Having seen the recent crop of CD 'interactive movie' style adventure games, which promise everything and deliver nothing, it's refreshing to see a new addition to the genre that doesn't take itself too seriously. Spaceship Warlock doesn't offer you much in the way of a plot, other than being set 'sometime in the future' and challenging you to free the galaxy from an evil bunch of aliens called the Kroll. Where this game really stands apart from the rest is in having a sense of humour. Admittedly, some of the humour is unintentional (the unimaginatively named title song, 'Spaceship Warlock', is sung completely out of tune and sounds like the Human League on acid), but most of the time it's a bit of a hoot.
The introduction to the game has an overlaid commentary, spoken with decidedly Pythonesque mannerisms and the characters in the game speak to you with extremely silly accents and look like they've jumped straight out of a comic book. Incidentally, one of the games creators, Mike Saenz, started his career working for Marvel Comics; illustrating stories for magazines like Creepy, Eerie and Vamptrelia. The characters in Spaceship Warlock aren't nearly as visually striking as those visionary individuals in the classic Marvel comics, but they do look wonderfully wacky and completely daft, and to some extent take the stigma out of CD, aka 'interactive movie' adventuring.
Alone in the dark (alleyway)
The game begins with you stuck in a dark alleyway on the planet Stambul, penniless, alone and without any clue as to what you're supposed to do. Looking around the walls of the city streets you find posters everywhere offering a reward for the capture of a guy called Hok Tuey. Wandering around for a while and popping in and out of the bars seems to be a guaranteed way of finding him. Having found him, all you have to do to get your hands on that reward money is give him a right biffing and turn him in. No problem. Taking old Hok out just couldn't be easier: simply click the mouse cursor on his eyes a few times until he falls over and then, lo and behold, a flying police car shows up to congratulate you and hand over the cash. Brilliant. So, now you've got the cash, what the hell are you supposed to do with it? Well, there seems to be only two choices at this point. You can either go to the local bar, watch a Martian belly dancer, get totally pissed and get kicked out, or you can buy a ticket for a luxury cruise around the galaxy. The first option seemed a little bit too close to home for me so I decided to grab a cab and head for the nearest spaceport before 1 missed my trip. When you get to the spaceport, a serious-looking robot dude asks you for your ticket and then invites you to board the shuttle which takes you to the luxury liner, the Belshazaar. This is where your adventure begins. Up to this point all you've really had to do is clonk Hok Tuey and figure out how to get a ticket to the spaceport. The action steps up a gear from this point on (not much, just a bit) as you begin to discover your real purpose in the game.
Arcade action in CD adventure shock
The first people you meet on the Belshazaar are Captain Starbird and his daughter, luscious, pouting Stella (what a cutie). They don't really tell you much other than space pirates are a bit of a nuisance and they wouldn't half like to give the lot of them a piece of their minds. Er, thanks, you've been a great help guys. Apart from that, Starbird just sits there looking serious and Stella just sits there looking pretty. You can't explore the ship to take a look around at this point. In typical interactive movie fashion you are whisked from one part of the story to the next. After your conversation (of sorts) with Stella and the captain, the liner comes under attack from the infamous Spaceship Warlock, led by Captain Hammer and his crew of nasties. Hammer takes over the ship and orders everyone to shut right up or suffer the consequences. You quickly develop a relationship with the captain and he asks you to join his crew. It turns out that Captain Hammer is really a good guy in disguise (a very good disguise, it must be said) and all he wants from life is to give the evil Krolls a good kicking and bring the Terran Empire back into power. There's a certain amount of free exploration as the captain orders you about from one part of the ship to another, in order for you to perform various tasks. In most places you can turn around 360 degrees to get a good look at your surroundings and there are minor arcade sections at different stages of the game. These range from taking out Raskull (one of the captains baddies) in the same way you did with Hok Tuey, to a rather hilarious 'blow up the robot' scene, in which a robot moves from side to side across the screen and you have to shoot at the right time in order to blow his head off. Later in the game, you get to take control of the ship's guns and do big bad battle with the evil Kroll themselves. This sounds more fun than it is: all you have to do is press the fire button at the right time to take down the enemy ship's shields and then do the same again to take the ship out.
And in the end
Ultimately, Spaceship Warlock is still just another CD adventure, which looks absolutely amazing but doesn't offer you much in the way of gameplay. Its saving graces are its excellent comic-book style characters, its sense of humour, and the fact that it doesn't have the self-important attitude of certain other cd adventure titles I could mention. There are better cd games than this to spend $45 on, but if you're feeling flushed (or you can find it on the cheap), it's worth taking a look at for its novelty value, if nothing else.
Download Spaceship Warlock
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP