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Project Warlock

User is offline   NightFright 

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By pure chance, I found a small article with a preview about a new retro shooter called "Project Warlock" on the website of my gaming magazine. It was released on GOG exlusively on Oct 18 and costs 11 EUR. The game should also pop up on Steam later on if you can wait a bit.

So far I have played the first 4-5 levels (there are supposed to be around 60) and I can already say it's pretty neat. Feels a bit like the modern brother of Wolf3D with pimped Unity graphics. You return to a hub (called "Workshop") after you are done with one stage of an episode (can be 1-4 rather short levels with 5-15mins gameplay each, at least as far as I could see until now). Here you can upgrade your skills, spells and weapons with stat points you have gathered while levelling up and collecting items/secrets throughout the levels.

+ Graphics with many tweaking options (retro filters, ambient occlusion, reflections. motion blur etc) and excellent lighting effects
+ Consequently executed Wolf3D style (90° angle walls, keys, secrets, no health regen)
+ Large variety: 5 worlds with 60 levels, about 40 weapons, 72 enemy types and 8 spells
+ Fast paced combat, often against larger groups of opponents
+ Motivating levelling system to upgrade weapons (2 upgrades for each, but only one can be chosen), skills and spells (also perks)
+ Really good music and sounds
+ Lower difficulty with infinite lives, higher difficulties with limited lives or even permadeath (RL mode)
+ No DRM

- No checkpoints or quicksaves - if you die before finishing a level, you have restart that level
- You can return to the Workshop before a stage is finished, but then you need to do the stage from the beginning afterwards
- Spells are rather useful for supporting conventional weapon combat
- Bosses are relatively easy with strong weapons
- Limited automap (no fullscreen view or overlay)
- Claustrophobic level design, especially at the beginning of the game

You really get a lot of game for your money on this one. If you are a fan of Wolf3D or Doom (and who isn't?) and like the general visual style of the game, you should definitely give this a try. The game even has references to other classic shooters like Blood (see attachment) which shows you how much care and detail went into this. It's straight to the point, fast and simple. For an (almost) one-man project of a 19-year old, it's pretty impressive, I'd say. Should this game receive modding support later on with custom levels etc., it may stay on my hard drive for quite a while, that's for sure.

Also check out this Youtube review to learn more.

Attached thumbnail(s)

  • Attached Image: warlock_blood.jpg

This post has been edited by NightFright: 30 October 2018 - 07:19 AM


User is online   MusicallyInspired 

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Saw GOG splashing this all over Twitter and Facebook. It reminds me of Octopath Traveler in its art style. I'd like to pick it up.

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User is offline   NightFright 

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I found two switches in ep.3 today which count as finding a secret every time you use them, allowing you to gain infinite XP/levelups. So it's not as bug-free as they said in the review. I have reported these issues to the dev. Still a really nice game and worth every cent.

User is offline   thricecursed 

  • 75


The only thing that bothers me is the first episode is pretty weak for the first couple of levels or so and then suddenly ramps up in difficulty to a boss fight that you're not really prepared for. Also if you run out of ammo for a weapon, you switch to melee instead of another gun. Other than that, it's pretty fun. It gets much better after the first episode, though. Feels like a Wolf3d clone, then turns into Brutal Doom. Lots of guns and enemy variety.

This post has been edited by thricecursed: 01 November 2018 - 03:43 AM


User is offline   Damien_Azreal 

  • 54


I've played this up to the fourth episode, and really... the more I play the less I'm enjoying myself.
I find myself playing more so to finish it, not because I'm having fun.

There is a really fun game here, but, overall it just feels more so... hindered by some poor design decisions and a limited scope.
And, even with them talking up the whole "60 levels!!", when each level can be finished in about 5 minutes, it's really not that much content all together. About halfway through episode 4 and I'd be surprised if I've put more then three hours into it.
I have yet to die, even with the lives system... there's not much challenge.

The most difficult boss is the first one. And, it's more so how he just sort of snaps to your location really fast in his final form.

It's a good game, and I give the kid that made it a lot of praise for the work he did (and the other that helped him shape it)... but, it's not without it's issues. And it's not the big call back to older shooters like the trailers make it out to be.

User is offline   NightFright 

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You can beat any of the bosses by circle strafing, it seems. I had problems with the second at first until I learned where the health items respawn.

I still haven't beaten ep.3 yet, so I dunno what's coming. Anyway the different tilesets are nice so far. The dungeon episode in the beginning looks a bit dull, but it gets better. Once I got the shotgun after a few stages, the game actually started for me. Weapons sucked before. Now with uzis and gatling things look a lot better. Even the mana staff now makes sense after you upgrade it to make it shoot beams. It's good, but levels are short. It's not a game you can play for hours. You need to take breaks or it gets too repetitive.

This post has been edited by NightFright: 01 November 2018 - 10:39 AM


User is offline   thricecursed 

  • 75


The second episode is really fun if you like the movie The Thing. I think that was a high point for me. But yeah, gets repetitive because it's just nonstop action. Not much exploration, not that there's any room for that anyway. But it is fun in short spurts.

User is offline   Damien_Azreal 

  • 54


Yeah, the first two episodes are the best.
I just finished the game. And really... did not like the final episode. I actually felt like I had to force myself to keep playing through it.

And, I basically broke the difficulty of the game. By combining the flamethrower with the beam upgrade, with the magic spell that refills ammo. And since most enemies drop mana when killed, and the flamethrower is almost instant death for all enemies. It was an unlimited ammo supply and nothing could touch me. In most cases, I would've stopped using the weapon and tried to balance out the difficulty with other weapons. But, as I just wanted through...
Also, the bosses of the last two episodes are pathetically easy. They are drastically easier then the earlier bosses.

Ultimately, there's a good idea here. And some talented people behind it.
But, it needed more. Just... more. More freedom in level design, the Wolf3D style did not help the game.
There's a great concept here. And, I could see these guys going on and making something really great. But, they are not there yet.
This needed some outside input and direction. As it's a good idea muddled by poor design.

User is offline   NightFright 

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I have to agree that difficulty becomes laughable later on. Your weapons become incredibly powerful with upgrades. I found myself using that mana staff with a beam most of the time, almost never ran low on ammo with the right perks. Bosses were no problem with the rapid-fire rocket launcher or even the Chain Reactor. This indicates balancing issues. You should never be running around like a semi god with 300+ HP.

The last episode feels like an amalgamation of all previous chapters. Old enemies return and so does the environment, with a hellish twist, though. I liked the Egyptian episode since it felt a bit like Serious Sam. The city episode wants to feel like Duke 3D, I guess, but it doesn't. I also kinda hated the dark stages that force you to switch between the light orb and your weapon all the time. Reminded me of the flashlight in the original Doom 3 (not BFG Edition), and not in a good way.

The lack of a proper automap also didn't help with orientation. You only see a small section while you always start with a complete map. This makes it very hard to figure out where you have been already and what's still not explored. The game needs a bigger automap that works like in Doom.

In total, PW feels nice and fresh at first, but later on it's dragging quite a bit and gets rather tiresome since enemies aren't really a challenge with an upgraded arsenal, even if mob count increases. To make things worse, I found more than half a dozen bugged switches in the game that gave you infinite xp, making it EVEN easier.

I guess for 11 EUR it's still worth checking out, but it's nothing I would play again after finishing. Ion Maiden already has a lot more to offer even in its current Early Access state.

This post has been edited by NightFright: 06 November 2018 - 01:14 PM


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