Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Space may be the final frontier, but it doesn’t have to be so serious. Back in the ’90s, space games were more than happy to poke fun at themselves, from the Muppet-like live-action puppeteering of Commander Blood to Sanctuary Woods’ light-hearted Orion Burger.
That’s why I’m in love with 1994’s Spaceship Warlock, a first-person adventure game that feels as far away from conventional space exploration games as anything ever could. It’s an odd mishmash of surrealism, space pirates, and the strangest characters you’ve seen this side of Harvester.
You’re not a pilot, or even a plucky young soldier. You’re just a normal “Terrie” stranded in the slums of Stambul City who eventually makes his way onto the luxury spaceship Belshazzar. It’s soon taken over by Captain Hammer, space pirate extraordinaire, and your new boss…if you want to live.
Spaceship Warlock is classic pulp sci-fi, riddled with camp straight out of the ’80s, ray guns, and a disposable romantic subplot with a woman whose hair looks like someone forgot to fill it in with MS Paint. It’s also otherworldly locales, praying mantis-like crewmen, and cheeseball FMV sequences that looked fantastic at the time.
If you’re looking to take up ‘90s space piracy, Spaceship Warlock is the way to go.