perjantai 28. lokakuuta 2011

REVIEW - Warlock (1994)

GENRE(S): Action
DEVELOPER(S): Realtime Associates

In 1989, director Steve Miner, the director most known for the first two sequels to Friday the 13th, directed the horror fantasy flick Warlock, which starred Julian Sands as an evil 17th century wizard, who came to the modern day to look for an opportunity to destroy the world. The movie was successful enough to spawn a couple of really rotten sequels, but it was never a critics' favourite itself. Just recently, I found out the movie was actually successful enough to spawn a video game for the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System; oddly enough, five years after it premiered. Take one good guess which company was responsible for the game's release! I've just GOT to see this.

Be wewy, wewy quiet - I'm huntin' wawocks

Six ancient runestones hold the power to undo the world's creation. The Warlock is after these stones on his father's behalf. As a descendant of the druids, your mission is to reach the stones before the Warlock does, and end him once and for all.

I'll tell you right now I never liked the Warlock movies. I've only seen the first two, I didn't even bother with Warlock III; even if they replaced Julian Sands, who I have always loathed, the premises of the franchise alone never did it for me. So, why did I bother with the game? To tell you the truth, I simply couldn't imagine LJN making a game out of a horror movie I never liked in the least. They did it, and that's a deal for a bad game if there ever was one, a game so bad I simply could not resist reviewing it. Besides, it sat in well with the current Halloween theme. "Unfortunately", it ain't as bad as I thought. Just boring.

It's Sands! HA-DOU-KEN!!!
Since you're expecting it from me, anyway, I'll compare the game to the movie for ya. It has nothing to do with it; in fact, it's very loosely based on the second movie, which came out in 1993, and which isn't linked to the first one in any way except having Sands in the namesake role. His characters in each movie are totally unrelated to each other. That's why it's even more amusing that the apparently nameless lead character actually bears a strong resemblance to Richard E. Grant's character in the first movie, but possesses the magical talent of the lead protagonist in the second one. It's really confusing - I guess they mixed elements from both of the movies that had come out so far to find some way to blur out all references to Satan. Why did they make the game in the first place?!

The game looks decent enough, albeit as generic as a SNES game could possibly get in '94. The soundtrack is just what you'd expect; just some simple, sustained organ notes in MIDI, not very memorable stuff. The worst part of the game's audio bank is Julian Sands' digitized voice insulting you each time you die. God, I hate that guy. One of my favourite scenes in the whole of 24 was when Jack Bauer broke Sands' neck. I can't even pinpoint the reason I hate him so much, he's just a damn nuisance. Kind of like Arnold Vosloo - who ALSO played a lead villain in another season of 24! But, this is not a review of 24 - The Game, this is a review of Warlock. It's gonna be short, though, so sidetracking doesn't really matter.

Warlock is a very typical action platformer with one "special" feature of the main character being able to carry seven different spells to fight against the Warlock and his minions with. These seven different spells are items, just like any items in any other game. Touching. This game's lack of originality and such a pathetic attempt to disguise it with something that sounds so fresh move me. When I read that the game has some spells in it, I thought they would be some sort of permanent upgrades that would perhaps have their own mana meter or something, that would've been quite cool in a platformer considering the times and LJN's lousy standing in the video game scene. But no, they're just consumable items with a fancy name.

Fuckin' Sands.
Your basic attack is a bolt of lightning shooting out of your John Doe's hands, but there's also an orb floating slightly above and behind your head all the time. It might take a while to figure out that it's actually also a weapon, and due to its range, very essential against the Warlock, who you will meet a little too often. After gathering six runestones and dealing with the Warlock one final time, you're done with the game, in less than an hour, if you are able to overcome its extremely boring and typical being.

Of course, just being so boring and typical doesn't make Warlock a _bad_ game. There's just simply no special attraction to it whatsoever. It has boring levels taken straight from the most elementary ABC of platformer design, and to make matters worse, these levels are stretched to eternity. The controls stink. It has all the basic flaws of any licensed LJN game out there, they didn't learn anything through the years. As a pure game, all opinions on the (pseudo-)source material or the generic gameplay's non-existent lasting appeal aside, I must say that Warlock is one of LJN's more tolerable outings, and it's almost on par with the SNES version of Alien 3 - but, always at the end, I must note that game had a pixelated Weaver. This one has a pixelated Sands.

SOUND : 5.3


GameRankings: 30.00% (GEN)

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