The Warriors game preview was written back in 2005 before the game was released and is my personal look at the game based on an exclusive preview I received at Rockstar Games’ office in London. At this time, Rockstar Games had the licence to The Warriors for 7 years and the game had been 3 years in the making. My preview was from an early build of the game which wasn’t finished, and some of the features / music / voices / changed by the time the game was released.


Trailers

If you want to get a quick sense as to what The Warriors video game is like, check out the trailers below. There is also a video of Jeronimo Barrera from Rockstar Games talking about the video game.





Rembrandt’s Initiation

First of all I was treated to a couple of the game’s tutorials which teach you how to play the game. For this, you play as Rembrandt who is not actually a member of The Warriors (he’s wearing a vest with Rembrandt ’78 written on it and not The Warriors vest) and so the tutorial is based upon his initiation into the gang. Taking control of Rembrandt in some back alley in Coney Island, you learn how to move, look around, kick, throw punches and some other nifty moves on a “test body”, who happens to be some unlucky guy from another gang.

It was good to see Rembrandt actually do some fighting, since he only punches one person in the movie (he’s quite an agile dude!). Once you have totally trashed the first guy by way of a few punches and kicks, a few Warriors jump into the arena and you must successfully fight them off to pass the initiation test. Snap attacks let you lash out in any direction, which is useful when you are surrounded by guys. It was a bit odd seeing Rembrandt fighting other members of the gang, and I seem to remember Cowboy being stamped in the face in quite a painful fashion! As you can expect, this game is ultra-violent and you can expect the language to match.

Another thing the game lets you do is build up your “Rage” which gradually accrues as you lay down moves. Once the rage bar is filled you can take out your enemies in unique attacks and special moves for a short period of time. A red mist descends across the screen whilst this happens to really capture the feeling of a rage attack. Rembrandt appeared to be much faster and was doing some nice swinging kicks. Each Warrior will have their own unique fighting style, so for example Swan will use his legs a lot more than Ajax who is heavy muscle, and uses his arms a lot more.


Getting Flash With Your Cash

Following the successful smashing of The Warriors, Rembrandt earns his colours. In the next scene, Vermin becomes Rembrandt’s mentor and you have to follow him by vaulting over fences, jumping across roofs, and smashing through an old fence. On our travels we came across some tramps / hobos, which you can bribe for information, or simply beat up. It is unclear how much of a role they will play in the finished game. By this point, Rembrandt himself will be pretty beaten up which is shown by the in-game graphics where characters have cuts and bruises over their bodies. To get fixed up, characters need to take Flash, which is a drug that can be purchased from a dealer, stolen from a pharmacy, or picked up where someone has dropped it (and possibly from muggings).


If you are going down the purchasing route, you will need to get some money together. Luckily, some of the gang members we decked in earlier dropped a few dollar bills but more was needed. I was shown three ways in which money can be acquired. With Vermin still as Rembrandt’s mentor, Rembrandt mugged some unsuspecting guy who had just left a payphone. Rembrandt manoeuvred behind him and grabbed the guy. From what I gathered, you have to find the cash about the person using the analogue stick on the gamepad, and keep it in the same place for a certain period of time. This is made more difficult by the gamepad vibrating.

To get some more cash, Vermin instructs Rembrandt to raid a local shop. In this instance he smashed through the window and took some items that were on a shelf. Another way to get a bit of money is to steal car radios. After smashing through the window of a car, you rotate the analogue stick on the gamepad in a motion akin to spinning a screwdriver to remove the screws which looked quite fun. Our radio sold for $15 and gave us enough money for some Flash. Sure enough, after Rembrandt “took” the Flash, all his cuts and bruises were gone. In the early build of the game, you are allowed to carry nine helpings of Flash. A cool feature of the game is that if you accidentally “die”, other members of The Warriors can revive you with Flash. However if everyone else has died, then there’s nobody to help you!


The One and Only

The next treat of the preview was to watch the full-length version of Cyrus’ speech, shooting, and the chaos afterwards. This will form a cut scene in the later part of the game. It was quite lengthy as it lasted around 5 minutes and was identical to the movie in terms of the camera angles, who and what was being shown (apart from a few minor things being cut out of Cyrus’ speech. I noticed he went straight into saying 60,000 soldiers and nothing about affiliates and non-organised gangs, and also that the part of the speech where he explains about turf was missing). The sounds used was taken straight from the movie, but it is still to be seen (or heard) whether that will be the case with the final game, though personally I think it worked very well. The visuals of the cut scene were excellent (which you can indeed see in the game’s trailer). There was definitely more blood when Cyrus got shot than is shown in the movie!


Sounds Great

If you’ve seen the game trailer, then you’ll know that it contains an awesome remix of the Baseball Furies Chase track by Barry de Vorzon. In addition, the background music of the game contained “synthed-up” versions of The Warriors Theme and other ambient tracks which I guess you could say were inspired by music from The Warriors, and were fantastic in setting the atmosphere. It is still unclear whether the original soundtrack will appear in the final game, though the release I saw had original tracks strewn through it. I even saw a cut scene with the Radio DJ which was a nice touch. It was the one where she played Nowhere To Run by Arnold McCuller.

In the Coney Island HQ, there were songs being played on the radio which came from the original soundtrack. The voices in the game were only placeholders for the final voices so they didn’t entirely sound like the movie characters (though Cleon and Snowball sounded pretty good). Rest assured that the personalities of The Warriors are portrayed well in the game. I can’t remember what Vermin said, but it reminded me of his quirky nature in the film, which was nice. We also quickly skipped over a cut scene which showed Ajax with some strange wool…


Who Named You Leader?

The first two thirds of the game are set in the 6 months leading up to the events of the movie (which makes up the final third), allowing you to play as each of The Warriors. I was told that you will play as each of The Warriors through the missions, though you can’t choose which one. I do hope that you can go into a free roam mode where you can pick your Warrior, but this game is largely mission based.

In one mission we played as Cleon, and we had to track down various members of the gang across Coney. Navigation is assisted by a small map in the bottom right of the screen which has coloured dots representing members of your gang, other gangs, and the police. I think it was Snowball and Cowboy we found had been handcuffed on the ground so we quickly released them before the cops came back. Next we found The Fox hidden in the shadows, but surrounded by cops. To let The Fox escape, a bottle was thrown (for this a trajectory of the bottle came up, similar to what you might find in a golf game), which caused the cops to scupper. To get back at the cops, we issued a war chief command. The character you control is the war chief, and you can control your gang like in a squad based game. Some of the commands were similar to follow, halt, cover me, attack and raid. The command we issued here caused all of The Warriors to trash the cop car.


It’s The Turnbull AC’s

With our freshly grouped Warriors, what a better thing to do than go over to Gun Hill and beat up some Turnbull AC’s. They were seen riding by on their bus whilst we hid in the shadows. In this tutorial you learn about group fighting, where you can double up with other members of the gang to perform special moves. If you initiate a doubling move, the AI is smart enough to join in and help you out. Sometimes the AI might grab a guy so you can lay some moves into him, which was very cool.

One of the striking features of the game, was the quality of the reversals and counter attacks, which were smooth and impressive to watch. One of the Turnbull’s was wielding a machete, so it was wise to tackle him first. There were Turnbull’s everywhere. Some were having their necks broken, others were having their faces smashed into the ground and another was thrown into a wall. One of the things we learnt in the tutorial with Rembrandt was how to use weapons, so the machete was used to good effect. In the game, you’ll be able to pick up pretty much anything that can be used as a weapon from bottles (one Turnbull had a bottle smashed over his face before the shards were used to stab him), to bricks, pipes, bins, planks and baseball bats. I don’t think there will be a shortage of weapons!

In another mission, we played as Swan and were back on the Turnbull’s turf. This time we tried the stealth approach (the map showed up blue indicating that we were hidden in the shadows) and tried to get past The Turnbull’s. Unfortunately they saw us so a few more heads got busted. Another thing that you can do in the game is tag turf, similar to the way in which you tag turf in GTA San Andreas. The difference here is that you spray a giant “W” over other gang’s tags, which is done by tracing over an outline using the gamepad. By tagging turf I think you will unlock bonus features like new weapons.


What’s On The Menu

For the mission parts of the game, you start off at your Coney Island HQ which you are free to walk around in. If you feel like wasting a few heads you can walk up to the Subway map on the wall and select a gang territory to invade. By scrolling up and down, you cycle through different enemy territories where different missions can be selected. When we played as Cleon, we highlighted the Turnbull AC’s turf which came up as Gun Hill, and chose a mission under that heading.

The main title screen, mission load screens, and the navigation menu used a combination of the original Warriors typeset and also of the appearance of the 1970’s NYC Subway which looked pretty cool and I hope it is retained in the final version. Upon selecting a mission, a title screen appeared which stated the date, time and location, before you were delved into the action. This was a nice touch as I can see it being used to effectively build up the suspense to the final night, and also leads me to believe that you will have to unlock the missions as you go along. There appeared to be about ten gang territories including all of those featured in the movie, as well as a couple of others – The Hurricanes were mentioned.


It’s Gonna Be A Big Item

That pretty much concludes my preview of the game. Even though the game I saw wasn’t completely finished, it was looking fantastic with stunning visuals, innovative game play features, cracking cut scenes and some nice (even though gruesome at times) sound effects. Coney Island looked superb and it was great to see The Wonder Wheel in motion. The game is due out on October 17th on the PS2 and XBOX. As a fan of the movie I have nothing bad to say about what Rockstar have done, and I think it’s great that we get the chance to explore beyond the confines of the movie.

The following information is courtesy of Rockstar Games.

In the upcoming October release of The Warriors, Rockstar Games is aiming to raise gamers’ expectations of licensed games by reinventing a classic video game genre – the brawler. The brawler, once an arcade staple, has been largely left behind on the current generation of consoles. Rockstar Toronto is working to revitalise the genre by both reinventing the overall sense of gritty realism of hand-to-hand combat and refining vital strategic elements central to the art of fighting.

The team at Rockstar Toronto has expanded upon the setting of the classic 1979 film by creating an in-game universe rich in accurate detail. Set in New York City at the end of the 1970s, this location provides an ideal environment for a next generation brawler.

Rockstar Toronto’s mission is twofold: inspire existing Warriors fans and create a game with lasting appeal for hardcore gamers. To do this, they have created a gameplay experience that is instantly satisfying and easy to learn. Two-button combos and a simple interface have been employed so the casual gamer can immediately get drawn into the action while experienced gamers will be able to trigger unique combos, tandem moves and pull off contextual attacks. The fighting system is refined and complex, but still accessible enough so that anyone will feel comfortable with the fighting mechanic. The Warriors has been designed to eliminate the complications of “button mashers” and specifically avoids stringing together controller moves that yield limited or no variation to the core gameplay. It isn’t simply punch, block, and kick. The Warriors is a highly adaptive combat system set in the openness of a living city that will appeal to hardcore gamers, fans of this cult classic film and anyone looking for the next, great fighting game.


The Fighter

On the street, The Warriors stick together at all times. For each mission, the player will be accompanied by one to eight fellow Warriors. As the War Chief, the main player will lead other members as they progress through the game. Each member of the Warriors has their own unique moves that inflict a varying degree of damage to their opponents.

Throughout the course of the game, the player will be able to play as every one of the Warriors from the film, and try out their individual, distinct fighting styles. Swan, for instance, fights in a fluid, kung-fu style and tends to use more high kicks than grappling moves. Ajax relies strictly on the brute force of uncut street brawling. Each style is quickly learned to gauge the various levels of effectiveness in different situations.

Each member of the Warriors has their own health and stamina level. Some Warriors are stronger than others and some employ a more sophisticated fighting style, but none are invincible. At all times, the player must stay conscious of their overall health and stamina in order to stay standing. Stamina allows them to run fast and sprint away from the cops and also determines if a player can break free of a hold. After taking a certain amount of hits, the player will become disoriented and become vulnerable to an attack or grab. If the player has no stamina left, they will be unable to grab an enemy and unable to pull off a combo move.


A progressive damage system viscerally shows the level of damage a player absorbs from punches, kicks, and related injuries. After a beating, characters will appear bruised and bloody.

Black eyes, split lips and eye contusions, not to mention cuts, scrapes and lacerations, are more than common. The more brutal the fight, the more visible the resulting damage. Also, each character has a reticule which will change colour to indicate their current health level.

The fighting mechanic of The Warriors is incredibly responsive and tailored to replicate the chaotic nature of a street fight. The advanced AI allows opponents to block and counter-attack, quickly adapting to each player’s moves. Striking with violent blows, throwing enemies around and knocking them into each other, breaking storefront windows or smashing tables and chairs across someone’s back is all par for the course. Each combat situation involves split-second, strategic decision-making which ultimately determines the best course of action in order to clear the way to victory.


The Fights

Brawlers of the past were relegated to small, enclosed arenas. The Warriors takes place on the open city streets of New York City, 1979. Throughout the game, the player will encounter all sorts of colourful characters – including local pedestrians and rival gang members – as they make their way through the different neighbourhoods of the city. Combat is not limited to one-on-one fighting. Massive brawls against swarms of opponents from multiple directions happen frequently. As a fight grows wilder and more chaotic, the player must react quickly in order to stay alive. Just as in real life, every fight will look, sound, and feel very different from the previous one.

Each gang fights using a distinctive style. For example, The Turnbull AC’s will fight more aggressively and attack the player directly. They also tend to use more defensive moves in a fight and are able to pull off more powerful grab moves. If a character is down, they will converge like hyenas and kick them. But, as soon as the character gets back up on their feet, they back off immediately. The Orphans are cowards and keep their distance from the player in a fight. Each gang reacts with a different level of aggressiveness during a fight and tend to use different types of moves. Some will use blocks more frequently and defend themselves, while others will grab the nearest weapon and smash their opponent. Some gangs will call for back up, while others will stand and fight even if they are outnumbered.

Let’s take a look at some of the specifics in order to get a better sense of how to stay alive, be a better War Chief and get everyone back home in one piece…


Getting Stronger

Each member of the Warriors has their own unique fighting moves. Though they each share some signature moves, individual style in a fight creates unique advantages and disadvantages when taking down an opponent.

Here are a few examples of the types of attacks that every member of the Warriors can perform:

Reversals

When attacked, the player can execute a reversal tossing an enemy over their shoulder, executing a rapid dodge and kick.

Running Attack

A running attack (run and punch, run and throw) is a deadly tactic either at the beginning or the end of a fight. Make sure to have enough room to clear a running attack in order to surprise an enemy, then hand them a serious beating.

Snap Attacks

These allow the player to strike an enemy that isn’t currently being targeted. A swinging punch will knock out an enemy to the left, right or behind, giving the player some time and space to plan the next course of attack.

Tandem Attacks

A tandem attack is when two Warriors work together to pull off a powerful move on a single opponent (i.e. one character grabs an enemy and holds them while another character smashes a bat over his head). NOTE: Enemies can also perform tandem attacks.

Contextual Attacks

A contextual attack uses the environment against an opponent. Once grappled, an enemy can be smashed against a wall, car door or steel crate. NOTE: Enemies can also perform contextual attacks.

Break Hold

Grab an enemy and lock them in a hold. They will instinctively try and break free. The player and the enemy will battle each other as the character struggles to break the hold. If a stronger fighter grabs someone smaller, the hold will take longer to break.

Block

Use a well timed block to defend against an oncoming attack. Study your enemy carefully and trigger a block to cover the face with your forearms. While holding a weapon, the player can also use it to block an attack and shield themselves with it. Nothing takes the edge off a homerun swing from one of the Baseball Furies like blocking it with a bat of your own.

Though the Warriors each share many of the same moves, they also can each pull off incredibly damaging and unique power moves and combos. During a fight, grab an opponent and execute a combo or power move to wipe them out permanently.

Combos

Grabbing a character and a simple 2 button combination will trigger unique and varied combos for each character. A combo is a lethal way of inflicting serious damage and an ideal way to end a fight. Each Warrior can pull off these moves, each with their own unique style and approach.

Use a combo while either standing or after mounting an enemy lying on the ground. Vermin likes to deliver a knee to the groin, while Cleon uses kung-fu to devastate the opposition. Cinematic camera-work lets the player feel the bone-crunching impact of these moves.

Power Moves

During combat, power moves inflict more serious damage than a heavy attack. Each Warrior has their own signature power move. For example, Ajax throws a series of devastating left and right crosses that will floor any opponent, while Cleon delivers a deadly kick to the back of the neck. Power moves usually end most fights and clear the way for the Warriors to march forward.

Rage Mode

The Warriors are still tough and after landing a lot of blows and taking a few too many hits the player will be able to enter Rage Mode.

Rage Mode is a tribute to the classic coin-op brawler. Link combos together in quick succession and the player’s Rage Meter will gradually fill up. Once it’s full, the player can enter Rage Mode and an orange haze will tinge the screen. In Rage Mode, the player is virtually indestructible. Punches, kicks and combos are more devastating, and the player will be able to access at least two distinct and deadly Rage Mode moves. Within the time allotted, the player can perform as many multiple Rage Mode combos as possible. Rage Mode combos typically result in an instant kill.

Rage Mode will help even the odds in a huge gang fight. Combo moves can be linked, allowing for rapid takedowns and greater efficiency during combat. For the less seasoned player, Rage Mode will be attainable through “button-mashing”, but experienced gamers will be rewarded more quickly by taking the time to learn how to execute multiple and varied attacks.

Each Warrior has two unique Rage mode moves. Rembrandt employs a leg sweep followed by an elbow to the back of the neck, while Cleon finishes his enemies with a vicious jumping chest stomp. Like power moves and combos, each Warriors has a signature Rage Mode move that typically puts an end to any brawl.