A while back I went to see the film Juno. I'd heard good things, and Jason Bateman was in it, so "what the hell", I thought. Then, just a few minutes into the film, someone (I don't remember if it was annoying girl or slutty friend) said "Honest to Blog". And then all I could feel was hatred, eating away at my soul and humanity. I turned to the friend sitting next to me and said "The only way this won't be the worst film I see this year is if, by the last ten minutes, it's somehow become a movie about Werewolves with rocket launchers battling Robots on motorcycles." Needless to say, this did not happen, and the film went on to be depressingly dull.
Why am I writing about this here, on a game review site? Well, allow me to post this picture from the Magic Box, the only place to go for pictures of Japanese games that may never come out in North America:
You're not seeing things. That's a werewolf with a rocket launcher. When I first saw pictures of this game late last year, it was like all my fondest dreams of werewolves launching rockets were coming true. According to my therapist, those dreams represent my contentious relationship with my grocer. I suspect my therapist isn't very good at his job.
I can't read Japanese, but I suspect that translates roughly as "Go forth, my legion of the damned! Grind your cloven hoof into the face of humanity!"
Two weeks ago I was surprised to discover that the game was going to be released in North America. For two reasons: 1) I never read previews or stories about upcoming games, so the first I heard of it coming out here was the demo on Xbox Live, and 2) The game seems far too interesting to come out in North America. As I'm sure North American gamers have noticed, we like our games bland and reality-based. If it weren't for the Japanese, we wouldn't even have zombies in games.
Operation Darkness has perhaps the greatest premise a game has ever possessed: It's the Second World War. Hitler is using his supernatural monster army to march across Europe. There's one thing he didn't count on, though—that British Special Forces guys can, in a flash of fuschia light, turn into werewolves:
The demo plays stiffly and awkwardly, as Japanese Strategy RPGs tend to. Perhaps it's just because I was weaned on the Western style, with their action points and such, that I'm unable to really grasp the attractiveness of their gameplay, which generally allows payers to choose between two options: "move then shoot" or "shoot then move". It's possible that the demo just doesn't offer enough game to really get me into the groove, and I'll appreciate the full version more, but frankly, it doesn't really matter. Right at the end of the demo, a story section pops up, and a German general (can't remember which one, so I'll guess Goering) is told about the new werewolf squad, so he dispatches his best soldier to deal with them. That soldier? A sexy lady vampire Nazi with absolutely ridiculous cleavage.
There's really no reason this shouldn't become the best-selling videogame of all time, despite the lack of Robots on motorcycles. Want a little more proof? Take a look at this:
Yeah. That's right. A werewolf is shooting a rocket at a dragon.
What else do you want, America?