In a nice break from tradition what we have here is a movie based game that hasn't been rushed out to match the release time of a current movie which is what frequently happens with videogames, Making a videogame based on a movie is quite a science and one of its laws is Petes First law of movie based videogame timing which states that the closer to the release of the film the game is released the more it is likely to be awful, fortunately The Warriors comes some time after the film and is rather good.
The Warriors from Rockstar is based in and around the 1979 movie of the same name which stars the street gang known as The Warriors and the problems that arise when they are wrongfully accused of the murder of local gang leader Cyrus who has found significance in the fact that there are 60,000 gang members in the city and only 20,000 police officers and has called a meeting of the city gangs to convey this to them, it is at this meeting that the murder takes place, the story mode of the game starts you off three months before this meeting.
You will spend the bulk of the game out on the city streets either accomplishing missions or roaming around your gangs turf. These streets recreate the gritty dirty run down look and feel of the movie very well and are graphically sound, some of the models and textures used can look a bit off when seen up close but this does not detract from the experience all that much.
You will find within the run down neighbourhoods plenty of people whom you may relieve of either their money or their life or both in either order you see fit, dealers who can sell you the health restoring drug known as flash or sell you knives and spray cans of paint, several members of other gangs who can be brawled with at your leisure can be found and of course swarms of the number one videogame baddies the police who will dutifully show up to intervene in any illegal activities you are unlucky enough to be seen committing.
On a mission
The story plays out through a series of missions which introduce the various gangs and the main members of them, you are guided through each mission by markers that appear on your radar or on the screen if you are at their location, typically a mission is broken down into several sections with a red marker indicating that you have reached the end of a section and yellow markers to point out objectives within each section. Fortunately you do not have to replay the whole of a mission if you fail it as the game will let you try again from the beginning of the missions sections. After a short time of playing you reach the hideout of the Warriors gang which becomes your base and starting point for the missions, at the hideout you can also choose to exit and roam freely around outside or replay earlier missions.
The missions vary the objectives and gameplay well, you will travel to different locations and be required to do different things there, some missions are straight fighting missions during which seemingly hundreds of rival gang members will meet your fists while other missions will require you to spray your gangs tags on marked out walls or get sneaky and stealth your way around past some enemies without alerting them to your presence.
It always feels that you are doing the things you are doing for a good reason though, you are never left to wander why the Warriors are where they are and why you are doing the missions, in fact the history of the gang can be learned through bonus missions should the player be interested.
A great touch of the game is that any mission can be attempted in two player mode even if the game was originally started as a single player game since you get the option to choose between single and two player modes each time you start the game, a second player can enter the action by pressing start on the second pad too if they wish.
In two player mode you are not confined to the same screen as each other because it will automatically switch to a split screen display if the two players wander too far away from each other, once the players return to each other again the screen switches back to a single screen display. This switching of display modes can be a little disorientating to begin with especially if you are used to playing it full screen but it is better than limiting the distance that players can roam from each other by sticking to single screen entirely a la the two player sections of San Andreas.
If its not nailed down...
Getting ahead in The Warriors is easier if you have some cash to spend and there are a number of way to get it, you may break into parked vehicles and remove the car stereo for instant cash or break into some shops by picking the lock then smashing open the cabinets inside and removing the goods which again turn into money as soon as you touch them or as mentioned earlier you can get money directly from the people walking the streets by mugging them. All of the above activities require you to complete quick minigames to successfully get the cash which involve rotating or holding the left analogue stick in the correct way or in the case of shop door lockpicking pressing the X button at the correct times to get the doors open, if you are bad at this though the shops alarms will go off and the police will soon be in attendance, similarly if a wandering policeman sees you removing a car stereo or mugging someone you'll have the cops to deal with.
The fighting in The Warriors is a strong point of the game and you will engage in a lot of it as you play through, often you will be fighting alongside many members of your gang against large groups of enemies and this is what really sets the fighting off best. You can form short combos with your light and heavy attacks of varying speeds and damage dealing capabilities depending on which attacks you use and in which order you use them, if you manage to get an enemy to the ground you can continue your assault on them by mounting them and bashing them repeatedly in the face at your leisure. The brawls can seem huge sometimes because as you are fighting away you will be able to see your gang members taking on more of the rival gang members around you, your friends will use more than just basic attacks too and will use weaponry and sometimes pair up to double team a single opponent.
Your surrounding environment plays a big part in the combat in The Warriors, you may pick most of the loose objects around you and then either throw them at the enemy or use them as weapons, sometimes objects will break up into smaller pieces when thrown which can also be picked up and used.
Your grapples and throws will also take into account your surrounding environment, if you are close enough to a wall you can bash foes heads against it by throwing them in the direction of the wall.
The fights are made much better by the fact that your opponents do not typically die in just a couple of hits and you'll be able to really get into the fight before its over.
You can issue commands to the gang members around you by holding the R2 button in and then choosing a command from the menu that appears at the bottom of the screen, the standard commands of are there such as telling your gang to follow you or wait where they are and also some nice commands which cause your gang to wreak havok on the surrounding environment and the people in it.
The Warriors quickly becomes very absorbing and most players will want to see the storyline through once they have started. The Rockstar trademarks of varied missions, good script and character development, lots of bonuses and hidden bits, responsive controls and well thought out game progression are all in there to be enjoyed alongside Rockstars other trademarks of stealing things and gang warfare.
The combat that forms a large bulk of the game is fun to play especially when you fight together with other gang members and can see your guys pounding on their rivals with bats and fists while you slam another guys head against the nearest wall, it makes the action seem more intense and realistically like a large scale fight with everything going on around you like that.
I would recommend this title to any fan of the movie or to any fan of third person action games, you do not need to have seen the movie in order to understand the game as all the characters, gangs and the story they form are adequately explained in the large 'prequel to the movie' section which makes up most of the game.