#21 Warlords

Posted: 2nd December 2014 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

384th played so far

Warlords_FlyerGenre: Shoot Em Up
Platform: Arcade
Year of Release: 1980
Developer: Atari
Publisher: Atari

Today’s game is the third shoot ’em up in a row… and the third we’re using to finish some of the earliest games. We wanted to catch up a bit on our stats and knock off some simpler games, as these earlier games tend to be a bit easier to get through.

Our Thoughts

Warlords is fairly simple to start with. Four opponents (up to three of which can be AI-controlled) are in the four corners of a rectangle. Their coloured symbols are surrounded by a wall and protected by a rather Breakout-like paddle. One – and later more – fireballs fly around. They break down the walls if they hit it and when they get through to your rectangle, you lose.

It’s a simple concept, working great in competitive multiplayer, although not as often repeated as I’d expect for what is an enjoyable formula. As simple as the game is, it requires enough skill to be fun and has enough close calls to stay exciting. In fact, the game is easy to learn, just harder to master. More in particular, the AI is ruthless – probably set up to be near optimal – and will often get through your walls quite quickly if you’re not careful. That, too, shows the value of multiplayer here. You can imagine the blast you’d have playing this against several others.

Aside from the simple aesthetics, which have some nice touches, with the look of your fort and even, in a way, the dragon flying around. They’re mostly inconsequential beyond that: Looking at a later remake, using 3D graphics, it looks nearly the same, with not much further room for updates. As such, as promising as the game is, it seems like there was little scope for developing the genre. It came back in a way through tower defense games, but that’s still different.

Final Thoughts

This is one of those many games where the central concept has been used by others whether they be commercial or home-brew. In fact there was a game similar to this available on Neopets for a time. Whilst it is more fun to play this with a group of friends rather than muggins on their own it still has a great deal of challenge to offer in single-player. Since all the later versions did was up the graphics (really) it makes as much sense to try the original as it would to give an update a go.