The Warriors is a rare case; a legitimately great movie-based video game
The Warriors is a one-of-a-kind game; it manages to use its movie license in a creative way, while still being a great game by itself. Adapted from of the 70s flick of the same name, The Warriors is a solid beat ‘em up that manages to cram other sub genres without feeling spread thin.
The game was developed and published by Rockstar and released during the holidays of 2005. It received a decent marketing push and positive reviews from major gaming publications. However, despite being a huge game released by a triple A developer like Rockstar, The Warriors only managed to pull in less than a million on both the PlayStation 2 and original Xbox, combined. It also doesn’t help the gaming industry was slowly moving towards the seventh generation, with the release of the Xbox 360 that year.
Much like the film it’s based on, The Warriors became rather obscure. The mashing of different gameplay types and overall great story, make The Warriors one of the better games of the PS2/Xbox era.
The Warriors is a 70s cult classic that still holds up today
Directed by film buff favorite film director, Walter Hill, The Warriors tells the story of a the title gang living in New York City during the crime-ridden late 70s. After a truce between all the gangs suddenly ends, the Warriors are to blame. The ragtag group of heroes fend off some dangerous, and hilarious, groups to find their way back home.
The film is full of fights, humor and 70s aesthetic. Hill brings a gritty, yet somehow colorful, visual style to the whole film and manages to pack in some solid character development. In an answer to a somewhat obscure trivia question, Joe Walsh’s classic rock radio staple, “In the City,” came from the film.
It’s not perfect, but it is highly entertaining and remains a popular cult film to this day.
“Warriors…come out to play-ayyyyyyy!”
The video game adaptation was in development since 2002 and went through numerous changes. The finished product is a great one. The Warriors main gameplay feature is its combat. Taking cues from classic beat ‘em ups from the early 90s, players take control of one of the film’s many characters to fight several other thugs. However, it is not a mindless button smasher. Combos can be learned and the environments can be used to fight. Picking up a lead pipe or baseball bat is seamless with the control set up.
The Warriors contains minor strategy/squad based elements. The Warrior the player controls is “Warchief.” The Warchief gives commands to the other non-players, such as group up (Hold Up), fight other enemies (Wreck ‘Em All) or destroy everything in sight (Mayhem). It may seem like a lot for a beat ‘em up, but it works. The combat is actually quite addictive and players may find themselves looking for fights rather than avoiding them.
Instead of following the film’s story, Rockstar took a much different approach. Most of the game is a prequel to how the Warriors were formed. It’s well written and acted and serves to spice the game up with a wide variety of missions to complete. Stealth missions involving breaking into rival gangs’ hideouts to tagging the Warriors tag all over a neighborhood break up the combat.
Fans of the film will recognize Ajax, Swan, Snowman, Cochise, Cleon, etc.. and will be happy to know many of the actors reprised their roles for the game too. The infamous Baseball Furies and Turnbull AC’s make appearances as well, along with some original gangs.
The Warriors manages to re-create the film’s unique style and vision. Taking a look at the graphics, the game is giving off a grungy, crime-ridden vibe to its world.
Like any good beat ‘em up, multiplayer is available to play. The main story mode is co-op, but there is a competitive two-player mode. It’s an absolute blast to play with a friend, controlling the Warriors as they fight off the armies of the night.
On the original release for the PS2 and Xbox, Joe Walsh’s “In the City,” along with other 70s rock tracks, appears. However, the PS3 and PS4 rereleases do not have it.
One of Gaming’s Undervalued Treasures
Since it’s based off of a cult film which already does not have a big audience, it’s a pity The Warriors never became a bigger hit than it was. The overall great mix of gameplay styles creates a fun experience. It also helps that Rockstar paid respects to the source material and gives fans a story they can enjoy. Gamers who haven’t seen the film, can enjoy the fantastic gameplay.