Going into my review of Warlords I was more than a little worried. Yes, I absolutely adore
the original 1980 arcade game, but at the same time I have been less than impressed by Atari's
other recent Xbox Live Arcade ports. Would this be the game that changed all that? No, sadly
it isn't. But I can safely say that fans of Warlords will get their five dollars worth when
buying this game ... and at the end of the day maybe that's all that really matters.
Warlords can best be described as a cross between Rampart and Breakout. That may sound like
an odd combination, but once you sit down with Warlords you'll be so swept up by the
fast-paced action that you'll completely forget what Breakout even is. The basic premise is
simple; you control a castle that is under siege by a ball that is bouncing from one person to
another. But you aren't alone, there are actually four castles on the board (one on each
intersecting corner of the TV set), so you will need to tear down the other player's walls
(and take them out) before you suffer the same fate. Of course, that's easier said than
To do this you control a small shield that rotates around your castle. As you would expect,
the shield can deflect the incoming attack, ultimately bouncing it towards somebody else's
castle. On top of being a good protector, your shield can also grab the ball and fling it at
top speed towards an opponent. This means that you will be able to aim your attacks, which is
really the key to winning a round of Warlords. But there's a trade off involved, the longer
you hold the ball the more damage you are inflicting on your own castle.
There's a fair bit of strategy involved with how you play the game. You certainly don't want
to hold on to the ball for too long, but lining up your shot is important. This balance is
what makes Warlords so exciting. Even more exciting is seeing your enemy's weaknesses and
exploiting them. As more and more balls enter the arena the action gets all the more intense,
so you're forced to think and aim fast. Add all this together and you have an action packed
four-player Xbox Live Arcade game.
Like all of Atari's recent Xbox Live Arcade releases, Warlords features both a "Classic" and
"Evolved" mode. The classic mode is essentially a port of the arcade game, while the evolved
mode has prettier graphics and a few extra bonuses thrown in for good measure. As expected,
the classic mode looks like a game from 1980. It has only a few colors and tiny graphics,
which explains a lot of games that came out at that time. But graphics be damned, the game
still manages to feel like Warlords, one of my favorite arcade games growing up.
It's not the best version we could have hoped for, but Warlords proves to be just as addictive today as it was 28 years ago. If you're looking for a fast-paced game that you can play with four people, then you should look no further than Warlords on the Xbox Live Arcade!
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!