There are some things which are assumed false memories or are just too plain weird or bizarre to acknowledge as being based in reality however I’ve started to really rack the old noggin to find some of the more strange creations which were present during my childhood and teen years. These things can be anything from old bands which slowly faded into obscurity, video games which you remember fondly however friends never had heard of them or even TV shows which seemingly never existed basically RAM.
The 70’s were a strange and not so optimistic time with Margaret Thatcher becoming Prime Minister of the UK, the much loathed Vietnam war coming to an end and disco became the emerging hot commodity of music however one of the most notable cult classics also graced the silver screen ‘The Warriors’ (1979) , directed by Walter Hill. Originally based on the novel of the same name ‘The Warriors’ follows the story of a New York street gang who have been framed for the murder of a local gang leader who sought to bring peace to the neighbourhoods but now face making the long journey back to their home turf in order to get to safety. The film was a smash hit quite literally with some theatres refusing to screen the film due to the outbreak of violence among youths and well it was no surprise that this movie was a much loved punctuation to the end of the 70s signalling the end of the peace and love era to it’s predecessors.
Fast forward a few decades and some fat cats at Rockstar games made the intelligent decision to develop this much loved piece of cinema into its own game thanks to the development team at Rockstar Toronto. ‘The Warriors – Video Game’ was released just over 25 years after the film in 2005 and it was a hell of a name to live up to with the film’s legacy being so legendary among fans this game was a risky ambitious move but if anyone could tackle it, no doubt it was Rockstar. I picked up the game not long after release which would’ve made me 11 or 12 at the time, I had no prior knowledge of the film let alone was yet to see any trailers or gameplay footage my only indicator to this being a gem or dud was over reliance on the Playstation magazines supposedly unbiased reviews. However after rather hilariously duping my dad into buying this game at the local department store The Warehouse after lying and saying it wasn’t an overly violent game, I fired up my PS2 chucked in the game and was greeted with one of the most cinematic opening screens I’m yet to see repeated in a game, it was badass!
The Warriors video game plot follows the films very closely but the team at Rockstar Toronto made the wise decision to flesh out the universe to provide a bigger roster of not only characters but stories by scripting and developing a prologue prior to the events of the films showcasing each of the main protagonists and how they came to be a part of the gang as well as outlining their roles within the group and their relationships with the other members and rivals. This in itself makes the game all the more engrossing by allowing the player to develop a greater connection with the story and the eventual outcomes of each character as the story progresses. The roster of characters are a smorgasbord of creativity with each individual gang featured within the game having their own unique traits, style and crazed leaders to boot with some of the antagonists being almost as interesting as your own playable characters.
As with all Rockstar games the scripting, writing and voice acting is top of it’s class with the most amazing aspect of this whole production being that the studio managed to secure the majority of the original actors from the film to play their video game counterparts and it just makes the game so enjoyable especially with the fantastic back and forth with the cast and how authentic the portrayals come across. Also the soundtrack is absolutely on point with many of the original tracks from the film featuring prominently throughout the game.
The gameplay is reminiscent of early beat-em ups however with a heavier emphasis on combos, using environments and also making use of your gang to take down enemies and complete missions. Although the game is limited due to it’s linear nature and also is restricted because of the absence of sandbox mechanics yet what the game lacks in sheer size it makes up for in tight controls which makes every fight satisfying with exploration being encouraged in order to approach missions in a variety of ways, whether it be through stealth or balls to the wall brawling and side tasks which can range from tagging up rival gang turfs, looting/stealing goods or shaking down dealers. The game encourages you to treat your gang like a military squad with your role as a ‘War chief’ being made into a mechanic in which you bark orders at your subordinates to your advantage.
One of my fondest memories of this absolute classic title was ‘Rumble Mode’ in which you could play either against a CPU opponent or against your friends, the best part being you could either use one of the existing characters or create your very own crew and I spent hours spilling out the most vicious combos against my mates and creating some of the weirdest gangs. I was absolutely over the moon to hear this had been ported for newer consoles but I’m still awaiting either a spiritual sequel or just a plain good ol fashioned remastering because this is honestly one of the finest games to come out from Rockstar and if you manage to get your hot little hands on this number you will not regret it.