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Charles Bystram
1987
Arcade: Adventure
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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73
Marcus Berkmann
Chris Bourne

More Filmation fun, this time from Mastertronic's canine label. Fortunately, though, this one ain't no dog. In fact it's a best of breed. Top breeders recommend it. (Shaddup you stupid breeder. Japanese Ed.)

Charles Bystram's game is more in the Fairlight mould than Batman or Knightlore, although with a wolf as the hero, there are definite echoes of the old Ultimate classic. In a land where nameless evil holds sway and the very bunny rabbits do plot unholy death and carnage, here must ye go forth unto mortal combat with the Nasty One. It's never really explained why ye must, but I'm sure it's all for the best - your enemy calls himself the Wizard With No Name and eats only spaghetti. His kingdom is peopled by strange ungodly beasts who all naturally attack on the slightest provocation and often less.

So what this all comes down to is you, Wolfan, wandering around a large number of screens trying to survive. This can be a fair old task, as most monsters fight, pick up objects and chase you from screen to screen- and they're stronger than you as well.

You too can pick up and use objects, but the real puzzle lies in working out how to approach and neutralize each monster. By pressing S you invite your opponent to speak - some can then be recruited, while others can be bribed with things you're carrying.

Others, of course, will tell you to bog off, and these will have to be killed - a problem if you have nothing explosive to drop on them. Occasionally you can lure them down deep mineshafts, but then anything they're carrying is lost forever, which may make the game impossible to complete. Until you've found yourself a weapon to club monsters into oblivion, it's very hard to get anywhere, in fact. You have four choices of starting point - one (and I won't tell you which - snigger) makes the game more than a mite easier.

Graphically, as you can see, we have an almost entirely accurate Fairlight clone, but if I'm not mistaken, Wolfan is actually a touch faster. not having got very far yet (sorry, smuggies) I can't tell you how huge the playing area is - my guess is that it's unlikely to give you quite the challenge that its predecessors might have done. Still, the keyboard control is one of the best I've used on a game (much easier than joystick), and although initially very hard, I'd imagine it's fairly easy to finish. As regular readers will know, I'm a dismal sucker for games like this, but this is a goodie, and at £2.99, a real bargain. I'm sure the Tipshop (and the Clinic) will be trading inWolfan tips and teasers for a good few months to come. Map, anyone?

Entertaining and user friendly Fairlight clone that should keep the wolf from Bulldog's door.

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