Captain Commando - Capcom's Beloved Mascot
In this tale, a geneticist has forged an entire army of supermen with the intention of conquering the world. Consequently, the criminal has assembled a diverse group, including individuals disguised as suppositories, seasoned weapons professionals, supermen, knife-throwing individuals of African descent, women armed with electric weapons, short-tempered guys, mutated women, ninjas, samurais, and a peculiar species of extraterrestrial beings who emulate Dhalsim by elongating their arms.
Adding to the intrigue, formidable bosses enter the scene, such as a character reminiscent of Blanka wielding a gun, a warrior with a naginata, a dopamine-infused Frankenstein and the scientist pulling the strings, a swift and powerful man, a Doplenhagger capable of assuming your identity, and finally, the enigmatic geneticist, Scumocide, who has undergone various enhancements. To confront these challenges, we rely on a team of the most colorful characters, composed of our four heroes, led by the character who lends the game its name.
The evolution of Capcom in the beat 'em up genre unfolded as follows (in my humble opinion): Final Fight, Captain Commando, Cadillacs & Dinosaurs, and Alien vs Predator. Medieval beat 'em ups follow a different order. So, this one encompasses all the positive aspects of Final Fight, and then some, although it lacks the range of movements found in Cadillacs & Dinosaurs, such as the diagonal kick that swept the entire screen (a forward jump and shoot).
Nevertheless, Final Fight incorporated the classic running move from Golden Axe, offering a range of possibilities – shooting, jumping, and shooting. One aspect I've always appreciated about this game is the diverse set of characters, each with its distinct style:
Captain Commando, while my least favorite, takes the top spot. He delivers powerful punches and kicks, and even his running move is a formidable kick. His standout feature is the internal flamethrower, making him a favorite for nearly everyone back in those days (although preferences have shifted nowadays). However, he possesses the least effective magic – a short-duration, linear electric beam.
Ninja, the most spectacular character, dazzles with a deadly dance of destruction, creating one of the most beautiful scenes in the beat 'em up genre (often resulting in enemies being split in half). He is the only character who can use ninja stars (making it easier to navigate the 3rd screen), and his two running moves are effective sword slashes.
Mack, the most curious character, resembling a mummy with a pair of knives, is not as visually appealing as the ninja but is nearly as effective. His standout feature is his long-lasting magic that provides immunity against enemies – crucial during the final battle. When defeating most enemies, they would decompose.
Baby, the most endearing and a fan favorite in those times, is a baby riding a robot, wielding significant strength. With impressive running moves (the rotating punch being the best), a magic similar to the ninja, and a unique Haggar-type grab – grabbing, jumping, and shooting – he stands out gloriously.
Another captivating aspect of the game was the items. Beyond the classics (offering great variety), there were unique items, including a tranquilizer gun (a personal favorite), and the highlight – robots you could pilot. There were three types: the basic puncher (ultimately the most effective as it could grab others), and the fire and ice robots, burning and freezing enemies respectively. Additionally, jumping and landing on someone caused considerable damage.
The screens were brilliantly designed, with occasional style variations, like the chase phase. However, the true allure lies in the frenetic pace and the combination of factors that made this game an absolute addiction. Playing it with four people adds another layer of excitement.
It's regrettable that the nine stages feel short-lived. Despite the game's challenging nature, I recall moments when I completed it at the Gran Vía arcades, with 15 people watching my progress on the giant screen, saving that triumphant experience for the conclusion of the article.
While they may not be groundbreaking, the graphics are diverse, vibrant, and well within the expectations for this genre of games. There's even a variety of enemies to keep things interesting. The designs, particularly that of an enemy named Z, stand out as exceptionally well-crafted. Noteworthy elements include the detailed depiction of broken glass, formidable monsters (the final one is particularly impressive), and striking fire and ice effects. Additionally, the characters exhibit impressive design— the captain exudes a confident charm, the baby is flawlessly animated, and the ninja truly embodies the essence of a skilled warrior.
Music & Sound
Some individuals tend to complain about the audio quality in arcade games, but the Captain Commando machine defies these expectations. Its sound quality consistently surpasses that of other machines, reminiscent of the distinctive appeal found in games like Bubble Bobble.
The original score for this title is nothing short of remarkable, featuring a powerful techno soundtrack that even appeals to those, like myself, who aren't typically fans of the genre. In terms of sound effects, the game boasts not only the expected sounds but also includes impressive details such as the satisfying swishes of sword slashes, robotic noises, and the realistic sound of glass breaking. Altogether, the audio experience is rich and diverse, with meticulously crafted noises that enhance the overall gaming atmosphere.
Gameplay of Captain Commando
Below, you can download the bezel or overlay for this game, eliminating the unsightly TV borders, just click here.
In summary, Captain Commando stands out as arguably the most captivating Beat'em up in Capcom's repertoire. While it may not boast the utmost comprehensiveness or cutting-edge technical advancements, its widespread recognition persists, even in the face of preferences for titles such as Final Fight, Alien Vs Predator, or Dungeons & Dragons Shadow Over Mystara. This game strikes a remarkable balance that few others achieve. The wealth of anecdotes, stories, and experiences surrounding Captain Commando could easily fill the pages of a book.
I vividly recall those moments when I pondered strategies to navigate past the challenges of the third screen with just a single credit. The coordinated tactics of multiple players added another layer of excitement to the gameplay. Moreover, Capcom, stemming from CAPtain COMmando, paid homage to it in the Marvel vs Capcom series.