Unless you are a fan of late 70s gangland action movies you've probably never even heard of 'The Warriors', until now. In its day The Warriors was a legendary film and has subsequently developed into something of a cult classic. The movie depicts the story of all the infamous New York gangs coalescing into one huge unified gang of over 60,000 members. This would significantly outnumber the police, meaning this gang could rule the streets of New York with little challenge to their authority. 'Sadly', the gangs never achieved amalgamation, because at the meeting to organise the gang-unification, the speaker 'Cyrus' is shot dead by a lone gunman. A gang called The Warriors is falsely accused of this crime and the rest of the movie tells the story of how the gang escapes from New York.
The great thing about the game is that if you haven't watched the movie you won't be left in the dark, but instead gradually immersed into the storyline as you progress. The script is written so well that players who have never seen the film will become almost instantly hooked into the deep plot the game offers. Also fans of the film will see many similarities and enjoy many of the memories to which they illude. There are plenty of cut-scenes during the game and they uphold the strong storytelling element throughout. Reaching the conclusion of the game it feels like you've almost got to know the characters personally. Sadly the excessive swearing coupled with the game's violent nature earns The Warriors a well deserved 18 certificate, meaning it is wholly unsuitable for younger people. It would be impossible to stretch out a 2 hour movie into a 12 hour game, so the storyline as you progress through the game goes on to describe the gang called 'The Warriors', and how they earnt their respect.
The bulk of the game is mainly fighting and brawling through the streets of New York, similar to other titles in the genre, such as X-Men. The main fighting engine is fairly simplistic and thus can be a little repetitive at times. The game offers the usual array of punch attacks, ground attacks, grab attacks and a few combos, but the fun bit really is the kind of havoc you can wreak in your fighting environment; sometimes barrels will explode causing fire to break out, consequently livening some fights up a tad. Most of the time you will find yourself getting into 10 vs 10 battles or similar equivalents, with your own computer controlled gang members leaping in to help you out.
In between story missions there are a number of side missions and mini events which give more depth to the otherwise simplistic and basic story levels. You can go around stealing things or mugging people in the city. If that's not really your cup of tea then there are also events such as Chase sequences, where you have to either run away or chase the 'bad guys'. There are stealth missions, which when compared to dedicated titles such as Splinter Cell, don't seem particularly advanced but it adds variety and simple fun to the game, as does the graffiti spraying that you can also do when not in a mission. Some mini games take a while to unlock but this provides a much needed incentive to play on.
'The Warriors' offers the usual two-player modes you would expect on a brawl' em up. These modes work exactly as you would expect, there's nothing fancy about any of them, a contrast with other games in which the multiplayer aspect can seem a little too complicated and confusing for simple pick up and play action, which in essence is what such games strive to achieve. The Warriors features a co-op style game where you and a friend can simply tackle AI opponents in succession, competing to get the highest score. Also a capture the flag and King of the Hill feature adds to the depth of the multiplayer experience, providing many a laugh along the way.
Graphically the game isn't spectacular in any department. The frame rate is not particularly high and some of the textures can look a little rough and gritty in places. Having said this, the game makes good use of a dark pallet to recreate the bleak look of gangland New York City that the film captured so vividly. It looks both highly authentic and in places atmospheric. The strongest part of the in-game audio has to be the voice acting. Other than that, there's not a great deal which really stands out, with the music and effects failing to grab your attention.
'The Warriors' at its core is nothing special from a gameplay standpoint, nor do graphics or audio quality jump out for great praise. However Rockstar have succeeded in wrapping up its flaws with an engaging storyline and an interesting non-linear, free-form approach between missions. Overall The Warriors isn't a game which can be strongly recommended unless you are a fan in the movie and this particular genre. It is worth a glance, but if you bore easily you may find this doesn't have the 'wow' gameplay factor to hold your interest for long, and would probably be better off looking elsewhere ultimately.