|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Mana Computer Software||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: XS Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 2, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The bosses in the game look really good, and they're masochistic in their design. There are often insane amounts of firepower thrown at your commando, and if merely making it through a level doesn't cow you, the end bosses surely will. However, though they are challenging in the extreme, the bosses aren't necessarily all that interesting. The difficulty comes strictly from the flurries of attacks bosses unleash, rather than any cleverly designed puzzle elements, and that's pretty much the defining characteristic of this game as a whole.
Criticisms aside, Commando does a lot right. The controls are spot on, if not a bit abbreviated in terms of the directions you can fire certain weapons. The collision detection, though not quite perfect, is better than the average Metal Slug game. Additionally, for what Commando tries to be, it looks great. This is strictly a 2D affair, but the art style and graphics fit nicely on the DS. Fun-looking sprites, awesome explosions, classic artwork with lots of detail - all things directly inspired by the Metal Slug series; it all looks great and runs fairly smooth.
On the audio front, Commando falls a bit short due to a conspicuous lack of variety. Enemies have only three discernable death cries; shooting sounds are somewhat entertaining but nothing new; and though the music is decent and fits the gameplay well enough, the tunes lack that special bit of "umph" that helps make games like Metal Slug such a rockin' good time.
This is a DS game, and that means there are two screens to utilize. How does Commando fare in this department? Not great. All the action takes place on the touch screen, and the top screen merely houses a mostly static, overworld map. The map is completely extraneous and offers no real purpose.
When everything's tallied up, though, Commando is a decent game on its own merits and a strong first showing for newcomers Mana Computer Software. This is a game that sets out to be a total clone of the Metal Slug experience, and with that in mind, Commando succeeds on many levels. The game surely seems to hit its mark with its level of challenge, as this one's not for the "casual gamer." Whereas your typical Metal Slug game offers a challenge good enough for hardcore gamers yet still something anyone can enjoy, Commando presents players with more skill-based gameplay, which will require some serious button reflexes and finesse. That can be a good or bad thing depending on your point of view. For those curious but unsure, Commando is probably worth a rental. For those who love "the pain," Commando is a definite buy. But for those who get enough challenge out of keeping their gardens tidy in Animal Crossing well, `best to pass this one right on by.
CCC Freelance Writer