Publisher: Millennium
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #73


Based on the 1986 game, Druid, Warlock is a slightly reworked 16-bit conversion with the addition of eight new levels contained in a separate tower accessible at the start. The C64 game is a completely new program based on the Amiga's second tower, and doesn't contain the original Druid game. The well-written scenario concerns another perfect paradise invaded by evil. Satan's son, Acamantor, has plunged the land of Belorn into eternal darkness and the only slender hope lies with an aged druid known as the Warlock...

Back in 1986, Gauntlet was the hottest coin-op, and inevitably a difficult 8-bit conversion with so many players and enemy sprites. Druid adopted a similar top-down view maze approach, with dozens of opponents constantly attacking, but there's just one player. A second player can join in when the golem spell is activated, but he can't fire anything, only throw punches. If you haven't anyone to control the golem, it can be set to follow you, wait or be sent away.

Needless to say, the point of the game is to exit the maze. This usually requires keys found in chests, which can also contain golem spells, paralyse spells, chaos (combined smart bomb and restore energy) and three types of ammo (fire, water and electrical bolts). Spells are activated via function keys, while each ammo type is of varying effectiveness against the assorted baddies (from snakes to beetles to spiders). Tactics come in when choosing which item to take from a chest as you can only have one. Other items to look out for are pentacles (which restore energy), power-draining tiles and hidden doorways.


Warlock The Avenger

16-bit Warlock is an excellent conversion for the sort of people who hate games changing, hence the druid has only a couple of frames of animation, the backgrounds have minimal detail and gameplay enhancements are hardly noticeable.

Ardent Druid fans will welcome it, but not me. The C64 is much better than the Amiga one, making good use of the machine with lots of colour and detail. Unlike the strangely muted colours of the Amiga game, the C64 program is bright and cheerful, making it much more fun to play.

It's a tough challenge, and although gameplay isn't that sophisticated it's a reasonable variation on the Gauntlet theme.


Warlock The Avenger

Warlock scrapes an "Ok" head despite the wide difference between the two versions, mainly because the game idea isn't too bad on both formats. There's nothing new in it over the original Druid - it's a mystery to me why Millennium haven't at least made the gameplay more sophisticated for the eight new levels, but I guess there are some Druid fanatics who wouldn't want it any other way.

There's a fair old number of creatures attacking, but the Amiga never looks pushed and the Gauntlet-style 'freneticism' is missing. It feels slow-paced, and the tactical element of picking weapons is sadly limited (Lords Of Chaos did the strategy side a lot better).

The C64 version isn't any more sophisticated, and has eight less levels, but there's more of an arcade action feel with the C64 looking as if it's been well used. There's good attention to detail in the monsters and background graphics; the water and lava look nice and there's even an attract mode omitted from the spartan Amiga game.


Warlock The Avenger

Presentation 64%
High scores, scrolling intro allows choice of which tower to start at.

Graphics 41%
Simplistic, with poor animation and little detail.

Sound 77%
Top-notch intro tune, sparse but good in-game FX.

Hookability 38%
Looks simple, but takes a bit of getting used to. Not much instant addiction.

Lastability 46%
Sixteen varied levels, but graphical dullness makes perseverance unlikely.

Overall 42%
Likely to appeal only to die-hard Druid fanatics.


Presentation 72% Nice title page with score table, walk-on appearances of baddies and just one load.

Graphics 69%
Bright, colourful and well defined - good for this sort of game.

Sound 57%
Okay title tune and effective spot FX.

Hookability 68%
Easy to get into, but it all seems a bit too familiar to be genuinely compulsive.

Lastability 71%
Eight levels provide a reasonable challenge for mappers, could get repetitive though.

Overall 69%
An okay Gauntlet variant.