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Letters from the Front

( Welcome back to Retro Throwback! Retro Throwback invites you to join me in revisiting classic games of old. In today’s issue of Retro Throwback, we’re rewinding it back to one of Rockstar Games’ underrated gems of the 2000’s, The Warriors.)

Back in 2005, Rockstar released The Warriors based on the cult classic 1979 film of the same name; it was pretty odd that a company like Rockstar Games who had developed such hits like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto III would do a game like this and spent the time retelling such an obscure film through videogame format but surprisingly, it worked. Rockstar’s rendition of The Warriors retold the same story from the cult classic film but it also added a ton of backstory to the characters and situations from the film. I decided to boot up the PS4 and decided to take a gander at it and see how the game has held up.

The Warriors is one of my all time favorite games from the PS2 and Xbox era, it is one of Rockstar’s most underrated games at a time when they were pumping out hit after hit in the early 2000’s. The early 2000’s for Rockstar was a time of great experimentation for them; they released games that no other studio would ever have done like Bully, for example and The Warriors represent one of those games that exist in this experimentation phrase. If you have never experienced the game, it is available now on PS4.

The Warriors documents the trials and tribulations of The Warriors, who are just one of hundreds that exist in New York City in the late 1970’s. The film picked up just as the gang were on the way to a huge meeting, held by one of the city’s biggest gangs, the Gramercy Riffs, and their leader. Their leader, Cyrus lays out his plans for a unified movement consisting of all the gangs in New York City but just as everybody is behind him, a lone gunman kills him and all the gangs scatter as police swarm the area. The opening scene of The Warriors shows this but shifts dramatically away from the film from this point forward. In many ways, The Warriors is designed to be a companion piece to the film in where we are transported in the way back machine to a few months before the intro of the film and the game, a time where The Warriors were up and comers in the world.

The film never spent time with backstories or a narrative beyond The Warriors’ flee from the meeting and the danger-filled journey back to their home turf, however, the game does go back and give these wonderful characters and the various different gangs some backstory and context. You’ll learn all the rivalries and all the major players. On some level, you begin to start getting attached as the game moves closer to the film’s plot. In usual Rockstar fashion, even at that particular time, the story and script are both well-written and everything the game aims for succeeds.

For a good part of the game, The Warriors is a pure beat-em-up. Each of the Warriors fight the same. This is old-school fighting so don’t expect to pick up weapons and firearms don’t fit the picture that Rockstar is trying to aim for: instead of firearms, you’ll get your hands on with the nitty gritty like baseball bats, boards, shivs, bottles, and simple bricks. Compared to today, The Warrior’s brawling system is very simplistic but with saying that, there’s a lot of ways that things can go sideways very fast. Unlike most beat-em-ups, Rockstar keeps things fresh with several stealth missions and collecting money and other gang-related activities.

While the gameplay is simplistic, The Warriors still manages to hold up in 2019 and it won’t let you down if you’re looking for some retro games to play this weekend.

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