Operation Wolf (NES)

Operation Wolf Box Art

Operation Wolf

System: NES

Release Date: May 1989

Developer: Taito

Publisher: Taito

Genre: Light Gun Shooter

Operation Wolf is an arcade port for a pretty ubiquitous machine. I remember the uzi attached to the machine at several establishments growing up. Taito decided to tap into the underutilized Zapper market and ported the thing to the NES. You’re on a rescue mission to the jungles of… *flips through manual* South America, where terrorists have taken prisoners from the US embassy. It’s up to Attack Team: Operation Wolf to shoot, kill, and destroy through six levels of play to bring them home.

Of course, the graphics are incredibly downplayed from the arcade, but other than that, it plays pretty well. You can use the Zapper to do your killing, or you can use a controller. The first thing you do is set the aiming reticle speed from one of five choices. I tried the faster setting and then the medium setting. I found better success on the medium setting.

On each level, the screen automatically scrolls in a direction and enemies run, roll, drive, fly, or boat onscreen. You need to be quick with your trigger finger in order to take them out before they can shoot at you. They telegraph their intentions by flashing white right before they shoot. Most human enemies take one shot to kill, but armored cars, gun boats, and helicopters take many more shots. The counter of how many of each enemy is on the lower right of the screen. Kill them all to end the level. You have limited ammo and have to keep replenishing it from the magazines that are occasionally dropped by enemies and neutral creatures, like birds and pigs. You also have to keep an eye out for civilians, which deplete your life if you accidentally shoot them. Stop running in the middle of a fire fight!

There are also grenades that can be thrown that blast a radius around the reticle. These are helpful for taking out the heavy machinery, but you can only carry nine at a time. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find energy replenishing items, and a short burst of unlimited ammo. The first four levels allow you to continue if you die, but once you hit the prison camp of level five, if you die, you get your stats and then it’s game over. I gave it a couple attempts and then bailed, I wouldn’t mind trying it with the Zapper.

Graphics: 2.0

Everything looks fine. There’s a lot of brown, gray, and green, but that’s true of a lot of these games.

Sound: 1.0

Levels have no music, but a lot of gun fire, low health alarms, and explosions.

Gameplay: 1.5

They were able to make a light gun game also have a way to play without the gun. I’ll give it props for that. Otherwise, it’s pretty barren on the gameplay.

Difficulty: 2.5

It’s not too insanely difficult in the early levels, but good luck actually winning this one. No continues after level four? That’s simply diabolical.

Fun Factor: 2.0

I had a good enough time in the amount of time I played. I definitely hit the point of diminishing returns in fun, though, any longer and this score would have plummeted.

Overall Grade: 1.8

Operation Wolf earns a C. The arcade version is better, but that isn’t to say this is bad.

Operation Wolf Video Review on YouTube