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Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 Hands-On

We head off to the jungles of Commando 3 for a little fun and games.


Although some video game companies seem to hide from their past, Capcom has chosen to embrace theirs. Never has this been more apparent than at the company's recent Digital Day event, where the company showed off new or updated versions of many of its popular arcade franchises. One such game was Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3, a downloadable game for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

For those of you too young to remember, the Commando series featured run-and-gun action viewed from a near top-down perspective. You and a friend would plow your way through battlefield after battlefield, with your finger on the trigger at all times, while trying to dodge enemy fire coming at you from all angles. Why is this history lesson important? Because Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 features the same gameplay as its predecessors.

Commando 3 places you in the role of one of three soldiers charged with preventing the evil General Ratiev from seeing his dastardly plans through to completion. The three soldiers are: Wolf, a former Marine with an itchy trigger finger; Fox, a female spy with quick feet; and Coyote, a cranky veteran who just loves to blow things up. Each character is rated in speed, health, and grenades, and of course they have unique looks reminiscent of the cartoon style of Team Fortress.

What better way to see the city than in a tank with two friends?
What better way to see the city than in a tank with two friends?

For our hands-on we selected Wolf and, figuring we dumped enough quarters into the original games that we wouldn't stink, chose "routine exercise," the second of the game's four difficulties. Thankfully, we wouldn't be taking on our mission alone--three players can play at once, on the same system or online.

The game started with our squad being dropped off on a string of small islands that quickly revealed themselves as being under enemy control. It wasn't long before we found ourselves under fire from all directions. The game's simple controls made fighting back a breeze. The right analog stick was used to fire our guns, while pulling the right trigger would toss a grenade. The longer you hold the trigger, the further your grenade will go. This made it much easier to take out soldiers hiding behind sandbags as well as to destroy vehicles. When the going got really tough, one of us would hit the left trigger to unleash an m-crash--an attack that, after a quick animated scene with the soldier who activated it, cleared all the enemies right off the screen.

The action was just as fast paced here as in the early Commando games, but this version looks much, much better. While the graphics are reminiscent of the original, all of the artwork is brand new and designed to take full advantage of the HD capabilities of the PS3 and Xbox 360. The visuals looked sharp and it was easy to be hypnotized by the explosions and weapons fire lighting up the screen. Commando 3 will also feature an original soundtrack courtesy of Norihiko Hibino of Metal Gear fame, so you know it's going to sound good.

Because it's so easy for things to get hectic, it's a good thing that your soldiers can take more than one shot before keeling over--they've got a health bar now. You've got a few more things to help keep you in the battle, too, like upgradable weapons that include rocket launchers, flamethrowers, grenades, and shotguns. There are even vehicles that can hold all three players. We had a blast riding along in the back of a jeep spraying fire from the mounted gun while our squadmate did the driving and our other squadmate...well, we're not quite sure what his contribution was.

When the going gets tough, the tough get a spread gun.
When the going gets tough, the tough get a spread gun.

As we steamrolled our way through the level, we had to fend off enemy soldiers who were peppering us with fire as we made our way down river on a raft. Once we made it off the river we encountered the boss of the first level, a giant tank covered in turrets. Thankfully, we had a few grenades and some m-crashes left and made short work of the tank. After that, we watched a brief cutscene that showed our squad in prison. The game then jumped ahead five years, and we found ourselves sprung from the joint. It seemed that breaking out was easy; getting away would be the tough part. We made our way through town and rescued some hostages along the way. But one by one our squadmates fell, and we quickly ended up fighting alone...and then ended up dead.

As if finally getting a new Commando game wasn't enough, Capcom recently announced that anyone who purchases the Xbox 360 version of the game will receive a code to participate in a Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix beta that will begin shortly after Commando 3's launch. That date is just around the corner, too. Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 is scheduled to be released for both the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade for $10, or 800 Microsoft points, this spring.

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