Review Date: February 23, 2021

Release Date: November 1, 1986

Platform: NES

Publisher: Capcom

Genre: Shooter

Anecdotes: A common theme is NES games, especially early on, is to shove as many enemies on the screen as possible in order to add difficulty. War themed games were less common, but frequent enough. Capcom, an excellent gaming company, decided to make a game with both war themes and tons of enemies. Commando is one of the early games out of Capcom. While it’s a decent game and worth a play, it pales in comparison to what greatness Capcom would release soon afterward.

Description: Commando Joe has to save hostages and fight off enemies. There’s a story, but let’s be real. I don’t care what it is, nor did any other kid of the 80s. If it’s a hostage is blue, rescue him. If it’s anyone else, shoot them. There are four unique stages that make up each loop. There are four loops. Each loop has the same overworld areas, but the underground bunkers are repositioned and are entirely different screens.

The ladders are all hidden. Landing a grenade in the right place will reveal them.
This is a sample bunker. The hostages are tied to the poles. Joe is to release them. If he does, he is awarded either bonus points or upgrades.

Positives: The action is fast and attacks fly in from every directions. Unlike Gradius, though, Joe doesn’t need any upgrades to be fast enough to avoid things. Joe can run as fast as things fly at him, plus he can shoot his machine gun in any direction. Enemies hiding behind him can be targeted. Grenades are limited to start, but it’s easy to find a small supply of them, plus there is an infinite grenade upgrade.

This is the X-3 finale. Notice the infinity symbol next to the grenades.

Negatives: Grenades can only be launched upward. Grenades are also the only way to reveal hidden ladders, unless Joe finds some glasses. The majority of the enemies are gray, identical guys with rifles; there are others, but they’re mostly variations of the most common type.

This gray guy was given a car to drive. Never mind that there’s no road here.

More Screenshots:

Here’s a guy playing rock-paper-scissors while sitting on a rock alone.
I couldn’t go inside these, but there are a lot of enemies coming out of them.
What is this, Chicago? The road is right there. Use it.
This is what a well placed grenade can do. That tower got emptied.
Yay! I completed my first “misson!”

Grade: C

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