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Shorts!

 Warlock: The Video Game!
by: Dr. Boogie
 

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 same name.

Hellfire!

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.

I'm not Harry Potter! He's wearing a pink shirt!

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 with it:

You can make a "W".
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 look:

BLOOD!!!
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.

Quick, get some superglue!

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 showing!!"

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:

The unholy power of Julian Sands.

All I can say is thank god for that "save state" function.

*rubrubrub*

Dr. Boogie


[Download Warlock Genesis Game Rom!]



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