|The Warriors (2005)
Available for: PlayStation 2, Xbox
Rockstar has finally done it, people. They’ve broken their own patented Rockstar mold by dishing out a title that has nothing to do with either the “Grand Theft Auto” or the “Midnight Club” franchises. And thank God for this, really. After all, in my previous review for “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas,” I was bemoaning the fact that the company had kind of dug itself into a rut and were quite capable of delivering some sort of new hit that fully escaped its other titles. Well, here it is. A video game version of the great cult flick “The Warriors.”
Yeah, yeah, you’re undoubtedly saying, “But video games modeled after movies are doomed to suck.” You’d be right, usually. But in the case of “The Warriors,” the Rockstar Toronto team has taken one of the grooviest B-movies ever and fully translated its excitement and added half a ton more on top. It’s a stellar achievement and certainly one of the best action games released this year. If you like beat ‘em up, throw down games with a lot of missions and a large story arc, then “The Warriors” is for you.
For those who haven’t seen the movie, “The Warriors” centers around the same-named street gang who run the Coney Island turf in NYC. Recently, Cyrus, the leader of the gang The Riffs, has called all the gangs in the city together for a truce and one huge meeting. Cyrus wants to take over the city as one large gang. No more fighting between rival gangs. There are more numbers in the gangs than there are police, he says. They could control NYC and tax the cops, and would make a helluva lotta loot in the process. “CAN YOU DIG IT?” he exclaims, as the crows cheers.
But someone else has other plans. A gunshot from within the crowd kills Cyrus and the blame is pinned on the Warriors. Miles away from home, the Warriors decide that they need to get back to their home turf in Coney Island where they’ll be safe. Unfortunately for them, the Riffs want them dead or alive, and with the truce now shot to hell, the Warriors are running for their lives. Can you dig it?
However, “The Warriors” the game goes beyond just playing the movie (which you get to do, and then some) by adding a full back story that gives the player missions to work through in the months leading up to the big meeting. So the first half of the game is a series of flashbacks, as it were. Rockstar has gone the extra mile here by tossing in a few cool innovations, such as mugging people, in which you have to move the analog stick around until you feel the controller vibrate in certain directions to steal the victims’ money, as well as stealing car stereos where you actually have to turn the left analog stick in a counter-clockwise motion as if you were unscrewing the deck from the car.
But in the middle of this is good old fighting. All the cool and wacky gangs from the movie are here, as well as some that you don’t see in the flick. That means you’ll get to beat the hell out of the Moon Runners, the Hi-Hats, the Orphans, the Baseball Furies, and the Turnbull A.C.’s to name a few. The playfields are wide open, and there are plenty of weapons to wield, such as bricks, pipes, bottles, knives, and chunks of concrete. Occasionally there’s also a Molotov cocktail to toss when you’re doing a B&E mission. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the spray paint cans. Lots of ‘em to leave your mark all over the city.
“The Warriors” features voice acting from many of the original actors in the flick who are still around. That means you’ll hear James Remar as Ajax, Michael Beck as Swan, and David Patrick Kelley as Luther (“Warriors…come out to playyyyayyyy!”) This adds a huge amount of entertainment value to the game, as all the different missions will have you playing as different Warriors. You’ll be sure to start finding yourself liking the personalities of many of these dudes after a while (my personal fave is definitely Ajax, asshole that he is.)
Plenty of raw, adult language gets tossed into the dialogue here, but it never sounds cheesy or just thrown in for shock value. That’s how the movie was, and it keeps the game feeling just as intense. There’s also the original soundtrack from the movie that plays in the background, so you’ll get to hear the original score as well as some super groovy tunes from the ‘70s. There’s an especially hilarious one that plays during a stolen goods planting operation on the Turnbull A.C.’s turf that won’t be given away here. Let’s just say it provides a humorous counterpoint to the violent action going on.
The only problem with this game, and it’s such a slight one that it’s big enough to keep “The Warriors” from getting a top rating, is the camera, natch. One of these days, a developer will come up with a camera system that doesn’t get caught behind items it shouldn’t at critical situations, causing the player to be temporarily blind. However, the rest of the controls run amazingly smooth and the characters look just like they should, with pretty damn good lip syncing on the models to boot.
So there you have it. “The Warriors” is definitely going to be a hit of the holiday season, and easily one of the best PS2 games to come out this year. Let’s just hope that Rockstar can continue on breaking some new ground and creating other exciting games to keep this ball rolling. But if they decide to keep doing movie games, please let ‘em stick to titles such as “The Warriors” that can translate well over into video game land. Lord knows we don’t need any more Shaq movie games…ever.