It’s almost time for The Warriors to come out and play.
Thanks to the folks Paramount Digital Entertainment, soon Xbox 360 owners will be able to feel like they are inside one of the most beloved cult classic films of all time.‚ Starting sometime in September, gamers will be able to buy The Warriors: Street Brawl on Xbox Live Arcade for a mere 800 Points.
However, before we get too excited, a thorough examination of the features and gameplay must be performed.
Luckily, Paramount Digitial Entertainment was kind enough to let me have an intimate, hands-on preview with The Warriors: Street Brawl.‚ Below are some of my thoughts, impressions and gathered information of the upcoming Paramount title.
First, let’s have a little refresher course on what exactly The Warriors movie is all about.‚ Released in 1979, The Warriors is a film based around a gang of the same name.‚ During a gang summit in New York City, Cyrus, leader of The Gramercy Riffs, the most feared and respected gang in New York, was assassinated during his speech.‚ Wrongfully accused as the murders, The Warriors must make their way through the streets of New York and reach the safety of their home turf, fighting numerous other gangs in the process.
Making a video game from a movie of this fashion is no easy task, but Paramount did a service for The Warriors: Street Brawl by implementing the most logical game style for the title: side-scrolling brawler.‚ With this approach, players can get a true feel of what The Warriors movie was all about.‚ Whether it is used to introduce new fans to the film or just for old fans to get a closer look at the action, the side-scrolling style of Street Brawl is a perfect fit for a game inspired by a film such as The Warriors.
I really liked the dynamic nature of the side scrolling, as well.‚ As I fought my way through groups of Baseball Furies and Turnbull AC’s, I noticed that the screen would zoom in and out as I progressed through the level.‚ This would allow the side scrolling to be functional while also being something other than boring.
The makers of The Warriors: Street Brawl also did their due diligence in regards to staying accurate to the movie that inspired it.‚ When starting a new game, players can select from some of the main members of The Warriors, including Swan, Cochise, Vermin or Rembrandt.‚ Each of these characters will have certain strengths and weaknesses in their speed, strength and fighting style, which could greatly help them in their quest to get back to Coney Island.‚ Also, the environments and enemies also come straight from the film as well.
Speaking of environments, I’d have to say that the backgrounds for Street Brawl were probably my favorite parts of the game.‚ Each environment had a very gritty, dark comic book feel to them, making it clear that my character was traveling through a very dangerous place.‚ The fights taking place on the subway and in the subway station were by far the most detailed and intriguing backgrounds I’ve seen in a side-scroller in a long, long time.
However, not everything in Street Brawl was quite as aesthetically pleasing as the environments.‚ What especially stuck out to me as a let down were the character models.‚ Unlike the game’s backgrounds, the character models were very bland and lacked detail.‚ The motions of Cochise, the Warrior I chose to play with, were scripted in a way that made every attack and step seemed unnatural and stiff.‚ A special move that stuck out in my mind (a long-reaching spinning kick) looked good, but fell short of redeeming the overall motion flaws in Street Brawl.‚ Perhaps I’m overlooking they comic book stylization of the game or maybe I’m just simply spoiled by my experiences with Battlefield 1943, but it just seems like XBLA games should have better graphics than what I saw with Street Brawl.
Still, I think the main entertainment value from The Warriors: Street Brawl will not come from the way the game looks, but how the game plays.‚ Street Brawl is a title that uses very simple controls.‚ Toggling the X, Y, A and B buttons serve as a medium to punch, kick and pull of special moves.‚ Players will also be able to pick up and use weapons, such as knives, bats, crowbars, 2×4’s and pool cues, to deal more damage against the rival gangs.
Street Brawl also has a wide variety of game modes.‚ First, there is the campaign.‚ Though I only got to play the single-player campaign, Street Brawl has single player, local multiplayer and Xbox Live co-op campaign modes.‚ As described towards the beginning of this preview, campaign allows players select a character and fight their way through New York and reach the safety of Coney Island.‚ Each player will be able to accumulate points by defeating enemies, picking up bonus items (rings, coins, gems) and advancing further into the game.‚ Players must continuously fight throughout the campaign or else the AI will punish you for stalling by sending in many enemy reinforcements.‚ Also, the longer you can survive through the campaign, the more characters you can unlock and fight with in future Street Brawl sessions.‚ Other game modes include Boss mode and Versus mode.‚ Boss mode lets players fight every boss they’ve seen in the campaign in succession.‚ This allows players to be immediately challenged without having to complete the entire campaign again.‚ Versus mode allows players to fight their friends to see who is the most skilled gang member.
Overall, The Warriors: Street Brawl looks like it could be a pretty swell XBLA title.‚ Running for just 800 Points (about $10), Street Brawl wont convince people to buy an Xbox 360, but it is an affordable option for those who don’t want to buy an entire $60 game.‚ Fans of those classic SNES and Sega Genesis side-scroller titles should keep an eye out for Street Brawl in September.‚ Those who are not quite familiar with the genre might want to just check out the demo.
And, well, for the true fans of The Warriors, the question isn’t whether or not they will buy Street Brawl.‚ The real question is: Can they dig it?