The Warriors

One fundamental element of any discernible street brawler is its ability to enhance the enjoyment of its single-player game by providing a quality cooperative experience, giving two people the chance to team up and fight side-by-side in a cosy union of cohesive violence.

As a self-confessed descendant of such classic - and archetypal - examples of the genre as Streets of Rage and Double Dragon, it's no surprise that Rockstar's The Warriors offers the opportunity to take on the various degenerate gangs of New York with a pummelling pal in tow.

We recently settled down on Rockstar's sofa to bruise it up cooperative stylee against two of the game's gangs - the Destroyers (a Rockstar Toronto creation) and the rich-kid Jones Street Boys - and were pleased to discover that buddying up has distinct advantages that extend beyond simply having some reliable fists on your side.

Of course, and as we'd expect, having a second skull-encased super computer partnering you is certainly great for spreading the knuckle love around during violent encounters - it allows pain to be served far more efficiently than if relying solely on AI brawn as back-up.

There's also the added bonus of being able to team up for some tandem brutalising - one player grabs a weak opponent and holds him steady for the other to pile in with an 'ooh that's gotta hurt' crippling blow.

But The Warriors isn't just an all-out slugathon - there are plenty of other illegal activities to keep you busy and the introduction of a sentient sidekick allows the objectives to be approached in a far more strategic manner than if playing on your lonesome.

Rather than forcing players to remain in close proximity of one another, if the two Warriors stray too far apart, the screen vertically divides in two, effectively allowing each player to wander off and do their own thing.

Although this isn't without its drawbacks - the transition between views felt slightly cumbersome at times and often resulted in momentary disorientation - the advantages of being able to roam and explore separately ensure that the cramped perspective is a welcome and valuable inclusion.

Teamwork inevitably becomes an integral part of play and for objectives that required us to spray up several tags or loot a number of stores we were able to split up and complete our goal in half the time.

Playing together also encouraged the pre-planning of strategies and tactics - one player would hide out of sight in the shadows, while the other would act as bait to lure cops or rival gang members away from the area.

As a result, experiencing The Warriors with a cooperative crony looks like offering a distinctly different spin on how the game is tackled and - from what we played - should make this the best buddy-up brawler to hit the streets in quite some time.

The Warriors will be released for PS2 and Xbox on 21 October