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Video Game / Project Warlock

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Project Warlock is an old-school style First-Person Shooter developed by Buckshot Software (which largely consists of one 19-year-old Jakub Cislo) and published by gaming company, taking inspiration from classic titles such as Wolfenstein 3-D, Doom, Heretic, and Quake.

Gameplay is what you would expect from a 90's First-Person Shooter: non-linear levels for you to explore, keys, switches, and secrets to find, fast movement speed, no Regenerating Health, and a variety of weapons and magic spells at your disposal. What sets it apart from similar games is its RPG Elements; as you level up from collecting treasures/finding secrets/killing shit, you can upgrade your various stats and buy different perks which act as multipliers for your stats, weapons, and magical abilities. You'll also find "Upgrade Points" throughout the game which can be spent on weapon upgrades and/or magic spells to further improve and diversify your arsenal. The game also uses lives instead of the usual quicksaves. Dying in a level means having to do it again from the start. Lose all lives and its Game Over.

The, there technically isn't one. Not like that's really a problem. The gist is that you play as the Warlock, a dude who's good with guns and magic, out on a righteous quest to eradicate evil that has corrupted four different realms (Medieval, Antarctica, Ancient Egypt, and Industrial) before taking the fight to said evil on its home ground: Hell (obviously).

The game was released on on October 18, 2018 and later released on Steam on 7 December 2018.

A sequel, Project Warlock II, is currently in development, with a Kickstarter campaign to fund further development. The Early Access was released on 10 June, 2022.

This game provides examples of:

  • Abominable Snowman: Yetis and Shamblers in Antarctica.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Unless you have been investing in your Spirit stat and bought the Magic Master perk, magic spells become this due to the large amount of mana they consume per use, meaning you cannot use them as often as your guns. Some spells are also quite expensive to purchase, costing over 10 Upgrade Points (in a game where many of said points are tucked away in secret areas).
    • The BFG can clear entire hordes of enemies in an instant but its shots must hit them in order to deal damage; if the projectile hits a wall, it dissipates harmlessly. You can literally shoot it right next to an enemy but it will do jack shit if it hits even an inch of the world's geometry. Combine this with its very slow firing animation and it becomes much less effective than you might expect if you do not aim right.
    • The Slugshot upgrade for the Shotgun makes it more powerful and accurate at longer ranges but is a waste of Upgrade Points if you also upgraded the Pistol into a Magnum, which is cheaper and, while not as powerful, is still effective at long ranges with plenty of ammo scattered throughout levels.
    • The Nailgun upgrade for the SMG enables you to fire around corners due to its ricocheting nails. The problem comes when they start bouncing back at you. It is basically suicide to fire this weapon in tightly-packed areas with little room to dodge them.
    • The Flamethrower is devastatingly effective... but its effective range is even less than either of the shotguns, and it eats through fuel quite rapidly. Using it requires putting yourself in harms way - though at times, you'll be close enough that enemy AI may prefer to use their (potentially weaker/less accurate/etc.) close-ranged attacks.
    • Similarly, Dynamite and Frag Grenades can be hard to throw far enough that they won't catch you in their blast radius, and they do a lot of damage. They also explode on impact with enemies, or a delay if they hit the floor/wall. Until you get the Bomberman spell, which allows you to magically fling grenades in a straight line, you need to time your throws and movement.
  • BFG: The Chain Reactor serves this purpose for the most part, taking that final weapon slot just after the Laser Rifle.
    • It is the last weapon you will pick up, unless you've been looking for secrets, and just like the Trope Namer it fires a huge plasma ball that can destroy groups of enemies in a single hit. For added carnage, enemies it kills will send out several smaller plasma balls that can hit other nearby enemies, hence the name.
    • A large variety of ranged weapons become this depending on which upgrade you choose, with a proportionate and satisfying increase in their sprite size and firepower. Even the Pistol can be upgraded into a Hand Cannon that can quickly kill tougher foes in the later levels.
  • Big Bad:
  • Blood Knight: The Warlock becomes increasingly addicted to fighting and getting more powerful over the course of the game that by the end of it, he ascends to become the new Lord of Hell by virtue of how bloodthirsty he has become.
  • Boring Yet Practical:
    • Your starting Axe is one of the most powerful weapons in the game due to the huge damage it inflicts in a wide arc, enabling you to blitz through the earlier levels without having to waste ammo. Its upgrades only make it deadlier by increasing its range and damage output while, depending on your chosen upgrade, replenishing some health or mana with every kill you make. Its damage is also scaled by your Strength stat, meaning that it can still one-shot an entire horde of creatures in a wide arc in later levels. The Axe's only real drawback is the amount of time it takes for you to swing it again.
    • For only 3 Upgrade Points, the Magnum upgrade for your Pistol turns an otherwise ubiquitous Emergency Weapon into a Hand Cannon that remains useful even in the later levels as an alternative to the Shotgun due to its high damage output and abundant ammo pickups. Its rate of fire is also the same as the Shotgun with the Autoloader upgrade, so it fires almost as fast as you can press the fire button.
    • As expected of an old-school shooter, the Shotgun and Boomstick, as well as their upgraded variants, are your go-to weapons for most of the game due to their high stopping power and plentiful ammo. Of note is the Autoloader upgrade which omits the reload animation, giving a rate of fire almost as high as pressing the fire button.
    • While the SMG can do double damage with the Akimbo upgrade without increasing the rate of ammo consumption, its stock variant is still a pretty capable weapon and is actually more accurate at longer ranges, making it a surrogate sniper minigun.
    • The Heavy Bolter upgrade for the minigun simply removes the barrel's spin up time and increases the damage, making it one of the most powerful weapons in the game, capable of tearing up virtually anything within seconds.
    • The Sammoner spell costs only 4 Upgrade Points and allows you to generate ammo for any weapon you have equipped, including the late-game weapons, aside from the BFG, for a paltry mana cost of. This spell essentially turns the mana bar (and Spirit stat) into universal ammunition.
  • Bullfight Boss: The Giant Tank alternates between charging at you and shooting at you. After you've depleted its health twice and blown its turret off, it can only charge at you. It's a little bit of a Breather Boss in comparison to some of the others, as it doesn't have swarms of mooks or crazy attack patterns.
  • Cephalothorax:
    • Mummies take on this appearance, resembling Gnaars by having only one removable eye and a huge maw hidden under their wraps. Hell Knights also take up this form when badly injured, being skulls on legs that shoot rockets out of their eyes.
    • The Lord of Hell's One-Winged Angel form is a massive purple Cacodemon fittingly called the Cacodevil.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: A few secret doors are given away by the lighting system, the fact that impact decals don't always display on them, or because they're subtly different from other nearby walls (a sunken-in brick, for instance). Other "secret" areas are in plain sight but have no obvious entrance, leaving you to figure out how to get into them.
  • The Corruption: Hell is this, having conquered the other four realms and turned their denizens into evil beings vying for the Warlock's blood. This is best seen in the later Hell levels which are amalgamations of the previous environments overgrown with demonic viscera.
  • Downer Ending: The Warlock takes over the Final Boss as the new Lord of Hell and intends to Take Over the World with his newfound demon army just to satisfy his own bloodlust. Somewhat foreshadowed around the endings of the second/third chapters, so not really a huge surprise twist.
  • Early Game Hell: The very first level of the game has numerous brutal traps and ambushes to clear through, surrounding the player several times or leaving them barred with Crusaders bearing down on them, all the while the few weapons they possess are weak, slow, and/or scarce in ammunition. The next few levels are much wider and more forgiving in design, crossbow soon becomes available and the pistol can be upgraded to a far stronger version, and from there on the difficulty plummets and rarely if ever rises as high again.
  • Enemy Summoner: Mages and Priests, who can summon Demonesses and Mummies respectively. Mages can also summon shields to soak up your attacks and block your movement.
  • Excuse Plot: You're a gun-toting wizard out to slay evil. Go kill every bad guy that stands in your way.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: You'll be fighting against a wide variety of enemies across the different realms including but not limited to: Undead knights, giant bats and spiders, demons, Evil Sorcerers, Ax-Crazy polar station workers who might mutate into the creature from The Thing (1982), Eldritch Abominations, Abominable Snowmen, the Shambler, Gnaars, golems made of sand, beast men, cat girls, scorpion girls, mummies armed with rocket launchers, cyborg soldiers, Attack Drones, Mini Mechas and Humongous Mechas, cumulating in you kicking demon ass in Hell itself along with a mix of the previous enemy types.
  • Flunky Boss:
    • The Massive Tank averts this trope.
    • The Lord of Hell also seems to avert this until he assumes his One-Winged Angel form, vomiting out dangerous mooks in between shooting you with his Eye Beams. Once he's in his final form..? There's just even more of them. Since the mooks are picked at random, you can get Egyptian Priests who summon more Mummies, or ther Mook Maker units. Thankfully the recursion stops there.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: If you're a little too quick in the wrong places, it's possible to occasionally fall off the map and into the endless void below. Incendiary weapons also have a lesser game-breaker, where kills with them can cause enemies to create an excessive amount of pickups.
  • Genre Throwback: To First-Person Shooter games from the 90's with its non-linear levels, fast-paced gameplay, and plenty of guns and magic to mess with as well as the Warlock being a Walking Armory. The use of lives instead of quicksaves and pixel art graphics are also a nod to the Shoot 'Em Up games that were popular during the time.
  • Harmless Freezing: Enemies hit by the Freeze Blast spell will unfreeze after some time, suffering no adverse side-effects.
  • An Ice Person: The Warlock becomes this when using the Freeze Blast spell. Shamblers, which are featured in the Antarctica levels, also utilize an ice attack that holds you in place for a few seconds.
  • Klingon Promotion: The Warlock becomes the new Lord of Hell after defeating the Final Boss, with Hell's army bowing down without question.
  • Lava Pit: Present in the final chapter. Up until this point there haven't been any pits you can fall in (they're all fenced off) but if you happen to drop into one of these? Instant death! Learning to watch your footing becomes a last-minute challenge.
  • Lovecraft Lite: The general theme of the second episode, mixed with Slippy-Slidey Ice World and a few references to The Thing (1982).
  • Mage Marksman: Your character can use both guns and magic spells effectively, with guns requiring their respective ammo and magic spells drawing from your mana pool. You can further improve your arsenal by upgrading your guns and learning new magic spells by purchasing them with Upgrade Points found throughout the game, as well as upgrading your stats and buying perks relevant to your preferred weapons and magic. The catch is that Upgrade Points are used for both gun upgrades and magic spells so you won't be able to upgrade all of your guns and learn all the magic spells. Depending on your play style, you may opt for a gun build, a magic build, or a balance between the two.
  • Marathon Level: While most levels can be completed in about 4-5 minutes (longer if you search for secrets and shorter if you just sprint), the second last level, appropriately called The Maelstrom, involves every single enemy type in the game, along with their upgraded versions, and every level type you've seen, being an amalgamation of the Castle, the Antarctic base, Egypt and the City. As a result, the level takes about three times longer to be completed, along with a vast, unending array of the strongest enemies in the game.
  • Monumental Damage: The Sphinx serves as the boss of Ancient Egypt. It will bombard you while remaining completely stationary until you hit it enough times for its head to detach from its body, which crumbles to the ground.
  • Mook Maker: Priests can summon Mummies, Soul Eaters release Eye Bats, and Abominations can create "Hellhounds" or other demonic enemies. The Lord of Hell also spawns in mooks when in his One-Winged Angel form and starts rapidly spamming them when he's incapacitated.
  • More Dakka: This game embraces this trope. Upgrading your Capacity stat will increase the maximum amount of ammo you can carry and once you've upgraded it to level 5 you can purchase the Shotgun Expert, Pyromaniac, and/or Lead Farmer perks with your Perk Points, which will provide you with extra ammo from shells, explosives, and bullet pickups respectively.
    • The bullet-based weapons have high firing rates, large ammo pool, and decent damage per shot but of note are the Magnum, Akimbo, and Heavy Bolter upgrades. These greatly increase their respective guns' dps further without compromising their firing rate or ammo consumption, making them some of the best weapons in the game.
    • The shotguns get in on this as well. The Autoshotgun upgrade grants the shotgun the same firing rate as the pistol while the boomstick's upgrades either allows it to deal double damage at the cost of consuming 4 shells per shot by virtue of it being a quad-barreled shotgun (Harvester) or give it a more controllable firing rate by unloading each barrel individually but also having it shoot out flaming ricocheting pellets that can set groups of enemies on fire (Flak Cannon).
    • The Tripleshot Crossbow and Rapid Fire Laser Gun upgrades are self-explanatory, the former allowing you to fire off 3 bolts in rapid succession while the later greatly increasing it's firing rate.
  • Motive Decay: The Warlock started out with the intention to get rid of the evil forces invading the realm, but as he progressed and grew stronger, he began to get consumed by the amount of fighting he had to do as well as his ever-increasing power because of it. This comes to head when he kills the Lord of Hell and all of Hell bows to him, whereupon he realises that his intention to get rid of evil was All for Nothing and Became His Own Antithesis, becoming Drunk with Power and taking over as the new Lord of Hell, intent on wreaking havoc on the world as his new goal.
  • Not Quite Dead: With the exception of the Great Old One, all episode bosses have multiple phases, each with their own death animations. You could be forgiven if you did not expect The Sphinx's Head to detach from its crumbling body and fly after you.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Eventually, the bloodlust and power that come with getting to kill the Lord of Hell, on top of realizing that it is impossible to be rid of evil, prompt the Warlock to usurp the throne and wreck havoc on the world himself.
  • Puzzle Boss: The second boss, the Great Old One, can only be damaged when all of its tentacles are destroyed.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: In a general sense just grabbing treasure gives you extra Experience like some kind of Kleptomaniac Hero, but many things can also be smashed to receive goodies (the odds of which increase if you take the Treasure Hunter perk), and some secret rooms are hidden not behind interactable walls but behind destroyable ones. This makes your knife and axe a little more useful as they can help you find secrets without expending ammo shooting at the walls.
  • Shout-Out: Aside from more general ones (such as the Arctic Zone having references to The Thing and the Cthulhu Mythos), each chapter also contains a reference to one of the big names in the FPS genre, such as a secret room with a nod to Serious Sam in the Egyptian zone.
    • There are achievements for finding the dead, impaled corpses of Doomguy, Caleb, Duke Nukem, Lo Wang, Ranger, and Sam Stone. Of the six, Ranger appears to have made it the furthest, as he's out in the open in the game's final boss arena.
  • Shows Damage: Most bosses and Giant Mooks need to have their life bars emptied two to three times before they go down for good, looking increasingly battered up with each damaged state. Giant Mooks, in particular, will also be unable to use some of their attacks, such as a heavily injured Shambler having to rely on biting you as both of its arms are blown off, with the loss of even one preventing it from using its ice attack.
  • Slouch of Villainy: The Warlock does this on the throne he just usurped from the Lord of Hell at the end of the game.
  • Standard FPS Guns: The game features the usual weapon archetypes consisting of melee weapons (a knife and an axe), a pistol, two shotguns (single-shot pump-action and double-barreled "Boomstick"), an SMG, a minigun, sticks of dynamite, and a rocket launcher. Less standard weapons include a magic staff (which uses mana as ammo and can launch a powerful Charged Attack), a crossbow (whose bolts can be reclaimed after firing), a flamethrower, a laser gun, and the game's take on the BFG. With the exception of the knife and BFG, all weapons can be further upgraded into either more powerful or exotic versions of themselves such as flareguns, frag grenades/proximity mines, incendiary rockets, dual SMGs, and so on.
  • Starter Equipment: One of your starting melee weapons is a shiv that can be repeatedly swung almost as quickly as the amount of time it takes to double-click a mouse button. It can also be thrown as a projectile without any ammo or mana drain with the sole drawback that it can only be thrown One Bullet at a Time.
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad: If any of the keys in the level are tucked away at the end of a long corridor, expect to blast through a horde of enemies on your way back, even if you cleared said corridor before picking up the key. Alternately, expect there to be a secret (or not-so-secret) teleporter hidden behind a wall nearby.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: The Warlock's first act as the new Lord of Hell is to intend to Take Over the World.
  • Turns Red: Bosses become more aggressive the more damaged they become. Inverted with Giant Mooks who get weaker instead. Exceptions are most of Hell's mooks, namely the Incubi, Hell Knights, Abominations, and Cybermons.
  • Universal Ammunition: Zigzagged. The Shotguns understandably share classic red shotgun shells as their ammunition. The SMG and minigun also share ammunition, perhaps less understandably. All other weapons have unique ammo (though the Staff uses your Mana to "fire", so it technically shares "ammo" with your Spells) and upgrades don't change this, so you don't need to juggle multiple kinds of rocket.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Lord of Hell's last two forms have crazy high health but can be taken out with a single shot of the BFG each.