Remember Double Dragon? It was a game where you alone, or with a friend, got one screen after another with the only goal to kick everything that moves. I’m pretty sure that 8 out of 10 of our visitors have never heard of this game or its genre (side-scrolling 2D Beat’em Up)! Luckily this is no longer a problem as Rockstar has succeeded to transfer this genre to the 3D world. Also the graphics whores with a love for the raw asskicking now get their kicks with Rockstar’s latest: The Warriors.
One of the strong points of the game is the overall presentation, style and atmosphere. The intro itself is already proof that they’ve nicely captured the atmosphere of the 1979 cult movie; it’s been ages that an intro could grab me by the balls from the first second and suck me into its grimm and hard atmosphere.
Quite original is the fact that you don’t just get to replay the movie but that you get to see what happened before the events in the movie. This way you don’t only get to know the characters, setting and storyline a lot better but there’s also a lot more variation in gameplay and work towards a real climax. The story itself is very strongly brought with good voice-acting and of course the necessary rough language. Let it be clear that this isn’t a game for the youngest amongst us!
Of course you’ll be spending your time on Coney Island, the place of all this bloodshed. You get the necessary (and varied) missions from your clan leader or other persons, you can increase your stats rpg-wise by training your muscles and of course do the necessary bashing. The latter are quite well done with the usual combos, the possibility to use weapons (boards, pipes, knives, bottles, etc etc etc) and to push adversaries to the floor to give them some extra kicking. Also possibilities to attack multiple people at the same time and jumping in a group like some madman are present. On top of that the different characters will all play a bit different. Only downpoint might be that the less experienced gamers doesn’t get a lot of time to learn the combos but the battle system itself is surprisingly deep and enjoyable.
Luckily you can do more than just let your fists speak, although it often comes down to that. You have to get money by doing robberies or stealing people’s dollars, sometimes there are more stealthy objectives to fullfil, you need to place grafitti on the walls of an enemy clan, also the washing of a car or quickly escaping over the rooftops is part of the many activities you’ll be able to do. There are also a lot of extras (some very cool ones included) that you can unlock and that expand the lifespan of the game a bit. No lack of variation and that’s without a doubt one of the strongest points in this game.
What also increases the lifespan is without a doubt the co-op multiplayer mode where you can replay the story with one of your friends and back each other up during fights. To keep you playing a bit longer the makers also made the save-game system a bit less easy. There are some auto-saves, handy in the longer missions, but sometimes there aren’t enough of these. On top of that you loose all progress if you have to shut down your console before having finished a mission completely. Not so good if you ask me.
Visually, The Warriors has a very own style that perfectly fits in the game. Everything looks dark and grimm (also because of the numb colors) and although the graphics could have been a bit better on textures and surroundings, they’re good enough for a top title. Also the interaction and the buildup of the maps make up a lot. What did bother me, sometimes more than I’d like, was the camera. This often does its own thing which can result in you feeling disoriented and loosing oversight. Bashing one of your own clan happens more than once!
Nothing but praise on the soundtrack and effects. The fighting really sounds raw and hard, and you feel almost like your ribs crack when someone is kicking you on the ground. The retro-feeling soundtrack (filled with titles from the 70’s) gives the game that authentic feeling and make it breathe that typical time spirit.
The Warriors is without a doubt a very successful beat’m up. It doesn’t only feel old skool but also plays fluid and has enough depth and variation to keep you interested for more than 3 hours. With the storyline and atmosphere things are quite alright and although the images aren’t always perfect, they do form a whole with the rest of the presentation. Add to that the excellent soundtrack and effects and the good controls (except for the lesser camera placings) and you have a game that will appeal to a lot of people. Do make sure your little brother puts in ear plugs if you don’t want him to be unable to say a sentence without “fuck” in it after two days of playing.