Combat School is a 1987 arcade game developed and manufactured by Konami. In it you play a military recruit who is undergoing basic training at a Marine Corps training camp. The game is also known as “Boot Camp” in North America.
The game can be played against a CPU-controlled opponent, or a second human player, with player one controlling “Nick“, and player two as “Joe“.
The original Combat School arcade cabinet had two buttons and a trackball for controls, although a joystick version was also released. The controls differ depending on the event being played.
Combat School has seven training events: a side-scrolling obstacle course; shooting range #1 (shoot a set number of individual targets to qualify); an overhead scrolling iron man race; shooting range #2 (shoot a certain number of remote-controlled drones to qualify); arm wrestling; shooting range #3 (avoid shooting friendly targets while trying to shoot enough hostile targets to qualify), and hand-to-hand combat with the instructor in the final event.
If you manage to clear all seven events you then graduate and are sent on a mission to rescue the U.S. President from armed terrorists. This eighth and final level is a side-scrolling action stage where you have to use all of the skills you learned during training. This final level is extremely difficult to clear because you can die with one hit from anything, and you only have one life and no continues. At the very end of the level you must fight the terrorist leader in hand-to-hand combat.
Combat School is a notoriously difficult arcade game to play, although the individual events themselves are very simple. If you fail an event within a certain margin you’re given a second chance by having to complete pull-ups as a penalty, but if you subsequently fail those you’re sent home “to mommy” as a failure.
This game does seem to have been influenced by Stanley Kubrick‘s “Full Metal Jacket“, which came out the same year as Combat School. It was also converted to the C64, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC by Ocean Software, and to MS-DOS PCs by Konami themselves.
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