Commando – Sinclair ZX Spectrum Review

Retro Resolution Retro Review

Title: Commando
Developer: (arcade) Japan Capsule Computers (Capcom)
Developer: (ZX Spectrum) Elite Systems
Year: 1986

Commando - ZX Spectrum - Elite Systems

In Capcom‘s seminal 1985 arcade run-and-gun title Commando you are cast in the role of Super Joe, hero of the arcade legend’s earlier Bionic Commando coin-op. Dropped behind enemy lines by helicopter (unfortunately absent from the Spectrum conversion – perhaps due to defense budget cuts) you find yourself undertaking that 1980’s favourite mission of ‘one man against an army’, aiming to breach a pair of super-fortresses located at the end of two sets of four vertically-scrolling action-filled desert levels.

Your frankly suicidal commando is equipped with everybody’s favourite weapon, the unlimited-ammunition machine gun, along with a stock of grenades which must be replenished from handily placed supplies throughout the levels. By default grenades are dispatched by holding down the fire button for a moment as, unlike the arcade parent, Spectrum-era joysticks were restricted to a single logical fire button, even for multi-triggered Quickshot sticks.

In the heat of the action this delay often proved deadly until a little cunning was applied in the form of a foot-activated button dedicated to grenade lobbing, fashioned from a Ram-turbo twin-port joystick interface, a classic Atari CX-40 controller, and the extremely handy ‘redefine keys’ menu option…

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