Most people are familiar with the coin-op. Super Joe (a strange rank for a soldier) has been thrown deep inside enemy german territory, I suspect it's somewhere south outside of Europe.
The aim of the game is to kill all the enemy soldiers on each of the 5 levels to complete the mission. There's not much else to it about the plot, so onto the gameplay.
The game starts off with an OK title screen which has the large Commando logo splashed along the top. Nice enough start. OK, click fire to begin.
Super Joe starts off at the bottom of the screen and finds himself being immediately shot at by enemies in trenches.
"Best dispose of them quick" Joe mutters.
"Hmm, where's my grenades?" Joe then wonders.
"Darn, I forgot to bring them with me. I hope the jerries have a few lying around" (which they don't).
Well OK, Joe just has a tommy gun which is fine. Best get busy then Joe.
Unfortunately for Joe though, he cannot walk diagonal.
"It's an old war wound!"
Yes OK Joe, I think I'll leave out the 'Super' here from now on in bud.
It then suddenly dawns on the player that the game doesn't scroll like the other versions. It's 5 short single screen levels only.
OK, trenches cleared, onto the next.
Level 2 - Another trench, a river with a bridge to cross and enemies which move around with rocket launchers.
"Oh great. I can't stay down here like a sitting duck!" ponders Joe. So he makes a mad dash to the top of the screen losing a life in the process.
"Wait, I'm up here yet they're still firing downwards?" Joe suddenly realises.
Yes Joe, that's because they're too stupid to think about firing upwards. Just be a coward and shoot 'em in the backs boy.
Level 3 - Another river and bridge with 2 more trenches beyond it. Joe dispatches them with ease when he quickly works out the attack pattern.
Level 4 - Just 5 waves of 3 gormless enemies with rocket launchers each on an obstacless screen to kill. Keep above them Joe.
Level 5 - The main bunker. 2 windows each with a german to dispatch plus 3 rocket launching nazis to dispose of. Done.
Then an all too quick congrats message flickers by before the game loops over again, and again, and again.
OK so that's the game, and a very short game it is. With all it's omissions and faults though this is actually a pretty decent blast providing you don't associate it with the arcade original.
The graphics themselves are nice and chunky with a fair decent use of colour which does give a fairly warm feel to the coin-op itself.
There are only 2 spot sound effects, Joe's gunfire which is fairly standard fare and a girly cry when an enemy gets hit.
The game itself is fairly easy to clock, so expect to go a few rounds with this before you finally cash in your commando chips. There's some lastability here for hi-scores though.
So..as arcade conversions goes, out of ten I'd give this a three as it's a poor implementation of the original. As a game in it's own right though, I'll be fair and give this a four. It's alright but it should've been better.
Presentation: 2.5 OK title screen with the classic logo and a hi-score status, but the game itself is not very arcade accurate. No grenades for Joe and the lack of scrolling plus 5 short screens from the arcades first level only knocks the mark down considerably. The enemies also only fire downwards. Graphics: 5 The backdrops are OK if minimal with nice usage of colour. The character sprites are nicely defined but you do sense a slight blocky feel to it all especially on stage 5 in the bunker doorway. However the collision detection just about seems fine to me considering the shortness of the game. Sound: 2 Not much to speak of really, just a couple of simple spot sound effects. Playability: 6 But behind all these failings lurks an enjoyable enough game which is easy to get into but the control has a lot to be desired. Lasting Appeal: 6 Once you work out the simple attack patterns though it just becomes an easy monotonous routine, but it's fun to occasionally return to for hi-scores. Overall: 4 So long as you make no comparisions to the arcade original it's an OK game in it's own right, if you can live with all it's failings.
Review by Clarance
Having played this Capcom classic in the arcades, and the excellent Spectrum conversion round at a friends, when I first heard that Commando was being released for my C-16 it immediately became top of my wants list. This was an official conversion, not some third rate rip-off, so surely it would be a quality release, yes?
I had come to realise by now that the C-16 was the poorer cousin to the 64 and Spectrum in terms of gaming abilities, and I was expecting a slightly cut down version, that was ok, I could live with that. As long as I could play Commando on my C16 then that would be fine. The first review appeared in by beloved ‘Commodore User’, and, as expected, it was indeed a cut down version that was described. But everything was OK, as the game was given a glowing review, and those screenshots looked really, really cool. Great, Commando on my C-16! As soon as I saw a copy for sale I snapped it up and rushed home to play the thing: Load [press return]….. Run [press return]… …. …. …. Oh….
Commando on the Commodore 16 is awful. The vertical screen scrolling, as in all other versions, has been replaced with a single screen of enemies to clear. As you clear the screen of enemies the screen flips to another to clear, and so on. Now this wouldn’t be so bad per se, but the controls are hopeless, with movement of your character to the left/right, and up/down only, with no diagonal movement which makes for very jerky stilted gameplay and completely looses the feel of the arcade original. The game is also criminally short, with only five screens of action to plod through. The graphics, while looking nice enough in static screen-shots, in reality are very glitchy, with poor collision detection and jerky movement. Oh, and the sound’s pants too.
A very poor conversion. It all smacks of a hurried piece of unloved programming and production in order to maximise profits and get the thing out of the way.
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