OPERATION WOLF
game Cover
game HuCard
1990 NEC Avenue Ltd.
LICENCED BY TAITO CORP.
Release : 1990-8-31 (7200)
HuCard (4 Mbits) NAPH-1010
Shooter / FirstPerson

Back in 1987, Taito's original game hit arcades like a storm. In the game, players take control of a single armed soldier who's mission in life is to infiltrate the heavily defended enemy territories and rescue as many Prisoners Of War, or POWs, as possible. Unlike many shooter back then, Operation Wolf offers a subjective view of the scene. This feature does not sound like much nowadays, but back in 1987, First Person Shooters (known today as FPS) were far from being the norm. The scenery is shown through the eyes of our valiant soldier and the screen automatically side-scrolls while hundred of enemy soldiers throw anything they have at him. In order to protect his life, he is equipped with a Uzi gun and a grenade launcher with a limited stock of ammo. And watch out ! Not everything on screen must be shot, and characters like nurses or children will dramatically lower your life. Bonuses are of course available, sometimes just laying on the ground and sometimes hidden inside small running animals (do no ask me why) or coconuts. The most common items are ammo, but our soldier will also find rockets, drinks and special items like the ammo-unlimited free gun or the dynamite which will vaporize every single enemy on the screen. Finally, a two simultaneous player mode is available.
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Operation Wolf was release in the arcades in 1987. The game became quickly popular and was converted for virtually every home systems of the time : Sega Master System (1988), Amiga (1988), Atari ST, C64 (1988), MSX, ZX Spectrum, Nintendo Famicom (1989), PC Engine (1990). Operation Thunderbolt followed a year later (1988). The game was also ported for numerous home systems. It is little known, but at least two sequels followed the arcade games: Operation Wolf 3 in 1994 and Operation Tiger in 1999.

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This conversion is one more time arcade perfect and probably one of the best I have played. Graphics are very good and most of the original intense action and environments are there. Surprisingly, the score bar is located at the bottom of the screen and unlike the original vertical, it gives a better view of the battle field. However the aiming system is tricky to use on a standard paddle. The Uzi gun and rocket launcher accessories from the arcade game are obviously missing from this conversion and this dramatically reduces the overall game's gameplay and fun. Sound effects go way beyond frustration, with that irritating bip-bip-bip noise when your life bar is half consumed. All in all, Operation Wolf is a decent shooter and will keep any player fan of the genre busy for a while but the lack of proper controls make this game a hard one to master.




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