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