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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Rockstar

 

Developer

Rockstar Toronto

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

October 17, 2005

 

 

- Great beat 'em up action
- Simple combos and controls
- Variety of mission objectives
- Lots of extras, including wheelchair races
- Many items to use as weapons

 

 

- A few too many F-bombs for my liking
- Default camera is a bit too close to the action

 

 

Review: GTA: San Andreas (PC)

Review: State of Emergency (XB)

Review: The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (XB)

Classic Review: Final Fight 3 (SNES)

 

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The Warriors

Score: 8.4 / 10

 

 

Beat ‘em up sidescrolling games are dead. Even Capcom, maker of the Final Fight series, has abandoned the well-worn, left-to-right fisticuffs. Unfortunately, not many developers have figured out how to translate the traditional beat ‘em up to a fully 3D environment and still make the game fun to play. Enter The Warriors.

Based on a film from 1979 (also titled The Warriors), the game does not feature the same kind of movie tie-in that gamers might expect. Though the last bit of the game is pulled right from the movie (with plenty of running away), most of the game takes place as a flashback to flesh out the core group of characters – how the Warriors was formed, how individual gang members joined, the background of the gang rivalries – leading up to a monumental meeting of New York gangs in a vainglorious attempt to mobilize a grand gang army to control the city. The break from convention – shoehorning elements of the movie to fit into a game – is a welcome one. Besides that, The Warriors is actually a great beat ‘em up game with

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just enough variety to keep things lively.

The Warriors’s Coney Island HQ serves as the hub to the rest of the game. From here you access the story missions, flashback missions, bonus missions, upgrade your fighting stats by working out (mashing buttons), and take part in a variety of Rumbles. (In a good move, Rockstar Toronto also includes a two-player option in the story mode.) Upon the completion of successful missions, the game

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saves your progress automatically and offers mid-mission checkpoints that are useful for extremely long missions (but are lost if you quit). Completing various missions and bonuses unlock further flashback missions and Rumble modes – there are some really, uh, delicious extras to be found in the Rumble mode.

Surprisingly, the missions aren’t all about beating up wave after wave of respawning drones. You’ll often be tasked with objectives that are extremely unlike beat ‘em ups, like following a gang member making his rounds while staying out of sight or taking part in the chaos of a New York City blackout by stealing things and performing random muggings or tagging opposing gangs turf markings or wasting a car with your bare hands. Other tasks include just running like hell away from a pursuing gang – leaping from rooftop to rooftop – or running after an escaping gangster. These sections are included to mix-up the combat, which there is a lot of. Also of some surprise is that the combat itself is varied. There are the basic two and three button combos, but you’ve also got throws, grapples (best performed while straddling your foe and dropping elbows), tackles (just run and jump into a group of foes), and context sensitive and power moves (like performing a throw while you’re positioned near a wall results in a nifty and powerful head slam). On top of that the characters you’ll play have slightly different-looking combo moves and there are all manner of objects in the environment that can be picked up and used to smash some heads like bricks, bottles, two by fours, garbage cans, chairs, pool cues, jagged bottles, knives, and, my favorite, Molotov cocktails. So not only do you get use your reflexes, there’s also a fair amount of “planning” that can go on.

The script is laden with profanity. I’m getting old, I know, but there were a little too many F-bombs. Capturing the mood of the street and the dynamic verbal interchange between two opposing gangs is one thing, and it does indicate the kind of people we’re dealing with, but it actually managed to get on my nerves! F this, F that, F them – okay guys, we get the point. (It’s in contrast to the movie that doesn’t actually feature that much profanity.) The actual delivery is great – it especially helps that a few of the actors from the film have contributed with some very good voicework, reprising their roles from 25 years ago.

In order to accommodate some pretty big brawls, the graphical details have been turned down – textures aren’t as sharp as they might have been and the color scheme is limited. It’s a trade-off that I don’t mind. My one real issue with the game graphics is that the camera is often way too close to the action. Simply clicking the right thumbstick brings the camera out a little alleviate the feelings of claustrophobia, but it never feels like it’s out far enough. The camera can also be controlled with the right thumbstick but the default view is usually adequate, though sometimes the camera will be blocked by something in the environment, which is not a big deal – if you’re not in a fight.

Overall, you’re not going to find a better beat ‘em up, action game leading up to Christmas than The Warriors. The language is a little salty, but it has so much going for it – especially the fact it doesn’t descend into repetitiveness and has an interesting story to tell – that it would be shame if you missed it.

- Omni
(November 15, 2005)

 

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