Operation Wolf is a shooter game developed by Taito Corporation and released in arcades in 1987; ports to numerous home computers and consoles followed shortly after. In the game players take on the role of a Special Forces operative with the goal of rescuing 5 hostages that are being held captive in a concentration camp.
Operation Wolf is a rail shooter broken up into 6 different stages. Players have a first-person viewpoint as the screen scrolls either right to left or left to right depending on the stage. To complete a stage, players need to shoot a required number of targets which include enemy troops, tanks, helicopters, boats, and an end of level boss. Enemies keep appearing until the required quota has been eliminated; enemies attack with guns, grenades, knives, missiles, and more. The only defense players have is to shoot attacks out of the air before they hit (gunfire is an exception which can't be blocked; players will instead have to quickly defeat the opponent who is shooting). Players have at their disposal a machine gun with limited ammunition and several grenades; the grenades cause more damage to a larger area, but are far more limited in supply. Replenishments for both can be found throughout the game; sometimes bonus ammunition can be found lying out in the open, but often it is hidden and revealed by shooting certain items such as crates, trees, or animals running in the background. A machine gun power-up is also
Each stage in Operation Wolf has a different objective and when successfully completed affects the gameplay on remaining stages. The 6 stages players need to complete are as follows:
- Communication Setup: After communications are obstructed, all other stages in the game have fewer enemies the player must eliminate.
- Jungle: After completing this stage the player gathers intelligence on the hostage location.
- Village: The player can rest at the end of the village mission; this restores a large amount of health (as compared to the small amount restored after other missions.)
- Powder Magazine: A full supply of ammunition and grenades is provided after completing this stage./li>
- Concentration Camp: The hostages are being held here; players need to protect the 5 hostages as they escape; at least 1 hostage must escape in order to proceed to the final stage.
- Airport: Players need to protect all hostages that survived the previous stage as they board an airplane. After the plane takes off, a final, large helicopter must be destroyed (multiple armored opponents are added if the village and powder magazine stages aren't completed).
Players begin the game with a limited amount of health indicated by a bar on the side of the screen; each time the player is hit by an enemy attack, health is drained a little. There are several types of friendly targets in the game too; if players accidentally shoot medical staff or civilians attempting to escape then some health is lost. It's possible to replenish health several ways; at the end of each stage (especially the village stage), some health is restored automatically. Throughout the stages health power-ups may appear (sometimes out in the open, or occasionally by shooting targets such as trees); shooting one of these power-ups also restores a small amount of health. If the health bar runs out completely, the game is over; the game also ends if players run out of both ammunition and grenades or lose all of the hostages on stages 5 and 6.
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