Review by KasketDarkfyre
"War is Hell..."
Capcom has a legacy of providing some pretty simple concept games, but adding in a ton of addictive qualities that make it all worth while to play. Commando is no exception to the rule, providing the gamer with plenty to shoot at, and several bonuses and even secrets to uncover through the seemingly never-ending stages! You take the role of a commando in an attempt to rescue some hostages while kicking the crap out of an evil enemy force. Through this, you'll find secrets and bonuses waiting for you at every turn as well as some wild difficulty and endless incoming fire.
Probably Capcom's second best genre, Commando gives you an overhead view, while rushing and blasting through waves of incoming enemy soldiers! You'll travel through several different stages, trying to rescue hostages, and trying to uncover the various secrets that lay hidden beneath trees and behind enemy trenches. You have two different weapons, one of which being your trusty machine gun, and the other your holy grenade, capable of wiping out the entire screen of enemies! Using these will get you far into the game, but it doesn't do everything, and you'll have to rely on your ability to move and traverse through incoming bullets.
Running is really the only thing that you can do in Commando, and if you’re not dead on in where you’re running, you’ll get killed quickly. There is nothing like looking at the continue screen multiple times just to know that the game has a difficulty that is ramped up after the first five minutes. Capcom fans will find that the game has plenty of action going for it, but the linear feel and outcome of the game is just a little too much to really have fun with it for more than a few minutes at best. When you consider the age of the game, you’ll find striking similarities with other run and gun games that fall in the same line such as Gun Smoke, but without the trash talking enemies at the end of the stages.
As the stages wear on, you’ll find that the game takes on a more difficult appearance in the way that the enemies attack you from all directions. While blasting through the oncoming enemies, you’ll always want to be on the look out for something that will booster your points into the high multiple digits ranges, though this can be a little harder to do when you get into later areas. Bonuses can come when you least expect them, and always be on the lookout for something that looks like it is out of place. Once you’ve found where all the bonuses are, then you’ll find that the game has something of an exploration theme to it, though those places are few and far between.
It's easy enough to learn, and takes a little practice to master the sometimes tight control, but with enough time, you'll skillfully weave through the various stages with no problem! The control set up is easy enough to use, with a joystick, a firing button and the grenade button. Controlling Joe through the jungles will test your reflexes when the bullets start flying, so be prepared. When the later stages hit, the outcome of your efforts will be put to the test because if you run one way instead of another, then you’re going to get nailed without prejudice. With no real special movements that you have to contend with in any of the game play stages, there shouldn’t be a problem in simply picking up on the game and moving with the overall flow that it has to offer.
My Ears! Make It Stop!
Even though it is an action game, enough with the action game music crap already! Every stage has the same music, which loops up and through without pause, and even the sound effects blare and seem to get louder with each passing stage. There is only so many explosions, gunfire and grenade blasts a person can listen to before going mad. When you add this into the point that the music is constant and never stops the infernal looping that it does, then you’ll see that the game just doesn’t have much going for it in this department. With some luck though, the speakers will be blown and you might find that the other sounds in the arcade allow you some relief and respite from the overworked and underscored game that you’re playing.
War And All It’s Grainy Glory
Bright and relatively detailed in every way, Commando offers bright colors, and distinctive stages as well. Every stage has a certain theme to it, but the action on screen will deter you away from the occasional image break up when the bullets really start flying. Considering that this is one of the first games that you might come into contact with, it still has the overhead feel and look of other various shooters such as Gun Smoke. You might find that the overall lack of detail is what really ages the game and you’ll get the image break-up when you least expect it and when you need it the least. Just because the bullets disappear into the fog doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to get hit, so be ready to get cheaply killed just because the game can’t handle the action!
War Is Hell, Commando Proves It
Commando is one of those games that is addictive and gives you a reason to waste money! Running through the stages is one thing, but trying to uncover the different secret bonuses and stages is another. You'll find that in later stages, the bullets fly a little faster, and the more you run, the worse the obstacle course gets. Commando offers up good old fashioned action game play from Capcom that you might expect. With plenty to blow up, and several secrets to uncover as well as just plain shooting and running, you'll find that the detail, and the game play well make up for the lack of audio. A classic game with an appearance on the NES, Commando is worth the quarters and time spent experiencing Capcom mastery of the action platform!
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 09/30/01, Updated 02/03/03
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