Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines

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Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines
Commandos Behind Enemy Lines.jpg
Cover art
Developer(s)Pyro Studios
Publisher(s)Eidos Interactive
Designer(s)Gonzalo Suárez
Ignacio Pérez Dolset
Artist(s)Jorge Blanco
SeriesCommandos
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
Release
  • EU: 24 June 1998
  • NA: 28 August 1998[1]
  • WW: 15 March 2007 (Steam)
  • WW: 29 September 2012 (Desura)
Beyond the Call of Duty
Genre(s)Real-time tactics
Mode(s)Single-player

Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines is a single-player real-time tactics video game developed by Spanish company Pyro Studios, published by Eidos Interactive, and released for Microsoft Windows in 1998.[1] The game sees players take control of a group of six Allied Commandos, who conduct a range of missions across wartime Europe and Africa, using small unit tactics. Each mission's objective varies, but ranges from sabotage, assassination, or rescuing captured allied units, with players having a full view of a mission's map to plan their strategy and its execution in advance.

The game proved to be an unexpected commercial success, with global sales above 900,000 units after six months on shelves. It branched out into a series that used the same system of game mechanics, beginning with an expansion pack entitled Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty in 1999, and later with two sequels - Commandos 2: Men of Courage in 2001, and Commandos 3: Destination Berlin in 2003.

Gameplay[edit]

In the game, the player assumes the role of an allied officer, who has been entrusted to command a group of commandos on each of the game's twenty missions that they undertake. A briefing given before a mission begins is divided into two parts - the first, focuses on the background of the mission and where it takes place, and the second, using the mission's map, details the objectives the commandos must complete, any important information they need to know, and what they must use to escape the area. Commandos features six commandos that the player can control, though each mission gives a specific subset of commandos that the player can use to complete objectives, though a mission is failed if any of the commandos are killed in action.

Each commando that the player gets to control has a different set of abilities and equipment that they can use to deal with enemies and help them complete their missions - the Green Beret is able to move barrels, climb rough surfaces, use a lure to distract enemies, and can kill soldiers with a knife; the Marine can dive underwater, use a harpoon gun, can kill enemies with a knife, and is the only one who can pilot ships and boats; the Driver is the only one who can drive vehicles and operate tanks and mounted guns, and is one of two commandos who can treat the injuries of his comrades; the Sapper is the only one capable of using grenades and handling explosives, but can also cut through wire fences and set up traps; the Sniper is the only one who can use a sniper rifle to take out targets, and the second commando who can treat his comrades injuries with a first aid kit; the Spy can wear enemy uniforms, distract soldiers when disguised as an officer, and can kill enemies with a lethal injection. In addition to their abilities, all commandos carry a handgun that they can use as a last resort to defend themselves. The game's emphasis is towards stealth and carefully planned tactics rather than gun battles, as the commandos will not survive for long if shot at.

The game's enemies are divided into ranks - soldiers, who are armed with rifles or MP40 sub-machine guns; sergeants, armed with service pistols, with some manning fixed machine-gun nests and thus do not leave their posts as a result; and officers, who are also armed with pistols. In addition to foot soldiers, some missions also include enemy tanks and armored cars operating in the area. As a rule, all enemies are on alert, and thus man guard posts or conduct patrols in the area, either by themselves or a group of three or four men, searching for anything suspicious. However, the player can monitor the line of sight of the enemy during a mission and thus use it to plan their moves, although they can only keep tabs on a single enemy's field of vision at any one time. An enemy's field of vision is represented by a cone in front of them, colored green, that extends out from an enemy to a certain distance, and is divided into two sections - close range, represented by light green, in which commandos will be spotted if they step into this area; and long range, represented by dark green, in which commandos will only be spotted if they are standing up when they step into this area. If any commando is spotted, enemies will usually order them to halt in order to capture them, and will only fire on them if they fail to comply or witness any hostile action. If an enemy detects something suspicious, such as seeing footprints or dead bodies, or hearing gunshots and other unusual noises, they will immediately investigate what the cause is. In most missions, an alarm will be raised if the enemy discovers they are under attack, such as an explosion happening in their vicinity. When this happens, the enemy will be more active and will more likely shoot the commandos if they see them, and more soldiers will deploy from garrisons, marked by flags, to patrol the area. If the alarm is raised, the completion of a mission is made much more difficult; in some missions, the sounding of an alarm will cause instant mission failure.

Reception[edit]

Sales[edit]

Commandos was a significant and unexpected commercial success. Designer Gonzalo Suarez attributed its sales to word of mouth, as the game received "hardly any promotion and we were aiming to sell around 15,000 copies at most". In the German market, it spent 16 weeks at #1 on the computer game sales charts,[3] taking the position from Anno 1602 and holding it through Media Control's rankings for the second halves of June, July and August.[4][5][6] Commandos' sales in German-speaking countries totaled 158,000 units by the end of September, which made it the region's second-best-selling computer game during the first nine months of 1998, behind Anno.[7] It was ultimately the German market's fourth-best-selling computer game of 1998 as a whole.[8] The title was also a hit in the United Kingdom, where it spent 15 weeks at #1 on the computer game sales lists.[3]

Commandos achieved global sales above 900,000 units within six months of release.[9] At the 1999 Milia festival in Cannes, it took home a "Gold" prize for revenues above €16 million in the European Union during 1998.[10] The Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland presented Commandos with a "Gold" award in January 1999,[11] indicating sales of at least 100,000 units across Germany, Austria and Switzerland.[12] It rose to "Platinum" status, for 200,000 copies sold, by the end of May 1999.[13] Combined with its expansion pack, Commandos' global sales totaled 1.3 million units by October 1999.[14] It sold over 1.5 million copies by May 2000.[15]

Critical reviews[edit]

Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
GameRankings81%[16]
Review scores
PublicationScore
CGSP4/5 stars[17]
CGW2.5/5 stars[18]
Edge7/10[19]
Game Informer8.75/10[20]
Game RevolutionA−[21]
GameSpot8.4/10[22]
IGN8.2/10[1]
PC Gamer (UK)80%[23]
PC Zone87%[24]
PC Gaming World8/10[25]
PC GamesB+[26]

Behind Enemy Lines received "favourable" reviews according to the review aggregation website GameRankings.[16]

Expansion[edit]

Beyond the Call of Duty cover art

Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty is an expansion pack that was developed by Pyro Studios, published by Eidos Interactive, and released on 7 April 1999.[2] Designed as a stand-alone pack, the expansion included eight new missions, as well as the ability to play it at higher resolutions. In addition, the gameplay of the main game was improved with a few new features. The commandos now have additional abilities and equipment that they can use - some commandos can now knock out enemies, each having a unique way of doing so, with all able to handcuff them once unconscious; stones and cigarette packs can be used as distractions; some missions require the player to capture enemies and order them about at gunpoint; the Spy now can steal uniforms on-site and use them when needed; and the Driver is now able to use a Lee–Enfield rifle to take out targets. While the enemies featured are the same as the main game, some missions see the player having to be careful of new threats, including Gestapo agents and wild animals.

Reception[edit]

Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
GameRankings79%[27]
Review scores
PublicationScore
AllGame4.5/5 stars[28]
CGSP4/5 stars[29]
CVG9/10[30]
Game Informer8.75/10[31]
GamePro4.5/5 stars[32]
GameSpot6.6/10[33]
IGN7.9/10[2]
PC Gamer (UK)72%[34]
PC Gamer (US)53%[35]
PC Zone70%[36]

Beyond the Call of Duty received "favourable" reviews, albeit slightly less that the original Commandos, according to GameRankings.[27]

By late 2000, Beyond the Call of Duty had sold over 350,000 units.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Ward, Trent C. (1 September 1998). "Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Blevins, Tal (22 April 1999). "Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b Hill, Mark (July 2001). "Oi!... Gonzo, What's Your Game?: Commandos 2". PC Zone. No. 104. pp. 44–47.
  4. ^ Staff (September 1998). "Spiele-Charts". PC Player (in German): 56.
  5. ^ Staff (October 1998). "Spiele-Charts". PC Player (in German): 88.
  6. ^ Staff (November 1998). "Spiele-Charts". PC Player (in German): 102.
  7. ^ Müller, Eva; Canibol, Hans-Peter (November 23, 1998). "Die Spaßmaschine". Focus (in German). Archived from the original on December 6, 2018.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Staff (March 1999). "News; Bestseller '98". PC Games (in German): 20.
  9. ^ a b "Información Corporativa" (in Spanish). Pyro Studios. Archived from the original on February 4, 2000.
  10. ^ Staff (February 12, 1999). "Milia News; ECCSELL Awards Name Winners". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 30, 1999.
  11. ^ "GOLD- und PLATIN SALES-AWARDS" (Press release) (in German). Paderborn: Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland. January 21, 1999. Archived from the original on June 10, 2000.
  12. ^ Horn, Andre (January 14, 2004). "VUD-Gold-Awards 2003". GamePro Germany (in German). Archived from the original on July 18, 2018.
  13. ^ Staff (July 2, 1999). "VUD nennt vier neue Sales Awards". GamesMarkt (in German). Archived from the original on December 4, 2018.
  14. ^ Staff (October 1999). "News; Eidos Interactive: Betailigung am Commandos-Team". PC Games (in German): 22.
  15. ^ "Eidos Interactive Announces E3 Product Line-Up" (Press release). Los Angeles, California: Business Wire. 10 May 2000.
  16. ^ a b "Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines for PC". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  17. ^ Ingram, Greg (27 August 1998). "Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines - European Release". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Strategy Plus, Inc. Archived from the original on 9 July 2003. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  18. ^ Carter, Tim (December 1998). "Not So Special Forces (Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines Review)" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 173. Ziff Davis. pp. 406–7. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  19. ^ Edge staff (August 1998). "Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines". Edge. No. 61. Future plc.
  20. ^ Bergren, Paul (November 1998). "Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines". Game Informer. No. 67. FuncoLand. p. 74.
  21. ^ Colin (October 1998). "Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines". Game Revolution. CraveOnline. Archived from the original on 20 May 2000. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  22. ^ Kasavin, Greg (10 September 1998). "Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines Review". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  23. ^ "Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines". PC Gamer UK. Future plc. 1998.
  24. ^ "PC Review: Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines". PC Zone. Future plc. 1998.
  25. ^ Barrick, Gordon (July 10, 1998). "Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines Review". PC Gaming World. Archived from the original on October 7, 2000.
  26. ^ Olafson, Peter. "Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines". PC Games. Archived from the original on September 22, 1999.
  27. ^ a b "Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty for PC". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  28. ^ Baize, Anthony. "Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  29. ^ Berger, Brett (21 May 1999). "Commandos: Beyond The Call Of Duty". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Strategy Plus, Inc. Archived from the original on 9 July 2003. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  30. ^ Randell, Kim (1999). "PC Review: Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty". Computer and Video Games. Future plc. Archived from the original on 5 February 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  31. ^ Bergren, Paul (June 1999). "Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty". Game Informer. No. 74. FuncoLand.
  32. ^ Olafson, Peter (1999). "Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty Review for PC on GamePro.com". GamePro. IDG Entertainment. Archived from the original on 11 April 2005. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  33. ^ Kasavin, Greg (29 April 1999). "Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty Review". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  34. ^ "Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty". PC Gamer UK. Future plc. 1999.
  35. ^ "Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty". PC Gamer. Future US. 1999.
  36. ^ "PC Review: Commandos: Beyond The Call Of Duty". PC Zone. Future plc. 1999.

External links[edit]

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