Video game of the week: Commando for NES
Shooting arcade games mostly seemed the same for a long time, but then Commando came out and things were changed. Commando was such a huge hit at the arcades that a version was eventually made of it for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and it was awesome.
You are a lone soldier facing off with limitless hordes of enemy soldiers. Your terrain is the jungle and desert. Your weapons are your rifle and grenades. How long can you survive?
That’s the basic gameplay for Commando, the 1985 hit arcade game from Capcom.
The game proved so popular that ports were made to just about every home gaming console and computer system of the time, including the Atari 2600, Atari 7800, PC and most importantly, the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Now, there have been so many different ports of Commando, I would be a fool and a liar to say that I’ve tried them all. I haven’t. But I have tried about a half dozen of them, and of them all, I have to say the version for the NES is the best and the one closest to the arcade games in graphics and gameplay.
The game itself is pretty straightforward. You play a soldier who is dropped off by a helicopter, then you scroll vertically up the screen while shooting at enemy combatants who come at you from all sides except directly behind. Your gun has unlimited ammo, which is great, but you also have a limited supply of grenades you can use to take out several enemies at one time.
The game comes in stages, and at the end of each stage you come up against a fort where tons and tons of enemy soldiers come piling out at you. Defeat them all to move on to the next stage of the game.
One of the few problems with the NES version of Commando is trying to shoot diagonally. It can be done, but the control pad for the NES lends itself more to straight right, left, up and down movement.
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