No doubt you’ve experienced this quarter-sucker of a game in the arcades as a youth, or at least another game which was inspired by it.
Button-smashing was prevalent in a lot of arcade games, but Commando may take the cake for non-stop action. Back when you had to “get gud” at games, this one was fairly unforgiving for an arcade-to-NES translation.
If you didn’t break a controller smashing the fire button, you may have in frustration otherwise as each of the nearly copycat levels ramps up in difficulty through the end.
The game, however, is fun. Part of that frustration would come from perfecting firefights as you would complete each “mission” which is a batch of four levels – and with four missions, there’s a lot of repetitiveness.
The action scrolls from bottom to top, as you avoid bullets and obstacles, finding hidden “underground” rooms along the way. The protagonist, “Super Joe” (great name by the way) can shoot in 8 directions, including diagonally. Grenades and a machine gun power-up round out the weapons at your disposal.
The levels end with a barrage of enemies storming the screen. It’s these showdowns that make the game special, as you duck, dodge, fire back, and fight to win the missions.
You are then rewarded with the usual 80’s cheesy cutscenes, complete with awful English translation.
The game ends, ***SPOILER ALERT*** with one of the worst few-line “thank you” screens you could think of too!
In all, Commando is still a fun game that harkens back to button-smashing shooters of yesteryear. It’s not Call of Duty and by today’s standards, most kids would probably get bored with it quickly.
For those of us who enjoyed mastering titles, however, it’s well worth picking up and playing. (Especially if you enjoyed Contra.)