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aka: Kings in the Corner break-out game

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Critic Reviews 79% add missing review

Video Game Critic, The (A) (100%)

Often imitated but never matched, this universally-loved game is the king of multi-player mayhem.

Jul 10th, 2010 · Atari 2600 · read review

Atari Times, The (95 out of 100) (95%)

The graphics are also nice (for back then) and colorful, the sounds really engaging (especially when a king bites the dust; ka-BOOM!), and the controllers respond well, unless your paddles are wigging out in the first place (which is a bummer). Severe, severe classic.

Sep 4th, 2003 · Atari 2600 · read review

Atari Times, The (85 out of 100) (85%)

Gameplay is, obviously, near perfect when you've got a number of friends over. The AI, as I said, is quite good, but nowhere near impossible and gets old after a while, simply incapable of providing much of a challenge once you've got the hang of it. The AI can surprise you every now and then, slipping a shot in while you're not paying attention, but not terribly great when compared to an all out brawl with real, human players. Overall, this game is well worth it. It shows just how a simple concept can end up being a terrific game. I highly recommend it.

Sep 4th, 2003 · Atari 2600 · read review

Woodgrain Wonderland (B+) (83%)

Warlords would be an “A” range game if not for the single-player modes – as much as I enjoy them – being a tad too easy. Otherwise, it’s a class act all the way.

Nov 19th, 2018 · Atari 2600 · read review

neXGam (8.3 out of 10) (83%)

Dieses simple, aber durchaus vergnügliche Spielkonzept ist wie oben angesprochen besonders bei vier Mitspielern ein echter Hit und auch wenn von 23 verschiedenen Spieloptionen (z. B. schnellerer Ball) nur wenige wirklich brauchbar sind, wandert das Modul bei Besuch regelmäßig in den Atari Oldie.

Jun 27th, 2013 · Atari 2600 · read review

Atari Times, The (80 out of 100) (80%)

And it's nowhere near as fun without an additional one to three more players aboard either (hence why I didn't rate this 85%, since I feel the game's fun is weakened with how quickly a one player game could be over with. I also rate the gameplay at 85% if you have more than one player along, but only 75 if it's just yourself playing). Bad news for those kings from back then...but either way, you know the peasants didn't give a royal rat's butt about it though.

Jun 27th, 2014 · Arcade · read review

Atari HQ (8 out of 10) (80%)

The graphics are decidedly first-generation 2600 and the sound is barely there, which is the case for most early VCS titles. What matters more, of course is the gameplay -- and Warlords definitly offers it in spades. This is a well done, highly addicting game, one that friends and family can enjoy together.

2000 · Atari 2600 · read review

8-bit Central Retro Gaming ( ) (80%)

Warlords is as brutally simple as it is fun! It accommodates up to 4 players and becomes even better with more players! So, round up 3 friends and go to war. You'll be amazed at how awesome and enveloping this simple game becomes.

2011 · Atari 2600 · read review

All Game Guide ( ) (80%)

Warlords has a little more graphical detail and better sound effects than your average Pong-type game, and the multi-player action is highly competitive. A two-player version of the game was also produced.

1998 · Arcade · read review

JoyStik (7 out of 10) (70%)

Warlords is another Breakout-style game - with great graphics and a challenging medieval theme. You must shoot a ball (form your shield) at your opponent's kingdom to capture his king. To defend your own walls, you can catch your opponent's shot or simply deflect it back at him.

Dec 1982 · Atari 2600 · read review

Tilt (4 out of 6) (67%)

Un jeu d'adresse et de coup d'œil où tout a été conçu pour des parties rapides et animées ; les déflagrations visuelles et sonores qui accompagnent chaque impact participent largement à l'excitation générale ; quant aux alliances que vous pourrez conclure, ne les croyez pas éternelles !

Sep 1982 · Atari 2600 · read review

FreezeNet (54 out of 100) (54%)

Overall, this is one of those difficult to control games. While obviously inspired by Breakout, this game could have been better produced. With other players, I can see it being an interesting game to play, but it is still only a half decent game in the end.

Apr 28th, 2014 · Atari 2600 · read review

Player Reviews

A game that should be canonized for its contribution to multiplayer video gaming.

The Good
This is the game that brought me in from the arcades and opened my eyes to the fact that playing home consoles could actually pull off tricks not found in the arcade at that time. Up until I played Warlords, my multiplayer experience involved switching back and forth between 1P and 2P in the arcade or 1-on-1 pong/combat at home.

The gameplay is simple: 4 players defend their castles pong-style with a shield/paddle from a ball of destruction being bounced about. Certain modes allowed players to grab the ball, others didn't. As the match progressed, the ball sped up. Last castle standing wins.

This game single-handedly united the neighborhood I grew up in. Kids from 6 to 12, normally very sensitive to age differences, fought over open paddles to get in on 4-on-4 action and play somebody regardless of age, sex, etc. As a 9-year old at that time, I took a lot of pride in the fact that I got to hang out with the "older kids" whenever I played Warlords: I was renowned for my defense and would get invited over for tag-team matches. At the time, it was flippin' awesome.

I can't believe that it's been 25 years, and Warlords is still for me the purest multiplayer video gaming experience I've ever had.

The Bad
Honestly, this game is pure goodness. What is bad is that it wasn't more widely played at the time. Had it been more popular, games like Gauntlet and Quake would've showed up much sooner. I'm crazy and stupid enough to believe that.

The Bottom Line
A true classic. A masterwork. People who played and "got" Warlords were automatically 15 or 20 years ahead of their time in terms of understanding the essence of multiplayer video gaming.

Though playing it now would be a novelty and isn't going to open your eyes to anything mind-blowing, it's worth checking out if you can just to see how the idea of multiplayer gaming is a pretty simple concept. And it's a concept that Warlords nailed cold in a decade long, long ago.

by MagFram (33) on May 4th, 2005 · Atari 2600

Battle of the warlords

The Good
Once upon a time in a faraway land, King Frederick decided to start a family with his wife Queen Christina and soon gave birth to quadruplets who were to later grow up to be strong men. Frederick had hoped his four sons – Dominick, Marcus, Felipe, and Restivo – were as peaceful as their father. But instead, they waged war over anything and everything. Fearing that the kingdom would be destroyed after he was gone, Frederick told the four to conduct their business elsewhere and banished them to a forbidden land. It’s in this land that they became warlords, dividing their newly-acquired territory into four quadrants, in which they built their own castles. They attacked each other with catapults and lightning bolts, only to take a break while they rebuild their damaged and war-torn castles. After that, the battle recommenced with greater ferocity.

Up to four players control one of Frederick’s sons. All of them are supplied with a shield, which they use to deflect the ball away from their castle in which their warlord resides, while at the same time directing it toward their opponent’s castles. If the ball touches any of the castle’s walls, it will take a chunk out of the castle; and if it hits a warlord, the player who was supposed to protect it is out of the game, which continues until one player has scored a total of five matches.

Warlords is an addictive game that I never got to play since I didn’t have an Atari 2600 at the time, and Atarisoft took no interest in porting the game over to other platforms. Having said that, I had the luxury of playing the game through Stella, an open-source Atari 2600 emulator. When I first heard of the title, I thought Warlords would be a role-playing game of some sort. I was quite surprised that it is actually a cross between Breakout and Quadrapong.

The game doesn’t have spectacular graphics as its arcade cousin, due to hardware limitations, but Atari made up for it by adding twenty-four variations, which are listed at the top of the screen, along with the number of players. The first few let you determine how many players are to participate, while the last four are aimed at children, basically making the ball not reach lightning speeds. A feature unique to the Atari 2600 are the white flashes seen briefly when one of the castles takes a hit. I like these because you can get a glimpse of the dead warlord in the corner of the screen.

The Bad
Warlords was released at a time when games were addictive. There are hardly any flaws I can think of.

The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Warlords is an enjoyable game that can be played by up to four players. It contains a mixture of Breakout and Quadrapong, in that you must ricochet your ball off your paddle. The only difference is if you miss the ball, part of your castle will take a hit. There are nice variations to this game, including the ability to control two paddles at once. This is another Atari 2600 classic that deserves to be in your collection.

by Katakis | カタキス (43057) on Aug 26th, 2022 · Atari 2600

Plus 27 player ratings without reviews

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Big John WV, Hipolito Pichardo, Wizo, Alaka, Scaryfun, Jo ST, Tim Janssen, Alsy.