Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines
|Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines|
Ignacio Pérez Dolset
|Mode(s)||Single-player, cooperative multiplayer|
Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines is a single-player real-time tactics video game developed by Spanish company Pyro Studios and published by Eidos Interactive. The first installment in the Commandos series, the game was released in 1998 and is set in wartime Europe and Africa where a group of six Allied Commandos performs missions using small unit tactics. Each Commando has a unique set of skills and tools determined by his class which forces the player to establish cooperation among them so that further progress can be made. The objectives vary from sabotages to rescuing allied informants and assassinations.
Commandos employs an isometric view with a whole map visible, thus allowing player to think out a strategy and its execution in advance. The same system was later used in the expansion pack Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty released in 1999 as well as in two installments Commandos 2: Men of Courage and Commandos 3: Destination Berlin released in 2001 and 2003 respectively.
After the evacuation of most of the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk, Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Clarke (Royal Artillery) put forward the idea of small units capable of penetrating the enemy's line and sabotaging communication, industrial and military targets. The proposal was approved by Winston Churchill.
In 1940 volunteers were called from Territorial Army Divisions who had been serving in Norway. Later, soldiers from Royal Marines Division and recruits from British Police Force were also accepted for the training. The name "Commando" was proposed by Dudley Clarke after the raiding and assault style of Boer Commando units of the Second Boer War.
Commandos were trained in physical fitness, survival, orienteering, close quarter combat, silent killing, signalling, amphibious and cliff assault, vehicle operation, weapons (including the use of captured enemy small arms) and demolition. The Commando Training Centre was located at Achnacarry near Spean Bridge in Scotland.
The areas of activity were primarily Northwestern Europe, Norway, the Middle East, Italy and Burma. At first the missions were carried out on a smaller scale, inflicting little damage to the enemy but greatly boosting the morale of Allied forces. Later, as a result of many successful operations (including Collar, Ambassador, Claymore, Archery, Anklet, Chariot and Longcloth), Adolf Hitler issued a secret order called Kommandobefehl stating that all commandos found in Europe and Africa should be killed immediately, even if in uniform or if they attempted to surrender.
The British Army Commandos were never regimented and were disbanded at the end of the war.
In the game, the player represents the role of an officer who has been entrusted with the command of a group of six Commandos. In order to complete a mission, you must achieve various objectives. You must also ensure that all of your commandos survive the mission. If any of the commandos under your command die, you fail the mission and cannot progress to the next mission.
Throughout the game, the enemies are German soldiers. They vary from low-ranking soldiers (armed with either Karabiner Rifles or MP40 machine guns), to sergeants (armed with service pistols; they also man fixed machine-gun nests that dot various maps), to higher-ranking officers. In one mission, there are also attack dogs in the vicinity of the German base.
The enemy soldiers are always on alert, always watching over each other and will always do their best to track down the Commandos. Under normal circumstances, if they spot one of the Commandos, they will simply shout at him to halt and aim their weapon at him. They will not fire unless he fails to comply. However, if they witness any hostile action, they will shoot immediately.
Enemy soldiers are alerted by spotting or hearing anything suspicious. Dead bodies, footprints in snow/sand, gunshots, explosions, etc. All will alert the enemy and they will investigate and attempt to discover what the cause is. Enemy soldiers can also shout for the alarm to be sounded. When this happens, all soldiers in the base are alerted and become more aware. Soldiers will also deploy from garrisons and begin patrolling. In certain missions, the sounding of an alarm can cause the mission to fail.
Enemy soldiers can be alone on solitary patrol or in groups ranging from two soldiers to seven. Sentries may or may not abandon their posts in attempts to chase the Commandos, depending on the importance of their guard role. In certain missions, there are also German tanks and armoured cars on patrol. These are especially deadly and will shoot on sight. Dotted throughout all the maps in the game are enemy garrisons (identifiable from the Swastika flag flying over them) that contain enemy soldiers. If an alarm sounds or if a suspicious sound alerts them, they will emerge and begin hunting and patrolling, making completion of the mission more difficult.
Enemy soldiers have a line of sight, that can be viewed. It is typically a cone (coloured green) of vision that extends from the soldier. This lets the player know what an enemy soldier can see and what he is looking at. The field of vision is broken into two sections; close range (light green) and long range (dark green). In the long range view, the enemy will not see your Commandos if they are crawling. If they stand up, the enemy will see them and order them to halt or possibly shoot. In the close range view, the enemy will always see the Commandos, even if they are crawling.
There are 20 missions in the game. They are divided into 4 groups. The first group of missions (#1 to #7) are early in the War and take place in Occupied Norway. The second group of missions (#8 to #12) are mid-way through the war and take place in North Africa. The third group of missions (#13 to #15) are in the later stages of the war and take place in Occupied France. The fourth and final group of missions (#16 to #20) are in the final stages of the war and take place in Belgium, France and Nazi Germany itself.
Mission #4, "Restore Pride". March 10th, 1941. Stokkan, Norway. The mission is to blow up an enemy military Headquarters that is based in a Norwegian villa.
Mission #6, "Menace Of The Leopold". May 10th, 1941. Unknown location, Norway. The mission is to sabotage a German long-range artillery cannon, code-named 'Leopold', before it can be transported to the Eastern Front.
Mission #9, "A Courtesy Call". October 20th, 1942. Bab El Qattara, Egypt. The mission is to infiltrate the base of the 21st Panzer Division and destroy the RADAR detection equipment, the weapons store, the base's command post and a bunker.
Mission #10, "Operation Icarus". November 14th, 1942. El Agheila, Egypt. The mission is to infiltrate a Luftwaffe base. You must rescue a captured RAF pilot, destroy the base's bomb depot, destroy the base's Stuka dive bombers and steal a Junker bomber to escape.
Mission #12, "Up On The Roof". March 15th, 1943. Gabès, Tunisia. The mission is to escape detection from the German soldiers who are actively searching for the Commandos in the city. A French soldier must also be rescued from the city's prison and the group must then escape across the rooftops of the city to the extraction point.
Mission #13, "David And Goliath". May 15th, 1944. Port of Le Havre, France. The mission is to infiltrate Le Harve and sink a new German battleship that is being readied for launch from the port. The battleship is a replica of the infamous Bismarck battleship.
Mission #15, "The End Of The Butcher". August 26th, 1944. Compiègne, France. The mission is to infiltrate the centre of the small town, sneak past the German troops and assassinate SS-Gruppenführer Helmut Schleper, also known as 'The Butcher Of Paris', before he can deliver a list of German Resistance members to Berlin.
Mission #16, "Stop Wildfire". September 4th, 1944. Liège, Belgium. The mission is to assassinate 4 German sappers before they can blow up a bridge over the Maas River, in order to facilitate Allied troop movements during Operation Market Garden.
Mission #18, "The Force Of Circumstance". December 16th, 1944. Liège, Belgium. The mission is to destroy a bridge over the Maas River in order to slow the advance of German troops. Ironically, the bridge you are now tasked to destroy is the very same bridge you defended in September.
Mission #20, "Operation Valhalla". February 11th, 1945. Gundelfingen Castle, Germany. The mission is to infiltrate a heavily defended German castle and blow up a building where stolen plans for the Allied atomic bomb are being housed, having been stolen by a German spy.
Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty is a stand-alone expansion pack released in March 31, 1999. It is developed by Pyro Studios and published by Eidos Interactive. The original game is not needed to play. The game features new skills and equipment, such as the ability to throw rocks and knock out enemy soldiers. Also two new allies are present with the game, a Yugoslavian military commander and a member of the Dutch Resistance. There are a total of eight missions available focusing on the push to Berlin. The game also features a higher resolution.
- Official Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines website (Archived Page)
- Official Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty website (Archived Page)