Operation Wolf

by Andrew P. Deakin, Ivan Horn, Jonathan Dunn, Bob Wakelin
Ocean Software Ltd
Crash Issue 59, Dec 1988   page(s) 18,19

An orgy of violence, but no sex (we're british)

Producer: Ocean
Full Magazine Clip: £8.95 cass, £14.95 disk
Author: Andrew Deakin, graphics by Ivan Horn, music by Jonathan Dunn

Stand to attention when I'm talking to you soldier! That's better, now here's your mission. Use your Uzi submachine gun to blast, mangle and maim your way across a horizontally-scrolling battlefield filled with enemy troops, helicopters, and armoured cars.

Your mission begins with you being parachuted into hostile territory to locate an enemy concentration camp and free the captives held there. You start off with just seven clips of ammo and five grenades - so all you autofire merchants are in trouble. Only real soldiers, with an accurate eye and careful trigger finger need apply here. Your mission is split into six sections, three loads for 48K owners, one massive load for 128K owners. The sections are; Communication Setup, Jungle, Village, Powder Magazine, Concentration Camp and Airport. On each level the landscapes slowly pan before your first-person perspective as you move your cursor sights in search of targets. Pressing fire kicks off the Uzi, while space ber has you lobbing a grenade.

As the landscape scrolls before you, soldiers parachute downwards, others run on firing away, while helicopters, boats and tanks arrive to make things really interesting. Vehicles require numerous shots to be destroyed, unless you use a grenade. As in the arcade there's also massive Schwarzenegger lookalikes who appear right in front of you aiming a gun. On later levels these wear bullet-proof jackets so you have to hit them in the head. Also requiring fast reactions are the daggers and grenades lobbed at you, these can be shot in mid-air, if you're quick enough.

To the side of the playing screen is an ammo counter, a damage meter and three icons. The latter inform the player of how many men, tanks, and boats etc have to be destroyed before a sector is cleared. Extra ammo and grenades are available by shooting the relevant icons which appear onscreen, also bullets with an F upon them increase your rate of fire, while bullets with a P decrease the amount of damage inflicted on you. Apart from the human targets, various animals also pop up from time to time, shoot them and occasionally you'll get food to boost your energy. What you shouldn't shoot, however, are the nurses and children (terrible temptation) because this drains energy.

If the red tide of your blood fills up the energy meter then the game is over, but thankfully there is a continue play option which restarts the level you're on if you want. This is allowed only once however.

At first it's a little tough moving the cursor around and hitting the keyboard grenade key in time. Keys are probably most effective as Phil proved by reaching the sixth and final level and rescuing the hostages (well, one of them). The sprites, despite being monochrome are very well drawn and animated so there's never any fatal graphic confusions. The real surprise, though, is how the arcade playability has been replicated. Despite finding it much tougher than Phil I was really hooked on it. Search out Operation Wolf when it blasts into your local computer store soon, but I warn you, it won't take any prisoners.

MARK [90%]

Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: a variety of very well-drawn enemies appear on equally-detailed, smooth horizontally-scrolling backdrops
Sound: an excellent Jonathan Dunn title tune and some very good (and informative) ingame blasting effects
Options: definable keys. Continue play option

From the very first moment you load it up (and boy does it take a long time on a 128K) you know that this version of Operation Wolf is of the highest quality. Typically atmospheric Jonathan Dunn music (which admittedly is a bit like that on Daley Thompson's Olympic Challenge) accompanies the title screen. Then before starting your mission, even more 128K tunelets welcome you to the action itself. And what action there is too, all viewed in first-person perspective, as if you were really there. Rapid-firing soldiers positively pour onto the screen by the dozen, sometimes lobbing grenades and knives! While the well-drawn tanks and helicopters are even more dangerous, so it's just as well that you start with plenty of ammo. The immense playability of the coin-op has really been captured in what must rank as one of the year's best conversions. Once you start playing it's almost impossible to tear yourself away. And thankfully, the level of difficulty is pitched just right - even though it's tough, it isn't quite impossible - I did manage to complete it (although clever clogs Robin Hogg of TGM (see this month's special Inter-magazine Challenge) hasn't yet!). What more could anyone ask for in a shoot-'em-up? - Operation Wolf simply is the business.
PHIL [92%]

The first thing that hits you is usually a 7.62mm bullet, but after that you tend to notice some super-smooth scrolling and excellent graphics. Blasting sound effects are fine and help make this a really playable arcade conversion. My only reservation is that the gameplay might lack a little variety, but without doubt this is a first class shoot-'em-up and just the ticket for getting rid of all the Christmas time irritation at relatives talking through Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom.
STUART [90%]

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Presentation: 88%
Graphics: 90%
Sound: 82%
Playability: 90%
Addictive Qualities: 88%
Overall: 91%

Summary: General Rating: A great conversion of the popular coin-op which couldn't be bettered.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 67, Aug 1989   page(s) 13

The arcade machine was great, the Spectrum conversion was pretty good, but I'm afraid it just doesn't work with the light gun at all. This version of the Ocean game replaces the joystick control with the light gun, so theoretically, it should be even more like the arcade, but unfortunately, the flashing screen ruins it. The gun calibration sequence, peculiar to this game, also doesn't appear to work very well: the firing remains a bit inaccurate, no amtter how careful you are. Still, it's a variation on a very good theme, so it isn't that bad.

Overall: 65%

Summary: General Rating: A great conversion of the popular coin-op which couldn't be bettered.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 36, Dec 1988   page(s) 42,43

£9.95 cass/£14.95 disk
Reviewer: Pete Shaw

Flying to Manchester seemed like a fun thing to do Sure, your arms ache by the time you get over Stockport but on the whole it's a real "happening' thing to do in these days of the North/South divide. Once you get past Watford then a 'must' on your itinerary is a visit to North's answer to Castle Rathbone - Central Dungeons. An ominous building looking very much like Bootle Paine Station, but actually home to those who call themselves Ocean. And why did I make this flight of fancy? To bring you, gentle viewer, the 'gen' on Ocean's latest babe, Operation Wolf.

If you visited this year's PC Show, then you probably saw the Coin-Op version of Operation Wolf on Ocean's stand - or rather you would have seen a huge crowd of people looking at the Coin-Op classic. It broke a bit of new 'ground' for arcade games 'cos the 'nasties' fired directly at you through the screen. And it also had a pretty mean gun which you shot your foes with. And although this Speccy version of Oppo Wolf doesn't come packaged with a machine gun, the authenticity to the arcade machine is extremely good.

You play Lone Wolf, the typical he-man character who wants to take on the world and his wife as long as he can volunteer for the job. You parachute into enemy territory, and from that point onwards it's a case of shooting anything and everything with a couple of exceptions. What's that? Did I say exceptions? Surely shome mishtake. But no, even in this day and age when you'll shoot even the earwigs for extra points, Oppo Wolf sends things like stretcher-bearing nurses and all-american boys running across the screen to see if you're too trigger happy. So watch those itchy trigger fingers!

On each level - and there are six all-told - you have to take out a certain number of baddies, tanks, launches and helicopters in order to move on. You have a limited ammo reserve with which to do this job, but you can find extras by shooting vultures, chickens and cassette tapes. No that's not a misprint. It's so you can make a fowl Bros soup. More 'sensible' items you can shoot for extra goodies include various bottles of potions. Some give you extra machine gun power (without using up your valuable supplies), while others will nurse your damage rating back to a more healthy score. Also, if you shoot the dynamite, then everything on the screen will blow up - except you! Good, eh?

Your first task is to take out the communications centre. This level, which gets you used to the game, is full of plenty of things to shoot, and once you're through it's on to Level Two. Here your task is to survive in the jungle. Switching to a luverly shade of green, you encounter gun boats for the first time - nasty things which take a fair bit of ammo to shift. But once you've done your duty amongst the shrubbery, it's back to the village where its time to blast the chopper squad. Wheeeee, blammo!

When you leave the village you enter the next level which is described as the Powder Magazine - in plain terms this is your worst enemies ammo dump, and destroying it earns you loadsa points. Level Five is where you get serious - 'cos its the concentration camp and you've got to start rescuing the hostages. You need them to get anywhere in this game.

All those nawty nurses and scampering children that you were trying not to hit in the earlier levels (weren't you?), turn out to be jolly useful in this level. 'Cos the hostages tend to walk across the screen without a care the world, and hitting them not only increases your damage status, it also puts you one step further away from completing the game.

If you're good enough to get to the final level, you'll find yourself at the airport. Everything is thrown at you here, you've got to be Rambo IV to get anywhere. The hostages you saved in the last level will walk across the screen again. And if they foolishly step into the path of your speeding bullets, you'll find they sprout angelic wings and fly heavenward. If, finally, you've shot your quota of baddies then freedom will be yours. But if you don't save any hostages then don't expect to be asked on any other missions!

Needless to say you've got to rush out and buy the game, so here's a couple of tips I found quite useful while playing.

* You've got a supply of grenades - but don't throw them at the soldiers since they only require a bullet from your gun to sendthem to the great arcade in the sky.

* Save your G's for the big boys like the helicopters. Even then, keep an eye on the number you still have to eliminate of each type.

* If you've already taken out enough helicopters then don't keep blowing up more when there are tanks for the taking.

Graphics: 9/10
Playability: 9/10
Value For Money: 10/10
Addictiveness: 10/10
Overall: 9/10

Summary: Beg, steal or borrow a copy of this game if you really enjoy a bit of mindless violence on your machine.

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 63, Mar 1991   page(s) 80

Time to catch up with our 2 favourite barg hunters, JON PILLAR and RICH PELLEY, as we fix on our helmets and drop down deep...


Hit Squad
Reviewer: Rich Pelley

And talking of into-the-screen multi-level shoot-'em-ups (We were? Ed), heres Oppy Wolf - which you people will no doubt have heard of as it was a bit of a biggy in its day, and has since launched a thousand clones, including its big brother Operation Thunderbolt, the sequel. But let's just re-cap what it's all about in case you've forgotten, ok readers?

The coin-op's main distinguishing feature was a whopping great gun bolted onto the front of the machine - used to shoot 'into' the screen as everything is viewed from fancy first person perspective (whilst the screen scrolls sideways). In this case, "everything" consists of a variety of enemy soldiers who run in front and lob grenades and knives, a cursor quite adequately taking the place of the gun on the Spec. Helichoppers, boats and tanks are also present and can be either shot with your gun, or more effectively grenaded, although ammo is strictly limited, but can be replenished by shooting things on the ground.

The Spec version was one of the fastest conversions, so three cheers for that, and three cheers for the graphics too - monochrome, yes, but they still chug along at a cracking pace, and hardly even slow when the screen is jam-packed with baddies. It's really playable too as you have to get through six different levels, rescuing the hostages, without losing all your energy, and it's all very addictive. Perhaps too addictive actually, because the more hardened gamesplayer is likely to find that he/she/it may very well polish the thing off in an afternoon after only a minimal number of goes. But if you're one of those people who wouldn't mind this, and seeing as you'll only be three pounds out of pocket at the end of the day, I'd say that it's still well worth it. Go buy.

Overall: 87%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 80, Nov 1988   page(s) 26,27

Label: Ocean
Author: Andrew Deakin/Ivan Horn
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

EAT LEAD SCUMBAG! AKKAKAKAKKABAB-BOOOBOOM! This is unbelievable. I've just wasted 130 enemy troops in graphic detail and I still haven't had enough. This game is the sort of thing that gives pacifists nightmares.

Operation Wolf - in case you've just emerged from a viet-vet rehabilitation programme - is based on the rescue of a number of hostages who are being held by the "enemy". The screen is presented head-on, with the bad guys rushing in from either side of the screen and firing out at you.

You're armed with an Uzi, a grenade launcher and a limited supply of ammunition. The name of the game is lightning reactions and a happy trigger finger.

You find yourself right in the thick of things, even at the start. The first section of end mission (and the first load of 6 + on 48K machines) is the enemy's communications setup. You've got to blow the hell out of everything, ensuring that no word gets back to the main base of your impending arrival.

The goons aren't slow to pick up on your whereabouts and the screen will fill up with nasties before you can say Colonel North. There are about four different lateral planes (positions "into" the screen) for the footsoldiers ranging from right back in the distance to slap bang on top of you.

The right hand side of the screen is largely filled with information about your damage level, how many baddies are left on the level, your score etc.

Using the cursor which represents the sight on the gun you let the enemy have it with either a spray of bullets or a more effective but rarer - grenade. Did I mention the armoured cars and helicopters that you've got to contend with? Oh, well they need about ten hits each or one grenade before they'll go down.

Once you've given the other side what can only be described as a right good seeing to it's off to the next level. Each stage has it's own features like parachuting bad guys, boats, troops with armoured jackets etc.

So that's the basic formula. What makes it so great? The graphics are fantastic. If you've checked out the demo on this month's tape you'll see what I mean. The scrolling never slows down, even when there are about ten guys on the screen at once.

There's also a real feeling of panic that sets in. It's so tough to keep the numbers of enemy troops down to a manageable level you end up losing any sort of strategy you might have planned beforehand. It is also possible to develop a disturbing degree of contempt for the other side and seethe about their victories for hours.

Along the way there are bonuses such as extra ammo to be had and things not to shoot, like innocent children etc. By far the best is the fabled Super-machine gun which endows you with firepower vaguely akin to an entire SAS team and you can clear a whole screen in seconds, firing at about twice the regular rate with no depletion of ammunition supplies.

While you score more points for ending up with a higher number of hostages at the end, any number will suffice. There's no point taking extra hits guarding a hostage when you've already saved four.

I found it virtually impossible to decide on a decent strategy. The grenades are so useful for clearing groups of soldiers that I invariably found myself trying to fend off end of level helicopters with the machine gun.

Fault-finding though it is, the sound is a tiny bit lacking in atmosphere. But for goodness sake...

It's undoubtedly a fantastic conversion of a marvellous arcade game. There's even a Continue option, available once per game which allows you to carry on the mission from the last level you reached. You'll need it.

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Graphics: 90%
Sound: 70%
Playability: 80%
Lastability: 92%
Overall: 90%

Summary: Virtually flawless. Addictive, violent and unsound. One for everyone's Christmas list.

Award: Sinclair User Classic

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 108, Feb 1991   page(s) 63

Label: Hit Squad
Price: £2.99 48K/128K
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

You shouldn't need to be reminded of the virtues and vices of Operation Wolf; one of Taito's most popular coin-ops ever; it features marvellous graphics, non-stop genocidal violence and an on-cabinet Uzi machine gun. They couldn't get the Uzi poking out of your Spectrum, but in every other respect the programmers performed with flying colours.

Op Wolf is a shooting game where the screen scrolls horizontally, and military targets including soldiers, helicopters, jeeps, motor torpedo boots and tanks pop up and beg to be zapped. You steer a cursor around the screen shooting for all you're worth, using your Uzi and grenades to blow away an opposition and any flying knives and grenades that they may plop at you, thus avoiding any injuries and keeping your strength up (fnarr!) Zapping supply boxes which drop down the screen keeps your ammo restocked. Try to avoid shooting nurses and hostages, which would result in a penalty plus a very nasty blanket both.

The display is resolutely monochrome, but the characters are beautifully detailed and die amusingly. There are six levels of action, and action's the key word; no boring plot here just act like Rambo and you're in!

Only a yellow livered, commie swine of the worst kind could fail to enjoy Operation Wolf; buy or die.

Graphics: 89%
Sound: 86%
Playability: 90%
Lastability: 89%
Overall: 88%

Summary: Top-notch all action baddie blastin' arcade extravaganza, not to be missed.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Issue 15, Dec 1988   page(s) 42,43

Ocean spray bullets.

Or 'Op Wolf' as it's lovingly know by the thousands of arcade fans who've had amusement halls up and down the country ringing to the sound of hundreds of machine guns bratt-a-tat-tatting. The official version of the game has been a while coming to the home micro, but now the 8-bit versions are complete with ST and Amiga due to follow shortly for an all-formats release. Has Ocean managed to capture the excitement of the coin-op?

The game is divided into six stages and your prime directive is to get to the fifth stage, rescue the hostages held there in a concentration camp and make sure they all get aboard a getaway plane that's found in stage six.

Armed with a machine gun and a fistful of rockets, you have to shoot and blast away at the enemy, killing as many of them as you can before they shoot you. Each horizontally-scrolling stage contains a detachment of enemy forces which has to be blown away before the section is complete. Larger opponents in the form of tanks, helicopters and gun boats back up the foot soldiers, and can only be destroyed with multiple bullet hits or a single rocket.

Targeting the enemy involves moving a crosshair sight around the screen. Hitting the fire button changes the cursor into a bullet hole (or a line of dust spitting up from the floor, if your aim is not that good). Setting out with seven magazines of bullets and five grenades, you are under-equipped - so resist the urge to keep the button pressed as you try to wipe everything out, and make sure to pick up ammunition as you go. This can prove to be tricky at times, because you have to shoot the extra ammo clips and rockets that are lying on floor before they go scrolling off the screen. If the enemy is ganging up on the screen, you have to decide whether you can last until the next clip appears, when you might have fewer opponents on screen and less chance of sustaining hits. Small animals scurry across the screen, and are an extra source of ammunition - if you manage to shoot them you're awarded with extra ammo.

A meter monitors your health, diminishing as you take hits and falling dramatically if you blow away one of the non-combatant natives, nurses or hostages. Shooting small bottles of medicine on the ground reduces your damage level, and completing a section allows for a bit of restorative R&R. Other extras that appear on the ground include sticks of dynamite which act like smart bombs, clearing the screen if you shoot them.

The stages get progressively harder. After Stage Three some of the baddies get cunning and start wearing bullet-proof vests, so you have to shoot them in the head to despatch them.

Operation Wolf was never a game to test your brain power - its undiluted mayhem and mass murder all the way. The 8-bit versions of the game are surprisingly faithful to the original coin-op: not only has all the action and gameplay been captured, but so has the excitement, making it one of the most satisfying and compulsive shoot-em-ups to have appeared in a long time.

Reviewer: Andy Smith

Atari ST, £19.95dk, Imminent
Amiga, £24.95dk, Imminent
IBM PC, £19.95dk, Imminent
C64/128, £9.95cs, £14.95dk, Reviewed
Spectrum, £8.95cs, £14.95dk, Reviewed
Amstrad, £9.95cs, £14.99dk, Reviewed

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 82/100
1 hour: 75/100
1 day: 90/100
1 week: 85/100
1 month: 68/100
1 year: 35/100

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Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 6/10
IQ Factor: 1/10
Fun Factor: 9/10
Ace Rating: 887/1000

Summary: It's not easy to get the hang of, but master the controls and you're hooked.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 86, Dec 1988   page(s) 20,21,24,25

MACHINES: Atari ST, Amiga, C64, Spectrum, Amstrad
PRICES: £8.90 Spectrum, £9.95 C64, and Plus 3 disks £14.95, ST £19.95, Amiga £24.95

Operation Wolf - or 'Op-Wolf' as most addicts call it - is definitely the coin-op of the year. OK, I know, you are pig sick of that phrase coin-op of the year". I know all the ads claim that their coin-op conversion is the one that all the punters are pumping their dosh into. Well, there is nothing I can do about all this hype - all I can tell you is that the official arcade industry charts prove that Op-Wolf is the real number one. And if that isn't conclusive enough for you, the game is also the one that the C+VG team have put more '10ps' into than anything else this year.

There is no missing the game in your local arcade. It's the one with the Uzi machine gun mounted on the front of its vast, bulky cabinet. Chances are it is also the game with a cluster of gamers huddled around it.

When you have your first go you can easily get the impression that all the game amounts to is a case of swivelling that Uzi on its base and spraying the enemy with machine gun fire - attacking anything that moves.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Although you are armed to the teeth - with stacks of bullets and grenades - you have to make every bullet count if you are to succeed in your

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that had been achieved previously in military shoot-'ems up like Green Beret and Combat School. The use of the Uzi led many people to believe that its absence in the home versions would make the game unconvertible. Mike Pattenden, for example, writing in the December '87 edition of CU said "Why do they bother? Are they going to issue an Uzi sub-machine gun with every copy".

Ocean's programmers came up with a far cheaper solution. They simply replaced the gun with a floating on-screen cross hair. Controlled by joystick or mouse, you simply move the cross-hair to the target and press fire. OK - so it's not quite as good as handling, and feeling the weight of the Uzi pressing against your shoulder blade - but from just about every other angle this game has to be ranked as one of the best conversions ever.

In terms of the consistent quality of the game across a variety of machines it definitely is the best ever.

What I particularly like about the original game design is the way it simulates the strategic - as well as the blood and guts of the battle. The six levels are: The communications set-up, the jungle, the village, the powder magazine, the concentration camp, and the airport.

Each level sets you a specific task which helps a little towards your goal of freeing the hostages.

Level 1 is set in the Communications compound where your aim is to cut the enemy off and stop them from calling up more reinforcements. The enemy constantly fire at you, lobbing grenades, throwing knives, and - should you let them hover - strafing you from helicopter gunships.

Each hit weakens you and makes your Damage Barometer tick downwards. If it reaches zero it's curtains, and a grim sounding voice will inform that "Sorry you are finished here" (only on ST and Amiga versions).

The aim of the game is to avoid sustain hits by shooting the grenades out before they hit you and eliminating the soldiers before they take aim.

Get through this and you find yourself in the jungle of Level 2 where your mission is to extract information from the enemy about the concentration camp.

Level 3 is not for pacifists. You are ordered to go into the village and kill all the enemies whilst at the same time to "take a rest". I should point out the amidst all this glorification of war Op Wolf does have some semblance of conscience - there are hostages civilians fleeing from the mayhem - and nurses trotting across the battlefield carrying the wounded on their stretchers. Should your bullets accidentally hit any of these you are punished by losing energy.

Level 4 is set in the enemy's ammunition dumps - your taks is to "take the ammunition by force".

If you survive this far you get your first chance to rescue some of the hostages. Level 5 has five hostages incarcerated in the concentration camp. Your orders are to "help them".

You have to a pretty good Op Wolf player to get to the Level 6. Set in the airport - this is where the remainder of the hostages are being held. Your orders are to rescue the hostages in the airplane and get away.

The gameplay of the various levels is essentially the same. The battle field scrolls slowly from left to right - your cross hair gun site panning across with it. The enemy rush on from both sides - in three set planes. There are soldiers in the foreground that practically fill the screen when they dash on middle sized ones in the mid ground, and dozens of troopers that dash across the screen in twos and threes in the far distance.

Depending on what level you are on the tanks, lorries, motorcyclists, choppers, or gun boats (in the jungle level) usually arrive in the foreground.

The game is at its best when you take out the enemy vehicles. You can knock them out with persistent Uzi fire but the most effective method is to use the grenade launcher. You can even take out two vehicles with one massive boom.

The lorries rip apart when the grenade hits them and go up in a ball of flame and grey smoke. Trouble is you have to be careful not to waste your grenades as you only have five of them at the beginning of each level. (Which is why a certain, nameless C+VG reviewer's policy of blasting the nurses with grenades as soon as they appeared is not particularly recommended).

Special mention has to be made of the quality of the graphics on the ST and Amiga versions - the armoured cars, choppers, and gun boats are identical to their counterparts in the coin-op.

I suppose a certain degree of near-coin-op graphics is now taken for granted in ST and Amiga conversions - but what pleased me particularly on the ST version is the little details of game play that have not been forgotten. The tricks that you discover after you have played Op-Wolf a good few times, like shooting the birds, and the pig that scampers on to pick up more ammo. It is this kind of attention to detail that makes for a good coin-op conversion irrespective of the graphical capabilities of the computer your are playing the game on.

The software tycoons are having battle royal this Christmas. Bets are being placed, claims are being made as to who will be number one. It reminds me of the famous Bill Shankly quote about football being much more important than, life, or death, or something like that. To you Op Wolf, Afterburner, and Thunderblade may just be games. To the tycoons they are company profits, reputations, image and a whole host of other things. C+VG doesn't take sides in these matters. We just review the games. So what is our advice should you only be buying one coin-op conversion this Christmas? Buy Op - Wolf - it's a brilliant conversion and you will get a lot of fun out of it.

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Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 9/10
Value: 9/10
Playability: 9/10
Overall: 91%

Award: C+VG Game of the Month

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 13, Dec 1988   page(s) 58,59

Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £8.95, Diskette: £14.95
Amstrad CPC Cassette: £9.95, Diskette: £14.95
Commodore 64/128 Cassette: £9.95, Diskette: £14.95


Hostages have been taken by a military force and are held in a prison camp deep in enemy territory. A lone soldier is needed to fight his way through to the camp, locate the hostages and get them out. Codename Wolf, the operation requires you, an elite warrior, for the job.

Taking place over six regions, Operation Wolf is seen through the eyes of the soldier. It takes you from the opening level of the communication set-up, through jungles. villages, the enemy's ammunition dump and on to the prison camp before the final escape.

With six areas to fight through and an enemy determined to make this mission your last, your trigger finger won't stay idle. Enemies come in the form of infantry and mechanised vehicles. Foot soldiers run into view firing rifles, pistols, and machine guns. Commandos throw grenades and knives and paratroopers descend from above - blasting as they drop. Backing up the grunts are helicopters, armoured cars and gunboats, all of which are destroyed with either a well placed grenade or excessive use of bullets.

Hits taken increase your damage level which, when at maximum, results in your death. Shooting energy bottles partially restores damage, however, all wounds are healed when the village level is completed.

In the heat of battle innocent civilians recklessly wander into view. While idiotic, the bystanders must be left untouched, your damage level soaring if any 'accidental' deaths occur. Although a nuisance, they do force you to aim carefully and save ammunition.

Running out of bullets is not recommended, fortunately grenades and magazines can be shot to gain extra supplies, and, should you hit the correct icon, a supermachine gun is yours with which to increase your murderous mayhem.


The onslaught continues, soldiers wearing bullet-proof clothes blast their way to later sections as you move ever nearer their camp. Once there it doesn't get any easier, the enemy fight back with increased ferocity making it difficult to protect the five hostages as they hobble towards the prison exit. Shooting the hostages is detrimental to finishing the game!

Once out of camp, it's a mad dash to the airport where a Hercules transport craft waits to lift you to freedom. You're still not in the clear though, enemy soldiers throw everything they've got at you in a last bid to thwart your rescue mission. Now is a good time to use up the last of your ammunition in a final massacre attempt - after all you're not going to come back in a hurry.

The appeal of the coin-op stems from the Uzi machine-gun hardware - difficult to recreate on home computers. Fortunately, Ocean's replacing of the gun with an on-screen gun-sight doesn't detract from the flow and appeal of the game. The non-stop action and over-the-top violence of the arcade original is replicated to a high degree across all 8-bit formats.

Inevitably multi-load has had to be put into effect. On the Spectrum 48K and Amstrad 464 versions each level is loaded individually, the 128K Spectrum/Amstrad and Commodore 64/128 versions feature the complete game in a single load. Either way the resulting game is one which fans of the coin-op will love and newcomers will learn to love.

Undoubtedly Ocean's strongest arcade conversion title this Christmas, the Taito coin-op has had phenomenal success worldwide. Although just an extension of the old shooting gallery theme, the fake Uzi-style gun boiled onto the cabinet takes some beating when it comes to hardware add-ons.

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Overall: 87%

Summary: An army of large, bold characters rampage through the levels with as much detail as the arcade original. Although things become contusing when the screen gets crowded, distant soldiers inevitably lose some of their detail. However, the sheer speed and ferocious action over-rules any minor quibbles to be found in this excellent coin-op conversion.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB