Commando, by Capcom, is an early entry in the military themed ‘run-n-gun’ genre of action games. Commando is a relatively difficult game, therefore, it’s difficult for me to review from personal experience as I did not make it very far into the game. Whereas games like Ikari Warriors or P.O.W. allowed the player to continue by adding more credits, Commando does nothing of the sort. Three lives and that’s it. Not only can’t you continue instantly, but there is no continue option whatsoever. I believe this game is from before developers learned that they could maximize money by making a difficult game have unlimited instant continues as long as the player kept feeding quarters into the machine. Either that or this is just 1980s Capcom being 1980s Capcom. Commando was released in 1985, the same year Capcom released Ghosts ‘n Goblins, yet another notoriously difficult arcade title.
Commando tells the story of a soldier named Super Joe and his mission to eradicate an unnamed Communist insurgency while rescuing prisoners of war. While P.O.W. presented a realistic view of what it would be like for a single soldier to have to wage war using the environmental weapons he finds along the way, Commando is completely unrealistic. Super Joe has completely unlimited machine gun rounds. They don’t even bother to have him have the typical “99 shots” and have to pick up found ammunition along the way. Nope, this is just full-on “Rambo with unlimited shots” mode for Super Joe. Which is fine, but took me out of the game a little as I didn’t feel Commando was as accurate of a representation when compared to Ikari Warriors or P.O.W. At least Capcom decided to give Super Joe a limited number of grenades.
Capcom ramps up the difficulty by throwing an almost unbelievable number of enemies at Super Joe. They too appear to have magic rifles that never run out of ammunition either and fill the playing field with bullets. I felt at times I was playing a vertical aerial shooter that was just re-skinned as a ground based military game. It was that excessive.
Due to the difficulty I had to watch a play through online to see what the ending was like. More or less, Super Joe launches an assault on a moderately sized bunker that had enemies pour out of it like ants pouring out of an antique table you found on the curb and naively brought into your studio apartment.
I’m sorry, but this game just comes across as too hard and way too generic. I get that this is an early entry in the vertical scrolling, “one man army” shooter genre, but it seems almost too drab and simplistic even for a game from 1985. I feel that later entries in this genre of game did a better job of making me feel like an actual American soldier taking it to the Communists. I suppose it’s worth a play to learn the history of the deep military ‘run-n-gun’ genre but I can’t really recommend it beyond that. The unrealistic nature of the weaponry also really took me out of the game a bit too much on top of that. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still better than the majority of Godless titles out there, but I suppose I just expected more from a game called Commando.