Operation Wolf. Taito (1989) Nintendo/Sega Master System


Released in 1987 in the arcades, and the Sega Master System in 1991 Operation Wolf is renowned for being one of the best Light Gun Games of the era. Though it is one of the most (home) converted games of all time, only the NES, Spectrum and S.M.S offered actual Light Gun support.

And with that, in my attempts to play all Light Gun games possible, is Operation Wolf any good nowadays?


You take on the role of Roy Adams, a U.S special forces bloke sent to rescue 5 captured Prisoners of War.

The home versions are a little muddy and undefined, but the shooting is pretty good

The home versions are a little muddy and undefined, but the shooting is pretty good


This is a light gun game, so you shoot things with your manly plastic weapon, one difference here is that you need to use the control pad to be able to use your special weapons. It took me a while to realise this, and it is slightly awkward holding a control pad AND a gun, but you get used to it.

There are 6 levels, and each level progresses the story slightly. For example, when you beat the Jungle level, you interrogate an enemy to find out the location of the P.O.Ws, when you liberate the Village they’ll heal your wounds.

The enemy sprites are a little on the small side, and it means you’ll struggle to hit enemies at first, however, once you get a little bit more accurate, you realise the shooting is fairly solid.

Each level tells you how many enemies you need to kill, and the level will continue until the target is reached, some enemies will run on and off screen quickly, meaning you can miss them, but you don’t get cheap hits. The enemies that hit you will be on screen for a while, so when you take damage, it is your fault, not bad game design.

The cutscenes are petty cool

The cutscenes are petty cool


I beat the game first time, and I didn’t get gameover or use a continue, so the game is on the easier side, though there is some difficulty in ammo management. Each level you are given a set amount of ammo, if you use it, you’re fucked. However, you can pick up bonus ammo, and the best way to do this is by shooting wild life. PETA might get annoyed by this, but shooting animals on each stage will reward you with extra ammo or grenades. Don’t worry animal lovers, the animals don’t actually die!

Still pretty muddy

Still pretty muddy


The game is short, I beat it in 10 minutes, and this would have been quicker if I didn’t have to pause the game to stop my wrist hurting. It isn’t really worth paying £15 for as it is so short, but if you find it cheap, or in a free arcade it is certainly worth a play. It is by far one of the best 8bit era shooters.

Pros: Pretty good

Cons: Short, having to use gun and the pad, it looks a little bit like arse smeared with Vaseline on a glass table


Back in the Day:

Operation Wolf won numerous awards such as “Best Coin-Op Conversion” and “Game of the Year”, suffice to say, it received excellent reviews and scored well into the 90s.

I'm awesome. I write about videogames occasionally but spend most time painting and playing Warhammer in varying formats.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System
10 comments on “Operation Wolf. Taito (1989) Nintendo/Sega Master System
  1. I didn’t even know this was released on the NES. That light gun was massively underused by the system.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Particlebit says:

    When I first played this on NES I didn’t realize you could use the light gun (so just used controller). Boy did I like it better after using the light gun.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. retroredress says:

    I love the game over screens for Operation Wolf…so precise and hopeless! “You have ran out of ammo and must join the hostages…” is one I’ve seen many a time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oscar Jiménez says:

    As Operation Wolf is one of my all-time favorite video games ever, I feel compelled to address the light gun support claim in your introductory paragraph: I can’t speak for the MSX, but the Commodore 64 and the Amstrad CPC had light gun-compatible versions of the game released, absolutely – at the very least, in some European countries. Believe me, I know too well. I was OBSESSED with Operation Wolf. I poured so many quarters on the arcades that I probably could’ve gotten my own cabinet for the total sum that I’d spend. When Ocean made the home ports, the version that we got in Spain was only compatible with joystick and mouse, sadly, so I had to get through a lot of trouble – specially for an 80s teenager – to get a C64 Light Phaser bundled with the game shipped from UK. A Light Phaser, by the way, that I modded heavily by cutting and pasting it together with a huge battery-operated machine gun that I got from Toys R’ Us. Yes, I was a crazy kid, but the end result was awesome.

    In short, the SMS, NES and Spectrum versions weren’t the only light gun-compatible ones, as there were also these C64 and Amstrad ports. Just so you know.

    By the way, for reference:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: