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Elite Systems Ltd
1985
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£7.95
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes

30
Philip Kiernan
Chris Bourne

Ever fantasised about being dropped into some deadly jungle (hostile territory and all that) with nothing but a measly machine gun to protect you? Well look no further because here at YS we have up for grabs a limited edition AK47 and a one-way ticket to... hang on, my mistake. Look no further, because here's the long-awaited re-release of that famous and very old shoot-'em-up Commando. Er, hurrah.

Well, anyway, about the game. The plot is pretty simply and reads something along the lines of... (Sound of someone rustling papers on desk.) Blimey where has that inlay gone? Er, er, once upon a time there live a mild-mannered social worker from down South by the name of Steve. Minded his own business he did and expected others to treat him likewise. One day, while walking to the local shop to fetch a white sliced loaf, something quite extraordinary happened. A manhole had been left uncovered on the road, and due to a stroke of bad luck, our Steve went and stepped right into it. Down and down he went, right to the bottom at which point he hit his head on a rock. Next morning, he awoke to find himself wandering in the middle of a battlefield. Being a devout pacifist, a dilemma arose – should he raise his hands and surrender or should he proceed to annihilate every last one of the blighters closing in on him with this handy machine gun he seemed to have picked up from somewhere? After a moment’s deliberation, he cast aside both his ethics and his hopes of ever seeing a white sliced loaf again, and started shooting.

Ow, my conscience! Well, the plot definitely involves shooting, anyway. Lots of it. Armed with that machine gun and a handful of grenades, your mission involves advancing as far up the vertically-scrolling landscape as is humanly possible. If you run low on grenades, you can steal the opposition’s, which is a bit useful to say the least.

Should you reach the end of a level, you come slap bang up against a big gate, out of which pop zillions of newly-recruited troops with (squint) your name on their bullets! Blast these into the ground and it’s on to the next level. No problem (Sarge).

The sheer addictiveness lies in finding out what the next stage holds – now it’s laid out and what hazards there will be to overcome. These hazards get progressively more insanely dangerous, and the opposition grows less shy about whipping out their rocket launchers (Oo, as they say, -er Ed) These one-man mission larks appear impossible at times – makes you wish they’d included a two-player option. (They did, in the sort-of sequel, Duel, which was crap, so there you are. Ed) Oh well, ne’er mind.

Where were we? Oh yeah, addictiveness. Yes, it is addictive. In fact I think I’ll just nip odd for another try. And I think I’ll take along a representative sample of the studio audience. (Small party runs through desert landscape.) On our left we can see what’s known as an army tank – nasty little number indeed. Don’t get too close. (Ratatatatat.) Oh, and best be careful of those trucks cruising across our path. And what’s that jumping out of them? Why, it’s a lot of soldiers! (Ratatatatatat.) Pah, amateurs.

Watch out for the bloke with the bazooka. (Whizz, kablamm.) Cripes, that was close. (Part dives into ditch.) And now, for anyone interested, the bridge we’re crawling under was erected in 1936 by a sheep farmer worried about his critters. What’s that, sir? I don’t wish to know about your critters. Now, on either side of us are the trenches. Note how the inhabitants crouch down as we approach. No cameras please, they don’t like it. And here we have the mad motorcyclist, an unpredictable fellow. Pikes, dive for cover! (Party zigzags in panicked fashion.) Missiles, eh? Yikes, heads down. Flamethrowers, eh? Yikes, say yikes a lot. Tikes. (Ragged party stumbles through gate and collapses on grass.) An enjoyable romp if ever there was one.

So, all in all, I could sump up Commando as being a bit of a classic really. It’s got everything fanatical shoot-‘em-up folk could ever want and a bit more to boot, whatever that means. If you missed it last time around, well, here’s your chance to join the war. Happy shooting, merry mayhem, and may the force be with you. Or something.

78%

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Damn it Brad, you told me these little boxes were made of ticky-tacky. That's the third man I've lost to them already. Oh no, Dozier's just been eaten by a giant cotton wool ball as well. I'll be making a full report about this, mister.

Hello sir, (blam blam blam) I wonder if I could interest you (ratatatatatatat bang) in my company's exceptionally fine (chug chug chug chug kablang) double glazing? (Poot.)