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Jeremy Jastrzab
08 Mar, 2007

The Warriors Review

PSP Review | Go out and play anywhere.
Good ol’ fashioned beat 'em ups are hard to come by in this current age, and the ones that do make it to shop shelves end up being pretty bad. For the PSP owner, you’ve got a wide selection of retro compilations to pick from, but not all compilations will give you bang for your buck. Even though it was released for consoles in late-2005, Rockstar’s The Warriors has found its way to the PSP to give the competition a modern look-in. We found the console version to be quite enjoyable, and arguably one of the best beat 'em ups of recent times, so how does the PSP version stack up in comparison?

A lot fuss has been kicked up (and will continue to be kicked up until more is done) with regards to the amount of ports on the PSP. As we mentioned in our hands-on preview, Rockstar justified this by saying that it was because the ports were suitable for the system. Given the rather excessive amount of ports that do not cater for the PSP, you wouldn’t be blamed for being sceptical about this statement. Thankfully, Rockstar is able to back this statement up, by actually doing a good job of porting an expansive game into a much smaller space.

The Warriors film from 1979 may never have won an Oscar or Golden-Globe, but it was unique and provided a grounding some of today’s most common social nuances, particularly in America’s hip-hop communities. However, the movie’s other claims to fame include the insane cast of characters, the desperate struggle for survival (and other relevant themes), as well as unashamed violence and non-conformity. While the film barely made two hours, the game has been expanded to include a rather extensive backstory about the gang that you play as – The Warriors – and the events leading up to those seen in the film.

They're actually quite a friendly bunch...

They're actually quite a friendly bunch...
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The essence of The Warriors is the conflict between the numerous (and rather colourful) gangs of a fictitious New York. Obviously, you take charge of the titular gang, and you’ll be taking them throughout the entire game. The head gang of the time, The Riffs, are planning to unite all the gangs in order to take over New York, and most of the game plays through the events leading up to this. The film started with the meeting of the gangs, where the leader of the Riffs is assassinated and The Warriors are the group that is blamed. From there, the rest of the game is a battle of survival, as The Warriors try to get out of New York.

If you’ve played the console versions, you will have already known this. In fact, you would have already known that the cornerstones of the game’s success were built on its robust but easy-to-learn combat engine, variety, depth, and a fun single-player and co-op multiplayer, all bound together around a franchise that the developers were obviously a fan of, as opposed to developing it for a specified deadline. In terms of the general content, the PSP version is identical to its console predecessors. However, there have been a few changes and concessions along the way.

Part of what made The Warriors a great game on the console was the excellent control that you had over your character and the integrity of the fighting engine. For the most part, the game comes over onto the PSP unscathed. Even though the PSP has less buttons, the control scheme is fairly similar. This is nothing but a good thing, as you’ll be able to pull off pretty much all of the actions with minimal issues. A few things have been tweaked, particularly the lack of rumble, which has forced more visible indicators. The analogue nub lacks a little bit of precision, which can sometimes get in the way of moving around, and spray-painting can be tricky around corners. Otherwise, the control scheme holds up very well.

Hardly fair.

Hardly fair.
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On the consoles, multiplayer was confined to split-screen, whether it was the co-op or the Rumble mode. The major difference on the PSP is that you can play both the co-op and Rumble modes via ad-hoc on your own screens. It takes out a bit of the clutter from the split-screen, and it worked without too many hitches. While it’s great to see a console game successfully and properly ported to the PSP, there are two aspects of the multiplayer that probably could have been looked at.

Firstly, we’re a little disappointed with the fact that there are still only two players that can partake in multiplayer. Sure, there are many situations where there are only two characters in a particular scenario, but it would have been much appreciated if there was the option for three, maybe even four players, especially in the Rumble mode. Secondly, it would have been handy if a second player could have just jumped in and out of the co-op game, rather than needing to go through all of the menus and hoopla just to get into the game.

Armies of the Night, the game’s homage to Double Dragon, has been unlocked from the start on the PSP, but you’ll still need to work through the single player if you want to unlock all the goodies in the Rumble mode. This brings us to a slight crossroad. Is this a better PSP game because it has been brought over almost completely intact, or should it have come over with something extra? We’ll leave that up to you to decide. However, although it is minimal, we feel that the game lost a bit of its edge in translation. On the smaller screen, it loses some of its scope.

The Warriors were displeased with their last birthday party service

The Warriors were displeased with their last birthday party service
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However, The Warriors is actually quite a suitable game to be played on the go. The missions are divided into several parts, and there's an autosave feature built into the game. The missions aren’t that long, and the load times are reasonable. A bit of a surprise given that the PS2 game took a little time. In a handful of scenes, the game gets almost unbearably hectic, and we assume that it’s the smaller delivery that leaves less of an impact.

In terms of graphics, The Warriors was technically solid, but really made its mark through a unique style and visceral delivery. While there has been a slight concession made, the final product is actually very close to the original. A couple of the finer details can at times be easy to miss, and the game looks very similar to its predecessor. In terms of sound, the whole excellent sound track from the original has been retained, along with the realistic sound effects and the great voicing, but they just don’t come off as well over the PSP hardware.

Overall, Rockstar has done a very impressive job of bringing The Warriors to the PSP almost entirely intact. Whether or not any improvements or additions could have been made, it takes a back seat to the fact that the game is almost every bit as good as it was on the console. Which, frankly, is more than can be said for a lot of other PSP ports. Even though a few minor details are lost in the translation and some of the impact is lost on players who have already played the game, for those that haven’t yet played the original, they should definitely check this out if they want some good action on the go.
The Score
The Warriors on the PSP remains a great game, and is actually quite suitable as a handheld beat 'em up. 8
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related The Warriors Content

The Warriors Preview
06 Feb, 2007 Go out and play, anywhere.
The Warriors coming to the PSP
19 Oct, 2006 It's time to come out and play...again.
The Warriors Review
04 Nov, 2005 Attention fans of classic beat'em ups: It's time to come out and play!
3 Comments
7 years ago
I do want to get this, but between Final Fantasy and Pirates! PSP, there's just not the time. Bargain bin, I'd say then.
7 years ago
Rockstar look like they've done a good job. Amongst the clunky ports with lackluster controls, they've managed to make a good and solid one. I commend them for that.

Interesting, though, that the one picture you didn't bother to make a comment on was the one with with a clown in it. A goddamn CLOWN. Surely you could have thought of something? Even if it was "It's time to die, CLOWN" it would have been comedy gold just because it has a freakin' clown in it. But whatever. [/CLOWNRANT]
7 years ago
Been playing it for a couple of hours now and I'm pretty impressed. I think this is the first game that I've thought "this is a good game" not "this is a good game for the psp".
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Rockstar Games
Developer:
  Rockstar North/Rockstar Leeds
Players:
  1-2

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