Commando: Warmachine Review

If you have a grandfather who fought in World War 2, don’t tell him about playing Commando: Warmachine– he’ll probably just get upset with you. In this ridiculous twin-stick shooter, you play as a GI who must slaughter Nazis by the hundreds, running to the right from Paris to Berlin. It’s not nearly as fun as it sounds.

At a glance, Commando: Warmachine looks like a decent shooter. The character sprites are large and colorful, like a cartoon. Also like a cartoon, the backgrounds repeat endlessly as your character runs through them. There are also only two enemy types in the game: A German foot soldier and a caped German officer who looks a bit like Dracula. Both have an interesting design, but they also repeat endlessly.

Commando’s main campaign mode is stunningly bad. Through a series of 12 challenges, divided into four very short chapters, you’ll run around and spray Nazis with pistol, shotgun, or machine gun fire. All the guns behave in almost exactly the same way, shooting yellow lines that represent your bullets. Your missions will always involve shooting everything in sight, sometimes while running to the right.

Shoot them in the shins.

And running to the right sure beats running to the left. Since your character is stuck in place on the left side of the screen, you have more space to see what’s coming from the right side of the screen than the left. Enemies that come from the left can surprise you and kill you much easier than enemies from the right. In the harder difficulty modes, it’s the lefties that you really have to watch out for. If this off-kilter placement is a deliberate design choice, we think it’s a poor one.

The only potential saving grace is the OpenFeint support for online high scores, and the game’s three different survival modes, one of which gives you an infinite rocket launcher. If beating someone else’s high scores is worth struggling with this pitiful game, then your download dollar might be justified.

Poor graphics, an irritating (but thankfully, brief) campaign, and uninteresting weapons are just about the worst components you can make a WW2 game out of. For a quality WW2 shooter, try Brothers in Arms 2: Global Front or Wolfenstein 3D instead. Commando: Warmachine feels half-finished, and should certainly be avoided.

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