Commando (video game)

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"Super Joe" redirects here. For the 1970s toy line, see G.I. Joe.
Commando
Commando flyer.png
Developer(s) Capcom
Publisher(s) Capcom
Distributor(s) Data East
Designer(s) Tokuro Fujiwara
Composer(s) Tamayo Kawamoto
Platform(s) Arcade, others (see text)
Release date(s) May 1985
Genre(s) Run and gun
Mode(s) Single-player

Commando, originally released as Senjō no Ōkami (戦場の狼 lit. "Wolf of the Battlefield"?), is a run and gun, vertically scrolling shoot 'em up arcade game released in 1985. Its influence can be seen in various later games in the genre, including Gun.Smoke, Who Dares Wins, Ikari Warriors, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Jackal, Heavy Barrel, Trax, and others.

It was released for several platforms, including the Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, MSX, ZX Spectrum, Intellivision, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Amiga, Nintendo Entertainment System, Acorn Electron, BBC Micro and PC. Versions of the game also appear on Capcom Classics Collection for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PlayStation Portable, Activision Anthology for the PlayStation 2, and on the Wii Virtual Console Arcade. It was also featured on Capcom Arcade Cabinet for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Gameplay[edit]

In-game screenshot

The player takes control of a soldier named Super Joe,[1] who starts by being dropped off in a jungle by a helicopter, and has to fight his way out singlehandedly, fending off a massive assault of enemy soldiers.

Super Joe is armed with a sub-machine gun (which has unlimited ammunition) as well as a limited supply of hand grenades. While Joe can fire his gun in any of the eight directions that he faces, his grenades can only be thrown vertically towards the top of the screen, irrespective of the direction Joe is facing. Unlike his SMG bullets, grenades can be thrown to clear obstacles, and explosions from well placed grenades can kill several enemies at once.

At the end of each level, the screen stops, and the player must fight several soldiers streaming from a gate or fortress. They are ordered out by a cowardly officer, who immediately runs away, although shooting him in the back awards the player bonus points. Along the way, one can attempt to free prisoners of war as they are transported across the screen by the enemy.

In the NES version, there is a more powerful machine gun upgrade, as well as "glasses" to let the player view all the hidden bunkers and an unlimited grenade upgrade (the player will lose these upgrades after losing a life).

Ports and their developers[edit]

It is notoriously difficult to find information about developers of early games, so this list is incomplete:

BBC Micro[edit]

The BBC Micro version was developed under contract by Catalyst Coders for Elite by:

Acorn Electron[edit]

The Acorn Electron version was created from a direct port from the BBC Micro version. Since the BBC Micro had a faster processor, the port on the Acorn appeared much slower[citation needed]:

  • Developer: Trevor Harwood
  • Graphics: John Nixon
  • Sound: N/A (the limitations of the machine meant very basic sound which will have been added by the developer)

Amiga[edit]

The Amiga version was developed at Elite by:

  • Developer: Neil Latarche and Martin Ward
  • Graphics: Steve Beverley
  • Sound: Mark Cooksey

Amstrad CPC[edit]

The Amstrad CPC version was developed at Elite by:

  • Developers: Simon Freeman, Keith Burkhill and Nigel Alderton
  • Graphics: "Jon"
  • Sound: Unknown

Atari 2600[edit]

The Atari 2600 version was developed at Activision by:

  • Developer: Mike Reidel [1]

Activision also licensed the rights again from Capcom to be able to include this title on the PlayStation 2 release of Activision Anthology.

Atari ST[edit]

The Atari ST version was developed at Elite by:

  • Developer: Neil Latarche and Martin Ward
  • Graphics: Steve Beverley
  • Sound: Mark Cooksey

Commodore 64[edit]

The well received Commodore 64 version was developed at Elite in a very tight schedule (2 months), by:

  • Developer: Chris Butler
  • Graphics: Rory Green and Chris Harvey
  • Sound: Rob Hubbard

The Commodore 64 version's theme, a "funky" version of the arcade, was created in less than 12 hours by Rob Hubbard, "[I] started working on it late at night, and worked on it through the night. I took one listen to the original arcade version and started working on the C64 version. [...] By the time everyone arrived at 8.00 in the morning, I had loaded the main tune on every C64 in the building! I got my cheque and was on a train home by 10.00". The music since then has reached a cultic status among Commodore 64 enthusiasts - nearly everyone who ever had a C64 knows and recognizes the tune. The song is available from the HVSC.

The cracking group Lurid Tricycle considered the Commodore version so easy that they added an un-trainer, to make the game harder.

Famicom/NES[edit]

The Nintendo Famicom/Nintendo Entertainment System version was developed by Capcom's in-house development team by:

  • Soft: Masamitsu Kobayashi
  • Scroll: "Kura"
  • Planner: Tokuro Fujiwara
  • Sound: Yoshihiro Sakaguchi
  • Music: Tamayo Kawamoto

ZX Spectrum[edit]

The ZX Spectrum version was developed at Elite by:

  • Developers: Keith Burkhill, Nigel Alderton
  • Graphics: Rory Green and "Karen"
  • Sound: František Fuka (added later as a "bootleg")

The Spectrum version was voted number 31 in the Your Sinclair Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time.[2]

Intellivision[edit]

The Intellivision version was developed for INTV Corporation by :

  • Developer: John Tomlinson
  • Graphics: Connie Goldman
  • Sound: David Warhol

It was reported that John Tomlinson, was slacking off too much, and the deadline was slipping, so David Warhol offered to collaborate with John at his own place until the game was finished. Due to the number of bullets moving on the screen at a time, John innovated a technique to move multiple bullets through the background of the playfield, while it was scrolling, a formidable stretch for the architecture of the Intellivision.

Virtual Console[edit]

Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando was released on the Virtual Console Arcade in Japan on October 5, 2010, in North America on December 6, 2010, and in the PAL region on December 17, 2010.

Unreleased versions[edit]

The Atari 8-bit version was created by Sculptured Software in 1989, and was intended to be released by Atari Corporation for the XE Game System. However, although the game appeared in Atari catalogs of the time,[3][4] it never reached the market in spite of being completed. In the 2000s the game's prototype cartridge was found.[5]

Reception[edit]

Computer Gaming World said that "few cartridges can equal [Commando]'s non-stop action" on the NES.[6]

The game won the award for best shooting game of the year according to the readers of Crash magazine.[7] It was also voted best arcade-style game of the year at the Golden Joystick Awards.[8]

Legacy[edit]

Commando was followed by a sequel titled Mercs in 1989, which was known as Senjō no Ōkami II in Japan. A second sequel, Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 was released as a downloadable title for the Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network in 2008.

Outside of Japan, the arcade version of Bionic Commando was marketed as a sequel to Commando and the main character, a nameless soldier in the game, is identified as "Super Joe" in an American brochure for the game. Super Joe would appear as an actual supporting character in the later versions of Bionic Commando for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy, as well as in Bionic Commando: Elite Forces. In the 2009 version of Bionic Commando for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the character of Super Joe is identified as Joseph Gibson, one of the three player characters in Mercs.

The game Duet by Elite Systems Ltd was also called first "Commando '86" then "Commando '87".[9]

Preceded by
"Monty on the Run"
UK number-one Spectrum game
March 1986
Succeeded by
"Winter Games"

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Arcade Flyer Archive - Video Game: Commando, Capcom". 
  2. ^ "Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time". Your Sinclair. September 1993. 
  3. ^ The Atari Advantage. Atari Corporation. 1989. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  4. ^ Atari Video Game Catalog. Atari Corporation. 1987. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  5. ^ "Commando page on AtariProtos.com". Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  6. ^ Worley, Joyce; Katz, Arnie; Kunkel, Bill (September 1988). "Video Gaming World". Computer Gaming World. p. 50. 
  7. ^ http://www.crashonline.org.uk/27/awards.htm
  8. ^ http://www.worldofspectrum.org/showmag.cgi?mag=C+VG/Issue055/Pages/CVG05500090.jpg
  9. ^ Duet at World of Spectrum

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]