WARNING is a charming and well-crafted space-based trading simulation game.
Set in the fictional solar system of「PUSHADE」. You are the newbie Captain of a small trading vessel trying to make a name for yourself in the universe while searching for your long lost brother BILLY.
■STARTING THE ADVENTURE !
Upon starting a new game the first thing you have to do is type in a name for your line of space ships (I chose to name mine「DAISUKI」, by the way ^^;). Afterwards, you must select your starting vessel from within the 3 available Class D models : TURTLE, BRITISH and CORONA.
Meet your new teenage crew members : First Mate TOM and Operator TINA.
I went with the BRITISH model since I think it is the most balanced one. It can equip 2 turrets and 2 robots, which are indispensable to fend off the enemy attacks early on.
The downside is that it only has 3 item containers, so you will be making a little less money from each trading trip.
Still, random enemy encounters can be very though at the beginning, so I think it's a worthy trade-off.
Note that for some reason the game lacks any in-game descriptions whatsoever for any of the items that can be purchased or equipped. You either need to check the game manual, or better yet, this web page to see their stats.
■STAR TRADER !
Your main goal in the game (at least initially) is to explore the PUSHADE solar system and learn whatever happened to your brother BILLY who was a renown star trader (you're basically following in his footsteps).
However, in order to explore the solar system you need money. A lot of money in fact. And the only way to earn enough money is through trade - i.e. Basically by purchasing goods in one planet and selling them in another for (hopefully) a good enough profit margin.
You start the game in the space port of planet DEMES with your bare bones class D ship and an initial budget of 10,000G. The absolutely first thing you should do is go to the Parts Center and equip your ship with the best defensive turrets and robots you can afford.
Otherwise you won't be making it far with all the space pirates and other bandits roaming around.
The turrets and robots come in three types :「Area Attack」,「Single Target」, and「Defensive」(they create a barrier that can stop 1 enemy attack). Overall, I found that a combination of area hitting turrets with powerful single target robots works the best. I never really bothered using the defensive types since I think you're better off just attacking the enemy.
Once you're done at the parts shop, your next stop should be the Market which is where you will be purchasing and selling your trading goods. Of course after outfitting your ship you will be left with little money to buy goods. Well, the good news is that the Market Guild is willing to give you a loan of 8000G to help you getting started in the trading business. You can pay this loan and ask for it again at any time, so don't hesitate to take it.
These are the most important services that you will be using throughout the game.
● SPACE PORT
The Space Port is the place to refuel and repair your ship and robots. It is also the only place where you can catapult your ship into outer space.
Oh, and of course. You need to come here to save your game.
The Market is where you will be purchasing and selling your goods. You can also get a market debt (デット) for 8000G (10,000G in the X68000 version) at any time.
Also, remember that your constant trading around will affect the market rate, so try to keep the item prices in check.
● PARTS CENTER
At the parts center is where you can equip your ship with the latest in defensive turrets and robots. You can also purchase various other consumable items that will help you in your quest.
The Trader's Guild is the best place to gather info and learn about what's been going on in PUSHADE.
● SHIP CENTER
Located at X: 26 Y: 29. The Ship Center is where you can dump your outdated ships in favour of new, more efficient ones.
Note that you can only upgrade your ship in class order Ｃ→Ｂ→Ａ.
The labo works pretty much in the same manner than in other similar games : Donate enough money and super elite equipment will become available later on.
■WHEN SPACE PIRATES ATTACK !
It is a sad fact of life that wherever there are space trading ships there will always be space pirates. And so you should always be ready to repell their attacks with the best top-of-the-line defensive turrets and robots.
Unfortunately the fighting is perhaps the weakest part of the game, which of course is a real shame.
Normally this shouldn't be the case since battles are handled in the usual turn based manner of most Japanese RPGs.
The problem here is that the whole fighting process can be so unbearably slow paced that all non-relevant battles end up feeling more like a chore.
And this is specially bad in the beginning when your weapons are still weak and inaccurate, so a lot of random encounters will probably be taking you more than 5 minutes to complete. To make matters worse, you don't even gain anything from fighting. That's right; no items, money or EXP points, nothing.
I really can't think of anything more discouraging than having to put up with 5+ minutes random encounters and not get anything from them.
For these reasons WARNING is a good example of a legacy PC game that's best played on an emulator rather than on its original PC platform. At least if played on emulator you can get around the sluggish battles by increasing the clock speed.
■INTO THE SEA OF STARS AND BEYOND !
The start of the game is undoubtedly the hardest and most boring part of the adventure - mainly because your lousy class D ship will be holding you down big time. For starters, its low fuselage and container space won't be allowing you to travel far or make decent sums or money per trip.
Secondly, the constant need to refuel and repair your ill-equipped trading vessel will make it even harder for you to save enough money to buy a class C ship, which of course should be your number one priority.
In the beginning you will be better off sticking to the neighboring planets DEMES and ALTEMO. Toys (トーイ) and Cigarettes (タバコ) are overall the best goods to trade early on. Keep buying and selling those items at their respective planets until you can afford the Computers (コンピュータ) on DEMES.
Also, fuel costs significantly more in ALTEMO, so avoid refueling there.
Once you've managed to get yourself the class C ship of your choice, the game world will finally start opening for you. Now you will be able to explore new planets and also make more money a lot faster. Then you can spend your time finding better and more profitable trade routes, advancing the storyline, upgrading your equipment, investing in the laboratory etc.
That page has pretty much all the info you'll need to clear the game. But not only that, it also has complete item listings (stats included), and detailed maps for all planets and other relevant locations.
And if that wasn't enough, it also has the text transcriptions for all of the conversations in the game (guild, random and plot encounters, etc.), so you won't be missing on the storyline neither.
The page is in Japanese of course, but you can use an online translator like Google or Babefish to translate it to your language of choice.
■WARNING TYPE 68
In 1989 COSMOS COMPUTER remade the game for the X68000 releasing it as「WARNING TYPE 68」. As expected, this version improves over the original PC-88/98 versions in practically every single aspect, delivering an overall more solid and fun gameplay experience.
TYPE 68 of course features nicely updated graphics and animation - not to mention the scrolling is so much better. However, it's on the core gameplay mechanics where this version improves upon the most, and that of course it's great news.
Most notably, the whole trading system feels more developed and it's less frustrating to deal with.
The sluggish battles were also completely fixed and now they flow just like in any other RPG.
Here's a short list of some of the most notable improvements in TYPE 68 :
The space ship and equipment stats are now visible.
The current market rate for all establishments is now visible, as it is the original value of your goods.
Your market debt now generates interest (it made no sense that it didn't before).
Guild members now have their own unique portraits.
For 1G you can now play a lottery type of game at the guild (and thus it is no longer possible to get stuck by suddenly running out of money).
All new radar and satellite in-game maps.
Enemies now sometimes can drop items after battle (yay!).
TYPE 68 I imagine, is the game that COSMOS had in mind in the first place. I mean, the fact alone that everything flows so smoothly now, not only makes the game more enjoyable, but it also encourages you to explore and trade around more.
Now, if only taking screen captures of X68k games wasn't such a royal pain, I probably would've covered TYPE 68 in greater detail.
In any case, WARNING certainly comes as a very interesting game with a very original premise for its time. It does take a while to get used to it, and for things to become interesting. But once they do, the game really does become very addicting. You can add another forgotten gem to the list.
hey, thanks for writing this! i'm surprised, the game is nothing at all like what i expected. i love koei's uncharted waters so maybe i should check this out. it's a shame the 88 version is so clumsy and slow, though.
those little icons for the various stores and locations are just charming the hell out of me. and hey... is that an r-type battleship in the background at the ship center? :þ
I had enjoyed space trading sims like Freelancer and the X series back in my early teens and I've been itching to play another for a while now and this looks like it might fill that void. Looks like it has a colorful and charming art style as well.