Commandos: Strike Force
Commandos: Strike Force would be the last game in the Commandos series. This was the fifth game overall and it was a massive and I mean massive departure from what the series was known for. The previous four games were RTS games, but with this game, they changed it, and now it is a first-person shooter instead. What is interesting is that while the game has changed from a RTS to a FPS, it still features some of the gameplay elements that fans liked about the earlier games.
Three Become One
The game has three campaigns for you to enjoy and they are all set during the Second World War. I think that the story Commandos: Strike Force is trying to tell is a pretty good one. You have Norway, France, and the Soviet Union as the locations and I really liked this. Each one has its own look, style, missions, and of course general story for you to play through. It is a pretty extensive campaign and I had some real fun playing through it.
Grim And Gritty
While this may not win any awards for its presentation today, I think at the time this was a very solid looking game. I already mentioned how there was a lot of variety to the different locations you will be going to. However, the game overall has a really solid look to it, and while the characters may look a bit rough by modern standards. I do like how they made a real effort to try and make each character look different.
Doing The Right Thing
While Commandos: Strike Force has changed to a first-person shooter, some things have remained the same. You once again have a squad to make use of. Here you have three commandos and each one is different. You have a spy who can sneak around, use gas, and even disguises. A sniper who can use long-ranged weapons and swim and you also have a green beret who is a more hands-on, heavy weaponry kind of guy. Each character has their own personality as well and I liked being able to change my tactics up when necessary. Some might think that three characters is rather limited, but it worked very well and each character has clear strengths and weaknesses and it is up to you to utilize their strengths in order to get through the missions.
No Guns Blazing
One of the things that I think threw people off about this game was how they played it. While it is a first-person shooter, you still have to play with more caution than you would a game like Call of Duty or Medal of Honor. There is a lot of strategy at play here and while there will be firefights during certain points of the campaign. For the most part, playing smart and trying to play stealthy is the way you will be going about things.
I can see why the radical change in game style did not sit well with fans of the series. I though, feel that Commandos: Strike Force is way better than people give it credit for. I give the developers credit for trying something new with the series and the game overall is pretty fun. I do wish that the game was more successful so they could have taken another stab at this as I think they had the blueprints for something that could have been a solid series here.
- I really enjoyed the story of the game
- Three commandos to play as
- Each commando feels unique
- The gameplay is very stealth-based
- I think the visuals hold up fairly well
- It might be too different from the rest of the series for some
- A few more firefights would have been nice
Download Commandos: Strike Force
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
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.
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.