Known in North America as “Rambo: First Blood Part II” (complete with movie licensed characters), and “Ashura” in Japan. Also known as: “Not-So-Secret Commando“, since this is an unsubtle clone of Capcom‘s classic 1985 arcade game, Commando (and SNK‘s 1986 game, Ikari Warriors – since it has a simultaneous two-player mode and level designs that echo that game). Joking aside: it’s a pretty good clone of Commando, although it does play rather slowly.
The slow-paced nature of Secret Commando actually plays in its favour, though, since it’s not quite so hectic and difficult as the Commando arcade game.
The premise of the game is the same, though: make your way up various vertically-scrolling levels, shooting enemies while avoiding bullets, grenades, shells, explosions and shrapnel. Talking of bullets: in this game your bullets (and enemy bullets) are comedy baseball-sized white objects, which again plays in the game’s favour because there’s no issue with bullets getting lost against the background.
Not that Secret Commando is an easy game – it isn’t; it’s actually pretty challenging. Especially when you reach the outpost at the end of the each level and have to survive an onslaught for a minute or two, before you then blow up the glowing door with your exploding arrows and escape to the next level.
Secret Commando has a simultaneous two-player mode, which is obviously more fun than playing on your own. Overall, it’s a very good game. Arguably the best of its type on the Master System.