Retro Coin Op Synopsis
Adolescent males got a chance to live out their Rambo fantasies in Data East’s Commando, a macho man’s trek deep into enemy territory. With only a machine gun, hand grenades and buckets full of testosterone to see him through the ordeal, “crack soldier” Super Joe had to infiltrate a heavily-guarded base, rescue the hostages and blow the place to smithereens.
As seen from a near-overhead view, Commando unfolded with gung-ho directness. Super Joe was no covert operative—if he wanted into a nigh-impregnable fortress, then confound it, he blasted his way in. Naturally, this approach sent the entire enemy army rumbling out to stop him, but Super Joe could take it. With his unlimited supply of machine gun ammo, Joe pounded through the jungle terrain, returning fire on any bad guy foolish enough to show his helmeted mug.
Joe’s grenade supply was limited, but extras could be discovered by shooting anyone and everything that stood in Joe’s way. And there was plenty to shoot at. In addition to enemy soldiers, Commando sent out trucks, tanks, motorcycle troops and more, offering new threats with each new stage of Joe’s attack. The environment wasn’t always friendly, either. There were plenty of trees and other natural defenses to take cover behind, but there were also enemy bunkers, tight passageways (arches and doors) and other hazards to Joe’s safety.
After storming the base and rescuing the captives, Super Joe simply had to eliminate the enemy leaders and annihilate the base, and his work would be done. It was no easy mission, but Joe was up to the task.
So were legions of gamers, who eagerly grabbed the controls and vicariously lived out Joe’s dangerous lifestyle. Commando was an arcade smash, as well as a popular home conversion on the Nintendo Entertainment System and other consoles. More importantly, millions of Americans could sleep easy at night, knowing that a man like Super Joe was defending their borders and keeping the world safe for democracy.