Werewolf aims for the formula that made the first two Ninja Gaiden games great, but utterly whiffs.

The premise is that a Native American chief enters into some supernatural compact with spirits to get the power of the lycanthrope, which he needs to defeat some modern paramilitary group single-handedly. Most of this is relayed through an odd little comic book that was packed in with the original release, however. If you're just jumping into the game, you'll have to make do with very sporadic Ninja Gaiden-esque cutscenes to advance the plot.

Also, instead of getting a sweet ninja, you get a werewolf with Edward Scissorhands disease. Well, actually, at first you just get some half-naked guy. And for some reason, you have to fight a mini-boss to start the game, pecking away at him with your crappy jab then running before he retaliates. Fortunately, you get a werewolf transformation and all your health back after this trial-by-fire (thank goodness for save states).

The game gets off to an irritating start, but that's not the worst of it. The whole thing is just belabored with weird and bad design decisions all along its length. The main problem is the attempt to ape Ninja Gaiden's wall- and ceiling-climbing mechanics. The werewolf is constantly sticking to walls you didn't mean to, refusing to disengage from walls when you want to, and refusing to snag onto overhead pipes when you need to. The layout is also such that you're constantly squeezing through narrow areas, sometimes in a mazelike configuration with a tight level timer, so you're forever clumsily wrestling with the environment.

Beating the timer is tough enough, but you also have to deal with enemies designed to be as trolljob as possible in the way they appear and come at you. That and there are some incredibly unintuitive and obnoxious level stretches, like there's a corridor full of lightning in the first level that I still can't figure out how to get through without just eating a bunch of damage.

Werewolf: The Last Warrior is a clunky, over-difficult mess that will quickly run most players off.
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