Commandos: Strike Force
Don't Buy Strike Force if you're expecting a continuation of the previous top-down, punishing strategy games that won the hearts and minds of those who could spare them enough effort. This chapter is a first-person affair, lacking in the difficulty and complexity of its brand cousins, but boasting huge levels and an open-ended approach to problem solving. The fact it loosens up the demanding difficulty levels of the strategy games could even come as a relief to the more casual/less patient.
It has its problems: unspectacular Al, watered-down stealth and the sacrifice of the earlier games' hardcore charm at the altar of a wider audience, to name but three. It's still what you'd call a 'solid romp', if you used those kinds of words.
However, by moving away from its stealthy roots but never really shrugging them off in the pursuit of action, you get a relatively accomplished game that excels in neither genre. Having said that, it's worth a ruddy tenner.
Download Commandos: Strike Force
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
What's This? Another beatified PC gaming series that no longer does the rounds?
Strike Force was the vague attempt to take the hoary, yet brilliant old Commandos template and try and sell it to Xbox owners. Once an isometric topdown strategy game of Nazi-evasion, clothes-stealing and wire-cutting, First Strike takes three Commandos staples (Green Beret, Sniper, Spy) and puts them in a sub -Medal of Honor battlefield -letting you jump between them at will whenever their individual skill sets are required.
The levels are well designed, and often fairly tense, but the charm and rugged individualism of the rest of the series is sadly lacking. The '3D-because-we-have-to' problems that beset Commandos 3 and made it a bit of a failure, coupled with the fact that Strike Force's main problem was sheer indifference from all quarters, means that it's fair to say that Commandos is now a deceased franchise. The flames of Spanish developers Pyro, once gaming royalty back in the '90s, have been extinguished.
So spare a thought for these fallen heroes and get one of the original games instead.
Yeah, We Know what you're thinking. "Another month, another World War II game..." And you'd be right, it does involve killing hordes of Nazis and blah blah blah. But this is no ordinary WWII game. This is a Commandos game. This is a game with breeding and heritage.
Except Commandos: Strike Force is nothing like the previous three Commandos games. Those, lest we forget, were exceptionally challenging top-down stealth puzzlers that would have you tearing your hair out in frustration one minute, then basking with satisfaction at a job well done the next. This is a first-person shooter that you can breeze through in a few hours.
Even the Commandos team itself been changed. There are only three of them now: the Spy, the Sniper and the Marine, and one of them has a DARK SECRET. The game mixes stealthy sections with balls-out, shoot 'em up sequences, and the mix is a reasonably effective one. One level might see the lone Spy inching through an enemy base, picking off officers one by one, while another will give you control of the Marine and Sniper (you can switch between them), some Al-controlled allies, a boxful of ammo and mines and the open-ended task of defending a bridge from hundreds of Jerries and a couple of tanks - in whatever way you like.
Nazi Piece Of Work
Alas, while there's fun to be had on some of the huge levels, neither of these parts truly excels. The stealth sections are more watered down than curry house lager - you don't need to hide bodies, for instance, and the lacklustre AI engenders as much dramatic tension as an episode of Family Affairs. It's a far cry from the ultra-hardcore sneaking required in previous Commandos titles, where a stray footstep would have Nazis swarming all over you like chavs at a Burberry sale. The action parts are more challenging, but you'll often find yourself having to replay missions because too many Al-controlled buddies bite the dust (when will developers learn that babysitting idiotic cannon fodder is annoying?).
It's a real shame that the Commandos franchise has ditched its signature style in a bid for a bigger audience (Strike Force is also heading to Xbox and PS2, in case you hadn't guessed). While the old games were harder than titanium nails, they were innovative and unique, with a charming Boys' Own feel and an obsessive level of detail. Strike Force isn't any of these things. It is an enjoyable WWII romp that will while away a couple of afternoons - but stealth lovers will prefer Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and actioneers should get their kicks from Call Of Duty 2 instead.