Box Shot
Platform: NES
Publisher: Capcom
Designer: Capcom
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Published Date 1986
Reviewed by: Rob Strangman

Commando was one of Capcom's initial releases for the NES in 1986. Along with Mega Man, Ghosts 'N Goblins and Trojan, Commando helped establish Capcom as one of the greatest NES licensees. While more people are familiar with Bionic Commando (the psuedo sequel to Commando - the real sequel, Mercs, called Commando 2 in Japan, is available for the Sega Genesis) the original Commando should not be forgotten, as it remains a fun game to this day. It's a great way to take out your frustrations - kill anything that moves!

Commando lets you play as Super Joe (the same Super Joe that you have to rescue in Bionic Commando). The Gunther Brothers have built up an army and are ready to take over the world. Several of your comrades have been sent to fight the Gunther Brothers, but they have all been captured. Your mission is to rescue your comrades and stop the Gunther Brother's evil plans.

Commando's age shows in it's graphics, which are very plain and simple. Nothing is incredibly detailed, and most of the game seems dominated by a few colors. The music is very repetitive; for the most part, one theme plays over and over. It's the gameplay in Commando that will keep you coming back. Super Joe controls very well, and there's a variety of enemies to fight and items to find. The difficulty is set at a moderate level - the game gets tougher as you work your way through it, and Super Joe can only get hit once - unless you find the Bulletproof Vest, which can stop ten bullets or five grenades. There are soldiers everywhere, so try to find the Vest as soon as possible. There are unlimited continues, which helps quite a bit.

Commando is played from an overhead perspective. Super Joe is armed with a machine gun and a limited amount of grenades (more can be added by finding Ammo Boxes). Both of these weapons can be powered up by freeing your comrades. Scattered throughout the game are underground shelters, where many of your comrades are being held prisoner. You must use grenades to uncover the entrances to the shelters, or you can find a pair of Binoculars, which let you see the entrances.

One of the only problems I have with the game is the repetitive nature of the stages. You fight through the same four stages ( Jungle, Trenches, Barracks, and Airfield) over and over. At the end of the fourth stage, you must destroy an enemy fortress. You then start back in the Jungle. You must complete each stage four times to beat the game.

The items you can find include Super Grenades, the aforementioned Bulletproof Vest and Binoculars, the Remote Radio (which calls the helicopter), Grenade Powerups, Machine Gun Powerups, Infinite Grenades, One - Up Badges, and Ammo Boxes. Rescuing prisoners gains you points and powerups. Also hidden in the underground shelters is Capcom's famous symbol, the Yashichi, which gives you bonus points.

Despite the minor drawbacks, Commando is a very fun game. Slaughtering legions of enemy soldiers is always a fun way to pass some time, and the action doesn't let up for a minute. We don't see games like this too much anymore...