Operation Wolf review - Nintendo Entertainment System
Let's begin by dispelling a few rumours so they don't fester into facts. Operation Wolf isn't a veterinary surgeon simulator. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the average canine. Operation Wolf is actually the codename for an undercover assault on enemy territory. That's right, it's plenty of gun-ho, "ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR! I LOVE THE MARINE CORP!"
Strap on those khaki pants and listen up! The mission is simple. You are assigned to Operation Wolf (or Operation Certain Death as it is otherwise known) and must accomplish six tasks if you are to save the POWs being held by the enemy. On all six stages he is likely to come up against fearsome resistance, with the opposing forces deploying tanks, helicopters, boats and foot soldiers to break him down.
As well as decimating the opposition, you can pick up rounds of ammunition, grenades and energy capsules that restore life. If you feel like shooting roaming animals you may also be rewarded with ammo or life. But on no accounts shoot fleeing civilians or member of the Red Cross... it wastes ammunition! If by some miracle of fate Operation Wolf is carried out without any hitches and the POWs are returned safely to friendly territory, you are rewarded with your own padded cell, a yearly subscription to "Soldier of Fortune", and a Rottweiler named after your favourite boxer! OK MARINE, LOCK AND LOAD!
What the Mean Machines staff thought
I am a big fan of the Operation Wolf coin-op and found it very therapeutic, venting my aggression on hundred of unsuspecting sprites. It is exactly this quality that the NES conversion of this game has lost. Rather than freeing anger, it leaves you feeling more psychopathic than when you started! The action is very slow, with sprites nonchalantly strolling to their death. The graphics, while not completely disastrous, certainly do little to enhance the fast and furious theme of the game. The lack of attention to detail on the backdrops leaves them looking crab and the stuttering animation makes the whole scene look like an outing of cardboard cut-outs! Using the light gun is certainly preferable to the joypad, which proves fidgety and frustrating, but because the game is visually disappointing, things get very tedious all too quickly. I was hoping that at least the sound effects might save some face, but I'm afraid the machine gun sounds like a baby's rattle, and the explosions are reminiscent of someone munching on a bag of crisps! One of the few things in this game's favour is the level of challenge. If you succeed in completing the whole operation, it is possible to slow down the speed of your aim, which makes things a bit tougher. But to sum up, this NES version of Operation Wolf left me hunting for the old coin-op, on which to take out some newly acquired frustration.
Unlike Rob, I thought the coin-op version of Operation Wolf was a complete bore with dull gameplay and nothing to keep you coming back for more. On the bright side, Operation Wolf did have cool graphics and sound. This Nintendo conversion plays quite like the coin-op, but doesn't have anywhere near the graphical quality of the original. The gameplay is very dull indeed. Just point your sight and shoot. That's it. What's more, it's impossible to dodge enemy fire or shoot all of the soldiers on-screen. This makes your doom completely unavoidable - something that really puts me off a game. Shooting fans who own a zapper gun might like to get hold of this. However, I can think of loads of games more deserving of your hard-earned cash.