Warrior was an old vector arcade game released by Vectorbeam way back in 1978. This title was produced under license from Cinematronics.
Back in the 1970s a few arcade distributors still held on to the exclusivity rules that were a holdover from the older pinball days. Because of this many arcade game manufacturers had several different names. Atari was also Kee and Horror Games. While Sega was also known as Gremlin. Many people think that Vectorbeam and Cinematronics were the same way. But that wasn't how it really worked with them. Vectorbeam was originally an independent company. They had purchased several titles from Cinematronics in the past, but were a totally different company. But in 1978 Cinematronics bought Vectorbeam so they could have their patents. They promptly released Warrior under the Vectorbeam name, and then shut the company down soon after.
Warrior was the first one on one fighting game ever made, although it could have just as easily been about almost anything, if it had been given slightly different graphics. The object of the game is to force your opponent down the staircase and into the pit. This game is two-player only, there is no one-player mode.
This is one of those games that was really challenging given the correct opponent, it had more in common with games like Pong and Tank than it did with Street Fighter 2. There weren't any special moves, just the simple physics of swinging your sword around and trying to force your opponent into one of the pits near the center of the screen.
The graphics are what really made this game. The two swordfighting "Warriors" were done up using vector graphics, and were very detailed, probably more detailed than any other vector games around. The two warriors and the game score was all that the vector hardware had to draw, the ornate colored playfield was projected onto the screen using a plastic overlay and a mirror, which sounds strange, but actually looked awesome.
There was only one way to buy this game, and that was in a dedicated cabinet, and only upright versions were available (and this was one heavy game, weighing in at 280 lbs). This particular title had white sides with sticker style sideart of two Knights crossing swords while a sinister castle loomed above them. The marquee, monitor bezel, and control panel all had graphics of swords and energy beams. There were tow joysticks on the control panel, and they were of a very sturdy design, and were probably the only thing on a Warrior machine that wasn't bound to fail in a few years.
The game used a rather complicated display system that included a 19" black and white vector monitor, a half-silvered mirror, and a detailed plastic display of the game background. Those items all came together to make it look like the action was happening directly on the picture of the background, instead of on the monitor itself.
All of the hardware for this game was prone to early failure, even the gameboards were pretty likely to conk out fairly early in life.
Where to play
You can play this title using the MAME emulator, or anyone of several different vector arcade emulators. This title needs a separate "artwork" file in addition to the ROM archive. The artwork file is basically just the background picture, without it your warriors are just fighting on a blank screen, and you won't even be able to see the stairs or the pits.
You may want to add this to your arcade game collection, but I say stay away from this one. Vector games are very problematic. Cinematronics' designed vector titles are even more problematic. Simply put, this is a title that is going to break down on you, a lot, and the repair parts are pretty much non-existant. Low production numbers, combined with a very cool looking cabinet, combined with the fact that this is a vector game, means that this title is very expensive. Once you factor in the problems, it just doesn't make sense to purchase this game.