The Warriors review

Can Rockstar dig it? Xbox World 360 aims to find out...

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Resurrecting old and much-loved movies and turning them into games is always going to be a dangerous business.

Not dangerous like alligator wrestling or wearing pants made of Uranium-235 but you've got to please a lot of different sets of people at the same time: fans of the original film, fans of the genre of game, gamers who've never heard of the movie and need to be won over... the list goes on.

As you'd expect from Rockstar, The Warriors manages to pull it off, delivering both a worthy and worthwhile homage to the 1979 classic and also a worthy and worthwhile videogame.

But only just.

For while it's hard to fault the game's atmosphere thanks to spot-on period music, genuinely excellent voice acting in the cutscenes, a highly detailed and dangerous New York City to gang bang your way around and some lovingly recreated clothing that makes The Village People look more macho than an SAS squad in comparison.

It's story-driven and the first two thirds of the game are set prior to the film and involves you turning The Warriors from a little known gang to big players on the New York scene.

Increasing your gang's rep is done in two main ways: plastering your tag around the city and fighting other gangs. You'll get to play as a number of different Warriors, depending on the mission goals.

For example there's a jaunt to a train yard to decorate some new subway trains, and here you'll be in Rembrandt's shoes because he's the gang's 'artist'.

The graffiti side of things works okay, it being a little like that game where you guide a hoop around an electrified wire without touching it, except here it's keeping an icon moving along a path that you have to colour in.

Sadly there's no actual artistry to this and the fun is fleeting, especially considering that a massive amount of optional bonuses involve tagging.

Fighting is the other main occupation and this is fairly decent stuff, relying on two button combos of light and heavy attacks that vary according to your stick-pointing and context.

Plus there are throws and grapples that are executed with B and some special tag-team moves, which work very nicely in the two-player co-op mode. Makeshift weapons are in plentiful supply, but don't last long. Complex this isn't, with nods to retro urban scrappers such as Final Fight and Streets of Rage.

One-on-one scrapping poses few problems but things get reasonably tough when you're up against multiple enemies, while it's positively hectic if there's a full on gang rumpus kicking off around you and you'll find yourself struggling to keep tabs on which character you are as the melee ensues.

You need cash to support your Flash habit (Flash regenerates health) and buy paint for tagging duties and as you're not about to get a job at Starbucks, petty crime and a spot of extortion is always the way forward here.

Ripping off car stereos, breaking and entering stores, mugging innocent bystanders (all of which is done with a series of simple controller mechanics, as you can see from some of the screens) are the main ways to 'earn' cash and you'll also collect protection money in a few of the missions.

Curiously, you're always skint whenever you start a new level. Those afros must cost a fortune to keep up.

The final third of the game recreates the events in the film itself, but the gameplay remains broadly similar, a hotch-potch of different styles, from stealth-focused missions with much hiding in the shadows to legging it away when you're outnumbered by hammering A.

And there's fighting, of course. Lots and lots of fighting. Boosting the main event is a series of bonus levels that tell of how The Warriors gang first came into being.

If you're expecting a new GTA from the people who made it, you'll be sorely disappointed but The Warriors nonetheless provides an entertaining and very playable tale bearing the usual high production values and intense violence we've always lovingly associated with Rockstar.

The Warriors is out for Xbox and PS2 now and will be released for PSP on 28 November

More info

DescriptionThe 2005 brawler based on the cult film makes a near-perfect transition to PSP.
US censor rating"Mature","Mature","Mature"
UK censor rating"","",""
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)