Genre: Action Developer: Realtime Associates Publisher: Acclaim Players: 1 Released: 1994
In my constant search for games in the local shops, I see this, A little game that goes by the name Warlock. I wish this day never happened, I wish I stayed home and cleaned out the garage, washed the dishes, cleaned my room, cleaned the living room, cleaned the kitchen, did the laundry, and did my homework. No, I didn’t do my chores and Warlock was my punishment, a cruel one indeed.
Okay, so Warlock was based on a movie that I have never seen or heard of, but if its anything like the game, it must suck. Now, in Reader Roundtable #28, I recommended it to you guys but after playing this game further, I suggest you stay away from this game as if it was the Black Plague. The game is just too frustrating to play, the gameplay mechanics are all wrong, and the story is boring. Just avoid Warlock. It’s a big mess and feels more like a punishment than a game.
The plot is pretty bare bones. You are the modern druid hero with (no name!). You have powers and magic spells to defeat your enemies and to defeat the Warlock. You travel through time via portals after you find the rune stone in the level. Without the rune stone in that level, the portal will not open and you’re stuck. After finding all the rune stones, you finally face the Warlock.
The screen looks good with your health either increasing or deteriorating via a little representation of your character’s head located in the HUD at the top of the screen. It also shows the spells, as well as the number of spells and rune stones collected. When your character’s head turns into a skull, you’re dead and you have to start THE WHOLE GAME OVER! That’s right, no level restarts. The entire game must be restarted from the beginning.
At least the graphics are good. Your character has a Harry Potter look with his cape and clothes. Understandably, the colors are dark and gritty, giving Warlock a dark feel. The animations are top-notch, very well done. The enemies are nicely done(the backgrounds look awesome), and the character and enemies are well drawn. For a game rated “kids to adults,” there’s a lot of blood spouting from your character getting smacked and by the enemies dying. There was great use of dithering, which is always good. Overall, Warlock boasts some great graphics.
Well the sound isn’t all that bad. The music is very creepy and moody, but your magic blast noise is very irritating, like a digitized nail on a chalkboard. The background sounds are very realistic with all the dogs barking, birds chirping, hellspawn, etc. Overall, there’s some very nice work on the audio side of the game. The spells are kind of annoying though, and they make a thunder/techno sound, which is weird.
That’s about where all the good points end. Gameplay? MY GOD, this is what killed the game. The difficulty is BRUTAL, but for all the wrong reasons. Your character has to kneel to shoot the magic blast, which means that flying enemies just fly at you and take some health. Your second weapon is an orb that follows you, but it’s quite slow, so fast enemies will probably still hurt you. Also, some enemies take multiple hits to kill, so the orb won’t kill them. There goes some more health! You can only shoot diagonally, not straight up, so that means that enemies above you are impossible to kill. EVEN WORSE, the number of lives are very limited, and you’re lucky enough to get two lives saved up. Because of the animations, your character takes a while turning from left to right, then left again, and with all the fast enemies you’re likely to take some more damage.
Honestly, just forget Warlock. With such frustrating controls, insane difficulty, and a forgettable story, it’s not even worth a dollar. Even though the graphics and sound are great, the gameplay destroys what could have been a great game. I guess it’s true that movie-based games sucked even in the 16-bit era.
SCORE: 3 out of 10
Discuss this review in our forum.
I would have to disagree. About the difficulty of the game, it is difficult, but, that was no stop sign for anyone who played it. In my hometown, that game even got the rank of elite game, since it was so hard to play. But, the difficulty was not a problem, since the game was really well done. For example, sound effects, animation, atmosphere was so well incorporated into each other, that I think that “Warlock” is one of the exemplary games, that can show what a creativity and harmony can accomplish. I’m talking about harmony between each segment of the game. Oh yeah, at the end of each level you’ll get a password. So, you don’t need to start the whole game all over. The animation that takes the character to turn from left to right, by itself already gives you a signal that this isn’t the type of hit-and-run games. You need to take it slow. Think. Observe.
About the graphics
I think that we don’t need any comments on this one, since anyone who powers up console with this game inside, can see the power it unleashes in graphic world. But lets mention few things, just to say.. Incorporation of background effects into the game, the artwork itself is phenomenal, sprites, animations, details.. And so far, and so on.
About the sound.
Music – one of the favorite soundtracks. Haunting tones, incorporated with animations, background and etc gives a perfect horror mix. One of the highest quality soundtracks i have ever seen.
Effects – Very good, since every sound was polished really well, there was no room for errors, you can see that in the first minute of playing the game.
About the gameplay.
Controls – Somewhat seems that the controls are awkward, but, if you don’t rush as a Sonic through the enemies, you should be fine. Jump&Shoot, A+B+Orb, etc.. All of the moves are useful and can be used always, never mind the variety of them (i’m not saying that the numbers of moves count to hundreds!), if you just think. You see, for example, a bat on the ceiling. Approach it slowly, Think with what you can kill him, with which move etc. Just-Don’t-Run-Like-Fly-Without-Head! In this game, that is a certain death. So, be fast on your legs when you have to, not when you want to.
If you are a kind of player that plays games that involve holding one button and going left&right – (possibly most of the time in that order), than don’t battle with this game.
Difficulty – At first, it seems extremely hard. Once, you get a grip, and realize that you can’t just remember-&-rush through segments of the level, you’ll get a hang of it. Move with caution, observe, keep all of the moves on your reflex basis. Off course, items allow a wide margin of player errors, so you don’t need to be top-notch player to get over the first or second level.
Secrets included – that can any player foresee as he starts the game, i mean, the game itself is called “Warlock”, its adventure-platform, it has dark atmosphere, difficulty boasted – what else do you need more? It’s a breeding ground for secrets 😀
Atmosphere – This won’t have you believe you are a mystical elf from the woods, with happy tunes or anything else. This game will literally keep you on the edge of your seat, the whole time you play. Whenever you play, you will be nervous as hell. There is no slacking areas where you can take a rest in the game.
Believe me, when you look at the cartridge that says “Warlock”, you’ll think twice if you’re ready for it. Close the curtains, darken your room, turn off your lights.. And press “start”.