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Acclaim 1995

Sega Genesis


Side scrolling action game loosely based on the 1989 film of the same name. The movie actually isn't bad, lots of torture, black magic, and this New age chick gets her eyes ripped out. Worth a rental at least.

Games based on movies from the 16 bit era generally blow ass as a rule, and even more so for a game from an obscure horror title starring no one nobody ever heard of. So really I wasn't expecting much after popping this $3 cart into my Genesis. I think the lowering of expectations made the game come off a lot better than it otherwise would have. Instead of a Solomon Kane type witch hunter (which would have been cool) the designers decided to make the player character a magic user as well, probably to deter comparisons to Castlevania (since in the movie the witch hunter carries a whip and looks just like Simon Belmont is supposed to look.) You seem to be a "modern" warlock (although you sort of have the Harry Potter look) and your mission is to stop the evil Warlock from the 16th century (Julian Sand's character from the movie.) Not sure if the plot is the same but in the movie the evil warlock is trying to learn the secret name of God in order to undo existence, which we all agree is a bad thing.

You are armed with a floating crystal ball that you can shoot mystical lazers from or "throw" at opponents by charging with the B button. Along the way you get the usual powerups, new spells (some of which look pretty cool,) etc. You are attacked by various monsters, bats, evil terror dogs, zombies, etc. Occasionally the evil warlock will appear and mutate innocent bystanders into monsters before your very eyes, pretty cool. There's a feeling that you're chasing the Warlock through the various (pretty difficult) levels.

The game is difficult, not so though for any reason beyond the touchy controls. This game came out during that period where every game had to have extremely fluid animation, which you would think would be a good thing. However the trade off is that the main character takes longer to react to things because the animations don't "cancel" with new input. For instance, you tell him to turn around, then get attacked from the front, so you tell him to turn back. The character must first turn all the way around before he'll follow any more commands. Thus in this situation you get nailed not because your reaction time wasn't fast enough (as your fingers certainly entered the command "Turn around and blast the zombie you dumbshit!" into the control pad with plenty of time,) you get creamed because the main character is too busy running thorough his 15-step turning around animation to listen to you. A simple flaw that could have been easily fixed by making the main character's animation cancel out when a new input is entered.

That being said, the controls are not complete crap. It is possible to proceed in the game and complete it during an average human life span. The aiming control for the crystal ball weapon is accurate and for the most part it's possible to see the various monster bad guys coming at you with enough time if you move slowly and cautiously like a snail. Sad thing is the main character moves pretty fast, so you can tell they wanted to give the game a run and gun kind of feeling, a style of which the game cannot be played in with any kind of success. The game has the graphics (which are pretty good actually,) good sound, and the makings of great gameplay. It's just a case of a mediocre game that could have been so much better.

Graphics: Excellent, very fluid and realistic animation, good use of advanced dithering to simulate color and other special effects.

Sound: Zaps and bangs and such, what voice samples are there are thankfully not butchered by the sorry sound chip on the Genesis.

Gameplay: An example of something that comes real close to good, but is hampered by frustrating controls, thus making you play the game a lot more slowly than intended. Kind of like taking a floozy home and coming real close to getting her blouse off only for her to turn into a religious nut at the last second.

Like that hasn't happened to you before.

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