The ILG Coint & Plick Awards

Make Your Case: The Warriors

Posted in Best of PS2, Make Your Case by trdn89 on March 3, 2010

As part of our PS2 poll, we’ve decided to encourage voters to select one worthy game from the ballot and make a case for other voters to consider it. If you’d like to make a case for a particular game which hasn’t been profiled already, head on over to the thread, stake your claim on your title of choice, and git to writin’.

Antexit:

Okay, well talking about this game, what stands out is the violence. I think people were pretty put off by the violence in a game which aspires to update the side-scrolling beat-em-up to the 3D era– they remember the violence in those games being kinda lower-stakes or something. But when I think back to Double Dragon and Final Fight and the rest, I didn’t WANT them to be cute– I wanted them to be as brutal as possible, and in a sense I guess they were. For the time Double Dragon has stuff that’s just as shocking when you think about it as The Warriors is.

I think actually that The Warriors is the most violent game I’ve ever played, and I’m like a master sommelier of violent video games. I’ve played bloodier games, and gorier games, and games with a lot more death, but never a game where the violence says so much and has so much impact. I think even more than the movie the violence in this game is really frightening, and frighteningly addictive– the heaviness of every blow, the sickening crunches. You never get tired of it, and it never loses its impact, and it’s fun and ugly and addictive all at once. It never stops feeling really AWFUL, actually, especially when you’re terrorizing people on the streets, but it stays completely compelling.

Every time I read like a Hubert Selby novel I’m surprised at how brutal street life before the drug scene seems to have been– I guess we get this “there’s no sticking, just a little jabbing” idea from 50s and 60s movies and TV, but when I read books from that time, like The Wanderers by Richard Price and the Sol Yurick book The Warriors is based on, it gives you a very different idea– feral, sadistic, bloody, this ever-present threat of terrible and immediate violence with permanent consequences– and I feel like you get that from the game in a big way. It really gives you a sense of the freedom and camaraderie that must have made street gangs before the drug culture so appealing, and the compelling addictiveness of the brutality seems like it says something real, gives you a deeper experience than the violence in a lot of games does.

Oh, the minigames– from that shameful era of gaming where everything had to be a stupid twiddly little minigame. But they all make sense in the context of The Warriors, and they never really get tiresome; they’re right in the sweet spot of challenging enough that you feel the time pressure but no so challenging that they’re not worth doing. It also has fantastic enemy AI, really. The bad guys aren’t using advanced evade-and-detect tactics, but they’re not supposed to– these aren’t Special Ops soldiers. They use swarm and pincer strategies that really seem to adapt on the fly, and unlike every other beat-em-up of all time, you can never really identify an attack pattern you can turn around against the guys you’re fighting (except with the bosses, where you’re supposed to). And the multiplayer integration is fucking awesome.

Is this the best movie license game of all time? I can’t think of anything else that comes close to what The Warriors does–adapting the aesthetic of the movie perfectly, expanding on its story pretty extensively without beggaring its believability, and delivering a really deep and human experience, I think, in something that’s totally unpretentious and like nothing except the action game that it is.

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