Review by MrDurp

"Just another underrated game"

You never saw games like this back then, believe me. Desert Commander is what one would consider today your typical war-strategy game, much akin to those like Warcraft and Risk. Basically, what you must do in this game is have your own attack units destroy your opponent's, or just destroy their headquarters [also can be used to attack]. It's kind of like a big board game when you think about it. Attacking can be done by having 2 opposing units next to each other, or within good range. The attack sequences are entirely luck-based. Each unit is comprised of 10, and the less you have, the less hits you'll have at your opponent.

When you start out, you have the option of playing against the computer or against another player [HIGHLY recommended!]. After that, you get to pick from one of 5 scenarios:

First Battle: Good for beginners because the units are more or less equal between players, and there are few obstacles.

Way to Victory: Basically all you have is mobile units, whereas the other team has mostly air units. Where's the victory in this? You decide.

Offense & Defense: A really BIG block of units surrounds the enemy headquarters, mostly tanks, but luckily a few of your own units are farther out in the field near the opponent's.

Bloody Battle: Basically First Battle with the opponent moved to the northeast.

North African Front: This pits your units against SCADS of theirs. Pretty intimidating if you ask me.

Once one of these scanarios are selected, we move to the final phase of preparation: Unit disribution. You select how many of each type of unit you want to play with [and if you want an unfair advantage while playing against the computer, just hook up another controller and deny him his units!].

Now you're ready to play. The battlefields are mostly desert-by-the-water type, complete with roads, rocks, and other things. The units, of course, have limited movement, but they can move farther along roads. By the way, don't forget that their use is limited, too. Make sure you give your air units regular stops at airstrips; all other units at those little white buildings you see now and then.

Challenge: Various
This all depends on what units you pick, including for the computer. You can make this a nightmare or a cakewalk because of that. It's all up to you.

Graphics: 7
Not as good as I remember them to be. The colors are selected well, the graphics are drawn fairly well, but the animations don't seem the same. For example, one of the guys in the closing sequence seems to walk kinda like Frankenstein. Weird. The scrolling isn't at all smooth, for another thing, just rough block-by-block movement.

Audio: 7
Probably the only sound effects in this game is different explosions, but there are 4 different bits of music to choose from. If you don't like one, just hit SELECT and switch to another. I recommend BGM3.

Replay: 9
The endless possibilities of unit selection, along with different scenarios, make this field the best one. And hey, like I said, play this with a friend! There's no telling the fun you'll have together!

Control: 8
Well...the only control you'll ever need in this game is moving the cursor. It only moves in 4 directions, which prevents a higher rating.

Buy/Rent: I haven't seen this game anywhere for years, so I would say buy this one. Buy it for the unique gameplay [for the NES]. Buy it for the fun head-to-head action. Buy it...'cause it's rare.

Final notes: What I would have really liked is a departure from the scenarios, with maybe a custom scenario thing. Oh well.


Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 11/04/00, Updated 11/04/00

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