©1981 1985 Namco Ltd.
Release: 1985-07-12 (¥4500)
Warpman is a fixed-screen action game by Namco and likely sequel to the
arcade game Warp & Warp originally released in 1981. The player assumes control of a
little astronaut and the game starts out in space, complete with floating asteroids and a
large black hole at the center of the screen. All kind of mysterious, yet cute aliens constantly
appear and the goal of the game is to zap them to oblivion with the help of a ray gun (a counter
located on the left of the screen shows how many aliens are left to defeat in that round). However,
when the black hole at the center flashes and changes color, the player can enter it and warp to a
maze-like world. During this phase, the small astronaut swaps his ray gun for powerful bombs controlled
by timed fuses (in a way similar to Hudson Soft's classic Bomberman). Warpman
also features power ups, but they come with a little twist - they only upgrade the opposite weapon
that the player currently uses, and this for the duration of one level. For instance, if the player
collects a power up icon in the space level, it will upgrade the bomb for the next maze phase, and vice
versa. Interestingly, power ups also open warp portals allowing the player to instantly access a new
level, thus implicitly activating the upgrade. Furthermore, shooting three enemies of the same kind usually
brings special bonus aliens into the action - they come in three flavors and although they award bonus
points, some of them occasionally carry bonus letters and spelling out "EXTRA" awards an extra life.
Warpman also includes a simultaneous cooperative two-player mode.
Warpman is the spiritual sequel to Warp & Warp, an arcade game released by
Namco in 1981 (picture on the right). The objective of the game is the same, and it also features two space and
maze worlds. The graphics and sounds of the arcade game are obviously very basic - the space world
doesn't have asteroids and the black hole is symbolized by two horizontal bars that can
be used as a shield (the words
"Waapu Waapu" flash when the warp portal opens). There is no power ups and players can only
shoot one bullet at the time in the space world. The maze world
is also slightly different and the layout is always the same.
Finally, the original game had an alternating two-player option, unlike the Famicom version
which features a simultaneous two-player mode.
Click on picture to enlarge
Add your Pov here !
Warpman is a really early game and it looks pretty simplistic,
both in terms of its graphics and sounds. In the vein of most of 80s arcade
classics, when top scorers were kings, the game is built around getting a
massive high score. Although stage layouts change from one round to the next,
Warpman soon gets repetitive and doesn't manage to sustain the promise
and verve of its first fifteen minutes of play. However, simplicity of design
and complexity of gameplay is what mattered back in the 80s, and Warpman
offers some undeniably solid gameplay mechanics. In fact, the more I dug into the
game, the more I learned about the minutiae of its gameplay... you always have to
walk a fine line between loss and gain that makes the game extremely fun. For
instance, the more you wait before killing an alien, the more points you get,
and powering up your weapon is fun but can easily backfire on you. All in all,
I personally love these early Namco Famicom cartridges, and while
Warpman is nothing amazing, it's definitively a fun and compelling game.