Commando (video game)
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|Release date(s)||May 1985|
|Genre(s)||Run & gun shooter|
Commando, originally released as Senjō no Ōkami (戦場の狼 lit. "Wolf of the Battlefield"?), is a run & gun, vertically scrolling arcade game released in 1985. Its influence can be seen in various later games in the shooter game genre. Versions were released for various home computers and consoles. The game also appears on Capcom Classics Collection, Activision Anthology, and on the Wii Virtual Console Arcade, as well as Capcom Arcade Cabinet for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
The player takes control of a soldier named Super Joe, 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 submachine gun 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).
A home version of the game developed by Capcom was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Activision released a port of the game for the Atari 2600 and INTV released a port for the Intellivision, also an Atari 7800 version by Sculptured Software was released in 1989.
Elite released versions for many home computers. The BBC Micro and Acorn Electron versions were developed under contract by Catalyst Coders, while Elite developed the Amiga, Atari ST, Acorn Electron, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64 versions.
The Commodore 64 version's theme, a "funky" version of the arcade music, 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 has become well known among Commodore 64 enthusiasts and is available from the HVSC.
The arcade version was re-released on the Virtual Console as Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando in Japan on October 5, 2010, in North America on December 6, 2010, and in the PAL region on December 17, 2010.
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, it never reached the market in spite of being completed. In the 2000s the game's prototype cartridge was found.
Computer Gaming World said that "few cartridges can equal [Commando]'s non-stop action" on the NES. The game won the award for best shooting game of the year according to the readers of Crash magazine. It was also voted best arcade-style game of the year at the 1986 Golden Joystick Awards.
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 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".
- "The Arcade Flyer Archive - Video Game: Commando, Capcom".
- The Atari Advantage. Atari Corporation. 1989. Retrieved 2011-02-08.
- Atari Video Game Catalog. Atari Corporation. 1987. Retrieved 2011-02-08.
- "Commando page on AtariProtos.com". Retrieved 2008-01-07.
- Worley, Joyce; Katz, Arnie; Kunkel, Bill (September 1988). "Video Gaming World" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 51. p. 52. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
- "CRASH 27 - Readers' Awards". crashonline.org.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
- "Golden Joystick Awards". Computer and Video Games. EMAP (55): 90. May 1986.
- Duet at SpectrumComputing.co.uk