Warlords - Cocktail - 1980 - Atari

Some History

I'd known where this game had been since I bought my EAGLE. I just never really paid any attention to it. Then one day I was surfing the web looking at other's pages when I came across a person looking for a 4 player Warlords Cocktail. Being the good natured person I am, I told them where they could find it. They responded that they knew where one was but that they'd rather trade for it with a game from their collection. Well, they had a Gauntlet. So I attempted to make a deal where they would bring up the machine I wanted and they could pick up the Warlords. The debating went on for some time and in the delay of responding to my mail the Gauntlet was sold. Being in a trading frame of mind, I looked over what else they had to offer, looking for something I might want. But all the while over the few weeks we E-mailed my mind was slowly warming up to the idea of Warlords. I decided to have another look at the (Warlords) game. I took my girlfriend with me. (Xandria, the Centipede owner. See her write-up on her game in my list.) We played one game and that was it, we bought it. It took a week for the game to be delivered. The night it arrived, we invited a friend over to play.We played 3 player Warlords late into the night. It's our party game of choice. I've restored it to excellent shape and am quite proud of it.

About the Game Play

The game of Warlords is amazingly simple. Easy to learn, yet hard to master.

The game is basically a suped-up version of PONG with a twist. There are four castles. One in each corner of the screen. Players (Warlords) have little crowns in the center of their castles and the computer players have little black evil looking Black Knights. Surrounding your castle on your two vulnerable sides is your castle's wall. This is about an inch thick and has the standard castle wall look to it with buttresses. Each castle's courtyard is a different colour as is it's wall. Besides your castles walls you have one more item for your defense. Your shield. It's a little shield shaped thing with a yellow + and it's background colour is the same as your courtyard. The only other graphic item (Excluding the Dragon) is the fireball. Your weapon and your nemesis. You use this fireball to blast chunks of wall out of your opponents to create a hole that you can send your enemy to a blazing death. The winner is the one left standing at the end of a round. You control your shield with a rotating control knob. Your shield moves with it from left to right and back. The control knob does, however, only move so far to the left and right before it stops. The control is read on the position of the control and not how far it has traveled. Therefore you can move the knob so fast as to have your shield vanish and pop into your new spot making for some very fast, timed moves.

There are 3 modes of play for the Cocktail version of Warlords.

One player Game
The one player game involves the player playing against the three computer controlled opponents called Black Knights. In this mode of play you select your castle out of the four available and press your start button. (It will remain lit) A countdown will start (from 9 to 0) waiting for other players to join in. During the countdown a dragon will appear and walk around opening it's mouth and making a fire breathing sound.

When the countdown (with a drum like sound as it ticks) expires the game begins. The dragon will walk to the center of the screen and stop. It will turn it's head a few times and seemingly randomly spit out a fireball at one of the castles. (With the fireball sound) The dragon vanishes as the fireball flies towards one of the castles. If you were quick and or prepared for such an attack you can position your shield to block the shot. The fireball bounces off either your shield or your castle's wall (taking a little bite out of it in the process). You can grab onto the fireball with your shield by being directly under the fireball when it comes at you while holding down the start button. This will cause the fireball to spin very quickly on your shield spitting out little bits of fire as it goes around. If you hold onto this for too long it will start damaging your castle's walls! You can then redirect the fireball's trajectory by moving your control knob and then releasing your start button. This causes the fireball to blast from your shield at a high rate of speed and if it impacts into a castle's wall it takes a HUGE chunk out of it. About 4x the standard chunk. (There does seem to be a way to take even more off, but my girlfriend will not tell me how she does it. Something with the wrist she claims.) If your opponent manages to block your blast it will careen off their shield at an angle and will continue at it's high rate of destructive speed until it impacts with a wall. (Even yours!) A player or computer controlled Black Knight dies when their wall has been eaten though and a fireball enters the courtyard. There is a blinding flash as the castle explodes (With a great explosion sound. 8^) ) and a second fireball flies from the destruction. There can be up to four fireballs in play at one time. This makes for a wild and hairy game! Besides extra fireballs being released into play on the death of a castle you can also get extra fireballs by being too slow in destruction. If the game feels you are too good, it will bring extra fireballs into the game. They will appear in the center of the screen and slowly drift toward a castle.

If you survive the round (you are the one left standing) you go onto the next level, with much smarter computer opponents. (They seem to get exponentially harder on each successive level) You also get a brand new castle with new walls.

Scoring is based on the following format. (one & two player games)
125 = Damaging a castle wall (even yours I believe)
1000 = Destroying any Warlord (any Human player)
2500 = Destroying any Black Knight (any Computer player)
5000 x level = Surviving player gains 5000 points x current level

The game is over when the human player has been destroyed. If the player has beaten the current high score the player can enter in their initials with their score.
They are listed as the high score for 1 player mode.

Two player Game

The two player game is exactly the same as the one player game except:
In two player mode two human players select any castle position. The counter ticks down and play begins. Except in this mode it is recommended that the two human players play as a team both taking out the Black Knights. Once the computer controlled players have been destroyed, however, it's a free for all for the end of level points. (See the one player scoring list) The surviving warlords (providing they were not killed during the round by the computer or human players) fight it out for the 5000xlevel + 1000 Warlord bonus. Once there is only one human left, you both start out on the next level (with much harder opponents) with all new castles and walls. The game is over when both human players have died. If the players combined score is greater then the current high score, each player can enter in their initials. Their scores are combined and their initials under each other. They are listed as the high score for 2 player mode.

Three & Four player Games

The three and four player games differ from the one and two player games in that no scores are kept. (I wish there had been myself) It's strictly a free for all and the last surviving player is the victor. Game over. The winner of the round doesn't even get a free credit. This is something I don't like myself. In three player mode you get a rather stupid computer Black Knight that is not too hard to take out. (It can still ruin your day with a well placed shot if you ignore it BTW) In four player mode you battle all human players. This extremely fun. (My game is in FREEPLAY mode and we just whack the start buttons for 'one more go'.) The game is really addictive in three & four player mode. A great party game as you can rest your drink right on the game and the glass is very easy to clean. (The game's class, not the drink's. 8^) )

There is no high score table for three & four player games since there are no scores.

Other things of note

The game has a few interesting points about it. It has three credit modes. You can have;
1 credit for one to four players
1 credit required for each player. (1 credit for one, 4 credits for four)
1 credit for one player, 2 credits for two to four players) - Atari Default

When 1 or more credits have been entered into the game, the four player lights begin flashing. Pressing one of the buttons will make it remain lit in a steady burning mode. This remains lit until your death and end of game. (Kind of like your life force) If you get a high score it will begin flashing again until you have finished entering in all your initials.

Sadly the game will not save the high scores on power off. They default to some low score set by the programmer.

There is a upright version of Warlords out as well. From what I've learned it is only two players and is black and white with a silver screen cover to make it look pretty good.

Copyright 1997 by TFM-Designs - All rights reserved

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