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Ocean Software Ltd
1988
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

42,43
Pete Shaw
Chris Bourne

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 - expect 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.

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

9/10
9/10
10/10
10/10
9/10

Screenshot Text

Mmmm... A yummy shade of yellow introduces you to the communications centre. the natives aren't very friendly, and you haven't got much ammo to convince them otherwise.

Pick up the potion which is casually laying on the floor and you could get a machine gun feature or improve your strength. Either way, look out for the knife that's flying your way.

In the concentration camp, and I've git a flathead, but matey behind him is having a go as well. One hostage has managed to get across, but with a knife in me and damage levels high, can I make it to the airport?

Deep in the dense tropical jungle things are not only sticky, but fatal if you make the wrong move - don't worry, if you get shot this early, there's a continue option!

At the ammo dump, oh sorry, Powder Magazine, you'll encounter people like flathead here. Mean and persistent, it's worth knocking this character out early.

Following the plane down the runway, flathead's back and aiming his sights this way. The parachutists are coming in with the helicopters and the tanks are here too. What's more, the hostage from the concentration camp hasn't attempted to get across yet so you've got to watch a zillion things at once. Help!