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    FAQ/Strategy Guide by Deathspork

    Version: 1.0 | Updated: 03/08/01 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

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                                        For NES
                                  Strategy Guide v1.0
                                     by Deathspork
     The Units
     How To Play
      --Getting Started
      --Choosing A Scenario
      --Modifying Your Force
      --Commanding The Units
      --Terrain And Refueling 
      --Winning The Game
     The Scenarios
     Effectiveness Chart
     General Tactics
    (Taken from the booklet)
    "The world is at war and the Desert Command Force under your direction is on 
    the front lines. As leader of this crack Force, you alone have the power to 
    determine the course of history. 
    Sure, you've got powerful tanks and artillery and the well trained troops to 
    use them. But so does your opponent. To be victorious, you must destroy all of 
    your opponent's units or capture his headquarters. You must rely on your 
    military training and instinct to plan a brilliant strategy. There is no room 
    for mistakes.
    The troops await your instructions..."
    Its too bad they don't give Pulitzer prizes for videogames..
    D-Pad: Moves the game and menu cursor
    A Button: Chooses a command or unit
    B Button: Locates the next available unit automatically or cancels a command
    SELECT Button: Brings up the status report screen
    START Button: Brings up the map screen
    The Units
    Your force in Desert Commander can consist of 9 separate types of units and 1
    headquarters unit. Each scenario gives you a different set number of units to 
    use, you can mix and match them however you choose without going over that 
    limit. The available Units are as follows:
    Tanks: A great all around unit, all around average without any major weakness
    Armored Car: These excel in mobility, and are just as useful as tanks
    Troop Transport: One of 2 vehicles with a special ability, can load the 
    infantry units onto it to increase their mobility
    Infantry: Low mobility, very effective against the enemy base
    Field Cannon: Low mobility, effective against ground units
    Anti-Aircraft Gun: Slightly more mobile than field cannons, effective against 
    any type of aircraft
    Supply Truck: Can pick up supplies from supply depots and use them on other 
    Bomber: Airplane that is extremely effective against any ground unit but is 
    extremely weak against fighters
    Fighter: Airplane used primarily for taking out bombers
    Headquarters: Not very mobile but has a very strong defense, destroy the enemy 
    headquarters to win the game, if they destroy yours then you lose
        |The following chart summarizes the capabilities of each type of unit |
        |                                                                     |
        |  UNIT           RANGE  RANGE ON     RANGE    MAX FUEL     MAX AMMO  |
        |               ON ROAD    DESERT  IN WILDS                           | 
        |  ----         -------  --------  --------    --------     --------  |
        |                                                                     |
        |  Tank              16        10         8         100           10  |
        |  Armored Car       20        13        10         100           10  |
        |  Troop Transport   16         8         5         100            6  |
        |  Infantry          12         8         5         100            6  |
        |  Field Cannon      12         6         4         100           15  |
        |  Anti-Aircraft Gun 14         7         4         100           15  |
        |  Supply Truck      16        10         8         100            6  |
        |  Bomber            20        20        20         100            4  |
        |  Fighter           20        20        20         100            6  |
        |  Headquarters      12         8         6         100           16  |
        |                                                                     |
    How To Play
    Getting Started
    Press start at the title screen, and then choose to play between either a CPU
    controlled opponent or against a friend in 2-player. After that, you choose the
    scenario and then modify your force, see the later sections of this FAQ for 
    details on those aspects. Now you are in the game, simple as that.
    Choosing a Scenario
    Each scenario is a different map with varying size and terrain, and if you 
    choose to fight the CPU there will be a different ratio of units you can 
    command to units the CPU can command. On the easiest scenario you will have the
    same amount of units as your enemy, on all others your enemy will have more 
    than you. There is no variance in artificial intelligence in this game, so the
    only thing that makes the later maps harder is the larger number of units your
    enemy has.
    The 5 available scenarios are as follows:
    They get progressively harder as you move down the list. For full details of 
    all scenarios consult the Strategies section of the FAQ
    Modifying Your Force
    Just before you start the game, you will come to a screen with a row of plus 
    and minus signs next to a picture of each type of unit. Here you can just press
    START to begin with the default battalion, or you can move the pointer to the
    plus and minus signs and mix and match units however you want, as long as you
    stay within the predetermined limit for that scenario. Just check "units left"
    at the bottom of the screen, if you have no units left but want more of a 
    certain unit, then just subtract a unit somewhere else.
    You can also use the second controller to modify the second player OR the CPU's
    forces. Personally, I consider changing your enemies units cheating. 
    Commanding The Units
    Each side takes turns issuing commands to all units (each unit can be commanded
    once per turn). Use the cursor to select a unit and press the A button to pull
    up a command window. The SELECT button will automatically locate the nearest 
    The top-middle window shows the ammo, fuel and unit numbers, along with the 
    terrain the unit is on. The lower right window is the command window, here you 
    can choose your operation:
    Movement: Use the D-pad to move the cursor to the desired destination. Remember
    that every unit has it's own range, and that range varies according to the 
    terrain. If you move into a square directly beside an enemy unit, you will have
    to stop right there, you can attack if you want to.
    Attack: When given the option of attacking, you'll have a pointer you can move
    to any of the 4 squares directly beside you horizontally or vertically, choose 
    the enemy to attack and press A. This opens up the attack screen and the battle
    takes place.
    Power: Brings up a window that shows the units name, range on each terrain, max
    fuel, max ammo and ammos range. Not all that useful.
    Change: Choose this whenever you want to end your turn, and hand it over to
    Map: Press start to see a general map of battle, you can use this to plan and 
    plot out strategies
    Battle Statistics: Press select to see the remaining units of each side, and 
    also change both army's theme music.
    Winning The Game
    The object of the game is to destroy the enemy's headquarters unit. Do that and
    you've won that game.
    Terrain And Refueling
    There are many different squares that make up the grid on each scenario. Some 
    of it is plain terrain, such as desert or grass. Some of it is difficult 
    terrain like mountains and wilds, that will take away from your units range. 
    And then there are places to refuel your units, and areas that will protect the
    unit put there.
    Desert: This is the average ground, that makes up most of the map
    Grass: Little difference, but you tend to have a _little_ bit more attack power
    Mountains and Wilds: Rough terrain that slows down your units
    Road: Smooth terrain that will make the trip easier and prolong the range of 
    ground-based units
    Ocean: Only accessible to bombers and fighters, use it to your advantage
    Other Squares
    Town: Move a ground-based unit there to refuel it
    Airstrip: Move planes their to refuel them. Fits 2 at a time
    Wall: Greatly increases the defense of the unit, when moved there
    Oasis: Greatly increases the offense power of the unit, when moved there
    The Scenarios
    First Battle
    Ratio of Units (vs CPU mode only): 14/14
    Grid Size: 34 height X 40 width
    This is a good map to build and test new strategies and tactics out on, and 
    familiarize yourself with the game. Even though it's the first map, the terrain
    is pretty mountainous in the middle. 
    Way To Victory
    Ratio of Units: 14/18
    Grid Size: 34H X 43W
    Not all that much more difficult than the first scenario, against the CPU 
    though you are slightly outnumbered, and the enemy forces are spread out 
    Offense and Defense
    Ratio of Units: 14/24
    Grid Size: 34H X 55W
    The difficulty level more than doubles here, since the map is a lot bigger and 
    you are now far outnumbered against a CPU opponent. Now YOUR forces are spread
    out while the enemy starts out in one tight cluster.
    Bloody Battle
    Ratio of Units: 21/31
    Grid Size: 34H X 48W
    Here you should start focusing strongly on aerial assault. It's not as big as
    the last map and the terrain isn't so tough, but the enemy still far outnumbers
    North African Front
    Ratio of Units: 19/39
    Grid Size: 34H X 57W
    The last scenario is by far the toughest. I can only beat it with the "bulldog"
    strategy (which I will discuss later), since you and the enemy are put at
    completely opposite corners, you're going to HAVE to refuel each unit at least
    Effectiveness Chart
    This chart will show how each unit will fare in battle against each other unit.
    I'm using numbers instead of the unit name so the chart will fit within the 79
    characters wide limit of FAQs:
    1. Tank
    2. Armored Car
    3. Troop Transport
    4. Infantry
    5. Field Cannon
    6. Anti-Aircraft Gun
    7. Supply Truck
    8. Bomber
    9. Fighter
    10. Headquarters 
    Effectiveness is put into 3 groups:
    VE = Very Effective 
     A = Average Effectiveness 
    NE = Not (very) Effective 
    The unit listed to the left is the attacker, across the top is the defending
                            | 1| 2| 3| 4| 5| 6| 7| 8| 9|10|
                           1| A| A|VE| A| A| A|VE| A| A| A|
                           2|NE| A| A| A|VE|VE| A| A| A| A| 
                           3| A| A| A| A| A| A| A| A| A| A|
                           4|VE|VE|VE| A|VE|VE|VE| A| A|VE|
                           5|VE|VE|VE|VE| A|VE|VE|NE|NE| A|
                           6|NE|NE| A|NE|NE|NE| A|VE|VE|NE|
                           7| A| A| A| A| A| A| A| A| A| A|
                           8|VE|VE|VE|VE|VE|VE|VE|NE|NE| A|
    NOTE: Even if a unit is very strong against another unit, that doesn't mean the
    other unit cant be equally strong back. Take for instance bombers versus 
    anti-aircraft guns, you can take out a lot of the guns with a bomber, but the 
    guns are still very strong in return.
    NOTE 2: Units gain experience as they get in more battles. A unit that has 
    survived through, say, 3 battles will be pretty hard to finish off. This is 
    especially true for the Headquarters.
    General Tactics
    -Use the Map
    Press start during the game to get a general overview of battle, you can use it
    to plot out a nice strategy.
    -Move your headquarters unit into position
    There will be at least a couple small red brick wall icons on each map, move 
    any unit onto them to greatly increase that unit's defense. I strongly 
    recommend reserving these spaces for the headquarters.
    -Surround your headquarters
    The enemy can't attack if they can't position themselves next to the unit. 
    Block them out by putting a "guard" unit in each of the 4 squares directly 
    adjacent to the HQ (or as many squares as you can). They'll have to get through
    that unit to attack the HQ.
    -Go for the jugular
    That is, if it is at all possible, attack the enemy headquarters, ignoring any
    units that aren't directly blocking you. 
    -Attack with the fullest unit
    If there is more than one unit within the range of the enemy HQ, consider both
    its effectiveness against the HQ unit and how many battered the unit is. A full
    unit of 10 vehicles should go in instead of one with 7, right? Once you attack
    the base one turn and get some damage in return, you will want to retreat on 
    the next turn if there's another, fuller unit that can take your space. 
    -Build a shield
    You can sacrifice some units to act as a wall or sorts to keep out enemy units 
    from, say, your own HQ, or you can block them out of protecting their own base.
    Just position a group of units 3 squares apart (leaving 2 squares of space in
    between them), make sure its perfectly horizontal or vertical, if you want to
    curve your shield then leave only one space in between units in that area. Now
    no enemy can get through without first defeating a unit, but you can still slip
    right on through.
    The "bulldog" strategy
    Here is the one I created and use, it is a quick kill for any scenario, but 
    ONLY against a CPU controlled unit. Another person will easily guard against 
    it. This has been the only way I've beaten the 5th scenario, North African 
    -Set ALL of your units as bombers. That's right, every one of them.
    -Use your first turn forming a huge cluster, out horizontally from the starting
    position. If you are on a scenario where the units are split up, just join the
    smaller group with the larger group, or at least move each unit somewhere close
    to the main cluster.
    -Also move the headquarters unit into position (behind a brick wall), or if its
    out of range move it as far as you can towards the wall so you can put it there
    on the next turn (VERY important).
    -End the first turn.
    -You're GOING to have units beaten and badly damaged, but just as long as you
    still have a nice number of fresh bombers in the middle of the cluster, don't
    worry about it.
    -Fly your armada right past any proceeding enemy units, avoiding battle. Use
    this turn getting your cluster around the enemy headquarters unit, in the ocean
    if at all possible
    -Make sure the fresh, 10-vehicle units are well protected, form a shield with 
    the already-battered units behind them, to keep most enemy units away. Space 
    them 2 squares apart so no unit can pass between them (this step isn't 
    _absolutely_ imperative but it helps a lot).
    -If you are playing the last scenario, North African Front (and only if), 
    ignore the previous steps for this turn. You have to reform your cluster around
    a runway and send them through one by one. It's time consuming, but just think,
    your enemy has to travel the same distance and refuel as well. When this is all
    done, re-read the previous steps here for the second turn and do them.
    -End second turn
    -After the enemy is all done, now is the time to put the operation into action.
    Immediately fill any spots adjacent to the enemy HQ with a bomber, and attack.
    Now when you have attacked as much as you possibly can, surround the HQ and the
    cluster of other units surrounding it, and reposition your wall of bombers to
    keep other units out of the area. Still keep a good supply of fresh bombers a
    bit away from the main action, put some on a runway if possible.
    -End third turn
    -Basically repeat everything from the last turn. Pull out any battered units 
    that attacked the HQ last turn, and refill their spots with full units. You 
    should win the war in this turn. If you have to, try and take out some of the
    units guarding the HQ, but don't block your other units out.
    -This all works because its you getting to them before them getting to you. 
    Also, since you moved your headquarters into position, they will have a hell of
    a time trying to put a dent in you, so you have the advantage all the way. The
    only thing that could possibly go wrong is if the CPU moves their HQ behind a
    wall as well. This has never happened to me
    Well this strategy should get you through any encounter against the CPU. I
    unfortunately can't get anyone to play against me, so you're on your own as far
    as a good strategy to use against a human opponent, but just look at the 
    tactics section and you should be fine. If you have any tactics or a strategy 
    of your own to add, just send an e-mail detailing it and I'll put it right in
    (giving you credit of course).
                                   -WRAPPING IT UP-
    I've got to thank my older sister for buying me this game, and also paying for
    me to go out to Washington state where I found the game. Also, Kemco/Seika for
    making the killer NES strategy game North and South, the fact that this game 
    was also made by them was the only reason I bought it. Thanks to them again for 
    creating Desert Commander, as well as the instruction manual from which I got 
    much of the information used in this FAQ. I of course thank God for my very 
    existence. And thank you for reading this FAQ.
    This document is Copyright (C) 2001 by me, Deathspork. It is a free document, 
    you are free to upload it anywhere you please as long as it remains unchanged,
    in its entirety, in its original format, and proper credit is given. Also, no 
    profit should ever be made off of this document. Desert Commander is Copyright
    1989 by Kemco, all rights reserved.

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