Close but no cigar, Malcolm...

User Rating: 6.5 | Commandos Strike Force PC
Picking this up from an auction site for just ninety-nine of your English pence (bargain!), I expected it to be something similar to the demo I'd played of it and I wasn't disappointed.

You'll see action in three fronts - France, Norway and Russia - and, apart from the standard running and gunning bits, there are few things to worry much about. Certainly the differing personalities and abilities of the three squad members are interesting: the revelation that the spy is German but detests Nazis (and many ordinary Germans did), the suspicion from the Green Beret O'Brien that the spy is a traitor - something which is sort-of dealt with later - and the piss-taking Cockney jocularity of Hawkins the sniper make for some snappy banter between the three on the occasional cut scenes.

Certain sections are a challenge. I was on a lone mission as Hawkins without any medikit healing things and had taken a few hits so completing a difficult level whilst keeping him alive proved harder than I thought.

The graphics are nicely coded and the detail of the levels is very good. You get a sense of how devastated a city like Stalingrad was and why the Russians fought the Nazi invaders as hard as they did.

Not all the squad are together on some of the levels, the spy especially going off to do other things. He refers to sabotaging the heavy water plant in Norway but we don't get to see it, even though the other two were involved in the proceeding story.

The AI rarely pulls any strokes on you, enemies nearly always attacking you head-on or from the flanks. It's even possible to stand right beside an enemy that's shooting at someone else before he sees you before you kill him. Taking the uniforms of officers helps the spy get through bits that otherwise would be difficult but they seem to wear off or something. Using the E key to see an external view of your character is sometimes the only way you'll know whether you're in disguise still or not.

It's possible to complete each mission by achieving all the objectives in any order you like which is useful but sometimes you find that you should have completed them a certain way first! Some of the objectives are not greatly apparent and I didn't always achieve some of the secondary ones at all.

Small gripes? There are too few missions. The final one is pretty long and quite intense as wave after wave of the bosch come at you in Stalingrad and you'll need to keep on your toes to dispatch them. The date given for this showdown is October 1942 (I think) as Hitler came acropper during Operation Barbarossa - the invasion of the former USSR. This was handled a good deal better in Call Of Duty 2.

At the end of this level, the squad assemble after the spy's return (the inference being that he's been hiding as has the Russian general as they're actually traitors?) and they mention going to Berlin. That's fine, except the battle for Berlin proper didn't start for another two years at least.

The whole thing was coded and developed by a large Spanish-lead team and they've done a reasonable job. The voice talents used were not credited, by the way. All in all, not bad but not great either.