Captain Commando
It's amazing to think of the number of videogame characters that have come and gone over the years, and even more amazing to consider how many have been forgotten. To anybody but the most obsessive gamer, the number of memorable characters could easily be counted on Choro's toes. 'Who?', I hear you say. Exactly.

When it comes to beat'em-ups in particular, Capcom have certainly come up with more than their fair share of popular characters over the years including the entire Street Fighter 2 cast, as well as Guy, Cody and Haggar from Final FIght to name but a few. For a while, the star of Captain Commando (named, would you believe, Captain Commando) was actually Capcom's official mascot. Not even nearly as well known as those Capcom characters previously mentioned, he's not quite a Mario or a Sonic is he?

Captain Commando is just one of a plethora of side-scrolling beat'em-ups released during the late eighties and mid nineties and one of many released by Capcom who seemed to have become a sort of side-scrolling beat'em-up factory at one point. The aim as with all other games of this type is simply to get from one end of each level to the other, receiving as little damage as possible and knocking a few heads together on the way. As you would expect, the obligatory end-of-level bosses are in there, as are collectable items such as food and weapons, and of course, the dress sense of most of the enemies is questionable to say the least (think giant punk hairstyles, latex trousers and leather S&M gear).

Like most chop-socky games worth their salt, Captain Commando gives you several characters to choose from, each with their own unique fighting styles. So, let's meet the contestants ...

The man in charge, Captain Commando's moves include a leaping flame thrower attack and electric ground charge.

Yes, that is a baby sitting in a mechanoid type thingy. Specials include an exploding foot attack and elbow slam.

Also known as Ginzu, this ninja uses his swords to devastating effect and also has a sort of exploding kick move.

My favourite character, Mummy Commando AKA Mack the Knife has two daggers as weapons. Specials include a very destructive spin attack.

At the start of each level a map appears showing your current position within the game. The levels cover a variety of locations including a dinosaur museum, clown camp (?), enemy spaceship and the planet Callisto. There is even an ocean level where the heroes get to ride what look like aquatic skateboards. In some parts of the game, enemy mechanoids can be hijacked and used to cause even more devastation.

Well, that about sums it up I think. Oh, I forgot the plot. Erm ... oh, it's OK, it seems as though the game's designers did too ... Oh, no hang on, there is a plot after all. It seems that an evil character by the name of Scumocide (hippy parents perhaps?) has created a race of 'cyber-criminals' to take over the world and it is up to Captain Commando and his weird friends to stop them. Ho hum.

'Painting the town red' takes on a whole new meaning

Mack the Knife showing off his stuff. Easily the best
character in the game.

Mack the Knife showing off his stuff again. Witness the
power of his special swirly attack.

Babeh babeh. Uh.

Burn baby burn.

These mechanoids are great fun. Mass carnage!!

The big cheese himself - Scumocide. Hey, nice name.

I find most scrolling beat-em-ups a bit lacking in depth, with gameplay in the worst examples consisting of simply holding the joystick to the right while hammering the attack buttons furiously and hoping for the best. Captain Commando unfortunately is no exception, but though lacking depth, is great fun to play especially with a friend. The graphics throughout are of exceptional quality even by Capcom's high standards, and the three heroes - bizarre as they are - not only look fantastic, but are a joy to control, each having some very cool moves (my favourite being the knife-wielding mummy). The ability to hijack huge robots and pilfer unfeasibly large guns adds heaps to an already playable title and along with the jetski level, add variety - very welcome, given the repetitive nature of this type of game. Overall, Captain Commando is a very playable and polished game, and is easily one of the best examples of its genre. Once completed however, there is little else to see and its appeal soon wanes.

Graphics: 91%

Sound: 71%

Gameplay: 87%

Overall: 85%
Very nice indeed - great-looking well-animated characters, imaginitive backgrounds, all done in typically stylish Capcom fashion. Above average music throughout and fairly decent effects. Nothing to write home about. Very rewarding gameplay which unlike most scrolling fighters requires a least a small degree of competence on the player's part. Can become repetitive however, and once completed there is little to return to. One of the best examples of its genre, Captain Commando is highly entertaining but somewhat lacking any long-term appeal.
R E C O M M E N D E D   A L T E R N A T I V E S
Golden Axe • Final FIght

O T H E R   F O R M A T S
Battletoads (Gameboy/NES) • Streets of Rage III (Megadrive)

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