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Preview: Commando 3

Genesis fans who have blasted their way through MERCS and its sweet original mode are probably already anxious for Capcom’s forthcoming sequel. Due this spring on both Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Store, Commando 3: Wolf of the Battlefield looks like it’s going to serve up another helping of mayhem and wanton destruction. Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lock & Load

The plot? Who cares? This is all about testosterone-laden action. But if you must know, your objective is to stop the evil General Ratiev of the Zalestad nation from taking over the world. There, can we shoot something now? No one plays this type of game for the epic storylines, and this series has never really tried to be known for anything but it’s fast-paced gameplay and combat. Players will take control of any of three mercs: Roy “Wolf” McMurray, a former marine; the sexy but deadly Fox, and Antonio “Coyote” Carranza, the veteran who’s seen his share of warfare the world over. It’s sad to see that Super Joe isn’t part of the picture, but I guess the guy has earned his retirement.

Capcom’s revisiting the Commando well for the third time, and taking its cue from the previous installment, developer Backbone Entertainment appears to be retooling the formula to take advantage of modern hardware. Where MERCS tried to make up for its single-player with an incredible original mode that offered multiple character upgrades and on-the-fly merc swapping, Commando 3 adds to the run-‘n-gun formula by finally giving players what they’ve always wanted: cooperative play. On both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, players will be able to team up with two other friends either online or on the same console, which is bound to result in many explosions and a ton of fun.

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The cool thing about this is that the game will scale the difficulty depending on the number of people playing, so three players aren’t just going to breeze through it without trouble. There are four levels of difficulty in all, and you can bet that those Xbox 360 achievements are going to be based on the highest one! Multiple weapons will be available for warriors of all tastes, from grenade to rocket launchers and shotguns. You can also commandeer vehicles, just like in MERCS , only this time a friend can fire while you drive!

War Goes Online

There hasn’t been much word yet on how the game will play online, and while Sega-16 hopes for the best, a lot of games on XBLA have bogged down to complete lagfests. Original titles tend to play better than the classic ports, so we’re hoping that C3: WOTB will offer a solid experience, regardless of how many people are playing. There are also score multipliers so players can maximize their score tallies, online leaderboards for rampant fronting™ and a “comprehensive scoring” system. What the last one is remains unclear, but we’ll update as soon as we have more information.

The graphics have obviously gone 3D, and I’m sure there will be some who won’t agree with the somewhat cartoony visual style. It takes some getting used to, but it’s not as bad as you might initially think. Also, the original Commando wasn’t exactly serious in its visual design either, and this sequel seems to be drawing on both of its predecessors for inspiration in many aspects. The soundtrack will blow you away though, as it’s composed by Norihiko Hibino, the talented chap who has done the music for the Metal Gear Solid and Zone of the Enders games.

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You know you want to play this one, and if Backbone and Capcom can upgrade the formula without affecting what made the Commando series so great to begin with – balls-to-the-wall action – then this could be a great addition to your multi-player library. I’m assuming that this will run the standard $10 that other original efforts cost on both XBLA and the PlayStation Store, but there’s one little hitch that may have PS3 owners seething for now. Purchasing the XBLA version makes you automatically eligible for the Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix beta test. This is exclusive to Xbox 360 owners, but I’m sure PS3 gamers will have a bone of some kind tossed their way eventually.

Chaos Comes This Spring

Sega-16 is eagerly awaiting the sequel to MERCS , and we’ll have a full hands-on when the game is released. Hopefully the gameplay online will be smooth and solid. Capcom can do this when it wants to (Lost Planet, for example), so there’s a pretty good chance that this one will be something special when it hits this spring. Until then, we’ve a neat little video to tide you over (with some Street Fighter II HD Remix love at the end!), so download it and get ready for action!

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