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RELEASE DATE (NA): August 1995 GENRE: Beat-'em-up
// review by Lydia

Going commando.

I don't know whether I should be disappointed or relieved that there are no butts in Captain Commando. This game may have what appears to be a rather crude title, but have no fear! This game is really quite tame in many aspects including lack of nudity. Well, unless you count a baby wearing a diaper and a mecha suit as naked. Needless to say, the only buff you'll be subject to in this game is the sweet pecs of the Captain himself.

Captain Commando obviously got his start as an arcade game. Why is it so obvious? Why, the lack of beginning story! The only thing that gives you any inkling of why the Captain and his motley crew would be out fighting baddies in the streets is a two-second scene that plays right before the menu appears. All the scene contains is a weird Terminator guy with a monocle and tubes coming out of his ears. He doesn't do anything; he just hovers above the city looking menacing and body-less. Other than that, there is no mention of what the heck is going on. I had to look at the Wikipedia page for information. The plot of this game is this: Captain Commando and his brigade fight super-powered criminals in the future. That's it. I would say that it's short and sweet, but it doesn't seem very sweet to me. The story tastes more like watered down orange juice. It's not necessarily bad, but it doesn't have enough flavor to be enjoyable.

What is flavorful in this game are the characters! You'll never see an odd assortment of good guys like this in games nowadays. Captain Commando himself existed before Capcom released the arcade version. The Captain appeared in Capcom game manuals and game packages for certain "Captain Commando Challenges". If you weren't aware, he's named after the company! CAPtain COMmando! You learn something new every day, eh? You'll thank me for this crucial bit of trivia later.

What good upstanding hero works alone? Even Superman had sidekicks sometimes! For this important mission, Captain Commando recruits his three, uh, friends? Acquaintances? To me, they sound like the beginning of a joke. "A baby, a ninja, and an alien mummy walk into a bar..." You can finish the joke yourself. We'll start with the most logical one: Baby Commando. All you really need to know is it's a two-year-old baby controlling a mecha suit. He's affectionately named "Baby Head", most likely by his kindergarten peers...or junior high peers. It's hard to tell the difference anymore. I'm rather intrigued by one particular ability in his description that I didn't see in the SNES version of Captain Commando. The aptly named "Talking Machine" allows Baby Head to speak over 3 million languages! That...doesn't come in handy at all...since he never actually speaks in this game (aside from a few cries of pain). Maybe he does in the Arcade version, but I'm probably not going to play it and see anytime soon.

The world is at peace as long as a mecha-baby is in control!

The alien mummy Mack the Knife is interesting. He's extremely gaunt, but has a pretty cool power move which involve him spinning around and causing damage with his enwrapments. I do wonder which planet he hails from. Egypiter? Venubis? *shrug* The sidekick I preferred to play as was the Ninja Commando named Ginzu. Yes, I'm aware his name sounds like a rejected Muppet, but I liked him anyway. I don't know, there's something about being able to kick bad guys in the face...

Ultimately, the game really isn't that unique in terms of appearance and gameplay. If you've played Street Fighter, you'll find this game familiar. Basically, you make your way from the left side of the screen to the right side of the screen by battling enemies whenever they pop up. Every once in a while, a line of enemies will show up on one side of the screen and perform a group attack. If you're not careful, about six "Carols" wielding electrified tuning forks'll electrocute you. It's rather silly when you think about it. Tuning forks don't generate electricity! Go back to school, game developers! Anyway, these offensive lines will take out a good chunk of your health so it's best to linger near the middle of the screen. The other enemies are rather repetitive and it's fairly easy to predict their movements.

It's really not a bad game, though! I suppose if this were your first arcade game, it'd be kinda cool. It's definitely not as difficult as some of the other arcade games I have played. Although, there is one boss who will almost certainly force you to use up two of your continues. Curse you, Boots and your crazy effective boots! Seriously though, Boots' attacks are almost unavoidable, so you'd better get used to that boot imprint on your butt and a few less lives (even on easy mode). Otherwise, be prepared to plough through this game and forget about it as soon as it's over.

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