The Warriors PSP Review

"Can you dig it?"

Many of you probably grew up without even knowing about The Warriors, a 1979 film from director Walter Hill that focused on a troubled street gang being chased all around Coney Island. Well, you missed a pretty cool film, but not to worry. Rockstar has your back with a well-done licensed game based on it. Even if you don't have a care in the world to play as someone with a whacked-out afro and with a somewhat sticky 70's dialogue, The Warriors will more than suit your needs.

The game does follow events from the film, but starts out with a few tutorial missions to lead you into them. You play the role of Rembrandt, an up-and-comer who's been enlisted to join the Warriors, a street gang looking to rule the Coney Island turf. After learning the basics for spray painting, car-radio stealing, mugging and other gang activities, you eventually get into the story. The leader of a rival gang, Cyrus, has called a truce with all the gangs in 1970's New York, gathering them for a summit to bind them together. However, an assassin's bullet puts an end to his vision, and soon the Warriors have fingers pointed at them for causing the crime. The group must scramble throughout the city to stay alive and find the real culprit behind the hit.

The game hit hard on consoles a year and a half ago, with Rockstar Leeds putting some twists on the beat-em-up engine to give it a little more life. Sure, the combat can be repetitive at times, but Rockstar thankfully mixes up the action with different attacks and actions. For instance, it isn't always wise to stay and fight, as gang members can fill up the screen rather quickly. Sometimes running is the only option, and the foot race isn't as simple as walking in a straight line. Fences have to be cleared, enemies have to be avoided, and jumps have to be made to avoid scrambling yourself on the pavement. The gameplay remains fierce and kinetic, without slowing down in terms of excitement.

The graphics and sound match up with the tone of the movie near perfectly. Some characters sound a little out of synch, but others, including actors from the film like James Remar, fill their roles with very little problems whatsoever. The 70's soundtrack featured here has selections from the movie, along with other thematic selections. It's pretty groovy. The sound effects don't do much, but they don't need to. The visuals look outstanding, with sharp animation and a very detailed New York, barren in crime. The camera can be a pain at times, especially if the screen gets cluttered with enemies, but it still does the trick.

While The Warriors doesn't offer anything significant in terms of new content, there are two things that stand out for it. First of all, the game's a steal at $20, instead of being highly priced in the $30-$40 range. Secondly, a mini-game can be unlocked that will evoke many memories of classic brawlers. Allow me to introduce you to Armies of the Night, a Double Dragon-like fighting game where enemies stack up onto the screen, and they have to be taken down in precise 2-D fashion. This game is a lot of fun for one to two players, although players don't have the option to drop in or out of the game at any time. Aww, what gives?

Regardless if you've heard of the movie or not, The Warriors still conducts itself rather well. The gameplay offers a few tricks up its sleeve, like with the mugging system and unscrewing the car radios out of vehicles for bonus cash. The presentation appears to be top notch, without missing any steps during its translation to the PSP. And the extras come aplenty, with Armies of the Night guaranteeing a few hours of gameplay between you and a friend. What can we say? We can dig it.

What's Hot: Bargain price; follows the movie to a T; Armies of the Night is incredibly addictive.

What's Not: Not too much new content for the game; camera can be problematic.

4/5