Review: The Warriors: Street Brawl

In 2005 Rockstar Games released a very different version of The Warriors, an adaptation of the classic 70s film that enjoys a cult following. For some strange reason, Paramount Digital Entertainment felt as if reviving the franchise one more time for a lackluster brawler of an arcade game was a good idea. Then again, these people were the same people responsible for Star Trek D-A-C, so it’s really no wonder that The Warriors: Street Brawl misses the mark entirely both as a game and both as a piece of entertainment drawing correctly from superb source material.

Though this game is your typical beat-em-up brawler, it still manages to dishonor the genre royally. How this can be accomplished is beyond me, as there are plenty more choices within the realm of side-scrolling brawlers that manage to play serenely and without too many hiccups. As you should have expected by now, that’s all that you need worry about in-game. Simply advance to the right and pummel your opponents. Oh, were it that easy — The Warriors: Street Brawl is quite difficult. While some of you may be sitting there scoffing at the fact that a reviewer is complaining about how hard a game is, let it be known that the game doesn’t exactly facilitate beating the bejeezus out of the huddles of men who eventually crowd around the avatar you have chosen.

For starters, movement is wonky and strange. While you would expect fluid combos and intricate movements from a game that depends on such tight mechanics, what you actually get is the complete opposite. Punches and kicks fly without focus from rigid characters with little or no movement. Maneuvers are so needlessly awkward that it becomes a chore to land more than a few punishing blows before seeing the dreaded Continue screen. When I say the game is difficult, it’s sad that it isn’t even due to the game’s skill requirements. If you manage to get past the first few areas without too much trouble, soon after enemies really start to pile on, practically forcing you to revert to a lower difficulty since the flow of combat seems to be nonexistent. If it’s not enough that you’ll be restarting levels right and left, the game suffers from an austere dearth of checkpoints. Get used to those rigid and lifeless animations. You’ll be seeing them over and over.

Failing the asinine combat controls, your character’s likeness resembles every other enemy so much that often it becomes difficult to discern who you’re actually playing as, as ridiculous as that sounds. Perhaps it would have been a better design decision on the developer’s part to impart a bit more uniqueness in the random baddies to come ambling down the screen. Still, Street Brawl isn’t without its redeeming qualities. There are some engaging boss battles sprinkled between bouts with the droves of random guys who seem as if it’s their goal in life to beat you up, and you can interact with your environment to toss certain items. I know, it doesn’t sound like much. It isn’t, but you have to be aware that even amongst its reekage of Eau de Terrible Game, at the very least it is playable.

You’ll make your way through repetitive environments annotated with generic sound effects that could have come straight off of a disc of stock aural treats. Both lack any sort of soul that the original film possessed, ensuring that the game comes off as just another mindless brawling clone with little effort put into it. You can at least take the battle online with friends via multiplayer, or you can attempt to complete the game solo — if it holds your attention long enough. If you’re a fan of the film there just may be enough material here to keep you interested for a short period of time, but if you’re interested because you’re a genre loyalist, keep on walking. You’d be better suited to picking up Watchmen: The End is Nigh, because as terrible as it is, it still beats out The Warriors: Street Brawl. It seems that this movie-inspired beat-em-up is in dire need of the baseball bat/popsicle maneuever, stat.

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