Publisher: Activision
Release: 1988
Controller: Joystick
Players: 1 – 2
Genre: Arcade
Alternate Title: N/A
Model # AK-043
Rarity: 3
Programmer: Mike Reidel

Your mission is to infiltrate enemy territory, kill every soldier you find and blow up each of their eight mega fortresses.  Sadly due to recent budget cuts you will have to undertake this mission single handedly.  What sort of supplies will you be getting?  Well given there are thousands of troops standing between you and victory a standard issue machine gun and three hand grenades should be plenty.  If for some reason that is inadequate for you to complete your task I wouldn’t worry, the enemy is very well financed so I’m sure you’ll be able to pick up more grenades along the way.   Good luck!

Each of the eight levels play out in the same way.  You start at the bottom of the screen, usually surrounded by enemy soldiers who already have their fingers on the trigger, and you must make your way to the mega fortress that is way North of your position.  Not only do the soldiers move quickly, but their shots do as well, so if you don’t take them out as soon as they appear it is very easy to get overwhelmed by the onslaught of bullets.  The only other things you really have to worry about are speeding trucks that randomly drive across the battlefield and trenches.  And I don’t mean the soldiers that are in the trenches as they are easily taken out with a grenade, but the trenches themselves.  Despite the fact that you are a hardened soldier that is taking on an entire army without any support, if you step into a trench you die.  I’m going to assume they are booby trapped in some way since I’d like to think a hard nosed military guy could survive a four foot drop.

Once you survive the enemy platoon it’s time to take on the mega fortress, which is done in two steps.  Step one is to do what you have been doing up until this point, killing everyone you come across.  Step two is to simply step inside the building which triggers a massive explosion, which thanks to there being no delay makes it look like you are a suicide bomber.  After a few moments of enjoying the destruction you are sent off to the next level where you are once again set loose upon the enemy.

There are two main problems with the game, the hero and the controls.  Your character is rather large, which poses a problem since everyone in the world is currently shooting at you.  He also isn’t the fleetest of foot, so trying to escape the onslaught typically doesn’t end well.  The other main issue is the controls.  The 2600 controller only has one button, which means if you want to throw a grenade you have to stop firing your machine gun and hold the button down for what seems like an eternity.  As you can imagine that poses a bit of a problem when you are on an active battlefield.

Commando is one of the latest releases on the system, so it comes as no surprise that it is among the most technically advanced games on the 2600.  Of course this came out well after the NES version, making it completely obsolete.  Still, it is worth a look if you are curious as to how far the 2600 could be pushed.


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Derek Slaton Derek Slaton (61 Posts)

Derek began playing video games in the early 80s, cutting his teeth on every Atari 2600 game he could get his hands on. This kickstarted a lifelong love of games, which continues to this day. No matter how advanced the systems and games become, the love for Atari remains supreme, which is why the Atari 2600 Encyclopedia project was done. With this massive project completed, Derek looks to begin work on another system encyclopedia, hoping to pay tribute to the games that shaped his childhood.