Jeremy Jastrzab
02 Jul, 2008

Commando 3: Wolf of the Battlefield Review

360 Review | For those who just want to shoot stuff and get high scores.
A long time ago, before online multiplayer and High-Definition displays, video games were a much simpler affair. It was enough for a game to have a completely linear path with hordes of enemies and an unlimited belt of ammo. Such games were fairly abundant at the time, and Capcom’s Commandos proved to be so popular, that several versions spawned on just about every system available at the time. Fast forward to 2008 and the third game in the series, Commando 3: Wolf of the Battlefield (which incidently comes 17 years after the second, Mercs) makes an appearance on the Xbox Live Arcade and the Playstation Network.

While its appearance on the downloadable services is suitable, there is a certain amount of irony to the release of Commando 3: Wolf of the Battlefield. When the original Commando was released way back when, the ‘run-and-gun’ genre was quite popular and well catered for. Interestingly, Commando 3 ups the stakes by rejigging the game into a dual-analogue shooter, a genre which is almost overflowing with titles on both download services.

Remake or update?

Remake or update?
Still, if you’re sick of all the fluff in games, then Commando 3 gets rid of nuisances such as story and item menus, gives you a gun with virtually unlimited ammo and lets you loose onto hordes of enemies. OK, so there is something of a story, where you can pick one of three characters, each with discernable characteristics between speed, health and number of grenades. The premise is very 1980’s action flick, where you’re raiding enemy encampments, escaping prison and taking down terrorists and communists.

As mentioned, the game takes on dual analogue status, while mixing the original’s run-and-gun nature. Through five levels of mayhem, you take your character along the designated path up until the exit/boss. You’ll spend most of the time on foot, though there are a couple of vehicle sections as well. There’s nothing particularly complex about the game, but it’s by no means easy. Bullets are flying from just about every direction, so a fair level of skill is demanded and unlike more recent similar titles, the game sends you all the way back to the beginning if you lose all your lives. Still, the game is quite fair when it comes to pick-ups.

Vehicles are stupidly overpowered, but a lot of fun.

Vehicles are stupidly overpowered, but a lot of fun.
Players are also able to take up to two buddies for either single screen or online multiplayer. The experience is the same, as difficulty is only distinguished by the number of lives you’re given. Effectively, you’ll take down enemies quicker, though the with three players onscreen, things get easily cluttered, so we found that we took damage a lot easier, simply because we got lost in the spray of bullets. Despite playing with Americans, the online experience was solid with not much slowdown, once we actually found some willing players.

There’s very little in Commando 3 that is explicitly wrong, as that’s the inherent nature of the genre. It is an interesting throwback to a game released some two decades ago, while mixed with a genre that has been rekindled through digital distribution. However, unless you chase high scores and get your kicks out of climbing the leaderboard, this game has very little lasting appeal. Furthermore, the overall design of the game is rather narrow and dull, as evidenced by the clutter in multiplayer and a general lack of flair or surprises. A few little things such as weapon switching, as opposed to a 'power up' are a bit contentious as well.

Good ol' screen-filling bosses

Good ol' screen-filling bosses
Back upon its original release, developers had a very different idea of what your ideal gaming protagonist should look like. Commando 3 shares a similar style to a previous Capcom digital release, Rocketmen: Axis of Evil. It’s a style that would be more associated with modern Saturday morning cartoons. While we wouldn’t go so far as to call it ugly, it is rather generic. Still, the 3D graphics in the actual game are clean and colourful. There is always plenty going on and very little slowdown. In terms of sound, the lack of any voices takes a little away from the rest of the sound effects which actually convey an appropriate atmosphere. Otherwise, the upbeat soundtrack and chunky explosions do a very good job, though minor glitches do get in the way.

Commando 3: Wolf of the Battlefield does a robust job of modernly recreating a nostalgic experience, while glossing it up with a nice coat of paint. For those who like their games fluff-free, like chasing high scores and taking their buddies online for some hectic gunning, the game has something for you. The only issue is that both the XBLA and PSN have other games that do the same just as well, and some that do better.
The Score
Commando 3: Wolf of the Battlefield doesn't break any new ground or blow away the competition, but it provides some no-fuss shooting fun. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Commando 3: Wolf of the Battlefield Content

Frogger 2 for Live Arcade
11 Jun, 2008 Along with Commando 3.
Commando 3 hitting XBLA next week
07 Jun, 2008 Those who purchase it get invited to Street Fighter beta.
Bionic Commando Rearming in July
04 Jun, 2008 Probably, anyway.
5 years ago
Technically it's the 5th game in the series, the two Bionic Commando games should be included in there since they have the same characters and similar game play.
5 years ago
i think i'm gonna buy the full game of this.

i recently found my Atari 7800 version of Commando, and the nostalgia came flooding back. icon_smile.gif

(and the demo was pretty decent too.)
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