Pros: Interesting twist on platformers, lots of creatures means more
ways to complete levels, excellent pseudo 3D graphics
Cons: Relatively simple, not a lot to do after completing the game
When Rare made Donkey Kong Country, they already had a classic. After it
was re-released for the Game Boy Advance gamers who have never played it
before were impressed by a game that was almost ten years old. While
gamers that have already completed it still found it entertaining. After
the Donkey Kong Country series Rare worked on bigger projects including
the well known Perfect Dark. 2D games were a thing of the past, until
they started working on Sabre Wulf. Sabre Wulf is a sequel to the
popular Sabreman released in 1985 for the Commodore 64. For the two
people that remember the Commodore 64 and for the one person that
remembers Sabreman, Sabre Wulf should bring back memories. For everyone
else, know that Sabre Wulf is an excellent platformer in the style of
the famous Donkey Kong Country.
Before you even start playing the game you know this game has that
"Rare" touch of pseudo 3D graphics. First appearing on the Super NES
pre-rendered 3D sprites were a technological feat. Although, the
technique seems dated the graphics still look good on the Game Boy
Advance. When you're walking around the town the top down perspective
works well with the pseudo 3D sprites. When you're in the actual 2D
levels Rare doesn't skimp on the graphics. The environments are filled
with detail and colorful backgrounds. They even include weather
conditions, like rain, which look cool. The animation is best seen in
Sabreman (the main character) and in the creatures. The creatures have a
specific artistic style to them, that makes them look sort of comical
with their animations. While the presentation may make Sabre Wulf seem
like a kids game Sabre Wulf still has a wide appeal.
In Sabre Wulf you play as Sabreman, a fabled explorer. Sabreman's job
is to once again seal the vile beast known as Sabrewulf from attacking
villagers. To rid the world of Sabrewulf you need to collect pieces of
an amulet. Pieces are scattered throughout different levels, which have
pits, enemies and other traps. Sabreman isn't exactly an action hero. He
can't jump very high, he can't actually attack any enemies, and after
one hit he's got to leave the level. If it was up to just Sabreman alone
the world doesn't stand a chance. Luckily for him, he isn't alone.
Within the stages are creatures that you can collect and put in your
bottomless backpack. When you need to use a creature you press the "B"
button, which opens up a window that shows your available creatures.
Pressing the "A" button allows you to place creatures where needed. Each
creature has a different ability, like Blubba who lets you jump on his
belly to reach higher places or Bigfoot which kicks anything in front of
you. You have limited use of your creatures depending on how many of the
creature you caught. This makes players think about when and how to use
their creatures to the fullest instead of placing a whole bunch of
Serpents down to make a bridge above the level. When you reach the end
of a level you'll see a treasure and Sabrewulf waiting for you. Once you
grab the treasure all of the enemies will disappear and turn into
treasure. With the path to the beginning of the level cleared you'll
have to run from Sabrewulf chasing you to get back to your tent.
Grabbing treasure coins along the way will net you more money and the
faster you make it back to the tent the more the coins are worth.
Early on in the game the levels are simple. You have a limited amount
of creatures so there aren't many ways to beat the levels. As you
progress through the game and you capture a more diverse amount of
creatures options open up to the gamer. Should you plow through enemies
using attacking creatures or do you opt to avoid them so they become
treasure coins on your return trip. With many ways to beat the levels
Sabre Wulf is more than your standard 2D platformer. There is even an
RPG element to Sabre Wulf because you can purchase more creatures and
special items at a shop. However, with all of Sabre Wulf's innovation,
its a short game. You can play through the game is a single digit number
of hours with not much to do after the game is completed. Sabre Wulf
does offer up a challenge mode for gamers that have completed the game.
Challenge mode has gamers try to beat the levels as quickly as possible,
but after you've completed Sabre Wulf there is no motivation to play
challenge mode. There is no extra levels, no special creatures, no
Ultimately, Sabre Wulf is a solid platformer. Sabre Wulf has Rare's
trademark pseudo sprites, excellent level design and a quirky story.
The European version is an excellent version to import. It features
three languages and the Game Boy Advance is region free.
Sabre Wulf has been announced in North America, but no release date
has been set.
While Sabre Wulf is a fun play through and a surprise hit
title from Rare, Sabre Wulf is a short game.