The Warriors: Street Brawl Preview
It’s unlikely that you’re old enough to remember “The Warriors,” a now-classic movie from 1979 that featured an unbelievable cast and some of the grittiest, most emotional moments ever seen in a teen movie. You can look it up on Wikipedia if you wish, but in a nutshell, the film is about the violent life of a street gang and what happens one fateful night. It’s a pretty great movie and it spawned a video game many years later, when Rockstar produced The Warriors for the PS2 and Xbox back in 2005. Well, Paramount wants to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary in 2009, so they’re planning to release a downloadable title that should appeal to all fans of old-school beat-‘em-ups like Final Fight and Fighting Force. It may be straightforward and even simplistic in nature but hey, what do you want from a game like this? Role-playing depth? Of course not; all you want is an accessible and totally bad-ass battle mechanic that will keep you playing, right?
Well, this brawler should deliver. It will first let you choose from one of six characters and from then on, it’s all about beating the snot out of anyone who crosses your path, ala Double Dragon. If you’re thinking the developers will force you to learn a series of complex combination attacks like you would in certain modern-day action titles like Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden, you obviously weren’t around for the beat-‘em-up genre’s heyday, where it was all about reflexes and mashing of buttons. You’ll get a similar experience out of Street Brawl: you will have your customary light and heavy attacks, the option to block or grab, and for a little extra spice, each character will have his own special move. If that’s not enough to entice you, how’s about an additional rage meter alongside your health meter? The rage meter will dictate how often you can perform those super special maneuvers; you can execute them whenever you like, but if you don’t have the energy, it’ll drain your health bar instead.
Oh, and let’s not forget the “Warrior Mode!” You can trigger this and for a brief time, you will become a true-blue ass-kicker of seemingly impossible proportions; your fists will glow red, you’ll deal twice as much damage, and oh yeah, you’ll be invincible, too. Oh, but pure street battlers know it’s not all about your hands and feet; it’s about using whatever you can find to gain the upper hand, so feel free to pick up a weapon or two as you run around. This probably doesn’t sound like anything new to those who grew up with games like this, but one more modern-day feature is the ability to beat on the environment, which will often yield new weapons. We would say the possibilities for this are almost limitless but as Street Brawl is a downloadable title, we figure there will be a finite number of ways to break the background. But the mere addition of this feature is great, because as we all know, these fighters can get a little repetitive awfully quickly, so we need stuff like this to keep things fresh and dynamic. And there’s one final addition to the gameplay…
Power-ups! These shoulda been in all beat-‘em-ups. You can pick up a variety of cool things after vanquishing foes; some of them will boost the two aforementioned meters while others will simply add to your point total. Now, we’d like to assume that, unlike the old-fashioned titles, there’s a purpose to racking up more points. Perhaps they’ll let you use those points to unlock new items or even characters, or something like that; if there is no purpose, though, we suppose we can find a way to live with it. As for the rest, the game will support four players for either online or offline co-op play, and that will most certainly add to the appeal. These titles are always more fun with multiple players, and feel free to call me “old,” but I still believe it’s best to have those players sitting right next to you. Just feels more involving and absorbing to me to have that personal attachment to those you’re goin’ a-questing with. But anyway, despite the arcade-y gameplay style, the game does kinda stick to the movie, in that the action will be crammed into a one-night adventure.
That may make it sound short, but there will be 21 missions in the Story Mode, and don’t forget about the Arcade and Boss Modes. We don’t have a release date or price for this one just yet, but it really is one of our most anticipated downloadable games on the horizon (if only for nostalgia reasons). And, I’m sorry, but I just gotta say it: “We’re gonna do it for Johnny, man! We’re gonna do it for Johnny!
8/6/2009 Ben Dutka