Developed by Alpha Denshi and published by SNK in 1989, Gang Wars is a 2D beat ‘em up that resembles Double Dragon on the surface. But with aesthetics aside, Gang Wars was the first of its kind to offer character customization, firearms, and a unique 3 button configuration.
As either Mike (a kick boxer) or the Jackie Chan look-alike Jackie (a karate expert), you must battle through the streets of New York to rescue a young woman named Cynthia from a ruthless street gang called Jaguar. The story may not be original, but great beat ‘em ups are hardly remembered for their narrative.
Like the beat ‘em up it mimics, you must punch and kick your way through countless street thugs and towering boss characters. Combat is straight-forward requiring only the Circle button to punch and X button to kick. The Square button is used to jump and even jump kick when pressed in succession with the X button.
What sets Gang Wars apart from other brawlers is its variety of weapons. The selection includes baseball bats (no self-respecting street vigilante can fight crime without one), bottles, concrete on metal poles, rocks, and even machine guns and flame throwers. Though limited, blood is present when you shoot your opponents or beat them to death. It’s gratifying, too, since your enemies tend to laugh every time you’re beaten to the ground.
Unlike the popular Double Dragon, Gang Wars includes a feature to customize your fighter. While limited, you can increase your fighter’s power, speed, and defense between levels. This adds a limited amount of strategy to the gameplay.
Like most SNK minis, Gang Wars includes a save feature, game settings (increase the number of lives, etc), and screen settings to play the game in its native screen resolution.
Gang Wars is relatively short like this review. But despite its size, it offers a decent beat ‘em up experience. Gamers too young to remember the golden age of gaming will enjoy Gang Wars by SNK. It’s challenging, fun, and a trip down memory lane.
Platform: Playstation 3 (Available on PSN)
|Classic 2D graphics that still manage to impress today.|
|Enemies laugh constantly as they attack. Sadly, this grates on your nerves.|
|Solid controls and plenty of weapons.|
|Gang Wars is a solid beat 'em up.|