When considering games to play during the Halloween season, one
typically thinks of the survival horror genre: Silent Hill, Alone in
the Dark, and even the relatively unknown Resident Evil series.
Indeed, when October rolls around, we here at I-Mockery go so far as
to showcase reviews of Halloween-y games to give you inspiration. As I
was going through the list the other day, looking for the next review
for the Classic Games Spotlight, it occurred to me that there was one
game that I had never seen anyone review for the site. That game was
the unusual console game, Warlock, based off the movie by the
In the game, you play a nameless Druid chap who alone bears the
enormous responsibility of gathering up six magic runestones before
the evil Warlock, and sending him back to hell. Technically, though,
that's the plot of the second Warlock movie (Warlock: The Armageddon).
The first one is about the Warlock too, but in that movie, the Warlock
is after three pieces of the Satanic Bible, and not a bunch of magic
stones. Then again, maybe the game is more like the first movie
because of the time travel element… Anyway, the bottom line is that
you're out to grab the stones, which have been scattered across the
globe and in different time periods.
There's you on the left, and the Warlock on the right. As far as
16-bit celebrities go, that's not a bad likeness of scary English
actor Julian Sands (except for the pink hair. I don't really remember
that.), who played the title character in the first two
movies, but the not the third one. Which is probably why it went
straight to video. Anyway, as an added bonus, they actually got Sands
to lend his voice to the character. Well, to be more accurate, they
got him to lend his evil laugh to the character. Whenever the Warlock
does something nefarious, like blow up a bridge or animate a statue or
turn a harmless dog into a werewolf, he gives an evil laugh, usually
accompanied by a change in music to something more urgent-sounding.
To aid you, the other less gutsy druids have given you a selection of
magic spells and a mysterious flying orb, kind of like those silvery
orbs from the Phantasm series. Unfortunately, its not enough like
those orbs. You can fling it in the four cardinal directions by
massaging the air behind it, and you can use it to pick up distant
objects, but it lacks the precision of the deadly Phantasm spheres.
Also, it lacks the drill attachment. You can do a nifty zigzag pattern
That's gotta be worth something.
Another reason to check this one out is the surprising amount of
blood. Granted, the second movie was pretty bloody, but this was in a
game rated "Kids to Adults" (which may have something to do with the
ESRB revamping their old ratings system). Whenever your character is
hit, there is a considerable explosion of blood, but when some of the
later enemies die, they release a veritable fountain of blood. Take a
The accompanying "bloop bloop bloop" sound is a nice touch.
Another nifty innovation is your lifebar. Rather than the standard
color-filled bar, your is a face that loses flesh each time
you're hit until finally reduced to a skull upon your death.
Admittedly, it is kind of difficult to tell how many hits/face pieces
you have left, but I think it's a small price to pay. I mean, just
imagine if your face started peeling as soon as you got hurt: "Hey
buddy, are you ok?" "Of course I'm not ok! My cheekbones are
The game also boasts some creepy music as well. Much of it is downcast
organ music, with fight songs to spice things up once things get a
little dicey. In fact, part of the reason I went with the Genesis
version of the game instead of the SNES version is because it had
better music. Oddly enough, this may be one of the few instances in
which the Genesis version of a game was superior to the SNES version,
not just because the music is better, but because they edited out all
the blood for the SNES version, plus the controls make those for the
Genesis version seem simplistic and responsive.
Unfortunately, one of the reasons Warlock has been overlooked on lists
of games to play this time of year is that it can be incredibly
frustrating at times. Your primary methods of attack are the orb and
magic bolts you shoot from a crouch, and the game frequently throws a
number of small, fast enemies to score a few cheap hits before you can
properly align your deadly sphere. Combine this with the extremely
limited number of extra lives found in the game, and you'll be staring
at the game over screen far too often for most people's liking.
Luckily, even the game over screen is kind of cool:
All I can say is thank god for that "save state" function.
Warlock Genesis Game Rom!]