The Warriors game review below runs through the gameplay mechanics and all the main features and highlights of Rockstar’s game. The Warriors game is based upon the 1979 cult movie of the same name which follows a gang of nine guys from Coney Island (The Warriors) as they head up to The Bronx for a big meeting. The meeting was called by Cyrus, who is the leader of the biggest gang in the city, as he wants to create a 60,000 strong gang that can overpower the police. Under a truce, nine members from each gang attend the meeting where Cyrus begins his speech of unity. Just as he finishes detailing his plan, he gets shot dead by Luther from a gang called The Rogues. In the panic that ensues, Luther frames The Warriors for shooting Cyrus.
As the gangs flee back to their home turf, The Warriors soon realise that they need to bop their way back to Coney Island. To make matters worse, the truce has been called off, The Warriors have no weapons, and every gang in the city is out looking for them. The movie follows their struggle back home through enemy turf, and shows their encounters with various gangs including the Turnbull AC’s, The Orphans, and The Baseball Furies.
However, the game starts a few months before the big meeting is called which lets you get to know The Warriors and the other gangs. As you progress through the story, you begin to learn about the big meeting and more about the big plans of Cyrus.
After watching a lengthy cinematic introduction to the game which is based upon the opening subway sequence of the movie, the game teaches you how to play. In this tutorial, you play as Rembrandt, who is being initiated into The Warriors.
In the Coney Island night, you learn how to move, look around, kick, throw punches and some other nifty moves. You learn all of this by beating up a few tramps and then a few of the seasoned Warriors. When fighting a group of people, snap attacks become very useful since they let you lash out in any direction. As you start laying out combos, you begin to build “Rage”, which is shown in a bar in the top left of the screen. Once the rage bar is filled you can take out your enemies using 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.
Throughout the game you will get to play as each of the main warriors from the movie and each member has their own unique fighting style. For example, Swan uses his legs a lot more than Ajax who is likes to punch. Just about anything lying around in the environment can be picked up and used as a weapon. This ranges from bottles, knives and crates to planks of wood and metal pipes. There are not too many combo moves in the game, but this makes the game easier to learn, and enables you use them when appropriate.
You can’t really get by playing this game just by button bashing, you need to be able to know the combos so you can take out your opponents effectively. This game is rated 18 / Mature for the reason that is contains very brutal fighting and very coarse language.
Following the tutorial, Rembrandt earns his colours and becomes a Warrior. The game subsequently walks you through how to vault over fences, jump across roofs, and smash through fences. On our travels we came across some tramps that you can bribe for information or simply beat up. By this point, our character Rembrandt was pretty beat up with cuts and bruises over his body. 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 it is lying around on the floor.
You can obtain money by mugging people, stealing car radios or raiding shops. To be able to successfully mug someone, your character needs to get behind the victim and then grab them. Whilst mugging them, you need to move the analogue stick around until the game pad vibrates, and then you have to hold it until you fill the mugging bar. However, you have to be quick else the person you are mugging will fight you or escape. Needless to say, you’ll have less time if mugging strong guys than a weak girl.
To steal a car radio, smash the window of a car, lean in and undo the screws using the analogue stick like a screwdriver. Some Warriors are quicker at this than others. To raid a shop, all you need to do is smash through the window or pick the lock and steal items from the shelves. Here’s a tip, trash the cash register since it usually contains a fair bit of money inside! If the shop alarm goes off, you can expect the cops to be all over you like a rash, so get in and get out as quickly as possible.
When you have enough money, you can purchase flash from dealers. Once your character “takes” the Flash, all of their cuts and bruises will disappear and they will be at full health. There is usually an ample supply of Flash throughout the game, though it pays to load up before going into some of the boss missions. A cool feature of the game is that if you accidentally “die”, other members of The Warriors can revive you with Flash that you are carrying. However if everyone else has died, then there’s nobody to help you and the game is over!
After a successful tutorial, you can hang out at The Warrior’s Coney Island base. This is basically an old warehouse which has been decorated with amusement park memorabilia, chairs and tables etc. On the ground floor of the base, there are a few pieces of basic gym equipment which you can use to improve the health and power of The Warriors. This involves either a bit of button bashing or following on-screen combos before a time limit is reached.
On the upper floor, you will find The Warriors hanging around listening to the radio which plays tracks from the movie soundtrack. The female DJ regularly mentions the latest news on the street and talks about the latest gang rumbles, which get updated as you progress through the game. There is a TV set which allows you to check out your progress through the game, a subway map which allows you to replay missions, and a pinball machine which allows you to access rumble mode.
In rumble mode you can create a gang or play as any of the gangs from the film (once you have unlocked them). There are a whole series of unlockable and enjoyable mini games you can play from gang fights, to one on one fights, and bizarre games such as wheelchair racing. You’ll find yourself here a lot once you have completed the main game since it offers a lot of replay value.
Back in the hang out, you may also choose to go outside and explore Coney Island. In Coney Island, you can access a series of sub-missions which on completion give you some bonus features that will assist you throughout the main game. For example, in one mission, you have to steal a giant foam hand whilst overdosed on flash, causing the screen to be very blurry as if you are high on drugs. On completion of the mission, your flash-carrying capacity will be increased. The missions are generally quite fun and give you useful abilities when you complete them. As you progress through the missions, more of Coney Island becomes unlocked.
From the Coney Island HQ, you can speak to the War Chief in charge and follow the game’s many missions. The first two-thirds of the game occur before the events of the movie, and you’ll always return back to base after each mission. The last part of the game is different, since you are trying to get home, and all the missions follow on one after another. The downside with this is that the events of the movie take place relatively quickly since the missions are a lot shorter. Throughout the many hours of playing the game, you may expect to be fighting The Lizzies and the Punks for a matter of minutes. However, it is still very enjoyable!
The pre-movie missions are all very varied and largely involve The Warriors infiltrating enemy turf and bopping through the streets whilst trying to achieve an objective. These objectives may be to steal a certain number of car radios or to beat up a certain number of rival gang members. Other missions may be based upon stealth whereby you need to stick to the shadows and make silent kills like in Manhunt.
There are usually a number of bonus objectives which unlock a number of bonus features. One of the most common objectives is to tag enemy burners. Tagging is where your Warrior sprays a red W over an enemy’s name (burner) on a wall. To do this, you need to buy or steal spray paint, and then trace the pattern of the W using the analogue stick. Some Warriors can do this quicker than others. If you don’t follow the trace, then you lose time and paint. There is a healthy bonus if you manage to complete it in one go! Some missions involve you spraying burners which make you spray a series of shapes to form a large Warriors gang burner.
There are plenty of gang encounters throughout the game, and all have their own unique fighting style. It is particularly satisfying beating up the Hi-Hats (a gang dressed as mimes) and knocking their hats off, which you can then pick up and wear yourself!
The Orphans are a low-class gang who are easy to fight, whereas the large Hurricanes from Spanish Harlem take a bit more of a beating before going down. The missions are not always beat-em-ups, but some involve side-scrolling running where you have to negotiate a series of obstacles. Some are in fact backwards-scrolling, where you are running towards the screen! These make a nice change from all the fighting missions and can be quite tricky to master.
The whole point about playing as a gang is that you work as a team and to do this effectively, the Warrior in charge can issue War Chief commands to the other Warriors. These include basic functions such as stop, split and hide, trash all and follow. To be able to get through some of the missions, these commands need to be used carefully. For example, you don’t want your Warriors running ahead and blowing your cover in a stealth mission.
If you need some cash quick, you can get your gang to raid a shop, and you’ll get all the money they make from the raid. However, as previously mentioned, the police will come down hard on any suspicious activity and so you might find that some of your fellow Warriors get arrested. The cops can be quite dumb since they handcuff gang members and leave them lying on the floor, so all you need to do is use a key, or some button bashing, to pick the lock and release them. The cops appear on the navigation map in the bottom right of the screen as blue dots so you can usually avoid them.
The game also supports multiplayer. Not only can you have one-on-one or gang-on-gang fights with your friends, but you can play the whole game co-operatively! This is done in traditional split-screen style, but if you are both fighting in the same area, the split screen disappears. The second player can also join and leave the game at any time which is very convenient.
The graphics in the game are fair, and are typical for Rockstar titles of this age. At a distance, the graphics look good, but up close, they can look a bit blocky. However, since the playing environments are all quite dark and dirty, it’s not really an issue. The music in the game creates a fantastic atmosphere, and features synthesiser music, reminiscent of the movie. All the tracks from the movie soundtrack are in the game as well as a few other new ones, which fans of the movie definitely appreciate.
The cut scenes are well done and are typically animated versions of clips from the movie. The cut scene of Cyrus’ speech is quite lengthy but it really sets the scene for the fast-paced action of the last part of the game. All in all, this game will appeal to fans of the movie, anyone who used to like playing brawler games of the 90’s like Streets of Rage and to those into fighting games like from the WWE series. In fact, I think most gamers would enjoy this game since it is easy to pick up and fun to play.