The Art of Bob Wakelin

You may not recognise the name Bob Wakelin but, if you're an older gamer like myself, you may have seen his work. Back in the day, Wakelin was an artist for Ocean and Imagine and made many excellent pieces of box art for their titles. He was very adept with an airbrush – not a lot of people could make things look as chromed-up and shiny as he could. Here's a selection of his artwork that I still think is pretty damn handy even today.

List items

  • Dude is kicking a fucking mummy in the face. What more needs to be said?

  • Although he thinks it's nothing special, Wakelin has acknowledged that this piece is very popular. It's definitely one of my favourites. Nice composition, and very evocative of the game itself.

  • Great game (with great music) with nifty 80s sci-fi art to go with it.

  • Funnily enough, the main image is ripped from the artwork for Game Over, itself a piece of box art with nipple-related infamy. I still like the artwork Bob did for this though, regardless of the pedigree.

  • Known as Shadow Warriors for us PAL-ites. While the hero ninja in Wakelin's artwork is all well and good in his I-am-an-American-ass-ninja glory, the thing I really like about this is the black and yellow silhouetted brawling going on in the background. Chuck it against the backdrop of a city on the shoreline and this is the best 80s US kung-fu VHS cover that never was.

  • Cool bit of comic art that blended both of the game's stories into one very nice piece. For me, it captures the underlying menace of Batman quite well while still having that lurid eye-catching colour palette.

  • More specifically, Wakelin did the box art for the home computer versions.

  • Simply iconic.

  • I actually prefer this to the Operation Wolf artwork. Even though the Op Wolf cover is pretty badass, Cabal's box art looks like a still from some OTT direct-to-video movie. Fun fact: the guy who modelled for the Op Wolf cover appears again as that second dude firing off to the right. People thought it was an amusing in-joke, but it was just Wakelin utilising what he had.

  • Proving that he wasn't just sci-fi and action movies, this is a great example of how versatile Wakelin could be. Plus I just love how goddamn shiny Bob's hair is. Oh, and you can tell it's Bob (rather than Bub) by his blue overalls.