Review by Retro
"An interesting combination of two of the best known classics"
Warlords is a one of a kind game, sort of. If you've been playing games for a loooooong time or if you know a lot about classic gaming, then you've probably played or know a lot about two classic games called Pong and Breakout. In Pong, you use a paddle on the screen to try and make the ball get past your opponent's paddle on the other side of the screen. In Breakout, you just used a paddle at the bottom of the screen and try to bust all the blocks above you in order to clear the board.
Warlords is in many ways a combination of those two ancient greats. When you first turn Warlords on, you will see that there are four corners of blocks, a shield guarding each set of blocks, and there is a castle in each corner behind the sets of blocks. The idea is to hit the ball at your opponents' blocks in order to bust through them and eventually get rid of their castles.
You can play from a variety of different games in Warlords, which is one thing that saves it from being an ordinary copy of other well known games. As I mentioned before, there are four bases with blocks that guard a castle in each corner. Yep, you guessed it, that means you can have up to four players at a time duke it out against each other. Or if you want to, you can play teams. You can have it where everybody is against each other, two-on-two, and even three-on-one, it's your choice. If you don't have four live players around then don't fret. For every player that isn't there in person, you can make it where the computer will control the other shields.
Along with the various ways to play such as two-on-two, three-on-one, and so on, there are also a couple of different ways to control the ball with the shields. The basic way is to have it where the ball will just bounce off your shield in regular manner, which will reflect it in the opposite direction based on the direction you hit it. The other way is to be able to 'catch' the ball when it hits your shield. You can do that by keeping hold of the button on your paddle controller. As long as you keep hold of the button, you will have control of the ball. That means you will be able to move around and still have control of it. When you let go of the button, the ball will be thrown in the direction your shield is facing.
Along with the sets of blocks, the shields, and the castles, there is also a digit that keeps score for each player. Depending on what variation of game you're playing, you will earn points as you destroy your opponents. For example, if you're playing it where everybody is against everybody else, then if the other three castles get destroyed and your castle is the last one standing, then you will earn a point. Once you or anybody else gets a certain number of points, the game will be over.
The gameplay in Warlords is real simple to learn. As I've said, in each corner of the screen is a player's base, which comprises of blocks, the shield they control, and their castle that they have to defend. All you have to do is keep the ball from hitting your blocks the best you can, while trying to make it hit your opponents' blocks. When the ball hits any of the blocks, they will disappear. The more of the blocks that get busted around a player's base, the more at risk that player's castle will become. When the ball hits any of the castles just once, that castle will be destroyed, and that player will not be able to control their shield for the remainder of that round.
Warlords might sound like a basic game, but it can actually be a lot of fun, and it can get real addicting. To get the most fun out of this cartridge, play the game with as many of your friends as you can. The more people there are playing, the more fun it is. Even though this game is very old, there can still be a lot of trash talking that can develop from playing it against other people.
GRAPHICS - I hope you're not one of those gamers where graphics are one of the most important things about a game to you, because if you are, you won't like Warlords. The graphics are pretty dark and not detailed at all. They're just the typical basic graphics for an Atari 2600 game, but they do have some cool effects from time to time such as the screen lighting up like a flash of lightning when one of the castles gets destroyed.
SOUND - The sound is pretty blocky and in my opinion, is the weakest part of Warlords. The busting of blocks is supposed to sound blocky, but the other sound effects such as when the ball bounces off of one of the players' shields and when one of the castles gets destroyed, could've been better. Also, there is not ANY music in this game, but you don't need it to enjoy playing this one!
CONTROL - Just like with all the Atari 2600 games I've ever played in which you have to use the paddles, Warlords has great control that is responsive and just right.
REPLAY VALUE - Warlords can get old if you just play it by yourself, but playing it with your friends is always a lot of fun.
OVERALL - Overall, I give Warlords an 8. Some things about it such as its sound could've been better, but I mainly judge games and give them scores based on how fun they are. And Warlords is a lot of fun. If only it would've been more fun and a little bit more challenging to play against the computers in a one player game, I would've given it an even higher score.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/16/01, Updated 05/20/02
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