Warriors, stay in and playiyay!

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AN ENTIRE GENERATION was introduced to the 1979 cult classic film The Warriors in 1993 when Ol' Dirty Bastard warbled "Warriors, come out and playiyay!" on Wu Tang's "Shame on a Nigga." That's why I rented it. It was one in a long string of rentals prompted by the Wu, and just like Shaolin vs. the Wu Tang, Shogun Assassin, and Master Killer, it was great. Now the most controversial company in video gaming has made a game based on The Warriors. Yes, the company that brought Grand Theft Auto to the world and prompted Hillary Clinton to declare war on vulgar video games, is at it again. As expected, The Warriors (Rockstar Games; PS2 and Xbox) is chock full of violence, street culture, swear words, and antisocial missions. The game loosely follows the movie with recognizable scenes and characters popping in and out, but unlike the movie, it is pretty monotonous: How many hobos and hookers do you have to mug to prove you're capable of strong-arming digital victims, especially when there's no variation or challenge in the act? And swearing? Unless there are hidden new swears that were recently invented, I've heard and grown bored with them. The fighting engine is pretty simple and easy to use: Kick, punch, and grab buttons allow you to kick, punch, knee, and throw people. It's somewhat cumbersome and generally leads to button-mashing, but if you have patience and press buttons in certain sequences or twice in a row, special moves occur. Rembrandt, the new blood, sprays paint in his enemy's face while yelling, "In your face!" Ouch. The game starts a few months before The Warriors are framed for killing gang kingpin Cyrus, which is when the movie begins. The story mode leads you through missions that involve tagging, jumping in new members, and other junk. Unlockable levels reveal the backstory and history of The Warriors. Rumble mode features minigames and a Create a Gang feature. A two-player mode allows you to play through the game with your best pal. Rival gangs like the Satan's Mothers present all kinds of problems, but you'll be all right. Each level has you play as a different character, which is great. Playing Rembrandt is the best because you get to tag walls. Tagging is accomplished by navigating a spray can over an on-screen pattern with the analog stick. If you veer from the line, the stick vibrates and paint is wasted. To get more spray paint, you just buy it from a guy on the street, which is totally realistic. To get money to buy paint, you can steal car radios, rob stores, and mug people. If you manage to get whooped by a rival gang while tagging, mugging, or looting and you find yourself lying lifelessly on the ground with a red cross floating above you, a fellow Warrior will revive you if you have Flash, a street drug easily purchased from drug dealers hidden in dark alleys. If I saw my niece playing this game, initially I would want to murder the game designers, but then I'd come to the conclusion that if a kid is stupid enough to want to buy drugs because he/she saw them restore his/her health in a video game, that kid is probably a moron and should be on drugs. In GTA you hump hookers to restore your health; in The Warriors, you do drugs. Big deal; Rockstar loves shocking people. Sex and drugs? Dudley Moore desensitized us to those long ago. Video game voice-overs have improved dramatically in the last few years. This game features great voice actors, including DMC, Aesop Rock, and some people from the original film. The city walls feature art by artists like Futura 2000 and DONDI (RIP), and SEEN's Hand of Doom car is in the game. The soundtrack is an eerie horror drone occasionally interrupted by rock and soul songs. (Nate Denver)

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