Commando, ZX Spectrum

The ZX Spectrum version of Capcom‘s Commando was programmed by Keith Burkhill and Nigel Alderton, with graphics by Karen Trueman and Rory Green. It was first published by Elite Systems in 1985.

It’s been well documented that this port was developed in just four short months and had to have some levels from the arcade original removed, so that it could be completed in time. Graphically, it’s also quite spartan, with occasions when there’s little to nothing on-screen, making it difficult to tell if the screen is actually scrolling or not. On later levels, enemy vehicles even drive through each other, which gives some indication of the level of care taken in making this conversion…

Regardless of this port’s faults, it still plays quite well. It was arguably over-rated when it was first reviewed, but it does try to recreate some of the thrills from its arcade parent, and succeeds in at least being playable and challenging.

It really could’ve done with more detail in the backgrounds, and maybe also a 128K version with all the levels and some music, but it seems that Elite couldn’t arsed to return to it after it raked-in the cash on its initial release. Commando is little more than a competently-programmed cynical cash-in from Elite and will no doubt be defended by Spectrum fanboys who can’t see the wood for the trees. Just for the record: the ZX Spectrum was my first ever home computer, and I loved it (still do), but even in my teenage years I was sick of companies exploiting gamers for a quick buck by churning out stunted arcade ports. Whether you like Commando on the ZX Spectrum or not, you can’t deny that it’s one of those games.

More: Commando on Wikipedia
More: Commando on World of Spectrum

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