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Platform

Super Nintendo

 

Genre

Side-scrolling action

 

Developer / Publisher Capcom

 

Year released

1995

 

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Captain Commando

     

In Captain Commando (CC), your job is to rid the universe of evil – or whatever excuse you need in order to justify a lot of side-scrolling punch ‘em up action. You and the rest of your Commando Team – Ninja, Mummy, Baby – smash through a bunch of levels and even travel into outer space to defeat a plethora or generic bad guys and the standard Big Boss. The action is straightforward: punch, kick, kick, jump-kick, throw. It’s not hard to get into a rhythm.

The two-player option is far more fun than single-player. At least that way you have someone to talk to. The player characters vary in appearance but they all have the same basic moves: dash attack, punch, kick, jump, etc. The moves may look different but they do the same amount of damage. Torching someone with Captain Commando’s dash-jump-attack flame thrower won’t dish out more damage than using Baby’s dash-jump-attack elbow smash. (Although, the flamethrower has a slightly better range.) To mix things up, a variety of weapons are available. Unfortunately, the weapons have a strict ammo limit – the rocket launcher lasts three shots. And the weapons don’t do much damage either.

 

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Although the player characters are interesting and different, the bad guys are generic at the best of times. Usually it’s the same guy in a different suit. The graphics are slightly downgraded from the arcade from which it’s ported, but it still looks very good. There’s an emphasis on color and there’s no doubting that CC is a Capcom game. (Capcom practically defined what a body should look like when set ablaze.) The Commando 

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Team members all have cool looks. Although I like the undead, lanky look of Mummy (actually an alien) with his ball cap and two knives, my favorite character has to be Baby. He’s so smart he built his own fighting robot (which he rides) – all at the age of two! A toddler in control of a big robot is a dangerous thing. Plus he’s the only character that can pile drive enemies. The throwaway character is Ninja, whose occupation is – you’ll never guess – fulltime ninja. His blade must be dull because even though he attacks with a wicked looking sword he won’t do any more damage than the basic punch of the other characters.

The sound design also marks CC as a Capcom game. The music and sound effects instantly remind one of Street Fighter II. There aren’t any stand-out tracks though – none that you’ll remember years later (at least in my case).

Difficulty is uneven. Some levels are a trying experience to complete. Some of the mini-bosses exhibit cheating behavior. If you play with two people, you’ll blast through most levels. Level design doesn’t stray from the side-scrolling punch ‘em up paradigm. Sure they all look different and there’s a level that has you riding a motorized surf board, but there isn’t a level where you’ll gasp, "How original!" However, by avoiding innovation CC is easily accessible to even the most novice gamer.

Don’t get me wrong, CC has some fun to offer – short-lived fun, but fun nonetheless. It’s just a product of its time.

- Omni

 

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