Cheap Game Tuesday: ‘The Warriors’
What’s the most disappointing thing about No Man’s Sky? The dream. The dream that we’d be delving into an immersive universe that we could get lost in. Like Red Dead Redemption or Journey, some games draw you in and make you feel like you’re living a different life. We wanted that from No Man’s Sky, but it would seem people have been disappointed. I haven’t played it myself…I’ve been burned by pre-orders and promised features enough in the past to know not to buy anything until after the release…but many people have spent the past year gushing about how it was going to change the gaming landscape, that it definitely has this amazing, incomprehensible feature and that one and booking time off work to make sure they can play it on day one. They must be feeling a bit foolish, maybe a bit betrayed.
So forgot endless universes, infinite possibilities and bright, colourful fantasy worlds of the future…today we’re going old school in small, contained areas of grime, grit and violence. We’re going back to The Warriors, now on PS4.
For those who need background, The Warriors was a movie released in 1979 which gained a cult following. In a bleak version of New York populated by colourful and bizarre gangs one charismatic leader, Cyrus, is appealing to all the dejected hoodlums to put aside their petty feuds so they can unite and take the city for themselves. When Cyrus is assassinated at his summit and blame gets pinned on the Warriors, the small gang have to make their way back to their home in Coney Island whilst half the city is out for their blood. Few of them make it back alive.
Rockstar, those devious sods behind the Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead series’, put out a video game based on the movie in 2005 for the PS2 and X-Box. As a rule games based on movies and TV shows have a couple of layers of suck involved. It’s one of the most panned genres of gaming. The Warriors isn’t just a great game and a great adaptation of the source material…it actually improves the source material through association. The game picks up long before the events of the movie, giving a backstory to each of the characters and following them through the creation and rise of The Warriors as they travel through the city and enter conflicts with the other gangs. Each of the rival gangs, so iconic but briefly skirted over in the film, gets fleshed out with more personality. Eventually you attend the fateful summit and the last hour or two of gameplay takes you through the events of the movie.
In each level and hub world you roam the streets stealing car radios, vandalising property, fighting it out with other gang members, completing quests and evading the cops. There’s a great AI system where you’ll be paired with other members of the gang and they’ll back you up, get you out of cuffs if the cops catch you and so forth. Whilst there isn’t a great deal of variation in the settings (shitty New York) there’s enough character and mixing up of goals to keep things interesting. There’s also the challenge of finding all the rival tags in each area to spray over with your tag, which is quite fun. And if you get bored you can just start looting. Why not.
Now this is not something I would tout as a positive feature outside of something like the God of War series, but the violence is immensely satisfying. The sound design is excellent and every punch, kick and shove sounds like it really connects. You get a clear sense that being punched in the face hurts when it happens, something surprisingly absent from many video games. One does wonder if this makes us more or less desensitised to the violence…
Anyway, The Warriors is a brilliant game that holds up surprisingly well after 11 years. It doesn’t have the polish of GTAV or the innovation of the Half-Life series but it’s got plenty of character and feels distinct in this generation of repetition. Check it out if you haven’t before, or revisit it on a new console.