Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 Review
Say what you will, but seeing HD remakes or new iterations of old-school classics done in HD is awesome. Capcom's got a number of downloadable old-school HD games in the pipeline, Street Fighter and Bionic Commando being one of them. More recently, they've launched Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 via PlayStation Network. For only $10, what you get is old-school action with HD visuals that supports up to three gamers simultaneously.
The classic arcade franchise hasn't seen a release since 1990, when Mercs came out. If you're confused by the name, here's a quick history recap: Commando 1 was known as "Wolf of the Battlefield" in Japan. Commando 2 was renamed to Mercs for the US, but was still "Wolf of the Battlefield II" in Japan. Thus you have Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3, a fusion of both names.
Commando 3 is a run-and-gun shooter in every sense of the phrase. Standing still makes you a sitting duck, an easy target for bullets to rein havoc on your character. Despite being an on-foot game, Commando 3 uses very linear stage progression and a top-down view, much like vertical aerial shooters such as Raiden or Ikaruga. Arcade fans should really love everything about Commando 3, especially it's simplicity and how easy it is to pick-up and play.
What's important to understand here is that for only $10, you get quite an enjoyable shooter. Even if the game isn't long, and can be beaten in one 30-40 minute sitting, you still have online co-op multiplayer, as well as offline three-player co-op gameplay, and good replayability. Commando 3 is a fun game to pick up and play at any time, especially for short bursts of fun if you need to kill some time.
There are five levels to play through with three different characters, and at your disposal is an arsenal of weaponry, such as rocket launchers, grenades, shotguns, mounted turret guns, machine guns, and more. The spread of a weapon can be upgraded with a power-up, which will allow you to fire multiple rows of bullets, as opposed to just one.
When things get really hairy, you'll be able to hop into one of the game's fully-functional vehicles and start making mincemeat of everyone and everything around you by driving and shooting at the same time - feel free to run over your enemies, too. And if weapons or vehicles don't satisfy you, you can hit L2 for a special move called the M-Crash, which obliterates nearly everything in your sight.
Visually, Commando 3 is a simplistic game. Don't expect polygon-crunching awesomeness, with absurdly detailed texture detail, and gorgeous cinematics. Remember, this is a $10 game, but even so, there's nothing here that you'll find bad, it's just simplistic. The overall picture is very clean, and certainly pretty to look at. Special effects, such as explosions, aren't bad, either. The framerate is also spot on and extremely smooth.
The audio consists of a soundtrack that's highly reminiscent of old action-spy titles, specifically Spy Hunter. The story unravels through cut-scenes, but there is no voice acting in order to keep the download size small. Either way, the cut-scenes are short, so you won't be reading much. Other than that, the rest of the audio is made up of explosions, gun shots, and a few grunts here and there.
The bottom line is that Commando 3 is worth the $10. It may not be extremely epic or infinitely replayable, but it's certainly fun enough that you'll likely keep coming back to time and time again. Look at it this way, 15 years ago, this game would've cost you $60 or $70 on a cartridge, and you would have loved every minute of it. Well, if you wish to relive that nostalgia, and not pay the worth of a tank of gas, then I highly recommend downloading Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3. It's fun and inexpensive, and that's what matters.
6/26/2008 Arnold Katayev