Review by: Jeff Burke
Published: December 5, 2005
“New York City, 1979. A battle on the streets of New York. The armies of the night number 60,000 strong, and tonight they’re all after The Warriors– a street gang wrongly accused of killing a rival gang leader. The Warriors must make their way from one end of New York to their turf on the other side of the city. All that stands between The Warriors and their survival are 20 miles and thousands of street gang members. The army of gangs owns the streets and there’s no turning back, they must fight for their lives and learn the meaning of loyalty as danger and uncertainty emerge from the city night.” While accurately describing the 1979 now cult classic film The Warriors, it serves to only describe about one quarter of the recently released Rockstar Toronto developed title.
For those unfamiliar with the classic novel turned movie, a quick plot synopsis should shed some light. Though with the depth of the game’s storyline and inclusion of the major events of the movie integrated into the timeline of the game, knowledge of the movie isn’t even required-though I do personally recommend it.
The Warriors movie follows just one day in the life of the Warriors, without a background of any kind to go on. You learn that the city’s largest gang is organizing some kind of meeting and that over 100 gangs consisting of nine delegates from each has been invited, and of course the Warriors are on that list. Once arrived, the host of the meeting Cyrus, the leader of the Gramercy Riffs, finds his way to a makeshift podium and challenges the gangs to a truce and to fight for the city as a whole versus the tiny turfs they currently command. The idea being, with over 60,000 gang members and only 20,000 cops, it would be quite easy to take over the entire city. As the crowd begins to rally behind him in this cause, a member of the Rogues gang fires a fatal shot at Cyrus and then blaming the whole thing on the Warriors.
While the movie continues on with the entire focus being the Warriors trying to get home to Coney Island and the rest of the city trying to bring them down for the killing of Cyrus, the game actually switches focus to six months before this event, filling in what the movie never touches, to learn how the Warriors came to be and how they got their street rep up to even be invited to this event in the first place. Skipping forward to the point in which the movie happens during the timeline, you relive, to almost perfection, what happens in the movie sequence and then go on the run home, back to the safety.
When playing this game, I got that warm feeling of side-scrolling brawlers/beat’em-ups found commonly in the days of 8 and 16 bit. While there is more to do then just fight as you will learn later, the main way of advancing the storyline is in fact fighting. Each of the nine Warriors has a slightly different but ultimately similar style of fighting. You’ll find the only thing separating them is generally strength and signature power moves that only that character can pull off useable primarily when the Warrior has built his rage meter up and becomes enraged; causing besides those new movies but also to do considerably more damage and an apparent “thicker skin” for a short amount of time. Building up this rage is accomplished simply by fighting, and more quickly by varying your attacks and pulling off moves that have a “wow” factor to them, like throwing a guy through a window.