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February 8, 2002
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 Overall Score: *81*ESRB Rating: Teen (T)

Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty 

by Eidos Interactive & Pyro Studios  Reviewed by: Tim Miser  


Overview

ScreenshotLast year, Eidos Interactive brought us one of the most refreshing real-time strategy games of the year. With its addictive and challenging gameplay, Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines separated itself from the masses with its unique approach to the strategy game genre. Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty is basically a mission add-on pack for Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines, adding just eight more missions, a few new weapons and a higher graphics resolution. However, this game is sold as a stand-alone product so you won’t need the original Commandos to play.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

For those unfamiliar with the original game, the Commandos are a group of World War II era specially-trained soldiers that are known as the “Dirty ½ Dozen.” You are in control of all six commandos, each of whom specializes in a specific skill, but not all commandos will participate in each mission; usually only three or four Commandos will be at your disposal. Your missions include such tasks as destroying certain buildings or objects, capturing a particular enemy soldier, and/or freeing a fellow commando, for example. A typical mission will have a few objectives that must be completed for the mission to be a success. Unlike other real-time strategy games, you cannot approach the mission with guns blazing, shooting at anyone that moves. Rather, you must employ stealth to get the job done. For example, if you take out an enemy soldier with your gun, other nearby soldiers will hear the gunshot, sound the alarm and will soon have the place crawling with panicking guards. The best way to kill an enemy soldier is to use a quieter weapon such as a knife, then pick up his body and move it to a location where it will not be found by other guards. This may sound easy, but is actually very difficult. Most of the enemy soldiers are situated in a way where they can see each other. By clicking a view icon onto an enemy soldier, you can see his field of view panning back and forth which can help you decide when to make your move on a guard that may be periodically within the other soldier’s view.

ScreenshotThanks to very different abilities of each commando, there are many different ways to distract and systematically take out each guard. A Marine Commando, “Fins”, has special abilities that include a silent but deadly harpoon gun, and he is the only one who can swim if he has an air tank, and can also operate and carry the inflatable boat. “Inferno” carries bombs, grenades, wire cutters and something resembling a bear trap, which he can place on the ground where an enemy soldier may walk. “Tiny’s” special weapons are an Ice Pick/Shovel and an acoustic decoy. He is also the only commando who can pick up and move immobilized guards. There is also a sniper, a driver, a spy, and for the eighth and final mission, you can utilize Natasha “Lips” Van de Zand. Natasha is a civilian who is part of the Dutch resistance. She has the ability to distract enemy guards, regardless of their rank, with the help of her feminine charm in the form of a lipstick icon! All the commandos carry a 9mm pistol and can distract enemy soldiers by throwing a stone behind them or a pack of cigarettes nearby. The sound of the stone will distract their view for a few seconds, and if they see the cigarettes they will immediately head over to pick them up, which may just be the distraction you need to kill a guard that would normally be within his view.

Veteran Commandos players will find some new features in this game. The ability to throw a stone or pack of cigarettes is a new feature, but the biggest addition is the ability to knock out a guard by way of a club, fist or chloroform. Once the enemy soldier is unconscious, he can be handcuffed and forced to go back on patrol at gunpoint and distract other guards as long as he stays within range of your pistol.

Graphics

The most noticeable difference between the original Commandos and this one is the improved graphic resolution. This improves the overall look and feel of the game. The soldiers and objects are all richly detailed and complement the rest of the game.

Audio

One of the best features of this game is the magnificent audio soundtrack and the voice acting of the German soldiers. The music really does a fine job of creating the mood for the game. The only downside is the voices of your commandos, which can become repetitive. “Yes Sir” and “Right away Sir” are repeated far too often after each command.

System Requirements

Minimum: Pentium 166 MHz processor, Windows 95/98, 32 MB RAM, 1 MB SVGA DirectX 6.1 compliant video card, 4X CD-ROM drive, 225 MB hard drive space
Recommended: Pentium 233 MHz or faster, 64 MB RAM, 2 MB SVGA DirectX 6.1 compliant video card, 8X CD-ROM drive
Multiplayer Requirements: Pentium 200 MHz or faster, TCP/IP LAN, 33.6 Kbps or faster internet connection

ScreenshotBottom Line

Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty is a VERY difficult game. It is much more difficult than the original. It would sometimes take me days to complete a mission and I had to constantly save and restart the game, to the point of absolute frustration. There is a difficulty setting at the start of your first mission with the choice of “Easy” or “Hard”. It should read: “Very Hard” or “Impossible”! My other complaint is the fact that there are only eight missions, compared to the first game in the series, which had 20. Granted, the suggested retail price of this game is only $29.99, but it would have been better if Eidos added another 12 missions and called it a sequel. This game will constantly require you to think and use trial and error to create different strategies. There is no question this is a challenging game and never-ending patience will be vital for success.

Review Posted On 21 May 1999.

 
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