Are You The Warrior?

The Warriors: Street Brawl
Reviewed On
Xbox 360
Available For

Back in 2005, I played a game version of one of my favorite cult movies, The Warriors. When Rockstar Toronto released it. I never expected it to be so good. Not only was it a deep brawler with solid controls and nonstop action, it did what many movie based games couldn’t do. It actually expanded on the Warriors universe with lots of back story and a ton of side missions. I always wanted to see the game come back some way or another, preferably as an Xbox Original download.

Thus when I heard that a new Warriors game was announced, I looked forward to it. However I found it was not being done by Rockstar (a bad sign,) but rather an unknown developer called CTXM. I also found out the game would only be a side scrolling brawler, which would have made sense as a result of the source material.

We already know the plot from the movie. A massive gathering is organized in Central Park by Cyrus, leader of the Grammercy Riffs, hoping to combine all the gangs in New York into one huge gang and take over the city. A shot rings out, Cyrus is killed, and the Warriors are blamed for it. All the gangs are after the Warriors, who are just trying to retreat to their turf on Coney Island.

While keeping close to the movie, the game falls in execution. Taking place over seven missions of three stages each, it’s a simple move from left to right brawler similar to Double Dragon, Final Fight, and Streets of Rage. Many of the gangs from the film appear as enemies, including the Turnbull ACs, the Baseball Furies, the Lizzies (who look NOTHING like they did in the movie,) the Hi-Hats (who were only seen in the intro of the movie right before the conclave,) and the Rogues. Inexplicably, the Punks and the Orphans were not in the game, which doesn’t make sense because they were key gangs in the plot.

Only four of the Warriors are available at the start of the game: Swan, Rembrandt, Cochise, and Vermin. I understand why some of the other Warriors are not in the same, such as Cleon (who was ambushed by the Riffs after being accused for Cyrus’ death) and Fox (who is killed by a cop as he is thrown into the path of an oncoming subway train.) However, the MIA status of Cowboy and Snow is unexplained. Ajax is also in the game, but is a lockable character (assumedly because his character gets arrested by an undercover policewoman halfway in the movie.) Former Orphan Mercy is also available to be unlocked.

Combat is very simple. One button punches, one kicks, one grabs, and one jumps. Right trigger blocks and the left one runs. Special moves are executed with the left bumper, and a special "Rage mode" which increases the power of your attacks is done with the right bumper. However I found when activating Rage mode the rival gangs’ attacks tend to be more successful.

That wasn’t the only problem I had with the game. Aside from being insanely repetitive and dull, the gangs all have the same three strike move, and when surrounded by thugs, you’re trapped unless you either use your special attack or run away (the on screen instructions actually ENCOURAGE running away.) The AI is also brain dead at times; I actually caught them running in place up against walls and obstacles.

Collision detection is pathetic at times. At times I swore that an attack actually went through a thug and didn’t even faze him. It wasn’t just attacks. There were times I tried to pick up a bat or a knife, but my Warrior ended up just punching open space.

Even the gangs themselves are lifeless. Sure they look mostly like the gang they are based on (with the obvious exception of The Lizzies who look more like prostitutes than the way they did in the movie.) However they are still the typical garden variety thugs. Strange thing it looked like Kimbo Slice ended up joining the Rogues, even though his appearance does not fit their formula.

At least the Warriors look like their movie counterparts. Well mostly. The in game characters are accurate, but the story mode is done with comic book style caricatures. It seems reasonable, because anyone who saw the Director’s Cut on DVD, HD-DVD or Blu-ray would have noticed the film added comic book panels for transitions. The game follows this style but at times it doesn’t work. Some of the dialogue has been changed and it doesn’t follow the storyline, but what gets me the most is what did they do with Vermin? He looks like a freak compared to the movie and Rockstar versions!

At least this new game still features the legendary Barry de Vorzon theme song, as well as the Baseball Furies chase. The rest of the soundtrack is forgettable, as is the rest of the sound, consisting of nothing but grunts. Stock actors only provide two lines in the game, the memorable yell of "Can you dig it" by Cyrus and Luther’s taunt of "Warriors"come out to plaaaaaay!" They both sound horrible compared to the movie. Even the voice actors in the Rockstar game sounded better than this.

While this can be played by up to four people, I doubt anyone would really be committed to playing, not to mention trying to other game modes, such as a more difficult Arcade mode, a boss mode, and additional missions soon available as DLC. In fact, when I tried to search of other players online, there was no one present to help out.

Even at 800 Microsoft Points ($10) it’s still a poor value for Warriors fans. My suggestion is to find a copy of the Rockstar game. Not only is it more fun to play, but its closer in feel to the movie. And if a simple side scroller is what you want, just unlock the "Armies of the Night" mode. You’ll get a better deal for your buck that way!

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