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Commandos is a stealth-oriented real-time tactics game series, available for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. The game is set in the Second World War and follows the escapades of a fictional British Commandos section. It leans heavily (though not always accurately) on historical events during WWII to carry the plot. The series was developed by the Spanish company Pyro Studios and published by Eidos Interactive.
There are five games in the series, which are listed here in the order they were released:
Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines
Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines (CBEL) was released on July 1, 1998. It was published by Eidos Interactive, and developed by Pyro Studios. It features 20 missions. The view is isometric with tactical gameplay. Several of the missions are reminiscent of novels or Hollywood movies, for example:
- 3rd mission (Reverse Engineering): The dam-busting climax is similar to "Force 10 from Navarone".
- 4th mission (Restore Pride): Taking down the German villa (to cause confusion in the Wehrmacht's middle-level command) is akin to "The Dirty Dozen".
- 5th mission: The cable car revives memories of "Where Eagles Dare".
- 14th mission (D-Day Kickoff): Destruction of coastal batteries, the plot for "The Guns of Navarone".
- 15th mission (End of the Butcher): An assassination mission as in "The Dirty Dozen: The Next Mission".
- 18th mission (Force of Circumstance): Blowing up the bridge, a la "The Bridge on the River Kwai".
A Sega Mega Drive/Genesis version of Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines, with the first 5 missions, was also made by Russian homebrew programmers, but lacked sound and certain other features of the PC version.
Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty
Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty, a set of new Commandos missions issued as a standalone game, was released on March 31, 1999. Despite it being much shorter than Behind Enemy Lines, it is a much more difficult game containing levels on a far greater scale to the extent of being comparable to those that were to be seen in Commandos 2. It has 8 missions, with locations including Yugoslavia and Greece.
Commandos 2: Men of Courage
A full sequel, released in 2001, was rebuilt with a 3D engine, more interactive environments, more skills for the commandos, and new characters. Like its predecessor, it drew heavily from war films, as shown in titles of levels such as "Bridge Over the River Kwai" and "Saving Private Smith". The game received even greater praise[ than its predecessor, and sold well ][ in the United States and Europe. Improvements to playable characters in the game included the ability to move bodies, knock out enemies, handle explosives, and allowing all characters to drive vehicles and use collected weapons(paving the way for the Driver's expulsion from the series in the next installment). ]
Commandos 3: Destination Berlin
This is the third sequel in the series and was released in October, 2003. In this game the mouse wheel can be used to rotate the player's vantage point. It was the first in the series to use a true 3D engine. However, the game has been criticized for its short missions and lack of hotkeys.
Commandos: Strike Force
Released during the first months of 2006, this game marks a departure from the first three games. Although the missions are set-up in a similar fashion (several different objectives, some to be achieved through stealth, others through use of force) and in most occasions the player is allowed to change between different characters, this is the first game in the series to apply a first-person perspective, like many other World War II inspired games, in contrast to the overhead view of the earlier games. Hence, the game is far more similar to the Medal of Honor or Call of Duty games than to earlier entries of the series.
The game attracted an overwhelmingly negative reaction, especially from those coming from fans of the earlier games in the series who see this a massive departure mainly due to the trademark difficulty instead giving way to a game that is much less so. Similarly, it was promoted as mixing elements of strategy from the past games with traditional first-person shooter game-play but instead only hinted them and whilst being predominantly action oriented. As a result, both critics and fans felt it did little to distance itself from the recent flood of similar games.
There are seven main commandos in the series:
'Butcher' (The Green Beret)
Real name: Jack O'Hara (Jerry 'Tiny' McHale in some versions)
Date of birth: 10 October 1909
Place of birth: Dublin, Ireland
This heavyweight of Irish origins and army boxing champion from 1934 to 1937 was sentenced in 1938 by a military court to 14 years of forced labour after hitting an officer. His sentence was suspended when he joined the commandos. He was promoted to sergeant after the raid on the island of Vaagsö, where, after having received a bullet in the arm, cut off from his unit and without ammunition, he penetrated a bunker and wiped out 16 enemy soldiers before returning to Allied lines.
Character: An extremely violent character, this man has serious discipline problems. A hard bone to gnaw for his superior officers... and a real nightmare for the enemy. His strong sense of combat allowed him to be the Commando leader and it seems he is able to maintain friendship with all of his comrades. He and Duke would not be best of friends.
Game Attributes: He is the biggest member of the group and his tremendous strength allows him to fight, knock out and tie the enemies very quickly. He is able to knock down virtually every door, jump from incredible heights, climb poles and swing along wires. In terrains such as sand or snow, the Green Beret can camouflage himself, using a small shovel, making him invisible to the enemy. He is also the second fastest runner of the group of commandos and his amazing stamina allows him to withstand flesh wounds and gunshots that would kill any other. His preferred lethal weapons are his knife, his bare hands and stealth and with these at hand, the Green Beret is a killing machine. The Green Beret is also equipped with a radio device called a decoy. He can place it near the enemy and can remotely activate the device, causing brief distraction and temporarily interrupting guard positions and patrol routes. This is one of many ways to lure an enemy into a trap.
He is probably based on the Lt Colonel Blair Mayne who shares many characteristics as Jack O'Hara as well as also being a WWII Era Commando
The Green Berets knife is his trademark, he can quickly shank enemies and penetrate their vital organs.
'Duke' (The Sniper)
Real Name: Sir Francis T. Woolridge
Date of birth: 21 March 1909
Place of Birth: Sheffield, England
A descendant from a noble family. In 1936, he won a gold medal in shooting in the Berlin Olympics. In 1940 he killed the Commandant of the German garrison in Narvik with a single shot from a distance of more than a mile. He is considered one of the best snipers in the world.
Character: The sniper is very cool and calculating but very stand-offish with his other companions. He is an expert marksman who is thereby extremely effective in situations requiring stealth or long range kills.
Game Attributes: The Sniper has a limited amount of sniper rounds per level and so will very rarely waste a bullet. His missions usually involve clearing the path of enemies for his colleagues from a distance. He will then stand behind debris or other objects which provide shelter while he provides cover for the other Commando troops. He can also climb poles and position himself to Snipe at the enemy. The Sniper is the team's medic if the Driver is not on the mission.
'Fins' (The Marine)
Real name: James Blackwood
Date of birth: 3 August 1911
Place of birth: Melbourne, Australia
An Oxford alumnus and Naval Engineer. He was a member of the University rowing team that won the world famous regatta between Oxford and Cambridge for three consecutive years. He is a fantastic swimmer and was the first person to swim across the English Channel on a bet. In 1935 he enlisted in the Navy. He was promoted to Captain in 1936 and was demoted to Sergeant two years later, due to an 'incident' during a stopover in Hawaii. Further problems made the General Staff give him the option of being expelled from the Navy or entering the Commando Corps as an ordinary soldier, to the latter of which he did.
Character: Blackwood has alcohol problems which are apparently under control. He also loves gambling. His skills as a sailor make him invaluable in any mission that involves naval operations.
Game Attributes: The Marine is a specialist trained for aquatic and amphibious assault based missions. With his harpoon gun and his diving equipment he is able to spend hours underwater without worrying about oxygen supply or about danger he may encounter at sea. He also carries a zodiak (inflatable boat) to row across waters, transporting his comrades in a mission. On land he has complete mastery of throwing knives and carries a grappling hook which he is able to use to climb buildings, walls and trees. When he collects a couple more knives, his lethality and efficiency increases dramatically.
'Fireman' (The Sapper)
Real name: Thomas Hancock, aka 'Inferno'
Date of birth: 14 January 1911
Place of birth: Liverpool, England
In 1933 he started working as a fire-fighter in the Fire Brigade in his hometown of Liverpool. In 1934 he joined the high-risk Explosive Department. In 1939 he enlisted in the army and the following year he volunteered for the Commandos. During the assault on St. Nazaire, he was responsible for the explosions that caused a great number of casualties in the German garrison and rendered the installations useless. He was captured during this operation and after 4 escape attempts in two months, he managed to escape and return to England.
Character: The Sapper has outstanding valour and daring in combat to the point of rashness. He has vast knowledge and experience with explosives. His special skill is the creation of explosives using almost any kind of material. He is probably the most light-hearted of all the commandos and enjoys a good night out at the pub.
Game Attributes: An expert in calculating, placing and developing explosives such as time bombs and remote bombs, he is the Commando responsible for causing widespread destruction. The materials he carries in his backpack are always delicate but heavy, forcing him to move slowly. He can operate other weapons such as bazookas, flamethrowers and mine detectors. He can detect and deactivate mines to then use them at a later stage. He is also able to prepare minefields in areas where enemy foot soldiers and/or vehicles will pass, causing maximum damage and confusion.
'Brooklyn' (The Driver)
Real name: Samuel Brooklyn (Sid 'Tread' Perkins in some versions)
Date of birth: 4 April 1910
Place of birth: Brooklyn, USA
An ex-con, the Driver was convicted of grand theft auto, burglary, and other such felonies in 1937. Before his prison sentence he managed to escape to England with a new identity. He became known as Samuel Brooklyn. As soon as U.S. Agents pursued Brooklyn, he immediately enlisted in the British Army. Two years later he collaborated with the Foreign Office in testing vehicles and arms stolen from the enemy. Impressed by his knowledge and skills, Paddy Maine enlisted Samuel into the Commandos in 1941. In one of his early missions he destroyed eight German fighter planes with a jeep's machine gun and, after running out of ammo, he destroyed four more by crashing his jeep into them. From this action he suffered severe burns.
Character: Samuel tends to be a very mistrustful character. Though he does not have a good relationship with his fellow Commandos, his wide range of knowledge and ability to drive and repair all sorts of land vehicles proves him to be a worthy member of the Commandos team.
Game Attributes: The driver's main purpose on each mission is to drive various vehicles during the level. He becomes most useful when a mission involves an escape truck for all the commandos once the mission is complete. During the mission, he is useful in operating German positions such as artillery and mounted machine guns. He is also equipped with a submachine gun which fires a three round burst into any enemy. However, it has a magazine of twenty rounds which limits the number of times it can be used. The driver is also the primary medic of the team. In Commandos 2, the driver can throw various gas grenades and molotov cocktails. With the help of the Sapper, he can also set booby traps that can trigger an explosion.
'Frenchy' (The Spy)
Real name: Rene Duchamp, aka 'Spooky'
Date of birth: 20 November 1911
Place of birth: Lyon, France
In 1934 Duchamp joined the French Secret Service and between 1935 and 1938 was the Chief of Security at the French Embassy in Berlin. After the German invasion in 1940 he joined the Resistance. Soon after he was contacted by the Commando corps about becoming a part of team member. Since then he has collaborated frequently with them in special operations, participating in numerous sabotages and responsible for the destruction of at least three trains, fourteen tanks and over fifty land vehicles. His information about the German troops is essential for the British Secret Service.
Character: Rene has an amiable personality and is great at making conversation. He harbours a feeling of absolute hatred towards the Nazis. The skills he learned while he was in the Secret Service have made him expert in communications and techniques of infiltration and sabotage and has a natural instinct for imitation which probrably earned him his other nickname "Frenchy". Beside speaking French, he can speak English, German, Russian and Italian with absolute fluency.
Game Attributes: Being fluent in five languages allows him to infiltrate enemy lines wearing a stolen enemy uniform and divert or give deceptive orders to enemy soldiers. His attack involves silent and cautious movement and he attempts to use minimum force if possible. He has the ability to wear an enemy uniform for an infinite amount of time, or until a soldier of a high ranking sees through his guise. His preferred weapon is a syringe loaded with a lethal poison which eliminates his enemies in complete silence. He can lift bodies and hide them to avoid raising the alarm. The Spy is the team's medic when neither the Driver nor the Sniper are deployed on the mission.
'Lupin' (The Thief)
Real name: Paul Toledo
Date of birth: March 1, 1916
Place of birth: Paris, France
Paul is a recent addition to the group of Commandos. He grew up in an orphanage in the suburbs of Paris. He ran away at the age of 10 from the orphanage into the hands of a young pick-pocket gang. Two years later in 1928 he was arrested and put in a remand home. As he got older, he chose a career in crime as an expert thief. In 1940 he stole Rene Duchamp's suitcase, thinking he was a German officer. He was surprised when he found important documents inside the suitcase and decided to put them in the hands of the French resistance. After that incident he was recommended by Duchamp to the Commandos and has been of great help since then.
Character: Being the smallest and fastest of all of the Commandos Lupin is quiet, soft spoken, and reserved. Because of his loyalty, he soon gained the friendship from his fellow Commandos. His tiny frame allows him to break through enemy lines through avenues other men would be unable to do. He has mastered several forms of martial arts which allow him to knock out enemies despite his small size, and he enjoys stalking and picking the pockets of enemy soldiers.
Game Attributes: Paul does not appear in Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines. His small stature is more than compensated by his agility to access small areas, break into houses, climb poles, swing on wires, climb walls, hide, pick locks and a host of other talents. He can also open safes with his tools. In Commandos 3, the thief is given the ability to silently kill enemies using piano wire. He is the fastest in the Commandos group. he is a real thief
'Lips' (Seductress) by the name Natasha
'Lips' is the nickname of Natasha Van Der Zand, a Dutch contact, who first appears in Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty. However, in Commandos: Men of courage, her name was changed to Natasha Nikochevski and her birthplace to Kiev, Soviet Union.
Natasha's primary ability is distraction, which she does with a combination of her natural charm, sexy clothes and lipstick. She can effectively handle a sniper rifle and can walk around freely, although she will be attacked if spotted by a commander. This character is not widely used in the game.
Whiskey, a bull terrier, was found with a wounded ally in The Night of the Wolves in Commandos 2: Men of Courage. The commandos decided to take care of him after his owner died.
Whiskey is ideal for transferring items between commandos, because he can move quickly and enemy soldiers won't attack him. A high-pitched whistle is used to call Whiskey. Whiskey has been trained to run up to soldiers and bark loudly, which distracts them for a small amount of time. The Sapper benefits greatly from Whiskey's ability to sniff out mines quickly.
Whiskey can run around at a fast pace or be carried by the commandos. However, he cannot stray far from the commando who is nearest to him at the time. He can be called from a very far distance by the whistle, unless there are ladders or doors in the way.
McRae (The Pilot)
The Pilot's name is Gregor McRae. He appears in Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines in Mission 10. McRae was a pilot that crashed in Africa and he was captured by the Germans. The Commandos saved McRae at the end and McRae was never shown again.
Wilson the Castaway
A castaway who appeared on Mission 6, "The Guns of Savo Island", in Commandos 2: Men of Courage. Unlike other commandos, he plays a non-combatant role in the level as a scout for the team. Wilson is a homage to Robinson Crusoe and is likely to be a named after Wilson the Volleyball, from the Tom Hanks 2000 film, Cast Away.
The informer who was on Mission 12, was caught in a sweep in Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines. He was saved by the Commandos, and then he was caught again in Mission 17, and was scheduled for execution along with the members of the French Resistance. And was finally saved again. He was never seen again.
The Yugoslav Officer who was to be executed on Mission 2 in Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty. He was saved as well before the execution could begin. He was never seen again after the mission.
Colonel Wilhelm von Below
An SS Officer, who was to unmask the conspirators that planned to assassinate Hitler. He was captured by the Commandos on Mission 5 in Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty.
General Hanz Rauter
A General of the German Army that had the plans for the next offensive of The Battle of the Bulge, in Mission 8 of Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty. The Dutch Contact met up with him and stole the documents from him. He escaped as the Commandos completed their task.
General Helmut Schleper
An SS General, that was on Mission 15 in Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines. He had a list of the members of the German Resistance, and was planning on taking the list to Berlin. He was eliminated by the Commandos, before he had a chance to escape.
Was a German Air Force pilot that was in Mission 6 of Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty. He was captured in order to fly the Heinkel He-162 jet-powered aircraft. That was to be used as an escape plane for the Commandos after they had completed their mission.
Were 4 sappers in charge of blowing up the Liege bridge in case there was anything suspicious happening. Appeared in Mission 16 on Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines. They were all eliminated by the Commandos before they had a chance to destroy the bridge.
Was a POW in Stalag 13 in Mission 7 on Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty. He escaped with the rest of the prisoners as the Commandos completed their task. This character's name is probably a nod to Steve McQueen's character in the film The Great Escape.
Was a POW in Stalag 13. He was British, and a Royal Air Force pilot based on his accent and blue jacket. He appeared on Mission 7 in Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty. He was killed by the Commandos before he had a chance to tell the German guards of the plot to escape.
Guard at Zoo
Was a zoo guard in Mission 2 of Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty. He was put unconscious by Frenchy, and his uniform was used to gain access to the zoo. The guard was eventually found by the Germans who were shocked to see him bound without clothes albeit.
A few allies that the player has to find in the mission "Target: Burma" in Commandos 2: Men of Courage. Gurkhas are Nepalese soldiers who fight for the British army.
An Allied officer prisoner in the mission "The Bridge on the River Kwai" in Commandos 2: Men of Courage. The player has to free him and the officer will explain how to destroy the bridge. The character's name could be a reference to Alec Guinness, who incarns the hero of the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai (which inspired this mission).
Dietrich von Choltitz
The character isn't named but in the last mission of Commandos 2: Men of Courage, which take place in Paris during summer 1944, there is a high-ranked German officer in the office of the Paris military gouvernor.
German sniper (Erwin König)
The first mission of Commandos 3: Destination Berlin, "Eliminate the Sniper", occurs during the Battle of Stalingrad and the objective is to shoot an apted German sniper. The mission is a remake of the movie Enemy at the Gates, as the German sniper is a reference to Erwin König in the film and in historical records.He also appears in Commandos strike force as a sniper as a rank of a subofficer