Things are about to get real f$@$&ng heavy . . .

User Rating: 9.5 | The Warriors PSP
The Warriors video game is based on a movie that I've always heard a lot about but haven't actually seen just yet. The plot revolves around the gangs of New York City in the late 1970s. Cyrus, leader of the most powerful gang in the city, the Riffs, calls a night of general truce where representatives from all gangs will meet and hear his plan for gang unity in an attempt to make the whole city theirs for the taking. However, Cyrus is assassinated by the leader of the Rogues who then pin the blame on the Warriors, framing them something good. The name of the game is The Warriors as they are the gang you take control of throughout the proceedings of this title.

From the game's main menu you have four options. The first option is "Story" and is the primary mode of the game where you will spend 99.9% of your time. When you select this option you will create a profile for yourself and then be whisked off to the game's first level. After completing your first bit of action on The Warriors you are then taken to the Story mode's main hub, which is the Warriors hideout. From this hideout is where you access all of the various features Story mode has to offer. On the upper level of the hideout is where you access new story levels. After you beat a level a new yellow Warriors icon will be available in the hideout, usually located near another member of your gang, notifying you that a new level is available for play. There are 18 total story levels in this game. Most of them (well over half) take place in the weeks leading up to the assassination of Cyrus, the last handful take place during and then amongst the aftermath of this fateful meeting. There are another 5 levels that are called flashback levels. These levels take place well before the current events of the game and showcase how the various members of the gang first became Warriors. As for the levels themselves, for the most part they are all very long. Throughout the game you control various members of the Warriors, depending on what level you are playing. You conduct the Warriors' assorted bits of business and as you progress through each level the main objectives are clearly outlined for you. Once you complete all the main objectives the level is over and you receive your score. In most levels there will be a target score for you to achieve and by doing so you unlock various characters and arenas to use in the game's other modes. A lot of levels will also have one or two bonus objectives you can choose to complete. Most bonus objectives see you having to snuff out all of your rival gangs burners (a burner is a gang logo spray-painted on walls and other environmental objects), which is a hard thing to do in most cases as there is usually one or two burners that are really hard to find. Some of the bonus objectives are a little more simple and easy to complete though. Destroy some property, mug a certain amount of people with the time limit, etc. Completing these bonus objectives is worth the trouble as they gain you big time bonus points, helping you to easily achieve said level's target score, and they also help you unlock extra characters and arenas.

The travels you embark upon throughout these levels will take you all over New York, through many territories belonging to rival gangs. Sometimes being stealthy will pay off but in most cases you have to punch and kick your way out of numerous tense situations, not only against rival gang members but security guards and cops as well! The rival gangs you'll run in to include the Destroyers, Punks, Savage Huns, Lizzies, Jones Street Boys, Boppers, Turnbull AC's, Hi-Hats, Hurricanes, Orphans, Moonrunners, Furies, Rogues, Satan's Mothers, Riffs, and Saracens. There are many things to look out for as you progress. A substance called flash is what is used to replenish your health in this game. It can be found lying on the street, in stores, or on the person of somebody you beat up. You can also purchase it from flash dealers, there are usually a few of these shady characters spread amongst each level. You will also need to keep your eyes open for spray paint, this is especially essential if you are planning on completing all of the bonus objectives involving snuffing out burners. Spray paint can be acquired in the exact same ways as flash is. The environments in The Warriors are fairly destructive. Items in the street such as cars, phone booths, mail boxes, garbage bags and cans, boxes, etc. can all be destroyed. Some of these things will contain items inside of them such as flash or spray paint, but in most cases they will contain an object that you can use as a weapon. The weapons you will find lying around the streets and inside of garbage bags, etc. include beer bottles, knives, discarded planks of wood, crow bars, wrenches, baseball bats, bricks, and probably another few I'm forgetting about. Knives can also be bought from knife dealers. To earn money to pay dealers or complete objectives you have the options of mugging people, stealing car radios, or robbing stores. Within the stores the shelves are lined with items you can steal and they also usually contain a cash register that you can break open for a hefty bonus. There are other items you will come across such as handcuff keys and Billy clubs, after you lay a beatdown on some cops. The keys help you rescue captured comrades much quicker and the clubs add a little extra oomph.

Anyhoo, getting back to The Warriors hideout there are a number of other things you can do on the upper level. To replay any previously completed levels you go to the bulletin board that has a subway map tacked to it. If you head over to the TV you can get an update on your game's current progress status. When you choose this option you will be able to cycle through all completed levels and see exactly how well you've performed in each one. It will list your high score, bonus objective completion rate, character and arena unlock rate, as well as how much time you've spent in the level. Consulting this screen is essential later in the game if you plan to go back and achieve 100% completion on all levels.

There are also two game machines on the hideout's upper level. The arcade game is called "Armies of the Night", when you choose this option you are taken to a 5 stage side-scrolling tribute to the original Double Dragon game . . . only featuring the Warriors instead! It starts off exactly the same way, a few Riffs walk up to your woman, slug her in the gut and take her away. You then embark on a quest of rescue and vengeance through many of your rival gang's territories! The other game is a pinball machine and is otherwise known as "Rumble Mode". This mode (and Armies of the Night as well) has nothing to do with the main story of this game, they are just additional game modes to give you a bit of variety. In Rumble Mode you can set up one off fights, choosing from a wide range of options. Said options include 1 on 1, War Party (3 on 3), Army-ing (6 on 6), Survival (take on an endless parade of enemies as long as you can last), Burner Battle (a race to complete a 5 layer burner the fastest), Battle Royal (ring out your opponents, last man in the ring wins), Wheels of Steel (a 1 on 1 wheelchair race) and King of the Hill (climb the junk pile and stay on top the longest).

The lower level of the hideout doesn't have quite as much to offer. The main thing you do down there is your workouts. There are 4 workouts you can partake in, including Push Ups, Sit Ups, Chin Ups, and the Heavy Bag. There are 10 ranks you can gain on each workout and as you gain these ranks your Warriors physical strength and abilities increase, giving you more of an advantage out on those mean streets.

There are just a couple last things I need to mention about the hideout. First, there are 5 exits in the hideout, 3 on the upper level and 2 on the lower level. These exits take you out to the streets of your home turf, Coney Island, which is sort of a free play game mode. You can explore your home territory at your leisure, mug whoever you want, break whatever you want . . . but there are also a number of bonus objectives you can complete as well. There are 17 bonus objectives in total and they get successively harder. Most of them involve repelling rival gang invasions on your turf and are all fairly manageable, but the last handful of objectives branch out and get a lot harder. Completing these objectives is important however, as every so often you will be rewarded with a gameplay extra that will help you during the story levels of the game. The unlocks include stuff like brass knuckles for a certain character, increased dealer rep, etc., all stuff that makes your life just that little bit easier. The final thing I need to mention is that there is a radio in the Warriors hideout that constantly plays music and features a female DJ who regularly gives updates on all of the gang related activity in the city. She doesn't offer any real insights, nothing you won't already know about, but it can be entertaining to listen to! And that about takes care of the "Story" option.

Back to the game's main menu the second option is called "Quick Rumble". This mode is basically exactly the same as the Rumble Mode option you can access from within the Warriors hideout during Story mode. You choose whichever battle you want (from the list I explained earlier), the gang you want to use, and what arena you want to fight in. A cool extra in these modes is the create a gang function. You can build your own personal gang from the ground up by picking from amongst all gang members in the entire game! These gang members and the aforementioned choice of arenas are the extras that you unlock by achieving target scores and completing bonus objectives in Story mode, fyi.

The third option from the main menu is "Join Multiplayer Game" and is the online multiplayer function of The Warriors. There were no games available during the times I tried to check it out, but I'm betting this could be one hell of a fun game to play with random strangers in the virtual world!

The fourth and final option from the main menu is called "Profile Manager". Here you can create, load and delete game profiles.

As for the game's control system it is a complicated one to some degree, but after the first few levels it will eventually become second nature. The analog button is used to move your character around the environment. Pressing Up on the control pad resets and centers the camera, pressing Right triggers your character to do a shot of flash (increase health), pressing Down is used to block attacks and reverse holds/grapples, and pressing Left on the control pad is used to revive a fallen comrade (uses a hit from your flash stash, must have at least one hit in your inventory to perform this function). Press and hold the L button to make your character sprint, and press the R button to lock on to an enemy so your point of reference will rotate around him or her until you defeat them or switch to another target. The select button is used to issue War Chief commands to your fellow Warriors. There are 6 commands in total and they include Wreck 'Em All (engage any rival gang members/cops in the area in fisticuffs), Mayhem (destroy everything in sight, both living and non-living), Let's Go (follow the leader), Scatter (split up and hide/get to safety), Watch My Back (support the current war chief in whatever endeavour he's pursuing at the time) and Hold Up (stop and stay). The square button is used to launch a light attack (usually a quicker punch of some sort) and the X button is used to launch a heavy attack (usually a heavier punch or kick). Stringing these two buttons together in consecutive sequences will make you perform various types of combos (earn more combos by completing workouts on the Heavy Bag). The circle button is used to grapple. You will grab hold of an enemy when you press this button and you then have a few options. You can press circle again to throw your enemy, or you can press the square and X buttons to punch and kick him or her as you have them all tied up. If you press the circle button while you and your enemy are close to walls and other environmental objects you will perform a special attack that incorporates these objects and does extra damage. Once an enemy is lying prone on the ground you can press circle to climb on top of them. Once there you can perform a number of attacks, even shoot spray-paint in their eyes as a special attack. Lastly, the triangle button is the action button. Pressing it allows you to interact with all manner of environmental objects including picking up or discarding weapons, using your spray-paint, picking locks, stealing car radios, uncuffing arrested comrades, climbing fences, and probably a few other things I'm forgetting at the moment.

The game's presentation is very well done. The hideout acting as the main hub of Story mode really lends the game a well-organized form of madness. The graphics are well done, not the best I've ever seen but certainly well above average. The darkness of the game's environments sometimes became a bit bland for me at times, but I guess those would be the types of environments these guys would be inhabiting! Not a big deal overall. The game's sound was great. Lots of violent sound effects and plenty of cussing, and the soundtrack was awesome! There were a few good oldies that would play in the Warriors hideout throughout the course of the game that had me rockin' and a rollin'. The controls acted very well for these most part. Every once in a while when there were a lot of characters on screen it was hard to keep straight just who I was beating on so I'd have to take a step back and approach the fight anew from a different angle, but again not a big deal. This game sure has it all where it counts!

I do have a few tips and tricks to offer future players of The Warriors. First off, before you set out on your next new level each time, make sure to max out all of the 4 workouts you can do in the hideout's lower level as much as you can. Also go out in to Coney Island on free play mode and complete any new bonus objectives that become available. The physical attribute upgrades and other unlocks you gain by doing these things will make your progress through the story levels all that much easier. Also, use weapons as much as you possibly can. The extra damage they inflict will help you tear through enemies that much faster, plus they earn you bonus points for style. My favourite weapon to use is the beer bottle. On it's first use you smash it over your enemies' head. After this shot it breaks but you can then use the remaining shard to stab somebody a couple of times. Now that's efficiency at it's finest! Lastly, on your first run through a level beat up everybody that comes across your path, don't leave any man standing. Also make sure to destroy all environmental objects you come across. Doing these two things will max out your point total and hopefully allow you to achieve said level's target score the first time around, so you don't have to worry about going back and doing it again for that reason. You earn bonus points for using weapons on your enemies and for completing bonus objectives, so doing these things to the best of your ability will also greatly supplement your point total.

Overall The Warriors is one heck of a game! It has a very intriguing and in depth plotline, with great between level cinematics adding to the suspense. The game is very long, has no obvious glitches, and contains a very high fun factor. The additional game modes add even further to it's value. It's hard to go wrong with this game, now I really want to see the movie!