Review: The Warriors: Street BrawlSeptember 27th, 2009 | Written by Alex Quevedo | Topic: Reviews, Xbox 360
The Warriors is one of those classic cult films that is somewhat of a delicate matter. Fans of the film wouldn’t appreciate any drastic changes with the franchise (evident through plenty of unapproving internet chatter over a supposed re-make of the film). But Rockstar Games handled the IP incredibly well in 2005 when they released their game version that included prequel elements. 2009 sees Warner Bros. Entertainment’s release of The Warriors: Street Brawl, a much simpler reimagining of the film. Unfortunately, it’s not anywhere near the quality we were met with several years ago.
Granted, Street Brawl is not as grand scale because it is an arcade game and a beat ‘em up side-scroller. We weren’t expecting a full blown game, but what we get here just seems too thrown together and a bit of a damper on the franchise. The set up is fine: fight your way through the movie’s situations to reach the ultimate battle with The Rogues. Though once you get past that, you get an unbalanced game that will likely have you shutting it down relatively quickly.
If you’re not too familiar with the story of The Warriors, we’ll get you up to speed. Set in 1979, New York is dominated by gangs covering almost every square foot of the city. The biggest gang, the Gramercy Riffs and their leader Cyrus, have called all the gangs together to create a truce and create one super gang. At this meeting, no one was to bring weapons or create hassles, but the Rogues snuck in a pistol and shot Cyrus. A Warrior witnesses this and the Rogues’ leader Luther quickly blames the Warriors for the murder. The Warriors set out to fight their way back home with every gang in New York coming down on them, while also trying to clear their names.
As we mentioned, you fight through the situations the film puts the gang in. You have your choice of what Warrior to use, with the exception of Ajax. He must be unlocked to be used. The same goes for Mercy, a female character the gang comes across in the film. Each stage will have you fight a certain gang. In the beginning, you go through Rogues, then Turnbull ACs, then Baseball Furies and so on. The gangs become increasingly difficult as you progress through each mission. At the end of three levels, you will encounter a boss to end the mission. But to reach here you will have to fight through hell to even get that far. With three difficulties to chose from, even the lowest won’t let you breeze through the game at a fair pace.
You are almost always at a disadvantage to the enemies because of unbalanced difficulty and shoddy controls. There will typically be 3 or more enemies attacking you at once during brawls. Should you get a drop on them, don’t get close to the edge of the frame. More than likely, there will be an off-screen enemy that will drop you flat with no chance to give yourself protection. Blocking attacks only works so much, because you will soon realize your health has dramatically reduced. And enemies will constantly barrage you with unblockable 3-hit attacks that will leave you on the ground. You can pull of some combos and special attacks (a swinging kick that will knock enemies back), but you won’t have the same effect as your foes.
Street Brawl’s controls are shaky at best. Combos will work well if you’re one-on-one, but anything past that and you are completely vulnerable to attacks. Your character moves in a very stiff manner, making it harder to put distance between yourself and the enemies. You will have to sacrifice health and attempt to run through the hordes rather than jump away (there is no dive option). And because of an odd camera angle, you may end up throwing more errant punches and kicks than you intend. All of this makes it harder to pull off Rage, a mode that will inflict more damage into your opponents. It is gained by stringing together multiple hits and works fairly well, but if you keep getting knocked down it is almost useless.
Trudging through the game with others alleviates the lack of balance, but you will run into other problems. Working with a full crew, the screen quickly becomes overcrowded and makes it difficult to see where you’re throwing punches. And not surprisingly, you end up on the ground much of the time. It’s almost as if the point of the game is to not end up on your backside rather than defeat Luther and the Rogues.
You will have a few options to play multiplayer. One is Arcade Mode, which works almost exactly like Story but with the ability to add AI Warriors. Then you also have Boss Mode (unlocked after passing Story or Arcade) to fight each gang’s boss and Versus Mode that pits the Warriors against each other. Arcade and Story are available for Xbox Live play. There is another option that will eventually allow you to download additional missions, but as of now there are no available downloads.
The best thing Street Brawl has going for it is its visual presentation. All the characters look relatively good for a 3D arcade game. Nothing super realistic, but passable. And the openings to each mission use a comic-like depiction of the action, some that was seen in the director’s cut of the film. But beyond that, you get into repetitive music and sound effects.
In all, this game is worthy nothing close to the 800 point asking price. And any additional missions will more than likely provide bigger headaches over how difficult the game is. We couldn’t find much enjoyment in this game, so we won’t be recommending this for purchase.