8th Jan 2012 | 18:30
If you're going to cover a rail shooter, cover the best.
A generation of wide-eyed arcade freedom fighters fell for Op Wolf, with its cabinet-mounted machine gun and two-frame enemy deaths, its ammo-carrying animals and appallingly acted "you are finished... here" voiceover.
Your heroic grunt had just two objectives: rescue hostages from the concentration camp (translated in-game to "don't execute them as they run past groaning for help") while filling the camp and surrounding jungle with merry gunfire and celebratory explosions. You know, to cheer everyone up.
That meant unloading whole magazines into troops, armoured cars, boats, bikes and choppers, balancing the required enemy takedowns with the ammo available; running out would end you as surely as failing to shoot down a cheeky grenade while clinging to a sliver of health.
Conversions were solid, from NES to Spectrum, stripped of the tactile shivers of the Uzi control method but tailored to be playable even with your average light gun or homely old controller/joystick input.
Op Wolf ended up a bit of a lone wolf itself, not having the best series record. Quickfire two-hander sequel Operation Thunderbolt was fine if a bit samey, but 1994's Operation Wolf 3 went bad with digitised dayglo terrorists.
1998's Operation Tiger remains so obscure it's uncertain whether Taito consider it canon or spasm at its plague-carrying name. After that, apparent retirement for the Operation moniker.