Commandos 2 Preview
The follow-up to Eidos Interactive's popular top-down PC real-time strategy game is coming to the PC, the PS2, and the Dreamcast. We sat down with the game's producer and got to see an early version of the game up close.
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Tiny and his squad of war-tarnished WWII commandos are back for more action in the sequel to Commandos, Eidos's popular PC real-time strategy game. In Commandos 2, Eidos has taken the basic principle of the last game and has expanded on it with 3D levels, indoor environments, and a few new commando characters. Although the game is in the early development cycle on both the Dreamcast and the PS2, we were able to see a version of each game and chat with the development team about its progress.
Commandos 2 is a tactical real-time strategy game that puts you in command of a crack squad of seasoned Allied commandos who must accomplish various missions during WWII. The game lets you choose from nine highly trained and specialized team members to complete missions ranging from simple rescue operations to highly detailed infiltration missions. Though the game is set against the backdrop of WWII, the development team created a set of fictional missions based on WWII lore and drew on influences from famous WWII movies, legends, and actual historical data.
The game plays from a top-down perspective and takes place in real time. While the PC game uses a mouse pointer to achieve goals, the PS2 and Dreamcast versions will do away with the mouse pointer and let you control each member of the team directly. As each member of the commando team, you'll move about your environment, interacting with obstacles and items while avoiding enemy units. Each member of the team has specialized abilities and weaponry and can achieve his or her goals through different means. Also, several obstacles require the skills of a certain team member, and this forces you to use the commandos together to successfully complete the mission. Each commando has a certain specialty that defines his characteristics. The new thief character will be quick and superstealthy. He can look into drawn windows and scout rooms as well as steal items from enemy characters. The sniper character will be able to shoot enemy soldiers from great distances as well as shoot in windows and even through windows. Favorites like Tiny the Green Beret will still be able to camouflage himself and carry explosive barrels around. And easily the coolest new character is Whiskey the dog, who can't be controlled but can carry precious items between commandos with the aide of dog whistles. Commandos 2 will feature plenty of level interaction. The game has a varied set of environments, each of which has unique properties. Most of the buildings in the game's towns have windows that can be peered into and can be entered and even used as a sniping base. Foxholes can be entered, gun turrets can be commandeered, and vehicles can be operated. All this makes Commandos 2 one of the most interactive real-time strategies ever seen on a console.
The game will feature 12 different missions, and each one will have a comprehensive set of objectives and strategy that should take most gamers at least five hours to complete. Missions will take the commandos both indoors and outdoors, from Allied submarines to Japanese aircraft carriers. The graphics sports a very slick hand-drawn style that really brings out the detail in the backgrounds. There are tons of objects and detail in every level, and lots of textures make Commandos 2 look significantly better than the last Commandos game. The game is now in full 3D, and commandos will be able to climb walls, move under bridges, swim under oceans, and fully interact with the varied terrain. Each of the levels is fully loaded into the game, and each features no pop-up or fog. The game lets you control the camera on the fly, and you're able to zoom out or in at your leisure. The game also features more than 30 background tracks and even some dramatic situation music. Entering a mysterious house or getting seen by an enemy might trigger the music to change, making the situation even tenser. In addition, Commandos 2 will feature a ton of sound effects.
Commandos 2 will definitely sport a multiplayer element. The PS2 version will at least support a two-player cooperative mode, and the Pyro studios made it clear that it would like to add an online element to the PS2 version. The Dreamcast version will feature a more comprehensive multiplayer mode and will go online. Unfortunately, at this point in the game's development cycle, concrete details on either the multiplayer mode or the online mode are scarce.
Commandos 2 should deliver some solid real-time strategy action to both PS2 and Dreamcast owners. Though the game is admittedly difficult and targeted toward the more hardcore PC gamers, Eidos is hoping that PS2 and Dreamcast owners will want to step up to the challenge and enjoy one of the best-looking strategy games to appear on a console in a long time.
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