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Sabre Wulf is the first game in the Sabre Man series (followed by Underwurlde, Knight Lore and Pentagram), and the game which introduced Rare Ltd's long-running Sabreman character (who's since appeared in many other Rare games). The game was published in 1984 by "Ultimate Play the Game" a.k.a. "Ashby Computers and Graphics", both of which ultimately proved to be trading styles of Rare. If the title character sounds familiar, you might have played another Rare-created series that featured a similar creature.
There exists two different games carrying the same name: the 1984 original, a ZX Spectrum Action Adventure starring Sabreman, a British explorer who finds himself trapped in a deep labyrinth-esque jungle chasm and now must find his way out of it by finding 4 pieces of an amulet. However, on his path he'll have to fence against jungle creeps of various sizes, natives and the titular Sabre Wulf, an implacable wolf who appears at times and is better dealt with by running away. Besides the amulet pieces, Sabreman can also collect different treasures for points and colored flowers that grant him temporary special abilities (increased speed, invulnerability) or disadvantages (inverted controls). The game got ported to a few other computers of the time, like the Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC.
The second game was released in 2004 for the Game Boy Advance, and works as a sequel to the first: Sabreman ended up banishing the evil Wulf as he was ravaging a nearby town, using the magical amulet. The townspeople then erected a statue of the wolf, and used the amulet to seal him inside it. Things went smoothly for a while, until Mad Scientist Dr. Dolittle-Goode came into the picture. Having tried to seize the land for years, he finds out about the Wulf and releases him, breaking the amulet into eight parts. Now both join forces to terrorize, conquer the lands and steal anything they want from various bystanders. Desperate, the Mayor of Blackwyche Village seeks out Sabreman to deal with the evil duo.
This Sabre Wulf is a more straightforward Puzzle Platformer, as Sabreman now has a host of small Monster Allies which assists him with their different abilities (jump higher, create platforms, move obstacles, etc). Besides the amulet parts, Sabreman gets involved in several Fetch Quests trying to recover the objects (or people) Wulf has stolen. Once said article is found, the Wulf wakes up and the player must run away back to the entrance before the wolf can catch him.
The ZX Spectrum version (1984) provides examples of:
- Big Creepy-Crawlies
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: Each flower is colored differently depending on the powerup it grants (red=invulnerability, blue=speed up, etc).
- Dismantled MacGuffin: The Amulet.
- Elite Mook: The wolf. It can't be defeated, and one has better run away in the chance they cross paths.
- Giant Mook: Rhinos and Hippopotamus, which can't be defeated like any other enemy.
- Giant Spider: One recurrent Mook.
- Interface Screw: One of the flowers' effects.
- Invincibility Power-Up: The red flower.
- Jungle Japes: The whole game is one.
- The Maze
The GBA version (2004) provides examples of:
- Action Bomb: Boomer, one of the Monster Allies, which explodes whenever an enemy touch it (or after a few seconds).
- Advancing Boss of Doom: The Wulf is Type B, albeit he never turns into a proper Boss Fight.
- Badass Grandpa: Sabreman.
- Big Bad: Dr. Dolittle-Goode.
- The Dragon: The Wulf.
- Big Badass Wolf: The Wulf, of the first variety obviously. It's howl is good enough to send the shivers down Sabreman's spine.
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: Bigfoot is one of the Monster Allies.
- Blob Monster: Sticky, a goo creature you can set to trap enemies who walk into it.
- Bubblegloop Swamp: Several, Entombed Swamp being the biggest one.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Dr. Dolittle-Goode. Then again, with a name like that...
- City Guards: Of the crazy variety:
Sabreman: Can't you [save the Mayor]? You are soldiers, after all.
Soldier: Us? Not likely, we only joined up for the uniform. Girls are very partial to a man in uniform, you know.
- Collection Sidequest: The colored orchids the guy in the starting town asks you to find for his girl. Each one of them is obtained by a Fetch Quest of their own, too.
- Cool Airship: Dolittle-Goode uses a hot air balloon as means of transportation.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sabreman tends to dip into these, specially when everyone keeps reminding him that he's "their only hope".
Sabreman: It's always me, isn't it?
- Death Mountain: Mt. Knightlore.
- Dismantled MacGuffin: The Amulet, once again.
- Dumb Muscle: Bigfoot and Club.
- Extreme Omnivore: The Drooler creature, whose method of assistance is swallowing most enemies whole.
- Fetch Quest
- First Town: Blackwyche Village.
- Gotta Catch Em All: The eight Amulet pieces, and arguably the monsters. Sidequest gatherings include photographs and orchids.
- Inexplicable Treasure Chests
- Invincibility Power-Up: The Phoenix creature grants Sabreman this.
- Jungle Japes: Karnath Jungle.
- Mad Scientist: Dr. Dolittle-Goode.
- Monster Allies
- Phoenix: One of the good creatures.
- Recurring Boss: Exaggerated. You have to run away from the same boss at the end of every level.
- Recycled Title
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Crocodiles are common enemies.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Wulf during the backstory, of the Taken for Granite variety.
- Shout-Out: The multi-color orchid Sidequest is likely one to the flower powerups in the original.
- The Spiny: Appears as an obstacle in several stages.
- Trampoline Tummy: Blubba, the first creature you find, allows you to reach higher grounds by jumping on its big belly.
- Sticky Fingers: Wulf steals anything it wants, including even people.
- Take Over the World: The doctor's intention.
- Time Skip: Not mentioned, but the game is set quite some years after the original. Sabreman is noticeable older, and even comments he's "getting too old for this."
- Underground Level: Most Wulf Holes. There are also quite a few named stages, like Karnath Mines.
- Theme Naming: All game areas are named after old Ultimate Play the Game games (Blackwyche Village, Underwurle Mines, Mount Knightlore...)
- The Unfought: Dr. Dolittle-Goode is never confronted properly, and is anticlimatically (and literally) shot down in the game's ending.