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Commando Raid (Vidtec/U.S. Games)




I would describe Commando Raid as a decent mix of Atlantis by Imagic and Atari's Missile Command, and is among the better games released under the Vidtec label. I will not deny this game's quality of programming since it is indeed high, at least when compared to other games from Vidtec. This was actually the final game I needed to complete my Vidtec 'collection', does that ever happen to you? You need a rather common game to round off a publisher set, and it's probably the most common one they put out but you can't find it anywhere? That might be just me, oh well, they day after the one I ordered from Ebay arrived a minty looking one showed up at my local game store, which they then sold for a fifth of what I paid on Ebay... How cruel the world is. But that's not all that's cruel, lets make our way over to the graphics.


Graphics are nice, very pleasant to look at. That sunset in the background is amazing for 2600 hardware. The cities look a bit goofy, but passable, nothing like what me got in M.A.D., also from U.S. Games.. Enemy sprites are well defined, that enemy plane especially has got to be one of, if not the best, looking planes on the system. Enemy helicopters and parachuting dudes are pretty good too, I can tell what they are at the very least. All around pretty solid for this type of game, I especially like how in the different rounds the little parachuting dudes change color, it's little touches like that which can go a long way. But can the sounds stack up to the graphics?... I think we all already know the answer to this.


No... This game has approximately six sounds which mainly comprise of explosions, or engines, though I swear I could have heard the dog bark sound effect from Coleco's Mouse Trap, which would kind of make sense since the programmer of this game Henry Will IV also programmed Mouse Trap, so I'm not surprised if he reused sound effects. But what about the gameplay, I mentioned cruelty before, and this is where it begins.


This game is hard, I'm not lying when I say this game kicks my ass. By the end of the first round almost all of my cities are destroyed. First I need to lay out the gameplay basics before I can complain about them. You are an artillery cannon in the center of the screen, around you are four cities. Helicopters will fly over head dropping commandos on the four cities, you are tasked with shooting down the commandos and the helicopters. When a commando lands on a city (which in my case is quite often) the city will degrade until it is nothing but rubble, and when that happens, the enemy will begin to dig a tunnel toward you, each commando that lands on a destroyed city will lengthen the tunnel, when a tunnel reaches you, it's game over. Another quick way to a game over is to let the bomb dropped out of the big black bomber plane hit you, if that happens... you ded. My main issue with this game is the collision detection, I can't hit a paratrooper for the life of me. Sometimes a shot will just pass right through multiple troopers. After reading the manual it turns out I can turn of steerable bullets, gimme a second to play with that off... Hmmm... Okay, that makes things a bit easier, now I can actually hit things, but the collision detection on those paratroopers is still a bit dodgy, but definitely more playable than before.


I would consider this game to be the lovechild of Atlantis and Missile Command, anybody who's played both can definitely see the similarities and shared traits. If you can find a copy in decent shape go for it. I can only wish that a version existed that used paddle controls, since the joystick can be a bit clumsy. But yeah, if you don't own this game go buy it, it's worth the time and effort that was put into it.


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Commando Raid reminds me of Sabotage for the Apple computer (clones of the game are commonly known as Paratrooper). If I had to guess, I'd say that's probably the game Commando Raid was trying to ape the most. Check it out!


I missed out on the Atari era as a kid--alas, I was born too late--so I never saw Commando Raid until I got into retrogaming years later, but there were still a lot of old Apple //c systems knocking around the neighborhood in the early '90s, and I played Sabotage at the neighbor kid's house quite a bit.


One of the great things about that game was that, because it was on the Apple, it had analog control--either a game paddle or Apple joystick. And I agree with you 100% that that's really the one big thing I wish Commando Raid had. Digital joystick control makes this game harder than it needs to be. As you noted, hit detection can be very bitchy, too.


I think Commando Raid is a pretty decent game as it is, but I want to like it more than I actually do. I always enjoy it when I play it, but I also can't help thinking about the missed opportunities, the little things it could have done differently that would have been substantial improvements--namely paddle control and looser hit detection. It's also competing against nostalgia (for essentially a better version of the game, to boot), which is always an uphill battle. :P

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I thought this was a pretty solid game, especially for being from a lesser known publisher. I kind of feared for the worst when I picked up a game that wasn't from Atari, Imagic, Activision or Coleco. But I started playing this and immediately saw its merits. It is very tough but gets better the longer you stay with it.

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