Top-down shooters are the rage these days. Fans of old-school arcade shooters are getting a chance to relive the simple yet addictive classic gaming experience through a number of games that are available for a few hundred points on the Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA). If you have no idea what I'm talking about, think Super Contra with high definition visuals. Ah, that got your attention, right?
Wolf of the Battlefield:Commando 3 is the third installment of Capcom's classic Commando arcade shooter. The premise of the game is simple enough: you have big guns at your disposal and you have to shoot the bad guys before they shoot you.
Lucky for Capcom, a game like this doesn't need much of a storyline so I won't really cut points for its shoddy narrative. You take the role of one of the three available commandos to kick some dictator ass. But unluckily for you, the government you were fighting for leaves you high and dry right after the first mission. So now you have to shoot your way through waves of bad guys and bosses to stop an evil dictator's tyrrany. Told you it was shoddy!
Though the game isn't original in any way, it still is a helluva lot of fun. You have the left stick on your controller to move around and the right stick to shoot in whichever direction you aim. Sure, there are a couple of other buttons involved – to throw a grenade and to pull off a super move that practically destroys all enemies on screen – but most of your game will be played with the two analog sticks.
Just as in any other arcade shooter worth its ammo, you get to go co-op with a couple of buddies. The game allows up to three players to take control of the three available characters – in local multiplayer (three controllers on the same console) or over Xbox Live. Needless to say, multiplayer is the better way to go.
While the single player experience can get challenging, with a couple of your buddies thrown into the mix, this game ends up being a lot easier. With enemy fire distributed in three different directions, you have the liberty to pick and choose whom you want to dispose of.
Graphically, the game has a very comic-ish design, complete with speech bubbles when your character gets hit. The art style makes the game look fresh, and thanks to the bigger models (as compared to some other shooters in this category), it's easier to spot the enemy. This reduces the chances of your being hit by a sneaky bullet.
The three-player limitation is logical, because of the number of characters available, but it's still a pretty odd number when compared to the four-player option rival games offer. It's not a big deal, considering how easy things get with three players, but I feel it amounts to wasting a resource.
The game's soundtrack is just perfect for the gameplay, with some seriously kickass guitar riffs accompanying your moments of glory. The gun sounds are as arcady as they get.
As I said, there's nothing very original about this game, but that doesn't stop it from being a lot of fun. Just a few games of this between you and your mates would make the experience worth the 800 Microsoft points you spend on it. Also, it would be only fair to mention that buying this game entitles you to try out the beta version of the upcoming Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix.