reviewed by Steve Gould


Issue 8

Mar/Apr 84

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Calisto Software

1 PLAYER     32K/48K

What can I say? After having a pre-release copy of this superb game for over a month now, I can say without hesitation that Warlock is the best game to have been released by a British software house. What is more it has been written by a British programmer. The chap involved is Dave Thomas, a southern lad, who has proved once and for all that it is possible to write games that are up to, if not better than, SYNAPSE standard. I understand that Dave wrote the game during two and a half months last summer and he has shown us that it can be done. Take a note of the name for you will surely be hearing a lot of it in the future.

from here ....                       to here ... and back!

The object of the game is 'simple'. You must reach and rescue a small pod shaped craft called a DRONE and get back to the point at which you started. Sounds simple but in fact this is one of the most challenging arcade scrolling games that I have come across.

The game consists of four options, five levels and four different landscapes. The ship is the best I have seen in a game of this sort and joystick response is extremely good. You start the game with 3 ships and no bonus ones are awarded. To pause the game action, the player may press SELECT during play. Rapid fire is possible by holding the trigger down and, believe me, it is needed! As you increase the skill level from 1 to 5, your energy is used up faster.

On pressing START, the screen depicts your craft descending from the great beyond onto a landing pad which then descends into the ground where your energy is boosted to full capacity. The scrolling landscape is from left to right and to reach your objective, you must negotiate pods rising from the floor - they cannot be destroyed - mines suspended from the roof of the cavern, laser barriers, the conventional 'blocks of flats' and various tricky passages. All in all very difficult to steer your craft from beginning to end. Once you have rescued the DRONE, you must reverse the process to return to the start.

When you reach the pad where you started your mission, the next stage is automatically loaded from disk but on the cassette version a password is given to enable the next cavern to be loaded. The going gets tougher as you progress and I can honestly say that I have only managed to get to the DRONE on the second stage. With the review copy however was a version with no collision detection, so I have seen what is to come on levels 3 and 4 and, believe me, it is going to be a long time before ANYONE completes this one!

Scrolling is very smooth indeed and Dave makes good use of the Atari's superb graphics to achieve THE best game available for 14.95. I can recommend this game without hesitation.