[PSOne Review] Wolf Fang
Wolf Fangâ€™s roots trace all the way back to Japanese arcades and is the sequel to the 16-bit title Vapor Trail. Assemble a battle-ready mech to survive the relentless waves of enemies in this intense run-and-gun shooter.
Customization is a central feature in Wolf Fang with 12 parts to swap in and out. The mechs players create will handle and control differently based on the configuration chosen. That means players will be able to find a loadout that fits their playstyle to accomplish each of the gameâ€™s bullet packed missions.
Wolf Fang Features:
* Assemble a customized robot from parts you choose
* A campaign to liberate Australia
* 12 different endings
Wolf Fang is part of MonkeyPaw Games’ Retro Rush group of releases, a great choice for the PSOne Import treatment since the fact that it’s entirely in Japanese never gets in the way of enjoying this release.
The game was originally released on arcade machines, and it was eventually ported to the PSOne (and the Saturn) with some changes and improvements. The story is easy to understand: evil empire tries to conquer the planet, hardcore mechs rise to fight, and they don’t stop ’till you get enough.
The mechs are fully customizable, and you can select the type of legs (this affects speed and jump height), the main weapon (self-explanatory) and the special weapon (which can make a huge difference depending on your gameplay style), tailoring each run for the perfect experience, or just for trying something new. Players who feel a bit scared about this option can decide to pick one of the 4 pre-built mechs right from the start, and whenever a mech is destroyed there is the option of selecting the same loadout or going back to the drawing board to select just what is needed for the current situation.
Unlike most arcade games from the same time period, in Wolf Fang each mech has a health bar, meaning that there are no frustrating one-hit kills. On top of this, you can recover one piece of health by picking up the corresponding power-up, and even if your mech IS destroyed, it’s not game over. The pilot from inside the mech will fly out when all health is gone, and if you can manage to pick 3 power-ups before taking a bullet to the heart, you will be rewarded with a new mech to fight another day (but with only 2 health points).
The game offers a lot of variety with branching paths after the second level, and you can pick between an easy or a hard level to mix-and-match your path towards the final countdown and this also plays a part in defining which ending you get.
As a nice bonus, you can select between the arcade and the PSOne version of the game, with changes made to the cutscene graphics, as well as the fact that the format of the PSOne (the almighty CD) allowed the developer to include dialog for the cutscenes, as well as FMV sequences to spice things up. Oh, and on the Arcade version you can only jump once (since the double-jump wasn’t part of the initial design and was actually included in the PSOne version).
Wolf Fang is a great arcade game and a welcome addition to the PSOne Imports range. The fast paced action, customization options, branching paths and fun gameplay make it a well-rounded game, and it’s also great that knowledge of the Japanese language is not a must in order to enjoy it. After my first run I went back to the game right away and selected a different loadout for my mech, aiming for a different set of levels… and the day after THAT second run, I went back for a third time. That should tell you how fun the game really is.
[review pros=”Fast gameplay
Lots of replay value
cons=”Some slowdown here and there