Zeewolf was a mission-based, arcade wargame that not only improved on, but bettered David Brabon's seminal classic, Virus. Zeewolf put you in charge of a deadly blue attack chopper and offered a choice of three weapon systems with which to hand out justice to its enemies.
Zeewolf 2, though, is a sequel. To paraphrase a fellow journo in the games world, "if you ain't going forwards, you're going backwards". So the big question that has to be asked is whether or not Zeewolf 2: Wild Justice is going forwards. The answer is a simple and resounding yes and no; both at the same time and with equal conviction. The biggest improvements lie in the optimisation of the code. The 3D patchwork terrain moves faster and looks better; there are four world types as well - grasslands, desert, arctic, and toxic wasteland. Those worlds are further populated with all manners of buildings, machinery and military paraphernalia.
Combined with the now look of the different worlds, they succeed in fleshing out what was basically a bare bones collection of assorted objects. Consequently, the new additions add to the atmosphere and help the gamer suspend their disbelief more readily. Vastly improving on the original and drawing heavily on the influence of Jungle Strike is the inclusion of different vehicle types which the Zeewolf pilot can access by linking up with a remote link Camel (all of Zeewolf's vehicles are named after various animals).
In that other great chopper game, Jungle Strike, the player was forced to use the ground and water vehicles in certain instances, due to the introduction of some crude mechanisms preventing them from completing missions in an alternative manner; for example, the hovercraft had to be used because the attack chopper couldn't fly past a bridge but the hovercraft could sail underneath it. Zeewolf 2, thanks to its open-ended architecture offering complete freedom of movement, isn't quite so draconian. At least not at first. On mission 11, when the player is first introduced to the remote link boat, the mission can easily be completed without even thinking about the boat.
Come mission 19, though, the player is almost forced to use the boat through a lack of refuelling Camels. You're left with virtually no other option but use the remote link boat. It would have been nicer to see the player having to resort to the use of the remote link vehicles through dastardly mission design.
After all, SAM and AAA sites track ground vehicles but don't actually shoot at them. Protecting a mission objective with heavy batteries of anti-aircraft missiles backed up with three or four Cobras (a mobile radar vehicle which homes missiles in on the Zeewolf) would ensure that all but the most kamikaze of pilots would resort to the remote link ground vehicles on offer. Still, the new vehicles are a pleasure to use and spice up the flavour of Zeewolf 2 no end. The boat is a favourite of everyone in the office.
You can fire torpedoes, homing missiles and a straight cannon. It's the same with the other remote vehicles, each one has its own particular 'big' weapon. Top stuff. Surprisingly, though, the issue of controlling the Zeewolf hasn't been dealt with in a satisfactory manner. Mouse control is still as slick, intuitive and difficult to learn as ever It truly is worth persevering with
Many people can't get to grips with the mouse and thus opt to use the joystick. The joystick hasn't been suitably upgraded to give the player the sense of utter control that's needed, you can't use the throttle with the joystick which makes it a very poor relative of mouse control. There isn't even an option to use a two-button joystick or a CD32 pad. This is an unforgivable exclusion. It shuts off too many people from the real joy of playing the game. And Zeewolf truly is an event waiting to happen
So, we've reached this far and now the time's arrived to ask if Zeewolf has gone forward. The answer is a straight yes and no. Yes, the inclusion of remote vehicles is a step in the right direction. And no, the mission structure isn't different enough to protect the game from the claim that it's more of the same - it would have been nice to see a structure similar to Jonathan Griffith's Conqueror. Overall, though, the game offers just enough to have edged forward in the evolution stakes.
I've still got no qualms about thoroughly recommending Zeewolf 2. Playing the sequel is like visiting an old and trusted friend who's suddenly taken to wearing trendy clothes and acting hip. Despite all the hype about 'next generation' consoles, a game's still to appear that offers next generation gameplay. Zeewolf 2 is a next generation game awaiting recognition. Grab a piece of the future. Download Zeewolf 2 - it's terrific.
Almost the same as the Zeewolf 1, but with many new levels and missions. A garmada of new vehicles appears in Zeewolf 2.
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