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Werewolf: The Last Warrior!
by: Dr. Boogie

When it comes to the future, the fate of the civilized world typically rests in the hands of one man who has typically settled into a nice groove as far as post-apocalyptic settings go. Maybe he's a loner who just does what he does to get by; maybe he's a former cop out for a little frontier justice; maybe he's a wandering do-gooder. You've heard it all before, right? Well what if the hero of the story was not a tough guy with a five-o'clock shadow, but a ferocious creature of the night? In that case, my friends, you would have Werewolf: The Last Warrior.

You take on the role of a man known simply as "Werewolf", who's on a mission to reclaim the world from the insidious Dr. Faryan and his motley band of mutants. Somehow, the group has managed to "imprisoned nearly the entire population," and so the most logical thing to do is kill the doc and his buddies. They're monsters, you're a werewolf. It seems like a fair match-up to me. The problem is that you start out as a hunched shirtless guy who has to earn his way to werewolf-dom by finding a red "W". This bit is explained in not so many words by your guide, a crazy homeless guy named Kinju.

I suppose the only guide suited for a movie monster would be a very creepy fellow with unkempt hair. He chimes in at the beginning of each stage with helpful information about the level ahead, with an occasional bit of trivia thrown in to keep it fresh. Did you know that "water is the natural enemy of the werewolf"? I sure didn't, but he claimed that he didn't need to remind me of that, which he did, so who's the asshole here?

Enough with the preliminaries. That first red "W" triggers a remarkable transformation not seen since the days of Altered Beast:

As if werewolves weren't dangerous enough, this one has giant hook arms! It sure looks like he doesn't have any hands, but apparently, he can retract those hooks when he's not using them, which is good because it would be very difficult to use chopsticks with those things.

As a werewolf, or "as Werewolf" if you like, you can do all sorts of neat tricks apart from hacking your enemies to death with your arm blades. For one, those things make great pitons, and so climbing on walls and ceilings is a breeze. Backflips and high jumps, no problem. Swimming... remains difficult, as silver bullets are not nearly as perilous to a werewolf as even the smallest body of water. Running also seems to be impossible. If he'd diversify a little, he could learn to take running jumps in order to better avoid water. Still, if you collect a quintet of small black "anger" orbs, you can temporarily upgrade to "Super Werewolf" status.

I know it doesn't seem like much, but the Super Werewolf hits harder and jumps much higher, ridiculously so in fact. And it lasts almost a full minute! Why, that almost makes up for the fact that you might only gain Super Werewolf status once the whole game.

Further complicating your journey is the fact that when you take too much damage, you revert to your considerably less hirsute form, and pretty much get your ass kicked. The human Werewolf does have one trick up his sleeve:

It's kind of embarrassing to play a hero whose strongest attack just happens to be shouting "noo!" at his enemies. I can't argue with the results, though, as it does pretty good damage and travels all the way across the screen. The bad guys will even try their best to duplicate the effect:

But you just can't beat the original. Unless the enemy is using something more effective than a scared shriek. Early on, when you're fighting off menacing foes like bats and flying twigs, this isn't much of a problem, but you don't want screaming to be your only weapon against a boss. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule:

Throughout the game, you'll be menaced by a large shirtless man that the game calls "The Giant Head". As you can see, however, his head is proportional to the rest of his body. A more accurate name for him would be The Giant Bald Idiot. He doesn't put up much of a fight, and as far as I can tell, his only real purpose is to be defeated by you and provide you with more werewolf power, if need be. Sort of the Aquaman of Dr. Faryan's evil empire. Other than him, you've got some pretty unremarkable bosses, including a guy who looks suspiciously like the Juggernaut.

And the good doctor drinks a magic potion to turn himself into werewolf with blade arms (what are the odds?). Even more interesting than werewolf-on-werewolf action is the ending: in the Japanese version of the game, a little epilogue rolls and you get a shot of Werewolf looking at the moon:

In the US version, you get the same epilogue, but a slightly different picture:

Take that, rest of the world! Werewolf works for us, now!!! USA! USA!! That must've stung a bit back in the day, considering he was supposed to be saving the whole world, and not just the US. And why is his chest bare? Perhaps the hair was chewed off by the flying piranha from the infuriating fourth level. Then again, he probably just shaved it off with his blade arms in preparation for his photo op. He is in the US, after all.

Questions or Comments about this piece?
email Dr. Boogie

*** You too can play Werewolf: The Last Warrior! ***


Note: to play this game you'll need a NES emulator.

Want to see some more video game related content?
Then check out Dr. Boogie's feature on:

A Nightmare On Elm Street: Freddy's PC Game!
A Nightmare On Elm Street:
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