|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Rockstar||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Rockstar||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb.13, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: M||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
It is hard to translate a cult film, or any film for that matter, into a video game. Some would argue that it is even harder to transport a console game to a handheld successfully. The people at Rockstar know the pain of trying to accomplish this feat and after you play The Warriors for the PSP, you will know one thing - they can port a good game. This is not to say that Rockstar has not had recent success with porting Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories from the PSP to the PS2. Nor is it to say that they will not find success once again when they port Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories in March. It is just unprecedented to have a game designed for a specific console deliver the same game experience on a handheld. That said, why would you want to pick this title up when you could just play the console version to your hearts content? Simple - traveling beat downs.
The story is the same as its console big brother. The Warriors tells the tale of the members of The Warriors, a gang amidst a slew of other gangs in New York City in the '70s. The movie, from which the game is based on, picks up right as The Warriors are on their way to the fateful meeting with the Gramercy Riffs, another gang. The leader, Cyrus, poses one question to the members of the various gangs, "Can you count, suckas?" Cyrus has devised a plan for a unified gang movement, but just as this unfolds, the police show up and everyone scatters. This is also how the game opens, but then it draws back the curtain on several of the characters. Not just the characters of The Warriors either. Throughout the game, you have the opportunity to take an in-depth look into several gang members of The Warriors, as well as the other gangs of the city. Swan, Ajax, Cleon, Vermin, Cochese, Cowboy, Snow, Fox, and Rembrant are the nine playable characters you will control through the 20-plus story missions for a total of 12 hours of uninterrupted brutality. The beauty of the game's story is that instead of a harsh rehash of the cult classic, you are actually involved and interact enough with the characters that you get to know them better than before. One of the other things that helps the gameplay is the quick dialogue and very successful voice-acting; this delivers an experience like no other. Since most of the original actors return to do the voice for their characters, a sense of continuity remains.
The gameplay is identical to the console version. The Warriors is a beat'em up game to its core. You travel down the street with other members of your crew fighting hordes of opposing gang members, but the uniqueness of The Warriors is that it does not just continuously throw enemies at you. There will be moments that you have to use stealth in order to avoid an onslaught of unbeatable odds. You won't just battle with your bare hands either. Your defeated foes drop weapons, which you can use to return a beat down to your rival's friends. Your crew also follow commands when you use the "war chief"' option. Smashing and breaking things in the environments is almost as much fun as defeating your rivals. As fun as the fighting mechanics are, some aspects did not transfer from the console very well. On the console version, the controls are tight. This version's controls are loose and messy and sometimes slow and non-responsive.
With the destructible environments, the fighting mechanics, and the level of artistic design, I expected the game would at least be nice to look at. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Visually, The Warriors take a bit of a step back. There is noticeable slowdown in the more crowded situations and the smaller-screen and awkward camera adjustments can make it difficult to tell what is going on during large brawls. Moreover, let us not forget that 15 months ago, when The Warriors first came out, its graphics were already a little behind the curve. Don't expect too many details or high levels of animation when compared to other, more modern titles. There's no denying, however, that the game has a great artistic style and it's cool to see some vintage 1970's signage hanging around the backdrops, but this is only a bonus. When the facials of the characters are as harsh as they are, a dirty rag washes the nice looking environments away.
Once you are done with the story mode, you will have a nice bit of content left to explore. Though most of the extra content is more of a distraction, there is one thing worth mentioning - Armies of Night. This side-scrolling, beat'em up game is in the same vein as the classic Double Dragon; in fact the opening is almost verbatim to Double Dragon. Aside from this novel extra, you will have a few unique mini-games as well, including capture the flag (instead of a flag it is a girl), king of the mountain, and quick rumbles. The cooperative play is a little lackluster however. One of the things missing is the drop-in, drop-out option you had in the console version. The option is still available, but only at the load screens. The co-op play is actually better on the PSP. For instance, gone is the automatic split screen when your friend ventures away to far from the action.
It is hard to say if The Warriors is a "rush out and buy right away" title. Since it has already been available for the console for nearly 15 months, the appeal for the PSP version might not be there if you have already played the console counterpart. However, if you own a PSP and you missed out on the gritty rawness of The Warriors the first time around, you should definitely check it out. With 15-20 hours of gameplay and the increasingly challenging levels, you can guarantee you will spend hours proving yourself as a Warrior.
CCC Freelance Writer