What’s a game that comes to your mind when you think of amazing games that no one else knows of? For the Game Boy Color, that game is Warlocked. In 2000, Bits Studios put together one of the best real-time strategy games for the handheld system, but sadly very few people know about this game. Let’s party on grunts, and jump into this Warlocked review.
Warlocked features two different paths in the game. You can choose to be the human faction or the beast faction. If you are the humans you’ll be defending Queen Azarel as the beasts try and kidnap her and destroy the human kingdom. If you decide on playing as the beast, you’ll be working for Chief Zog who has a goal of marrying Queen Azarel but he shows it in a funny way by burning down her villages and killing her troops.
I only played as the humans, so I don’t know what happens if you beat the game with the beasts, but as the humans, you’ll have to rescue the Queen, defend her villages, grow enough crops for the troops and citizens, and seek-and-destroy enemy bases in order to defeat Chief Zog and his army of beasts.
As a real-time strategy game, you’d think it’d be difficult to play on the Game Boy Color, but the programmers did a fantastic job with the controls. Using a cursor on the screen you can navigate the map and give commands like attack, defend, build, gather and travel. It made the playthrough for my Warlocked review much more enjoyable not having to navigate terrible controls.
Each campaign has different objectives for their missions, playing as the humans, you’ll need to grow your army, rescue wizards, build farms, free prisoners, and attack enemy bases. If you love real-time strategy games you’ll love this game. Everything is satisfying as you watch your grunts mine for gold, cut down logs, or search for treasures to help build your forces.
You can recruit archers, knights, and grunts to help you along the way. Grunts will cut down trees, head into the mines, and rebuild your damaged farms or buildings. Archers are weak in hand-to-hand combat but can be helpful when taking down dragons, that’s right there are dragons in this game!
Knights were my main battle units, as I sent them to do the majority of my killing. They have a strong attack and can absorb much more damage than archers. I’d keep at least six knights guarding my city or out attacking the enemy at all times.
In Warlocked, you can rescue wizards who are being held as a prisoner. Each wizard has a unique power that you can use to defeat the enemy. My favorite was Chickenwiz who turned enemies into chickens so you could kill them easier. There was also sleepywiz, who you guessed it put the enemies to sleep. You can combine attacks, so sometimes I’d have them both out where the enemy would turn to a chicken and fall asleep, making them helpless to my sword attacks but my favorite attack was the roast chicken. You can find baby dragon eggs scattered throughout the lands and once they hatch you need to take them back to the center of your city for them to grow. Once fully grown these mega attack units can burn anything in their path and turned the tide in my favor more than once. With Chickenwiz I’d turn the enemies into clucking hens before my dragon would fly in and burn them to a crisp. The result was a roasted chicken animation, which was a nice touch.
Missions at first took around 20 minutes to complete, but the further you advanced in the game the longer they became, near the end of the game the missions were taking around an hour to complete which made it all the more important not to make any mistakes. On occasion, I had to retry a few missions which sucked due to how long they took but I learned from my mistakes and made sure not to repeat them on my next try.
Warlocked rewards the player for exploring during missions. You may find a hidden treasure chest, a magical scroll that will give you a hint, or a wizard that is locked up. I made sure to clear the entire map before completing my objective. Another fun little reward is seeing the animated drawings after your victory. My favorite involved grunts drinking rootbeer.
For a Game Boy Color game, I had no issues with the sprites or needing to see more of the map. The game warned you when you were being attacked and you can hold a button down to move your cursor faster to the action. Warlocked offers just about everything you could possibly want from a mobile RTS in 2000. If you beat it with one campaign, you can replay the game as the other with new missions.
I didn’t discover Warlocked until a few months ago. It’s a shame because I think I would have loved the game growing up. The battles are fun and the game gives you helpful hints if you are stuck or don’t know what a button or action does. After playing the first few missions there was a point where I couldn’t wait to get home from work and put a few hours into my campaign.
Warlocked Review Score:
Who knew this game would be so fun? I certainly didn’t and I wonder why it gets looked over so much for great Game Boy Color games. I was sad to learn that a sequel was in development for the Game Boy Advance called “Wizards” but was canceled. Bits Studio did a wonderful job on the Game Boy Color and I bet they would have delivered another great game with better technology. Warlocked is the perfect game during a car ride or for a Saturday morning when you’re watching cartoons.
Warlocked scores a 9.3 out of 10.
What would you write in your Warlocked review? What did you think of Warlocked when it first came out? Did you play both campaigns or did you struggle with a certain mission? Have you ever heard of Warlocked or are there other hidden classics for the Game Boy Color? Let me know your thoughts and memories of Warlocked, I’d love to read them!
If you’d like to own a copy of Warlocked, you can purchase a preowned edition on eBay for between $18-$40.