Captain Commando (Arcade) Review

Captain Commando

Captain Commando, to me, will always be a fun character to play as in Marvel vs. CAPCOM 2. I didn’t know of his game back then, I just knew he was from an old CAPCOM game and enjoyed playing as him. When I eventually got the CAPCOM Legacy Collections on the PS2 I was happy to find that the game itself is really fun too, pretty much just Final Fight with weird sci-fi characters and themes… Which to be fair, reviewing the game now 15 or so years later, that’s still a pretty apt description! Let’s take a closer look…

Background:

Captain Commando 1

For six years in the future (as of writing), those TVs look an awful lot like old tube TVs. Plus “3-D TV”? Nah, came and went already…

Captain Commando was released in Arcades in September 1991 in Japan and the US, with further territories getting the game by the end of the year. It was ported to the SNES in 1995 worldwide, but I never came across it. Apparently it suffers from similar issues Final Fight did on that system, having to remove a bunch of features and censor some things.

The Arcade version has since been ported to various collections over the years, including the aforementioned Legacy Collections of the PSP and PS2, and as recently as on the PS4, XBOX One and PC as part of the CAPCOM Beat ‘Em Up Bundle.

Gameplay:

Captain Commando 2

Captain Commando discreetly robs a bank while Ginzu distracts the guards. Hey, got to pay for all those Commando Trousers somehow!

Much like how the previous game in this marathon, Alien Storm, was pretty much just Golden Axe with a sci-fi coating (and an extra mode or two!) Captain Commando is pretty much Final Fight with a sci-fi coating, though funnily enough with a bit of Golden Axe thrown in!

The controls are the same as Final Fight, move to the right of the screen, punch, jump, grapple (where you can punch or throw enemies), and jumping strike. You can also dash in this game, which gives you access to the dashing strike and you can run and do a jumping strike. You can of course press your two buttons together and do a special attack at the cost of a chunk of your health, and refill your health with food pick-ups, as well as collect other pick-ups that can include weapons both melee and long-range as well as rather useless stuff that just gives you points. The biggest difference in this game compared to CAPCOM’s other scrolling beat ‘em ups before this is the addition of ridable mechs that can either punch, fire flames or fire an icy cold blast… in order words a futuristic version of Golden Axe’s mounts!

That’s it, pretty much. Not that you need much more for a scrolling beat ‘em up to be fun, which this is! It’s got that satisfying tight CAPCOM beat ‘em feel, and nice Arcade-y sounds for explosions and the like. It’s a good laugh, especially with a friend (or up to three friends if you have the means…)

Graphics and Sound:

Captain Commando 4

I’d make a comment about a baby picking up a machine gun, but the baby is already in a mech suit AND riding a surfboard, so…

I remember when I first played it I was disappointed with the sprites as I guess I was unfairly comparing them to the Captain Commando MvC2 sprite. In reality for 1991 they were good, nice and clean, not overly chunky but still perfectly fun to play as and beat up, respectively. The backgrounds have nice details as well, and there is a lot of variety, enemy-wise.

Sound, as mentioned, has that pleasing “Arcade sound” that I don’t know how else to describe it. The explosions, the voice work for attacks… you can also feel the darker room full of the sounds of other people smacking plastic buttons around you. It’s good, in case you were wondering, though I’ll admit background music is pretty plain. Not bad, but not very memorable.

Story:

Captain Commando 6

Wait, Scumocide? So he kills scum? … or kills Scumo, I guess. What does killing Scumo mean, and how does it threaten Earth? Who knows!

Captain Commando is the leader of the Commando Team, a group of odd-balls helping to defend Metro City and the world in the space year 2026. He uses his various pieces of equipment, like the Captain Goggles, Captain Protector and Captain Boots, all of which is made use “Captanium” (I’m sensing a theme here…) He is joined by Mack the Knife, an alien that looks like an Egyptian mummy, Ginzu the ninja, who’s a … ninja, and Baby Head, who is a genius baby who rides his own mech to attack his foes.

In this adventure (also their only one, unless you could cross-overs) they’re up against Scumocide (simply called “Genocide” in the Japanese version…), who has created a genetically engineered super-army and began to conquer the Earth from the safety of his orbiting satellite. Thankfully the Commando Team battle through waves of his army before heading up to his base and defeating the man himself, tossing him from his own satellite.

Thoughts Then:

Captain Commando 5

The Xenomorph cosplayers, the deadliest group in Scumocide’s army!

When I first played Captain Commando, as already mentioned I was disappointed by the sprites momentarily due to playing CC in Marvel vs. CAPCOM 2 so much, but otherwise it was a really fun scrolling beat ‘em up from CAPCOM… What else do you need for a quick spin by yourself and a game with a friend?

4 Star Game Old

Thoughts Now:

Captain Commando 3

So the Baby’s mech is in another mech, while fighting mechs? Got it.

Now? Pretty much the same! Sure, there are better, more advanced beat ‘em ups you could play (both graphically and in terms of movesets), but overall it’s still a fun time. The zany characters, both good and bad, and the fun super moves still make it stick out even now, six years away from the “crazy future year” they set the game in…

4 Star Game New

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