Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3

-Backbone Entertainment / Capcom

-Xbox 360 version reviewed. Also on PS3.

 

The Story

A team of three tough-as-nails commandos land on the beach of Zalestad to stop the maniacal General Ratiev. After their successful landing and destruction of one Raitevís mammoth tanks, they are captured and imprisoned. Five years later, Wolf, Fox, and Coyote make their escape. Their original mission continues, but now itís more about revenge.

My Thoughts

Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 is an odd sounding and lengthy title for a game. The reason is because the original Japanese title of the first Commando was called Wolf of the Battlefield. The Commando 3 part comes from it being the third game in the series. If you didnít know, Mercs was Commando 2. So the title Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 covers everything.

The first Commando wasnít based on the awesome Schwarzenegger movie, but it was a fun game. As for Mercs, I spent so many quarters/tokens on that in the arcade when I was young. Having been a fan of both games, I was looking forward to Commando 3. The game had much of what I was expecting, but was also missing other, important things.

Commando 3 has three characters to choose from. The first guy, Wolf, looks like he came right from Mercs and is tough, clean-cut, and ready to kick butt. The other dude, Coyote, is woodsy, ripped, and kind of like Rambo with a beard. Then there is the busty chick Fox, with a belt full of grenades and a mouth full of sass. Each character has their own stats with Wolf being the standard soldier, Wolf being the toughest when taking hits, and Fox the fastest. If this was a 80s action movie I would expect clever one-liners from them every time they killed a soldier.

Right after stage one, the team is captured by the enemy army and put in prison. With the help of their former commander (who previously disavowed any knowledge of their original mission), they make their escape five years later and look remarkably the same. You would think that after five years in the joint the characters would undergo some kind of change, but not these tough-as-nails commandos.

I like the stylized look of the characters, enemies, and vehicles. Mercs had a more hardcore, serious look, while this has a more fun look to it. The heroically proportioned characters work. The laid back music is good, but is so difficult to hear. The default volume of the sound effects and the music are both all the way up, but if you want to hear the music you need to turn the sound effects way, way down. I also found the lack of music during the credits fairly odd.

The gameplay is pretty much the same from the previous games. You run around, constantly shooting bad guys and rescuing POWs. The weapons from Mercs return with a machine gun, green spread, flamethrower, and rocket launcher. Each weapon can be powered-up a couple times and additional grenades can be found for bigger explosions. The characters also have their own M-Crash attack. Once activated, an animation of the character fills the screen and any foes in the vicinity are obliterated.

There are also gun turrets and vehicles with bigger, more explosive firepower. Although they can be destroyed, the vehicles seem almost indestructible. However, they can only be used in designated sections of a stage. Commando 3 does harbor some secrets with cleverly hidden rooms that contain additional POWs and weapons.

The game has a mostly constant barrage of bullets, but there is a little downtime. In one stage the characters ride a floating platform to the next part of the stage, but there is nothing to do on the platform. I figured some enemies might come at me on other flying platforms, but it was just a break from action of any kind.

The enemies werenít varied, but that is something I expect from these kinds of games. Unfortunately, the bosses were highly disappointing. There are only five stages and three bosses, with two of the bosses being the same. Okay, they were a little bit different since one was a regular giant tank and the other was a flaming giant tank, but aside from the different coloration, they were identical. I donít consider shooting a bunch of guys to shoot five power reactor things a boss, since itís just a bunch of regular dudes. The bosses in Mercs were such a big deal. There was a boss for every stage and each one had devastating attacks and tough-to-avoid patterns. Here the bosses just seem like afterthoughts and their attacks are easily avoided, even on the hardest difficulty.

This brings me to the difficulty. Commando 3 is too easy. I breezed through it on normal so I set it to the hardest difficulty; I still found the game rather easy. I remember plugging in quarter after quarter in Mercs (and the virtual quarters in the Mercs included in Capcom Classics Collection). Unless youíre new to shooters, the challenge is lacking.

If the single player mode gets boring, and it will during the second time though, there is room for two of your fiends to join-up for co-op play. Co-op adds more fun, but can become tiresome like the single player mode.

I have spent time with both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions and they seemed pretty much the same to me. The one and only reason I bought the Xbox 360 version was because of the inclusion of the Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Beta. I would really like to see the sales numbers for comparing the two versions, because I would bet that the XBLA numbers are far ahead of the PS3ís.

I know Iím comparing this a lot to Mercs, but thatís because more Mercs with stylized HD graphics was essentially what I was expecting. Mercs was a take-no-prisoners, make-you-cry-to-your-momma shooter. This is more of a shooter to pass the time or just have a little fun with friends.

WotB: Commando 3 is fun, but could have been more. Itís a good game, but not the great game I was expecting.

Score: 6.5

-Shawn