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Up from (Super) Obscurity

Back for more of February 2014's Article Theme-Month-o-Fun, Endangered SNESpecies, eh? Well, before we begin, let me say "Happy Valentine's Day" to all you couples* out there!
*: This is just a rhetorical salutation, of course. If you're spending Valentine's Day** reading about forgotten mid-'90s video games you're most likely crazy and/or alone -- why, the only individual more deranged would be someone spending Valentine's Eve WRITING about mid-'90s video games!
**: Though, if through some stroke of luck you NEED a last-minute valentine card, feel free to print out some of these swell cards I made last year.
Get on with it!
Right you are, section heading! And we're in for quite a switcharoo this week: last week we got off to a bullish boarish boring start with Power Piggs of the Dark Age, where the pig(g) in question battled wave after wave of evil wolves.
But this week? Well, CORE Design Limited's platformer/were-'em-up STARS the same species we so recently condemned...well, sort of. So sit back, chew on a few of those heart-shaped pieces of semi-edible chalk that are everywhere at this time of year, and join me for some slap-happy shape-shifting with...
So, Wolfchild, you say?
Indeed. And where to start? Well, as is my habit with these things, let's look at the game's Options menu:
There may be no "I" in "Team"...but there is an "I" in Wolfchild's nose.
It's entirely possible I featured the menu just so I could make that joke.
Wolfchild is the story of a guy with weird metal should-rings and flowing gray hair, who invades an island on board a flying wolf ship(?) for reasons that can only be guessed at:
He runs around and punches various goons in sci-fi armor, many of whom are anthropomorphic animal-men:
(Their animal nature is usually more apparent when they're not wearing helmets, though there ARE a lot of "animal-head-specific" helmets, as you'll see as we go on)
Mr. Wolfchild isn't one to be left out of the fun, and so he can turn into a werewolf when he gathers the game's primary power-up:
WERE do you go now!
Aside from looking like a total badass, this has the side-effect of making your fists shoot lasers every time you punch:
But like all good video game transmogrifications, if you take too much damage you're back down to being Puny Man again.
..and because it's a video game, every now and then you face off against...
some cool enemy hardware,
and some twice-your-size bosses.
and because this is a video game on the SNES, they manage to wedge some Mode-7 zooming in here and there, whether you like it or not!
When you see this in the game, he's a-zoomin' in! Just trust me, that's what happens.
(I spent all of this week's animation budget on that werewolf transformation sequence)
Wait a minute -- who was that werewolf I saw you with last console?
This also feels like a game who is the "spiritual descendant" of a completely unrelated NES game:
Werewolf: the Last Warrior for the NES also features a punching man who gets powered up to one or two levels werewolf badass-y-ness, but downgrades again after losing too many hitpoints.
Like the other times I've brought this kind of thing up, this NES and SNES games are actually unrelated -- but I think the two game's synopses and approach are remarkably similar. (So I remarked on it).
So, Wolfchild; what else is there to say?
Well, as you've seen above, the graphics are pretty cool. While the punching-only attacks of Puny Man is kind of a drag, Wolf-Mode is good fun.
Though the levels are sometimes a little directionless, the jumping controls are decent, and the game avoids some of SNES platformer-ing's most annoying pitfalls*
*: of having too many annoying pitfalls
But the most noteworthy element of Wolfchild is the sheer variety of Animal-Men. Whatever this game's story (which sadly isn't even hinted at on screen), it takes place on the proverbial Isle of Dr. Moreau: each level usually contains a few new types of enemies appropriate to its environment!
(Granted, almost all the enemies use either the "walk around and shoot", or "stand around and shoot" attack pattern, but you can't have everything)
Let's take a tour through the Wolfchild Enemy Zoo...
And see the animal-soldier-dudes in their own element!
Newt-Men(?) in the rain,
Ant-Men alongside their less-evolved buggy compatriots,
You get your wolf-behind handed to you in a mini-boss battle against these amazing Spider-Men,
And for some shrimp-boss insanity worthy of Monster Party --
pictured above: the famous Breaded Shrimp mini-boss.
you do battle with a giant crayfish rolling around on a half-pipe!
Of course, sometimes you don't quite know what the enemies are supposed to be under their helmets.
But for whatever reason, there's a whole hell of a lot of slightly different enemies like this -- all with slightly different helms/breathing tubes/etc!
And then, near the end of the game,
(in the stage whose "map icon" contains an oddly Egypt Hippo-Man statue)
we've apparently come full circle: it's Wolfchild vs...
PIG-MEN!
(who may or may not be from the dark age)
...but this time the OTHER white meat is the one wearing the black hat!
Tune in next week for more Endangered SNESpecies!
As well as the normal amount of incredibly drawn-out (if only moderately amusing) jokes!
— carlmarksguy, 2014-02-14
1
I like how he has blonde hair on the title screen, but grey hair in the game.
2
Yeah, as much as the SNES can have many colors, I'd bet the Silver-Gray hair vs. Blond was a palette-saving decision: EVERY level has whites and gunmetal gray background, but how often are several shades of yellow hair going to be useful.
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