The Warriors
Developer: Rockstar Toronto
Publisher: Rockstar
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-2
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Rockstar’s conversion of successful PS2 games to its smaller cousin continues with the film adaptation The Warriors. It follows the fictional small-time Coney island gang as they build up their rep, are invited to a New York gang meet and subsequently set up for the murder of the main boss.

Graphically the game looks quite similar to the original; everything looks seedy, dark and corrupt, right up to Coney’s famous fairground. The environments are just as interactive and you can pick up and assault people with pretty much anything you can see on-screen. Although the graphics look as good as the PS2 version and show no signs of slowing down when the action all kicks off, the detail often gets obscured with GTA-style motion blurring. Although I’d prefer this to slowdown, when you combine the blurring with the dark visuals sometimes it makes it almost impossible to see what’s going on.

The fighting system in Warriors is perhaps what excels itself above anything else - it is probably the best fighting system I’ve seen in a beat ‘em up game. Whether fighting one-on-one or in the middle of a big gang brawl the important combos and moves aren’t too far away. Every button is used perfectly and the character animations when you double-team a rival gang member or smash his face into the wall is oh-so satisfying. The blocking is a little out of the way (mapped to down on the D-pad) but attack is the best form of defence anyway!

One slightly miffing point was the way you can order your ‘troops’ around. You can order them to follow you, protect you, trash/steal everything in sight or just start a big old brawl, all by holding the select button. The only problem comes when the game quickly switches from you tagging a wall to being in the middle of a big punch-up. To switch between the various team commands you have to hold down the select button as it scrolls between them, leaving you vulnerable to attacks.

One of the things I like about Warriors is the sheer diversity the game gives you for what appears to be a simple beat ‘em up on the surface. You can play through the story missions, which don’t just involve beating up everyone; sometimes you’ll have to rob a shop, trash cars or spray your gang’s tag (or ‘burner’) across the city. When you get back from the missions you can walk around your turf and mug people, steal radios or rumble with the police, and these aren’t even the side missions! The flashback missions and rumble modes from the PS2 are back, along with an old-school arcade scrolling beat ‘em up game (very Streets of Rage) in the hideout. You can also do some simple training mini games to boost your stamina!

In addition to the wide scope Warriors gives you to cause havoc, the New York Rockstar have created isn’t just a 2D linear environment; civilians will run to the police and report you if they see you committing a crime, residents will shout abuse at you from their apartments if you’re fighting or robbing a shop. There are innumerable minor touches and attention to detail which make it feel like you’re roaming a living, breathing and brutal city.

Unlike the sound in Rockstar’s other big outing, Liberty City Stories, which was tinny and poor to say the least, the sound in Warriors is just as quality as the rest of the game. Sounding quite alike the soundtrack to Escape from New York in places, the ominous synth score combined with funky beats really sets the tone for the era the film was set in. The voice acting is also top-notch, with many of the original cast returning to lend their voices. The dialogue never seems out of place and the banter that you hear while milling around the Warriors’ base is almost as cool as the stuff in the main script.

All-in-all, as we found with our PS2 review, The Warriors is great fun and has bucketfuls of style and Rockstar have succeeded in reinventing another genre. I scored it less than the PS2 version only because the motion blur and very dark setting don’t suit the PSP all that well, especially in the summer months, the bringer of the dreaded screen glare! But if you don’t mind a few muddled controls and the odd confusing moment you’ll find an amazing game that’s pick up and play but also hard to put down…

Best Bits

- Great combat system
- Nice graphics and sound
- Controls converted well to PSP
- Loads of game modes
Worst Bits

- Lots of motion blur
- Very dim visuals
- Some controls still manage to be a little fiddly

by: Crazypunk

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