Project Warlock – PAX EAST 2018
Tucked in a corner outside of the Indie Megabooth was a small black booth. There were no light or theatrics, but there was a banner for a fascinating looking game called Project Warlock. As it was nearing the end of the day at PAX EAST, I decided to take a look at this interesting title, having already been drawn in by the impressive banner. I was greeted by the developer, and right away, I was thrust into the chaos of Project Warlock.
With a name like Project Warlock, you expect to have tons of action and violence, and that is exactly what happened. I hit start, grabbed my weapon, and was immediately in the thick of it. I was on a frozen planet, made of ice and snow, but these giant monsters, some of them encased in blocks of ice, started shooting at me. I ran around the map to grab whatever firearms I could and began returning fire to an extremely satisfying degree. When shots landed, their limbs would be blown off and their torso would explode. We are talking about futuristic space-themed sci-fi weaponry after all.
Project Warlock is a retro first-person shooter greatly inspired by the very earliest shooting games. The story is that you are specially trained and skilled mage, who is on a crusade to rid the universe of a great evil. As this warrior against evil, players will travel across planets and star systems to wipe out the source of evil, and the devilish creatures that seek to block your path. Players will have access to a variety of magic and brutal weaponry to rid the universe of darkness.
As a retro FPS, Project Warlock aspires to be itss own thing while learning from the past. While we have seen other old-fashioned shooters hit the market and seen games emulate the classics such as DOOM, Project Warlock seeks to go even further back, before looking up to shoot an enemy was even a working gameplay mechanic.
If you have played video games, you’ll know that the classic FPS,Wolfenstein 3D, is widely regarded as the grandfather of all modern first-person shooters. However, the origins of FPS’s can be traced back to the 70’s, 80’s and very early 90’s. Before Wolfenstein, Atari’s Battlezone introduced players to fast-paced first-person shooting in the form of a tank. Players had to maneuver through a large battlefield and shooting neon-green vector graphics tanks to achieve the high score.
In the early 1990’s, John Romero had worked with iD Software’s proprietary technology, which included games like Catacomb 3D and Hovertank 3D.both games put players in a maze, and required players to escape, encountering dozens of enemies along the way. Players could not shoot up or down. There was no staring down the sights or alternate fire modes. There was the skill of the player, how fast the player could move, and making sure you have accumulated enough health and ammo, as well as the right weapon.
My time with Project Warlock, while short, was absolutely enjoyable. Here I was in a chunky, pixelated ice planet, fighting 2.D sprites of alien monsters, and annihilating them with laser cannons, shotguns, and explosives. I ran across the level, doing my best to dodge enemy fire in narrow canyons and hallways. Firing each weapon was an absolute delight, with each gun, having distinctive sounds and firing capability.
Of course, I ran out of ammo and had to resort to using an electrified melee weapon. Of special note was the durability and sense of weight with the enemies. In on instance, a massive Yeti-looking alien came at me. I kept pouring boxes of bullets into him thinking he would go down. After so many bullets, a burst of alien guts came from the enemy, but all I had done was shoot his arm off. I continued to open fire, hoping that every slug from my shotgun would do him in. Instead, I shot his other arm off, and he proceeds to come at me. After using my laser pistol, I finally brought him down. With that, my demo came to an end, but I was craving for more.
While the demo was far too short, I had an absolute blast at the time. The entire game is being made by two passioante developers, who have fond memories of the earliest iterations of first-person shooters. The team wanted to combine magic, guns, and a dystopic view of the universe, with worlds that would be inspired by the psychadelic universe of properties such as Doctor Strange. After this demo, I cannot wait to see more. Project Warlock will be arriving to Steam, and hopefully consoles, sometime in 2018.