Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty is an incredibly difficult, incredibly fun and incredibly addictive game for your Windows-based computer. It is the kind of game that causes you to lose track of time, forsaking food, sleep and human companionship. It is a game that draws you in so completely, you have no choice but to try to finish.
Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty is almost ridiculously hard. The first mission alone took me three days to complete and I was playing on the "easy" setting. Still, the game was so compelling that I kept coming back for more.
Even after reading all of the hints and tips and running through both practice scenarios, I could not get the hang of the actual missions. I almost gave up but Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty is one of those games where you think you have done everything possible and then you discover a new trick, route or weapon. It is a game that teases you into continued play. Before you know it, you are hooked.
Gameplay itself is amazing. The manual suggests that you try to complete your mission killing as few enemy soldiers as possible. I abandoned that strategy quickly and the Nazi bodies started piling up. Although Tiny, the Green Beret, has the ability to hide bodies (a cool concept), it becomes nearly impossible with dozens of enemy soldiers populating each scenario. Hours into my addiction, I learned that sometimes the best strategy was an old-fashioned shootout. Once you give into that urge, the thought of sneaking in and out of an enemy camp is shot.
Although the enemy knows you are there, there is still a great need for the art of sneaking. If you are far enough from an enemy soldier, he cannot see you if you crawl from place to place. My Commandos spend most of their time crawling. Staying out of sight is the only way to succeed in each scenario.
Speaking of sight, you can Shift-click on an enemy to see his line of sight. There are two zones that form a large triangle. In the zone farther away from the enemy soldier, he cannot see your troops if they are lying down but he can see them if they are standing up. In the zone closest to the enemy, he can see your troops no matter what their position. Having an idea of all enemy sight lines in any given area is always important.
Since I am making such a big deal about sight lines, it is here that I will note one flaw in Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty. There are areas in each scenario that should be out of every enemy soldier's sights. Still, as your Commandos journey into these areas, they are somehow spotted and fired upon. This bug is very disheartening, especially if you are extremely close to finishing a mission. It is even more disheartening if you have forgotten to save your progress.
One thing you will learn playing Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty is to save your game when you achieve an objective. The Control-S key combo performs a quick save that will allow you to continue from your previous spot. Hit those keys often unless you like repeating things.
Graphically, the game is a work of art. The colors, textures and realistic features are staggering. The characters are a little small but their size is really necessary for the top-down view (big chunks of playing areas) to work. You can zoom in but anything larger than the default settings will start to look fuzzy.
Explosions are awesome in Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty. Debris, body parts and smoke all fill the screen whenever Inferno lets loose with one of his bombs. The graphic explosions are one of the best parts of the game.
The game also offers split-screen views, although I typically shied away from them. You can have up to six cameras focused on six different areas throughout the playing field. I am sure that they are useful in some missions but I like to see as much as possible without constantly clicking on different windows.
The sound in Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty is also great. The military music in the background really puts you in the mood for killing Nazis and the profanities your Commandos use when they are under attack are cool in a visceral (or immature) kind of way.
Replay value is not going to be spectacular in Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty because it will likely take you a solid month of playing to finish all of the missions. After that, you will probably want a vacation from World War II. Of course, if you think of a new strategy or hear of a new trick, this title would definitely be worth another look.
Overall, Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty is an amazing game. If you like thinking before shooting, then this game deserves a spot in your library.
Graphics: Characters are small but the scenery is breathtaking.
Sound: The sound is excellent and adds to the realism of this combat simualtion.
Enjoyment: This game is hyper-addictive. Play it once, and you are hooked.
Replay Value: Replay value may be slightly weak because of the vast amount of time required to complete all eight missions.
People who downloaded Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty have also downloaded:
Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines, Commandos 2: Men of Courage, Commandos 3: Destination Berlin, Commandos: Strike Force, Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings, Age of Empires, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, Age of Empires III
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