Ah, old school video gaming, you have to love it. I know I love it because it brings back so many memories of things that didn't involve multiplayer, kids cursing me out online and a simpler video gaming era.
All good stuff.
Anyway, SNK Playmore brought out some oldies from their attic to PSN; one of which is Gang Wars. How did it hold up after so many years? Let's talk.
What to expect...
The concept of Gang Wars is simple, you keep punching and kicking until the game is over. Harking back to a time where Double Dragon and Final Fight ruled the video game world, Gang Wars is dumb fun. Dumb fun isn't a bad thing, as you go through a side-scrolling adventure fighting outrageous gangs straight out of a British punk nightmare. The gameplay is based in New York City, though you have no visual indication of that, and it is more than easy.
You basically have three buttons to work with: kick, punch and jump. You can combine jump and kick to equal out to a flying kick (that was popular in games like these back in the day), but other than that the controls and actions are pretty darn simplistic. That's what you got back in the day and it was fine for what it was (and still is). Gang Wars doesn't bring anything new to this genre of gaming, as most games previously mentioned had the same exact control scheme.
There is a little bit of separation, though.
One thing that I found absolutely fascinating about Gang Wars is the ability to upgrade your fighter at the end of each round. You can choose between power, speed and guard. These power-ups improve your character and make the gameplay definitely more entertaining. For a 1989 arcade game this is super impressive to feature such a new level of gameplay (for that time). This wasn't something you saw in other arcade games in Aladdin's Castle or a Namco arcade center. So, kudos to SNK Playmore for developing what could be the first upgrade system for an arcade fighter.
What to watch out for…
While this mini game is $2.99 on PSN (very good price for what it is), the game is fast and simple. You could get about 2-4 hours of gaming out of it, which isn't much. Also, the AI in Gang Wars is horribly laughable, as you can literally sit there and pound on a button while you check your e-mail. You're guaranteed to beat up whoever you're fighting against without much of a challenge. I found myself doing this quite often, the only time I didn't was when an enemy was carrying a weapon. Once those enemies were disarmed then it was back to pushing buttons and not needing much 'guard'. In comparison to games like Final Fight and Double Dragon, Gang Wars won't put up much of a fight (pun intended). Again, it's simplistic on almost every level.
At the end of the day, if you're a huge SNK fan (and you should be because they produced some very memorable titles back in the day) then this belongs in your library. If you're looking for an old school fighter and want a challenge then you may want to look elsewhere. For me, I can drop $2.99 for this title without much of a thought. I like old school gaming even when it's very easy. Gang Wars is a very easy game.