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The Warriors

Platform(s): PlayStation 2, Xbox
Genre: Action
Publisher: Take 2/Rockstar
Developer: Rockstar

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PSP Review - 'The Warriors'

by Tim McCullough on June 23, 2007 @ 6:36 a.m. PDT

The Warriors is based on the 1979 Paramount Pictures cult classic movie. Developed by Rockstar Toronto, The Warriors expands the stylized cinematic journey of the film into a gritty interactive experience set in 1970s.

Genre: Action/Fighting
Producer: Rockstar Games
Developer: Rockstar Games
Release Date: February 12, 2007

The lines of acceptable content in the gaming industry have continued to blur steadily over the last few years. On one hand, you have those groups that feel adult content has no place in the games we play — the very same people who are responsible for ESRB branding. This, of course, has sort of backfired, just as it did on the music industry. If people are provided with a fair warning regarding content, how can producers and publishers be held responsible for the mature content of their games? As for me, I deplore the difficult choices I had to make while playing through The Warriors. How am I supposed to choose between a tire iron, a baseball bat or my bare hands when I mug someone?

Be forewarned; The Warriors contains adult themes, language, violence, drug abuse, crime and just about everything else you would want to keep away from children. The Warriors is the story of Coney Island-based gang members who find themselves fighting to return to their own turf after attending a gang convention that goes terribly wrong. When Cyrus, the organizer of the convention to unite the city's gangs, is gunned down, The Warriors are framed up for the assassination and now must fight, mug, steal and vandalize their way back across New York back to Coney Island.

Although the game is based on the movie, it has a completely different flow and complements the movie, rather than copies it. The Warriors includes a game mode called Armies of the Night, which, according to the manual, is "in homage to the old school 2D brawler." The game is reminiscent of the side-scrolling Double Dragon, and it's a nice addition to an already-complete title. The Warriors features an in-game tutorial mission cleverly disguised as your initiation into the Warriors gang, which thoroughly explains the numerous controls and types of tasks you will be required to master to play the game successfully.

You move your character around in the 3D environment using your analog joystick, and camera controls are managed using the up arrow on the d-pad and the analog joystick. In addition to the basic combat buttons, you will have three additional levels of attack, along with special abilities such as grappling, tackling and using weapons. These additional actions will require the customary memorizing of button sequences, as is usually the case for this genre of gaming.

The Warriors uses an auto-save feature when you are playing in story mode, which I don't particularly like, unless you also have the ability to manually save when you want. Keep the auto-saving in mind while you play because if you leave the game before a save point, you will have to repeat part of your game.

Story mode is where most people will begin their adventures into the world of The Warriors. After the initiation (tutorial), you will be tasked with completing the first two levels of play, which focuses on harassing a rival gang who happens to also call Coney Island their turf. These levels introduce you to what you will want to be doing throughout most of the game: fighting, mugging, stealing and tagging.

After completing these initial missions, you will arrive at the Warriors' hangout, which serves as the game's primary menu system. In this location, you will be able to start your next mission, enter other game modes (rumble mode, Armies of The Night), talk with your fellow gang members, exercise (to increase stamina.), replay missions (to improve score or unlock new features), or check various game stats. The Warriors is not a short game; there are a total of 18 regular missions in 13 different New York City locations. Additionally, there are several bonus missions, some of which are accessible by exiting out of the Warriors' hangout to Coney Island.

Some of the detailed elements are worth noting because they make The Warriors entertaining and challenging. During a mission, character health is restorable by purchasing a drug, "Flash," from dealers, and you will be required to use collected cash to purchase spray paint for your tagging assignments. Although you can simply break into cars and stores by busting out windows, you have the ability to pick locks by playing a quick reflex game to align three tumblers. This is a better alternative to breaking glass, since you will usually have more time to loot before police arrive.

If three additional levels of attack were not enough, you can enter into "Rage Mode," where you will find yourself invincible for a short period of time. To enter Rage Mode, you will need to build up your rage meter by successfully completing combo attacks and "style" moves, such as throwing someone off of a roof. Another interesting detail in The Warriors is the use of handcuffs, which police can and will use on you (and others) if they can get you to the ground. Fortunately, you can remove handcuffs from others using a rhythm-based button sequence, and others can do the same for you. Any handcuffs and keys you come across can be used on your enemies as well. If you were concerned about your artistic skills during the required graffiti portions of the game, you shouldn't be; tagging is reduced to tracing out the letter "W" using the analog nub.

The 3D engine graphics are detailed and responsive enough for the action you will face in The Warriors. The cut scenes are all done in 3D using the game engine, and although I haven't seen the movie in years, I believe some of the cut scenes reenact portions of the movie. Although you do have considerable flexibility when it comes to adjusting your camera view, I found making adjustments was a bit cumbersome. Some tagging locations are high up on buildings and are only accessible by climbing up on rooftops. Unless you are on top of your radar, finding out how to reach some of the locations can be a bit tricky.

The game's sounds and music generates an ominous mood for players. However, without using headsets, the usual problem of room noise versus the PSP's small pinhole speakers can make it difficult to understand the story of The Warriors without reading every in-game text caption.

The Warriors contains two game modes which support multiplayer game play on the PSP network. The first, story mode, allows you to play the single-player story mode cooperatively with another player. One player will act as a "host," while the other would be in a client mode. You also have multiplayer capability with "rumble mode," where you have the ability to play a series of mini-games in cooperative or versus modes.

If you are a fan of the original movie and/or enjoy the earthy premise of fighting your way through a gauntlet of tough gangs, The Warriors is the PSP game for you. The ability to play through the story mode with a friend is enticing and is only one of many features that makes it worth the price to add to your collection. Where else can you beat up everyone around you, loot, steal car radios, mug, and graffiti complete neighborhoods with a $5 can of spray paint?

Score: 8.5/10


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