Hello guys I am Periwinkle! A new STAFF Member! I am the Poolboy on Paradise Island! I was really eager to get started. So instead of letting the manager introduce me I will introduce myself. Occasionally when I’m not busy skimming the pool, watching from afar as everyone else has fun and socializes at the tiki bar I go off into my little shed and play twenty year old video games. On some special nights when all the chlorine has been dutifully poured and the pool filters hum majestically free of any rogue speedo bottoms I will write about the games I play and what secret wisdom they hold.
In this post we cover the 2005 first person shooter and delve into spy stereotypes.
Cold Winter is a 2005 first person shooter developed by Swordfish Studios and published by Vivendi Universal Games for the PlayStation 2.
Swordfish Studios was a British based video game developer best known for the game, World Championship Rugby. They would later be acquired by Vivendi Universal Games (who also published Cold Winter)
Vivendi was the publisher of the legendary, Half Life 2 and later merged with Activision creating the well known publisher, Activision Blizzard.
Cold Winter despite its unbelievably lame name is a delight. The best James Bond game that James Bond isn’t in on the PlayStation 2. Your main character is disavowed MI6 spy, Andrew Sterling. You are being held prisoner in a Chinese prison when you are saved by another agent for another spy syndicate that (OFCOURSE 🙄) needs your services.
My biggest gripe with this game is not its ten-years-too-late-brit-rave-scene soundtrack. It’s not it’s R3 to zoom controls (which is a minor pain in the ass) or it’s over-the-top limb and decapitation physics that are so ridiculous you have to laugh.
The largest problem I have with the game is it’s over used “Spy gets disavowed/goes rogue” trope. Used over and over again in nearly every major spy movie I’ve ever seen. Being born in the west during the Cold War, I have watched a fuck ton of James Bond and other spy films. All of them feature the rogue agent plot. ALL.OF.THEM. They also all feature the more fun typical espionage cliches and stereotypes engrained in me so deeply now I will never be able to unlearn them.
Like for example: Every western spy is a perfect shot, wears a tuxedo, USES HIS REAL NAME, **probably** has a drinking problem (??) and can and will seduce everyone in the room.
On the flip side of the coin every stereotype for counter intelligence is generally: unbelievably stunning Soviet femme fatale that is just as dangerous as she is sultry OR scarred up giant guy henchmen protecting Elon Musk style weirdos.
As far as stereotypes are concerned these are all pretty good. But are they true? I have no idea. I don’t know any spies and if I did they would be horrible at their jobs…because…well, they’re spies.
So… luckily for us, dear reader, there is a wealth of education and wisdom at our fingertips. Historians that have dedicated their entire lives to document every move of shadowy figures throughout history all to be used in a blog post about the 2005 video game, Cold Winter. It’s all come down to this, folks.
Here are some famous spies from Historylists.org
Sidney Reilley or the, “Gentleman Spy” was said to inspire Ian Fleming for his character, James Bond. Known to live an extravagant lifestyle he was eventually caught by the Soviet regime and executed. Sounds like this guy invented the spy stereotype.
A Dutch exotic dancer and suspected German spy during World War 1. She was ultimately exposed by the French and executed by firing squad in Paris. Later on evidence would suggest that Mata Hari was actually more of a double agent playing both sides. She was 41. Beautiful, dangerous, exotic. Boom. Spy stereotype confirmed.
Now I could see you start to say, “Well, Periwinkle… That was only two spies from one website. You are horrible at research and you have wasted everyones time.” And yeah – I’d have to agree with you. I’m not a good researcher and chances are this article did waste your time. BUT have we not learned something today?
1.) Don’t be a spy – you’ll probably die.
Go dust off your ps2 and pick up Cold Winter. It’s a fun, well crafted game. Above average for sure. Unlike my writing. – Periwinkle
Hello dear Paradise guests, it’s Indigo, your friendly neighbourhood Security officer here! Today is a special day, at least for me. this will be my first ever blogpost on Pinkie’s Paradise…..or anywhere else for that matter! Today’s post will be about possibly one the world’s most unprepared game protagonists as I’ll tell you about Project Warlock!
Project warlock is a Doom/Duke Nukem- style First-Person Shooter with some RPG-elements sprinkled in here and there developed by an indie company Buckshot Software and published By Crunching Koalas and (I’m not kidding here) Gaming Company, created with the Unity Engine. The game follows the titular Warlock as he rips and te-Oh wait, wrong game- I mean blasts his way through different corrupted realms and even the plains of Hell on his quest to…. Well, I’m not exactly sure since the game doesn’t really have anything one could call a plot. There are few text crawls about the world the warlock goes through, but not really any reason WHY he’s doing it. Revenge? Obligation? the Devil beat him in Call of Duty and said something mean about his mother? we can only guess why…. but we don’t have to guess how…The answer is with violence….And lots of it.
Putting the ‘War’ into ‘Warlock’
The moment the first level loads, one thing comes clear… The Warlock really hadn’t prepared for his ‘cleansing of the worlds’ at all! his starting arsenal consists of a knife, an axe, and a wand that is fueled by his mana….and that’s it! No spells, no guns, despite clearly showing them on the title screen! Granted, he amasses himself quite the arsenal on his quest not unlike a certain other man with a raging murderboner against the forces of hell, but you’d expect him to pack a few spells weith his weapons! The Warlock’s arsenal will grow from barely having anything to packing multiple firearms, ranging from your basic pistols, shotguns and submachineguns to more exotic pieces like miniguns (still bit unsure how he carries it one-handed, rule of awesome?), laser rifles and flamethrowers, last of which is a rare thing to find in a 2.5D game at least in my experience. All of the Warlock’s weapons can be upgraded at his workshop, the hub/rest area before the next proper level, with upgrade points found in the levels (hidden or in plain sight) or dropped by bosses, for example the classic double-barreled shotgun, or boomstick as it’s called in game (groovy) can be modified to have its barrels even more cut down to increase the damage spread….or go completely nuts and add two more, making it an absolute shoulder decimator were it ever brought to the real world if judged by the knockback and sound it makes when fired. The amount of available customisation to weapons gives incentive for multiple playthroughs, as does the perk system. instead of spending it liek every other normal person, Warlock collects money to level up! paying fees for his patron in exchange for power, perhaps..? leveling up gives the player the possibility to shape the warlock into a fighter they want him to be. A pure mage with shallower pockets for bullets? easy! a hulking Lead farmer? go right at it! Evey five levels the warlock gains a perkpoint to spend on perks. Unlike gun upgrades, perks need a prequisite for certain skills, which makes sense, since having next to no spirit wouldn’t make sense for someone with magic potential perk, or trying be a melee master when your strenght is weaker than a wet noodle. With the right stat and perk allocation, almost everything is possible. hmm, why do I feel i’m forgetting something….
Oh right, i forgot to talk about the spell system…. Truth to be told, it feels like the developers added the spells as they are as an afterthought. You start the game without any, the first spell you get is a flashlight…and while it looks pretty it’s not all that useful, the game is quite well-lit already and you need to buy the spells after finding a spellbook. A neat idea in and of itself….if the spells didn’t use the same upgrade points as the weapons do! Now I can only speak for myself, but if i had to choose between throwing magical dynamite via a spell or having napalm filled missiles in my missile launcher i’ll take napalm any day! In my playthroughs, aside from one attempt, I haven’t used a single spell aside from the flashlight that’s given for free as a semi-tutorial kind of deal. Using the plethora of guns is just so much more fun! And boy oh boy….. you’ll be using them a lot….
Knee-deep in shells
Why do you use guns a lot? Because the enemies are as numerous and varied as they are relentless! The second one of them spots you, you can be sure his mates are not far behind ready to show you a world of hurt! And they will not stop until you or they themselves are dead! The enemies range from little floating eyeballs and skeleton soldiers in the medieval levels, to battledroids and massive Gundam-expies in the far dystopian future. The enemy design is something to be praised, they all look really nice and fit their chosen time period/ location well, and despite having the same-ish overall roles, no two enemies behave exactly the same and have their own set of attacks, soundbites and animations, most of which are really well done! As the resident edgelord of Paradise I especially find the dystopian future mechs and fully armoured soldier mooks really cool-looking! What also surprised me was that some enemies really didn’t want to give up. Huge mech loses it’s legs? It will keep shooting to get some payback! shot off an arm of a yeti? congratulations, you just pissed it off and it attacks faster and more frequently!
Though it’s not all muzzle flashes and lasers, sometimes the enemies can get a bit..wonky. I’ve witnessed many times enemies accidentally killing either their buddies or themselves when trying to fire arching explosives at me…while their friends are either in front of them. or aim stright and not take the arc into the equation….causing them to shoot at their feet in front of them. Yet despite that I never saw it as a true flaw, it adds to the chaos!
One big issue i have with the enemies are the damage types. Some of them are straight-up melee types, others use projectiles…and some are straight-up hitscan. this in and of itself wouldn’t be such of a big deal, but sometimes the enemies i’d think were projectile-based are hitscan instead, riddling me with lots of bullets, leading to an early grave… though as i’m going to reveal in the next paragraph, isn’t all that heartrending anyway!
Around the map in 80 seconds…. Wait have I been here before?
The levels are…actually quite short. like, seconds short, but that needs some elaboration. Ther maps themselves are actually quite solid with big open arenas and tight tunnels for cqb-action, with more of the map opening as you collect keys or grab certain trigger items. However, some of them, while looking huge with lots of explorability, can be completed within minutes, sometimes even seconds due to secret areas hidden in the maps. some simply open up to reveal a room with more health, ammo, or even a new weapon earlier than you should get it like in DOOM 2016, while some have a teleporter that almost literally whisks you at the exit, skipping most battles and loot, oftentimes without a teleporter to take you back. while this might be a godsend to speedrunning, I myself feel a bit bummed when my curiosity is rewarded by taking most of the exploration out, especially when playing the ‘story’ mode where you can’t revisit completed levels. My personal record is getting through a non-boss stage in 1 minute 34 seconds…. and I wasn’t trying to be fast!
On the rare exception the maps can also be total mazes, especially on Egypt-themed world. I guess that’s apropriate, the pyramids being built to deter thieves after all, but having wasted 10 minutes running around to find a door i haven’t opened yet really grinds my wheels! at least the game is generous enough to spawn enemies when you make progress to show you are doing the right thing!
The secret rooms I mentioned before do earn bonus points for being simple, yet sometimes challenging to find. to find one you don’t have to perform a complex set of actions or pull levers, most of the time you just need to find a piece of a wall that looks off, that usually hides a room, though until you learn to spot the difference between wallpanels you’ll be spending quite some time hugging the walls like an over-enthusiastic building inspector. And some rooms even hide yet another hidden room in them, adding to the layers of wallhugging!
When you go to kill Satan you wanna look nice
Like the enemies and the guns, the overall design,artstyle and sound design are a real treat to the eyes and ears…. or eye in my case. The style reminds me a lot of Classic Doom games and Blood, with a modern-ish twist, the world having what i’d call shell-shading like in the Borderlands series. And while simple, the areas and buildings still manage to show a good deals of detail and never feel bare, random breakable objects thrown around the area to give the sense you aren’t just waltzing through an area that never had any life-form step a foot there
The music is a mishmash of heartbeat-rising intensity, calm yet pressuring droning and at times odd creepyness, yet none of the tracks feel like they should be in a different game. the early medieval stages have Castlevania-ish vibes, but with the Warlock in play the tracks have that subtle electronic undertones, creating a more unique sound experience. I like it a lot!
With all that said and done Project Warlock is a good choice when you have few hours to spare but no idea what to do. Sitting down and clearing a level or two really helps kill the time! while it had some hiccups with the map design or me rushing in to a fight i didn’t prepare for properly, not once was there a moment where i wouldn’t have had at least some fun! Were someone to ask, i’d gladly Recommend this to them! As the Manager would say…it’s Berry Good
And that was my first actual blogpost ever! So, if there’s anything I should improve on or add, please let me know in the comments! Constructive criticism is always welcome, how else am I to improve!? Project Warlock is available on Steam and GoG for a steal, so if you feel like my review piqued your interest go take a look! Have a nice Day, and stay safe while visiting our Paradise!!