Game Review - by Randy Widell
Commandos, from Eidos Interactive and Pyro Studios, is a real-time strategy game based on actual World War II events. Commandos puts the player in charge of six individual special forces operatives, each with his own specialties and weapons, in a game with the feel of Westwood Studio's Command and Conquer and the style of Red Storm Entertainment's Rainbow Six.
The Allies are losing in the European theatre. The Germans are pushing hard and have driven the Allies completely out of Norway. After Norway's officials and the Allied militaries complete their evacuation, a small group of six men, part of a special forces team brought together by a British colonel frustrated with the current situation, move in to begin a covert campaign against the Nazis. And so begins a quiet war, controlled completely by the player.
Commandos is really easy to install, and does not require any in depth hardware configurations. Commandos is not a 3Dfx game, and only offers the standard options for video resolution, sound volumes, etc. The game is a 24 mission-long campaign with missions taking place in Europe and Northern Africa. Commandos uses an incredibly smart artificial intelligence engine and employs a line-of-sight feature that I have never seen used in such a game before. As seen in two of the game screenshots, the player is actually able to call up an illustration of his enemy's line of sight (illustrated by the two-tone green cone). The line-of-sight cone is obstructed by obstacles, and accounts for distance. Commandos allows the player to use up to six simultaneous cameras to keep an eye on his men. Commandos also offers support for co-operative multi-player action over a LAN or through MPLAYER.COM.
Commandos flaunts some of the best graphics I've seen in a real-time strategy game. The terrain and vehicles are not only very realistic, but they are also, for the most part, in the correct proportion to each other. I've always found earlier real-time strategy games to be somewhat comical because of their absurd proportioning. Explosion effects have a very realistic feel to them, as do shorelines and flowing water. What's even more amazing is that a higher video resolution (800x600 and above) is not required for high quality graphics. I was not able to discern any differences between 640x480, 800x600, and 1024x768 aside from the normal size difference. This is a good thing for those of us without high-end video cards.
The sound effects in Commandos are pretty standard with the exception of the responses from the men. Each man has his own unique personality, and it shows in the way he responds to commands. With Pan-European accents, the commandos acknowledge your commands, scream for your help, and make light of their accomplishments. The enemy's yell in German accents to let the player know that one of his commandos has been spotted or that he is sounding a general alarm. The sounds do well to further emphasize the individuality of the characters.
Commandos is a very challenging game to play and I highly suggest watching the training videos. The enemy is extremely intelligent and always alert. One will always lose if the rudiments of commanding his men are not second nature. The enemy has very expansive lines-of-sight, so movement has to carefully planned. This makes for a very difficult, very realistic game. A note for Command and Conquer and Starcraft players: Commandos may have the feel, but the style of gameplay is very different. Commandos takes a little getting used to.
I found Commandos to be a great game. Commandos follows a very unique and interesting storyline which captivated me as soon as I saw the opening movie. I was a little disappointed that the game only consists of one campaign, but I soon found that the campaign is challenging enough to keep even the best players busy for a good while. Playing Commandos takes split-second timing, patience, and a good head for strategy. With the caliber of AI that Commandos employs, players are forced to watch the enemy, learn its movements, plan, and react quickly. It is nearly impossible to just fumble through this game with half-baked strategy.