is a 1994 DOS
game (you'll need DOSBox
or similar to play it on a modern machine) downloadable here
. In it, you simulate the life of a wolf in one of three environments: the pleasant timber forest, the blazingly hot prairie, or the frigid arctic. Hunt prey, mark your territory, find a mate, raise pups, and generally run around being a wolf. You can also harass humans and their cattle, if you're feeling suicidal.
Has no relation to the film Wolf released the same year.
Tropes present in this game:
- Alpha and Beta Wolves: The alpha/beta/omega hierarchy is used, despite the fact it was known to be inaccurate even upon release.
- Arcadia: Humans apparently love the forest and prairie, since they're pleasant and good for grazing cattle. You'll wish they'd go home instead, because humans are the most annoying enemy in the game.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: The alpha wolf generally gets to be (and stay) alpha by being bigger, stronger, and more aggressive than the rest of the pack. This dates the game, because we now know this is not always true of real wolves, whose "alphas" are the parents of the rest and thus dominant by default.
- Bloodless Carnage: Meat is red, but that's as much blood as you'll ever see. The process of killing an animal - whether that's you killing your dinner or a hunter killing you - results in zero blood.
- Critical Existence Failure: Averted; while you only have one health meter, it governs your physical abilities. If you are injured, you will be unable to sprint and can only limp along at a pace about as fast as a trot. Played straight with your hunger, thirst, and endurance meters, however. Either you can run some more, or you must trot; either you are fed and watered, or you are dead. You don't slow down before you stop.
- Death from Above: Hunters prowl the skies in helicopters and planes. If you see one coming, don't even bother barking to alert your packmates; just tuck your tail between your legs and scram, because if that shadow touches you, a sniper is gonna take you down in one hit.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The game is called Wolf. You are a wolf. You do wolf things. That's... about it.
- Grim Up North: The tundra itself seems to try to kill you, even on "good weather" settings.
- Guide Dang It!: Mating and successfully raising pups is the most difficult thing in the game, partly because it is never explained how. You both have to have nearly full stamina and health, and the opposite sex alpha has to be receptive, which requires it being the right season (this is different depending on the biome), luck and interacting with them long enough (this includes laying next to them when you sleep), and when you finally do succeed you have to play the game for the entire pregnancy, which takes forever because time passes very, very slowly in this game. It's a bit easier to actually mate if you're the female because the alpha male will automatically do some of the stuff required (such as sleep next to you), and will initiate sex on his own, something the female rarely does when computer controlled. When you finally do have pups, you often have to struggle to keep them alive, so you will probably lose at least one of the pups you worked so hard for. The game also doesn't inform you they will also chase away the other pack members when they reach a certain age.
- Hold the Line: Some of the scenarios require you to keep your mate or cubs alive for a certain number of days.
- Humans Are Cthulhu: They'll kill you faster than anything else. Aerial humans are always hunters, but it's impossible to tell a harmless hiker from a deadly hunter until the bullets start flying, so avoid the walking ones, too.
- Hyperactive Metabolism: Averted; you need a full belly to heal, but it's not instantaneous. A rabbit does not solve your limp, even assuming you can limp fast enough to catch said rabbit.
- Instant Death Bullet: Helicopter and plane bullets; sometimes ground-fired bullets.
- In-Universe Game Clock: Day turns to night in a matter of minutes, and eventually, the seasons will change.
- Life Simulation Game: Wolf is one of the Trope Makers for animal simulation games. You take control over the survival of a wolf pack.
- Manual Leader, A.I. Party: When you rally your pack to hunt large animals, you'll only control your own wolf. The others will simply follow along and provide an attack bonus if you make your move while they're reasonably close. You can also press A and have the game autoplay for you if you wish.
- The Many Deaths of You: Dying results in a screen that says "<<Your wolf's name>> has died of <<the thing that killed you>>." Starvation, dehydration, and bullet wounds are the most common. Especially bullet wounds.
- Nintendo Hard:
- The scenarios tend to try to kill you as fast as possible - you may start out injured, thirsty, and far from water, for example, and just solving your basic needs can take up most of the time allotted. Even setting the simulation parameters to easy (plenty of prey, few humans, good weather), you're still likely to die quite quickly.
- Successfully reproducing. The developers seem to think wolves hate sex or something.
- Noble Wolf: The game generally tries to depict wolves realistically, but was made with the intent that seeing how they live would make people care about them. The information snippets are definitely written with a Noble Wolf in mind.
- One-Hit Kill: Helicopter and plane bullets are always one-hit kills. Bullets fired by ground-based hunters may sometimes be one-hit kills, but are just as often two-hit kills.
- One-Word Title: Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The game is called Wolf. You are a wolf. You do wolf things. That's... about it.
- Permadeath: Your packmates, should something unfortunate befall them.
- Pregnant Badass: Pregnant alpha females are still the alpha for a reason. She's just as capable of joining in an elk hunt as she was before mating season.
- Papa Wolf: The alpha male when the pack has cubs, in a very literal version of this trope. Do not wander into a neighboring pack's territory.
- Savage Wolves: You can be this if you want, but the stereotypical "attack all humans on sight" is the absolute easiest way in the game to get yourself killed. A single bullet may instantaneously reduce you to a cooling body, and two will always do the trick. It gets worse with humans using helicopters and planes; whether they have better aim or more powerful rifles is unknown, but they kill you in one shot flat. The best way of keeping yourself alive against humans is to simply ignore them and their animals (as farmers can and will shoot you for attacking their cows).
- Spiritual Successor:
- WolfQuest is essentially this game modernized.
- Lion is a follow up to this game, but with lions, (obviously).
- Sprint Meter: Your wolf can only run at top speed for a certain distance, determined by its endurance. You can trot for forever, however.
- Timed Mission: Scenarios all have a time limit on them, such as "find water in twelve hours" or "defeat the alpha within two days".
- Too Dumb to Live: Attack a cow and farmers will shoot you. You will die very fast.
- Unstable Equilibrium: Being injured means you can no long sprint, which makes it more difficult to hunt. However, you require food in order to begin the healing process, meaning you're likely to stay injured and thus stay hungry longer (unless you scavenge off the carcasses laying around, or had a stash of meat hidden somewhere nearby).
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: If you manage to become alpha, make sure to pick on the beta who's the same sex as you. If you don't, they'll start a fight for dominance when they think they can take you, rather than getting a good reminder of why they shouldn't.
- We Cannot Go On Without You: The simulation ends when the player's wolf dies, whether that wolf is an alpha or the omega and regardless of the state of the rest of the pack.
- Wild Wilderness: You're part of it.
- Wizard Needs Food Badly: Wolf Needs Food Badly: Hunger is one of your pressing concerns, along with thirst.