Atari 2600 Game
Produced by: Atari
Model Number: CX2610
Rarity: 1 Common
Year of Release: n/a
Programmer: Carla Meninsky

Once long ago in a distant land lived a king named Frederick. He took very good care of his subjects and pretty much let the kingdom run itself. One day King Frederick and his wife, Queen Christina, decided to start a family. To their surprise, Queen Christina soon gave birth to quadruplets. Four healthy sons, all at once. The King and Queen were overwhelmed.

The years passed quickly and Frederick's sons(Dominick, Marcus, Felipe, and Restivo) grew to be strong young men. But they were nothing like their kind and peaceful father. They were just the opposite. The four sons of King Frederick fought constantly over anything and everything. Their fighting was so fierce that even the normally unconcerned Frederick became concerned. Left to his violent and competitive sons, his peaceful kingdom could very well be destroyed after he was gone, or perhaps even sooner.

The solution King Frederick decided upon was drastic, but he knew it had to be. Dominick, Marcus, Felipe, and Restivo were banished from their homeland and sent far away to a forbidden land. There they became warlords, dividing their newly acquired territory into four equal sectors, which incidentally, was the first and last thing they ever agreed upon. They then took to building their own castles, after which the battling resumed and never ended. They stopped catapulting fireballs and lightning balls at one another only long enough to rebuild their damaged and war torn castles. After repairs were made, the fighting always began again with renewed ferocity.

So King Frederick's warlords have been battling for many centuries and now it's up to you to carry on their long-standing feud. Dominick, Marcus, Felipe, and Restivo have been locked inside this Game Program.(tm) They've stored enough fireballs and lightning balls so that they'll never run out, and neither will you. They can hardly wait to do battle. So good luck, you're in for some fierce competition.

The game is very simple. In each corner of the screen is a "castle" - an 'L' shaped wall, and inside the L is your "warlord" - a simple figure. Each wall is made of bricks, like the barrier in "Breakout", and just on the outside is a shield, which you control via paddles.

The object is to use your shield to deflect the ball that bounces around so that it hits your opponents' walls and kills their warlord, while keeping yours from suffering the same fate. But with four players, that's a lot harder than it sounds.

There are three main options for the game type, and together create 20 selections (chosen via the 'game select' switch).

  • # of Players - choose from 1 to 4 players, with the remainder being taken up by computer opponents. Or choose "doubles", a special two-player mode where each player controls the shields for two castles.

  • ball speed - choose from either "fireball", a slower ball, or "lightning ball", which is much faster.

  • Shield type - either choose "ricochet", where the ball always bounces off the shield, or "catch", where you can hold the paddle button to catch the ball, releasing it at will.
An interesting thing to remember is that after a player has been eliminated from the current round, she can still move her shield - the flash on the screen that appears when a block is hit will show a "shadow" of that shield. Should the ball hit the shadow, it will be slightly deflected from its path - so even eliminated players can affect the game.

4 player Warlords with the lightning ball and catch creates some of the best 4 player game action ever found in a home console - this is definitely a party game!

A little note of danger to watch for in a heated game - when the shield is moved very quickly, occasionally it can be seen appearing somewhere else on the screen - such as behind the wall near your Warlord. This is likely due to a bug influenced by the hardware in the console, but it does have a serious effect should it happen. If a player lets go of the ball at that exact moment, you can instantly kill yourself, and you just sit in amazement as the ball pounds away at the inside of your castle to get out. This happens much more often in a heated game than you might expect.

This game is far and away my favorite of all atari games. It is incredibly fun, addictive, and challanging, three things that many atari games lacked. The arcade version is much more elaborate, with a dragon, and a fireball bouncing around rather than a block of ?. You have the ability to hold onto the ball in both the arcade and atari versions, but in the arcade, if you hold onto the ball small tongues of fire continue to deteriorate your wall. This game has led to many sore arms on my part from when I beat my older brother, and he proceeded to pound me. I love this game.

Warlords is not out of reach for modern classic gamers! All you need is a Sony Playstation (1 or 2), and Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete. Insert the "Making of Lunar" CD into your PS. As the intro video plays, press up, down, left, right, triangle, start. And now, you're playing a very faithful recreation of the original Warlords, with a few extra bonuses.

  • You can select a portrait to represent yourself, at the middle of your castle, from the characters of Lunar.
  • With a dual analog controller, the gameplay is much more responsive than ever before (even though the original was on paddle controllers), and the controller vibrates when you hit the ball. (Yes, you can turn off the feedback if it bugs you.)
  • You can toggle the "shadow" players on or off.
  • You can enable "multiball", where, as players are destroyed, more balls are added to the game.
  • You can tweak the size and defense of the players' castles.
  • You can tweak the size of the paddles.
  • AI players. You can specify how many and how fast they are.
  • Instead of being constrained to the four corners, players can pick any of the nine locations from a three by three grid. That's right, show how bad-ass you are by taking the center square, you stud.
  • And finally, and this is the important difference, the game supports up to eight players if you happen to have two multitaps available. That's right, EIGHT PLAYERS.

What are you waiting for, you Warlords freak? You can get L:SSSC used for dirt cheap now. Go get it.

The peace is broken - now the eight mighty empires of Illuria must contend for supreme power!

One of the truly classic computer strategy games, spawner of many sequels, produced and developed by Strategic Studies Group Inc (SSG) in 1990. It is set in the ancient kingdom of Illuria, where old animosities flare up again when the archmage that enforced the peace died. Each player takes over a charakteristic group, with the rest played by the computer. The goal is to destroy your opponents and unite the land under your rule.

In the beginning, every player controls one city, one military unit, and one hero, the other 72 cities are still neutral, but that will soon change. At first, all players scramble to take control over as many neutral cities as they can to ensure enough military prowess when it comes to fighting each other. The heroes can also search ruins to uncover allies, gold or treasure. Every unit is unique, with special abilities, favorite fighting terrains and movement speeds. The setup doesn't change (excepting the contents of the ruins), so exploration is not necessary. Tactics and strategy are more important than luck, although that plays a role as well, when it comes to fight. I fondly remember the day when my last Elvallie archer shot down 5 enemy dragons in succession. I honor his name still...

The following factions were available:

  • Orcs of Kor: Strong, fast, dangerous.
  • Lord Bane: The Evil that returned
  • Storm Giants: A strong nation, with a large area of territory in it's immediate backyard
  • Horse Lords: A people of Riders of the Steppe. Highly mobile and cheap units.
  • Grey Dwarves: Strong but slow, great defenders, fastest on hills
  • Syria: The Good Guys, boring, Infanty units and pegasi.
  • Elvallie: Elves. Cheap, fast and fairly strong basic units, therefore able to expand quickly.
  • Selentine: Human kingdom of seafarers.
  • As the Elves of Elvallie breed like rabbits and have good follow up units as well, they were always my favorites. Let others play the Orcs of Kor, Bane or the Grey Dwarves, Mine will always be Elvallie. My usual approach was to breed simple archer units, ready after one turn, and secure the nearby forest castles, while making to the four castles on the east with my hero. Then assemble a great army and flank south, towards the Syrians usually crushing them without difficulty, and using the units produced in the meanwhile to build a second army to stand against the Storm Giants. When that border is secure, switch to producing Pegasi, and soon one should hold the entire south-western continent, having 1-2 flying heroes able to strike deep into the enemies territories, preventing them from expanding to quickly. And so, victory will be assured.

    There are also simple but effective systems of economics and diplomacy, which add to the feeling of the game, but like in most games, when you start winning, the other players will start to dislike, even hate you, even though you never broke a treaty yourself... The AI was amazing for that time (and better than some games today), with the computer launching concentrated attacks on target cities, and units finding the actual fastest way across any given terrain. The interface was simple and easy to use, all in all, the game made a junkie for weeks, always trying out new tactics and winning earlier, better, grander... Ah those were the days...

    Although Warlords 1 is said to be included in the Illuria scenario of Warlords II Deluxe and Warlords III: Darklord Rising, I found this to be not so. The feel of the game is very different, and the same tactics do not apply anymore. As any city is able to build almost any unit, and special units can be built as well, the strategic factor of Warlords 1 is lost. In the original game, you had to work with what you were given, every race had their specialities and to get to new units, you had to conquer the cities that built them. I preferred that.. Warlords II is an excellent game in itself, but ill-equipped to emulate the feel of the original...

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