Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines

16Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines, a game based on the exploits of commandos during World War II, is an excellent if sometimes frustrating game. It draws quite a bit from role-playing games with its character interaction, enabling individual control of a party with a vast set of skills. You navigate your party through maps crawling with enemy soldiers, and must use your wits to stealthily avoid or eliminate the opposition. The end result of fusing these elements together proved a killer combination for Commandos.

By allowing you to control an entire group of specialized soldiers instead of just one, Commandos plays more like a puzzle game than a typical RTS twitch session. It’s a game that relies heavily on both patience and precision, since you must use your pack of characters to perform different goals. The artificial skill limitations are a bit annoying on occasions. For example, the only character that can row a boat is the Marine, and the only character that can drive a truck is the driver. However this appears to have been done to make each character essential in completing the scenario and thus adds to the game’s complexity.

14And the game truly is complex, with later scenarios not allowing any mistakes at all. This leads to the game’s greatest frustration – the high difficulty. You can of course save your way through scenarios and crawl your way to success, but it’s still an annoying ballet of saving, loading, saving, then loading again. The puzzle-solving element means there is a task to perform to get past each guard and you need to save after each action or series of actions. The reason for this is that all your troops have to survive. Lose even one guy and it’s game over.

Even so, the first Commandos game turned out to be a gripping, time-consuming journey through World War II. Eidos has managed to take the drama of classic Hollywood war blockbusters and molded them all into one entertaining, if highly demanding, computer game.

System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Windows 95

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