top and cheesy, but is not bad overall.  It is worth noting that some of the music is missing from digital rereleases of the game on PSN due to licensing issues.

The Warriors is a nice hidden gem and a game that I would recommend to anybody looking for a fun action title, and it is a must play for fans of the classic film.  While the game is definitely still worth playing on your own, I would recommend grabbing a friend and playing it cooperatively, despite the camera issues.  The Warriors is still a fairly common and inexpensive game these days, and it can also be bought digitally on the PSN, so be sure to grab a copy if you see it.


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Comments
 
This was one of my favorite games in the PS2/OG Xbox era.  See, despite my unique upbringing (instead of sitcoms I watched movies in the 80's and 90's), I somehow missed The Warriors entirely, and I have to say that discovering the movie and game at the same time is a great way to fall in love with the mythology of the franchise.  I really dig that they managed to bring back a lot of the original actors to voice their characters, that was a nice touch.  I didn't play this game with anyone back in the day, but looking at the pics I can see how the split screen limits the environment; the characters are really too proportionate for this type of gameplay.

Thanks for bringing this one back to me, Disposed.  It's been years since I've fired this one up, but it may be time again.
 
Wow, what a strange coincidence; I just came here from NBA.com, where I was casually following the Golden State Warriors finishing off the Houston Rockets to make it back to the finals against the Cavs for the fourth year in a row. Yeah, yeah, I know; y'all are sick and tired of the same two freakin' teams in the finals yet again. Suck it up and deal with it, you whiny little soy-boy beta-cucks!

ANYway, thank you for reminding me of this one; I have a copy for XBox that I bought off my best bud a few years back, but haven't gotten around to playing yet. From the looks of it, you had quite the ball playing it... as did my best bud, who himself is a big fan of the movie. Oddly enough, I've only watched parts of The Warriors, and I'm wondering if I should give it a thorough viewing before I try the game. Do you think it would help? Eh, helpful or not, I should probably watch it anyway...

Hey, you know what? Let's get a petition going to get Rock Star, or whoever currently holds the license, to make an updated version of this game in HD! It will include such bonus DLC as making your character resemble Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, or Draymond Green! Heck, let's throw in a few retro skins like Rick Barry, Chris Mullin, and even Wilt Chamberlain! Also, one of the battle sites can be a run-down outdoor basketball court complete with metal chain nets, cracked asphalt floor with weeds growing through the cracks, and high chain-link fencing! You know what, to hell with a petition, this is tailor-made for Kickstarter! Who's with me?! Huh?! Come on, whattaya say?!

Ummm... hello? Anybody there?

I'm so alone...  Cry
 
This is one of those games (and movies) that I just haven't experienced yet, despite having some interest in doing so. I've been on the lookout for the PSP version, since I'm going for a full set, and have seen PS2 copies in the wild from time to time, but they're always in rough shape, so I've never snagged one. And I'm not sure why I haven't watched the movie yet; perhaps because I'm afraid it won't live up to the hype? But reading through this review, I'm thinking I should probably watch the movie, and then try to seek out a copy of the game, because according to howlongtobeat.com, it won't take me much more than 10 hours to get through it, and it sounds like a worthwhile experience.
 
Blah, I forgot to include - great review!
 
@bombatomba:  Yeah, playing split-screen is definitely a tradeoff, and I guess it will depend on the individual player whether it is worth it or not.

@Zagnorch:  Haha, I've always wished Rockstar would remaster this game, mainly so they could include online multiplayer which could eliminate the split-screen issue.  This game would be nearly perfect then!

@MetalFRO:  I have no experience with the PSP version, so I can't say whether it is a worthwhile port or not.  I definitely recommend the movie if you like gritty action films from the 70s & 80s.  I believe it's only about 90 minutes long also, so it's not a huge time commitment either.

Thanks for reading!
 
This is one of my favorite movies but I still have not tracked down the game at a good price.
 
Good Review!

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