Great action game with a very cool game-progression

User Rating: 8.7 | Narazumono Sentou Butai: Bloody Wolf TG16
Bloody Wolf is a military themed 2D action/shooter for the Turbografx-16; it can best be described as a mix of Konami’s 2D Contra games and the Capcom arcade game Mercs, with a mild adventure twist to the game-play. As good as the early games in the Contra series are, I would dare say that Bloody Wolf surpasses them in many ways. The basic plot is pretty straight-forward, whichever of the two characters you choose is to save the President who is being held hostage by the adversary. This is pretty standard stuff, but the fact that all aspects of Bloody Wolf are executed so well is what makes the game a very worthwhile play-through.

Game-play/Play-mechanics: The game takes a side-scrolling/overhead hybrid perspective, depending on what the player is doing; the perspective can perhaps best be compared to games such as Golden Axe or Double Dragon since the player can move vertically and horizontally freely within the games’ boundaries. There is a lot of action throughout most of the game but the pace is more measured than what is experienced in Contra as the player is able to explore environments more thoroughly; this includes being able to go into various buildings and huts/hideouts, as well as the back of trucks or meeting up with non-player characters. The field of play is at times wide-open and at other times more on-rails but the action in general remains pretty steady, this game is still much more action than mission/adventure. The game has a nice variety of weapons and sub-weapons to make use of and boss-battles are a big highlight, with all kinds of cool patterns to learn and overcome, and the bosses just act really cool in general. The game-progression is actually quite cool; towards the middle of the game you will use the character that you did not select to complete levels as a neat part of the storyline. The level-designs are somewhat varied to keep the overall experience fresh, and the replay value is pretty high also. The actual play-control/responsiveness is pretty tight and what you’d expect from a competent 2D game. The game is very fun to play for most of the levels but can become pretty challenging at the end, but it’s nothing that can’t be overcome with a little persistence.

Visuals/Artwork: Very good-looking graphics by Turbografx-16 standards, many of the levels have a similar color scheme however that is all part of the games’ overall direction. The bosses are cool-looking and have very impressive attacks visually; the stylistic value is high here. There is a lot happening on the screen at once at times, yet it never becomes any kind of distraction. The player character and common enemy sprites are of pretty decent size, although the animation is slightly limited, yet this can be seen as a positive also since it often tightens up the basic play-control.

Music/Sound: The music in this game really rocks, some of the best that I’ve ever heard out of a Turbografx-16 card game. The sound-quality is very good and the various tunes are just so catchy and upbeat, not to mention extremely complementary to the action presented during the course of the game. I haven’t owned this game in over ten years and I can still recall the majority of the tunes very vividly. Definitely a great soundtrack overall, the sound-effects are very loud as they should be, especially the various super-attacks of the bosses. The fire-power and related sound-samples are good, although nothing out of the ordinary, and they don’t really need to be.