The Warriors: Street Brawl (XBLA)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Friday, November 20, 2009

Graphics: 6.00
Sound: 5.00
Gameplay: 6.00
Replays: 6.00
Gamelength: 7.50

“The Warrior: Street Brawl” is a fun game at it’s core, but broken AI ruins a potentially awesome beat’em up experience.

“The Warriors” is a classic movie that many people fell in love with in 1979, but it was revived with a video game last generation that took the nation by storm and breathed new life into the classic idea. Now, with the announcement of a movie planned for 2010, the classic characters have been brought back for yet another appearance. This time, the game is as it should have been as a classic arcade-style beat’em up, but only in theory. However, I’m not going to get ahead of myself. I’ll get to all of that later. That said, it’s time to hit the streets in “The Warriors: Street Brawl” for the Xbox 360.

Visually, this game is very average. It looks like a smoothed out PlayStation 2 game in every possible way. There’s just nothing that stands out. The environments are very dark and the character models are far from impressive. The animations are also extremely repetitious, which really hurts in this day and age. While the game is far from the ugliest thing ever created, I was sorely disappointed.

For those of you who may be expecting an appropriate soundtrack, prepare for a major let down. Most of the songs are simple electronic beats, with no real throwbacks to the proper time period at all. It’s a fitting soundtrack for the beat’em up formula, but it just doesn’t do “The Warriors” theme justice at all. Sound effects are as basic as it gets, with the same general arcade-like punch and kick sounds that we’ve all grown fond of over the years.

The gameplay would be awesome, but there are a few major flaws. For starters, the movement in this game feels very out of place. You can walk, run, punch, kick, perform a special move and pick up items, but everything feels very clunky. It’s far too easy easy to run farther than desired by mistake, but walking is simply too slow. There’s no middle ground, so the game is constantly frustrating. Punching and kicking is very simple and responsive, but weapons seem far too weak and are typically too slow to give any sort of edge in combat. Special moves follow the oldschool health-draining design. By pressing multiple attack buttons at the same time, the player loses health in exchange for a single powerful attack. The problem with those attacks, however, is that they’re never strong enough to merit the health loss. Even the rage mode toggle doesn’t seem to do much of anything. Rage builds up over time by simply dishing out and receiving damage, but the player can choose to unleash their rage at any given time by simply pressing the appropriate button. During this very short time, the player does more damage, but it certainly doesn’t seem noticeable under any circumstances.

Moving on, the enemy AI is ridiculous. Without a partner, this game can be mind-numbingly difficult, even on the easiest difficulty setting. Enemies gang up and corner you every chance they can, even down to locking you in a pinned down position by attacking just as you’re about to stand up. Not only that, but they block almost constantly, which eventually leads to a massive amount of counter attacks. It’s downright ridiculous and I wonder exactly what the developers were thinking when they decided to make even the easiest difficulty this difficult.

The level design is okay, although everything is very dark and repetitious. Most enemies look the same, but with a different color scheme. I suppose that’s an intentional throwback to the oldschool arcade games we all know and love, such as “Final Fight” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Still, there are bars, graveyards, dark alleys and all sorts of other urban sections, which fits the bill just fine.

Online multiplayer is generally lag-free and plays exactly like one would expect. Simply start up a game, get 1-3 friends to join and start beating the crap out of everyone that comes your way. This can be fun, but it’s difficult to find people who own this game.

Overall, this is an okay game, but several major issues stop this game from taking the modern beat’em up spotlight.

Pros:
+Classic arcade action.
+Very fast-paced.
+Simple to pick up and play.
+Fairly long for a beat’em up title.
+Lag-free multiplayer.

Cons:
-Lacking visual quality.
-Very disappointing soundtrack.
-Overly intelligent AI on lower difficulty settings.
-Special moves and weaponry are very underpowered.

Bottom line:
Unless you’re a serious beat’em up addict, this is a game that can be tucked away and easily forgotten.

Overall Rating: 6.00

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