Sabre Wulf

Format: GBA

4 005209 05135
Age Restrictions: 3+

Many moons ago, the savage Sabrewulf attacked the village of Blackwyche. But he was soon turned into a stone statue by the hero of the day, Sabreman. Now the Wulf has been freed by the mysterious Dr. Dolittle-Goode and together they set about stealing from the local villages. The Mayor of Blackwyche has contacted the now retired Sabreman in a last bid attempt to free his village from the terror...

Being a bit of an old man myself, I remember Sabreman's original outing on the Spectrum. Sabre Wulf was one of a number of instant hits from Ultimate.

Now, years later I too felt like I was being dragged out of retirement to rejoin my old friend Sabreman - who I spent many hours with all those years ago - to once again rid the world from evil... or something like that.

You start the game with a few simple challenges, find stolen items that Sabrewulf has taken from the village, and then run back to the village with Sabrewulf hot on your heels. As you progress, you'll be given a number of other forest beasties to control, each has its own function, allowing you to pass obstacles in your way.

This sees one of the games major problems. In later levels, you will have to run through your list of helpful animals in order to complete each level. But, with so many to choose from, picking the right one quickly is not easy. And, as the game doesn't pause while you choose your critter, you'll find yourself getting killed through no real fault of your own. This is extremely frustrating.

Each level gives the player a setting (village, forest, etc) which they must explore in order to discover Sabrewulf's tunnels. Once you've successfully managed to enter one of his tunnels and retrieve the stolen artefact, a flag appears to let you know you have completed this challenge. And the great thing about this game is that if you are caught by Sabrewulf, on your return back through the level, instead of having to start all over again, the game lets you continue from when you grabbed the artefact.

This game looks the business. The graphics are great, with the small characters beautifully detailed. The sound is also pretty impressive - with characters mumbling as you meet them. Sabreman himself mumbles like a real old English gent, and some of the dialogue he comes out with while running away from Sabrewulf had me laughing out loud - "Spiffing, what!!", "For the Empire what!", "Run for it!" and "Gently, Bentley!" are just a few of his phrases

The background noises are great too. The village has the sound of the village clock bell tolling and there are chickens clucking as well. And, when you go venture in to the jungle, you can hear birds, monkeys, grasshoppers, frogs and the odd trunk call of an elephant. Also, when you return with each artefact, you get a slightly too long fanfare. So it's a welcome relief to note that pressing button A or B will result in the sound of a record being scratched, and the fanfare abruptly ending.

As the games and challenges are so short this is the ideal game for long car journeys, as well as for quick bursts for short bus rides. A great game which you'll still want to play long after you've collected the last part of the amulet.

Ray Thompson

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