The Warriors on PS2 & XBOX

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The Warriors on PS2 & XBOX

Postby John-Locke on Mon Oct 31, 2005 9:42 pm

So this is finally out then, I saw a trailer on the TV, has anyone played this yet? Is it worth a rent or is it a keeper? I mean it is Rockstar, Red Dead Revolver was a blast for a weekend rental, it got boring just as I completed it.

Heres a review I found

by Andrew Pfister 10/18/2005

"Games based on movies are bad."
Say that enough times, and people will start believing it. Make some really awful licensed games, and they'll know it for sure.

But while examples like that are based on highly popular films (either in the mainstream or the cult circles), there's a big difference between Enter the Matrix and The Warriors. It's the respect and passion for the source material, the understanding of why people liked the movie to begin with, and the competent adaptation from film to game. Where Enter the Matrix failed in these respects, The Warriors succeeds, and makes you once again believe in the magic of movies.

The 1979 film from director Walter Hill paints a bleak picture of New York City, at the end of a lousy decade and at the end of its societal rope. The streets are governed by packs of gangs -- hundreds of them, with thousands upon thousands of soldiers -- colorful in their character but ambitiously vicious in their goals. As the story begins, the leader of the most powerful gang in the city calls for a general truce so that a meeting may take place -- an effort to stamp out petty turf rivalries and unite all the gangs in total domination over the city. But something happens, the truce is called off, and a small-time gang from Coney Island finds themselves in deep trouble and a long way from home.

At a running time of 93 minutes, a surprising amount of which is exposition and dramatic downtime instead of non-stop brawling, The Warriors doesn't immediately lend itself well to the concepts of game design. So it was up to Rockstar Toronto to fill in the gaps -- namely, the three months leading up to that fateful meeting in the park. The first two-thirds of the game tells the story of how The Warriors develop as a gang (including bonus flashback missions to their very beginnings), the troubles they go through to claim Coney Island from their rivals The Destroyers, and the gang scene that leads up to the summit.

All of this is original material, which is worrying at first because it's very difficult to recapture the spirit and feel of a movie, especially one that's over 25 years old. There's also that temptation to shoehorn ideas and stories into the piece that may make sense from a game design perspective, but don't really fit into the theme. But Rockstar nailed it: the missions and plotlines it's conceived gives The Warriors -- the gang members, that is -- some much-needed depth and character that we only saw glimpses of in the film. We learn how the "writer" Rembrandt joins up, the source of tension between the Sarysans and the Jones Street Boys, and how The Warriors go from small-time to all-city and net an invitation to the big meeting.

In this prequel segment, The Warriors' headquarters serves as a hub. From inside, you can train (10 ranks of physical fitness that increase your stamina), talk to fellow gang members, play through rumble mode and other bonus material, walk outside to Coney Island for extra missions, or begin the next level of the story proper. Mission objectives are the typical "beat up these guys" or "steal X amount of items," but there are some fairly creative tasks like winning a graffiti competition in SoHo, stealing goods to plant on crooked cops and rival gang members, and running like mad from the bats of the Baseball Furies. The nice thing is that all of the missions, even the ones that just have you rumble in the streets, are presented in the context of the story -- there's no endless wave of random enemies or menial delivery tasks that plague contemporary games like Urban Reign and Beat Down. Between missions, the soulful radio voice of Luna keeps you updated on the latest gang-related happenings in NYC, and when she mentions "that small-time outfit from Coney" did something big, you really feel like you're accomplishing something. The Warriors is rich with character, and Rockstar uses it well.

It's also built an impressive combat engine. A common problem with 3D brawlers is the difficulty in selecting with who or what you'd like to brawl. That you'll often find yourself fighting large groups of thugs, along with 7 or 8 of your Warrior buddies, and not run into significant targeting issues is an achievement. Combos are performed with simple 2-3 button chains with weak attacks, strong attacks, holds and throws. It's a refreshingly basic and functional system -- there's a lot to be said for keeping things simple.

So The Warriors bop their way through the ranks, building a heavy rep and getting their colors out in force. They get the invite to summit, and this is where the movie part (and the last few missions of the game) begins.

It's also where the inherent differences between games and film are revealed. No longer operating out of their Coney warehouse, The Warriors are on the run and we're now left to play out the scenes of the movie. Which, as previously mentioned, aren't as well-suited for a game. Because they have to be careful in getting back, the remainder of the game shifts its focus away from all-out brawling to more stealthy maneuvering, Track & Field-style running events, and fending off smaller packs of goons. Rockstar did all that they could to turn scenes like escaping from The Lizzies' party into a thrilling encounter -- and the scenes they fleshed out with original situations are just as good as earlier bits -- but the game definitely feels different once it gets tied down to the movie's plot track. Not necessarily different in a bad way, but the prequel aspect of the game makes for a richer gaming experience and the movie segment abandons that somewhat -- even if there's no elegant way around it.

As fanservice, The Warriors is a treat for anyone who loves the movie, and as a beat-em-up, it outclasses recent efforts from competitors. Yet as a complete package, it's somewhat inconsistent. But with bonus missions, multiplayer rumbles, and a very fun 2-player co-op mode...we can most definitely dig it.
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Postby ONeillSG1 on Mon Oct 31, 2005 10:25 pm

What's up with the font?

Large print version?
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Postby rumblecat on Fri Dec 09, 2005 3:41 am

Yeah, that review was pretty spot-on. I enjoyed the game a lot. The actual sections based on the movie are probably the weakest, but they only make up about 3/4 of the game.

Definitely staying in my collection. It's better than Red Dead Revolver. It's actually feels a lot like Manhunt if you ever played that, only with much less sneaking and much more fisticuffs.
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Postby Mimekiller on Fri Dec 09, 2005 3:41 am

If you have a fellow warrior friend and a free weekend, its a no-brainer rental.
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