Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 is not a remake of the venerable Commando series, but a sequel that lobs the franchise out of the '80s and into the lap of nostalgia. The gameplay has been updated to be a top-down, dual-thumbstick shooter like its cousins Robotron, Smash TV, and the recently released Rocketmen: Axis of Evil. You are tasked with blasting your way through droves of enemies across multiple levels not only on foot but also with some all-too-brief vehicle segments. The action is intense, and the enemy army seems to be without limit, at least for an hour or so.
While shooting your way through the five levels, you will be able to pick up one of four satisfying weapons. You can use a spread gun, a flamethrower, a machine gun, or a missile launcher, depending on which color-coded container you collect from broken supply crates along the way. In addition to your right-stick-controlled primary weapon, secondary explosives are available. Pulling the right trigger flings a grenade in the direction that you are facing. Pulling the left trigger releases a screen-clearing explosion (known as an M-Crash) that destroys all but the heartiest of enemies.
To deal death to a thousand foes, you can choose from one of three characters drawn from '80s action-hero archetypes. Coyote bears more than a passing resemblance to Sly Stallone's Rambo, Wolf appears to be a mash-up of Dolph Lundgren and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Fox is speedy, busty, and worthy of a nod to one-time Bond girl Grace Jones, or perhaps Vasquez from the bug-hunting movie Aliens.
The character and level designs are compelling, but character development feels noticeably absent. As with classic action movies, Commando 3 doesn't need much story to string together two solid action sequences, but muscle-bound protagonists are meant to whip out one-liners as often as occasion permits. Although the action is hot, the game sometimes suffers from a drop in the frame rate even during times that don't feature an excess of intense action. The end of this hour-long experience is also disappointing, not because of the story-light finale, but because the credits roll without real music. The rest of the music is good enough that you are all but positive that some big-hair band will close the game with a rocking ditty. All of the aforementioned setbacks are big disappointments to such an otherwise satisfying solo experience.
The multiplayer experience is just as exciting as the single-player mode. Up to three people can play locally with no problems. The same unfortunately can't be said when you team up with other players online. Thankfully, the lag is negligible, even when playing across oceanic divides. The problem comes when you activate your M-Crash attack. The animated overlay comes up, but rather than stopping the action, your character continues to move in the previous direction and often into trouble. These problems don't entirely ruin online play, but they certainly make it less enjoyable.
Differences in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions are negligible. The environments on both platforms are modest in their appearance, though the PS3 game looks slightly cleaner and positions the camera just a bit closer to the action. Exclusive to the Xbox 360 version is an online bug that causes thrown grenades to fly in any random direction other than the one they are supposed to go. Nevertheless, the 360 game benefits from some good achievements, which provide added incentives to play again on harder difficuties and to search for hidden areas and prisoners of war.
If you have been hungering for a solid cooperative shooter, Commando 3 delivers some enjoyable sequences and excellent design. Although it is a lot of fun while it lasts, the game has little variety and only modest replay value.