One look at this game and you should immediately recognize that it’s heavily inspired by Metal Slug. Grab some guns, run forward, and shoot some enemies down; essentially, that is Commando: Steel Disaster. You play through the game as a commando named Storm who is opposed by a terrorist group. Led by a mysterious man named Rattlesnake, the terrorist group has gained control over war machines and is using them in attacks against Storm and company. Being the bad ass commando that he is, Storm immediately sets out to put Rattlesnake down.
What you read above is pretty much the entire story in Commando: Steel Disaster. There are no surprises or twists, just a straight forward good vs. evil plot. Not everything is fed to you right away though. New pieces are revealed during short cut-scenes before each level. Jessica, one of Storm’s allies, reveals all the story info to the player. It’s a very simple way of telling a story, but ultimately it works just fine for this game.
Commando: Steel Disaster has five levels each complete with a boss fight at the end. You must run through and take down a barrage of enemies during each level. You have a variety of guns and explosives to fight the enemies with and can even switch between them with L. Controlling Storm is easily done by moving him with the D-Pad, jumping with A and shooting with B. Storm can also throw grenades with Y, roll by pressing A and Down together, and perform an instant kill attack by pressing B within close range of the enemy. These moves can be pulled off with ease, which is necessary because this game is hard.
There are both normal and hard difficulties in Commando: SD. I played and beat this game on normal in roughly an hour and a half. My game time was mostly comprised of dying often in the final level. This game is mainly difficult because of the way it treats death. You have a health meter with 99 hit points and once they are gone, you die and it’s game over. There are no lives to collect and you must begin at the beginning of the level. Luckily, the game auto saves and allows you to continue if you want to come back and play at a later time. I thoroughly enjoyed playing through the game even with its difficult nature, but it may not be for everyone.
Each level is pretty straight forward in that you must take out enemies and reach the end boss. You will spend most of your time defeating enemies, of which there are a few variations, blowing up crates for items, and riding vehicles on the rare occasion. Boss fights are definitely the highlight in Steel Disaster. You must figure out the pattern and weak spot for each boss and then fight them accordingly. There’s not a whole lot more that can be said about the gameplay, but you will likely enjoy this game if you’re a run and gun fan. However, while most of this game is good, there are some significant issues that I must address.
After completing a bit of research, I found out that Commando: Steel Disaster was released on the Nintendo DS back in 2008. As strange as it sounds, something tipped me off during my play through of the DSiWare version. I found it quite odd that there is only one music track in the entire game; unless you count the game over and mission complete themes. What did I reveal?
Well, there is definitely different music in the DS version. According to this YouTube video, the music is actually “inspired by” Gundam Wing: Endless Duel for the Super Famicom. Having different music in the DSiWare version makes a bit more sense now, but having one song is not only lazy, it’s also a generic theme to boot. There is also no music in the final boss fight which makes the atmosphere feel, well, there really is no atmosphere.
One last thing I discovered is that there is missing content. There was a cool opening scene from the DS version that sees Storm riding a snowmobile, but it’s not in the DSiWare game. There is also supposed to be hidden discs to find that will unlock hidden levels, but I didn’t find any. Some of this was probably removed to fit the format, but these missing pieces ultimately affect the game’s value.
Commando: Steel Disaster is a fun run and gun game, but it’s not without flaws. The gameplay includes some great action, solid controls, and a nice inventory of weapons. Steel Disaster is also a good looking game that displays some clean looking visuals. Though its faults knock it down quite a bit and are hard to overlook. If the missing content were on the DSiWare version I could give it a higher score, but instead it manages to hover around the average mark. It costs 800 Nintendo DSi Points (or $7.99 on the eShop), but is also a short game; expect 2-3 hours overall. Commando: Steel Disaster is definitely fun while it lasts, but I recommend looking for a retail copy if possible.
Obtainment: Review Copy