Thursday, 5 September 2019

Command War Super Special Battle & War Game (Arcade)

I've reviewed an unreleased Taito arcade game before, Recalhorn, which was pretty much a completed , fully polished game that just wasn't released. Command War Super Special Battle & War Game is not like that: it's very unfinished, and very rough around the edges. I think it's mainly the presentation and balance that hasn't been worked out, though, and the game is still very playable.

Unusually for an (intended) arcade game, it's a strategy game, that sees you moving troops around a simple board. When one of your troops meets one of the enemy's troops, they enter a little battle, a lot like the ones seen in the Game Gear game, Godzilla Kaiju Daishingeki. Also like that game, the troops themselves are a combination of normal sci-fi military stuff like tanks, jets and giant robots, along with slightly weirder monsters, like cyborg dragons and giant harpies. You might not expect it, but it seems that the tanks are the most important units, just because they're so short that a lot of the larger troops' attacks just go right over their heads.

So, that's the basic premise of the game, but before you play, you're asked to select one of four difficulty levels, which have more of an effect on how the game works then you might expect. On beginner mode, you're automatically given a pre-selected group of troops for each battle, making it the least interersting of all the modes. In amateur, there's always a tank on your team, and you get to buy two more. In Professional and Expert, you get to pick all your troops for yourself, plus the objective of the battles is different: in the lower two difficulties, you win simply by defeating all the enemy troops. In the higher two difficulties, each side also has a special extra unit in the form of a giant robot/tank thing, the defeat of which instantly ends the battle.

You've probably noticed that the screenshots of this game are pretty hard to read, and that's true: clearly, the developers hadn't fully figured out how this game was to be presented, and in its current form it's very messy-looking. You do get used to it after a couple of plays, though it's still a shame that it's hard to get a decent look at the troops attacking each other in the action sections without the big stupid maps in the way. There's also a problem with the money, in that you don't get more money for winning battles, and you need to buy units to replace those destroyed. You can get money in battle to be the first one to reach the flags on the map, but otherwise, you can quickly end up in an unwinnable situation after a couple of stages.

All in all, Command War is a mildly interesting distraction, and a curiosity for Taito fans to look into. In its current form, though, it's not a very good game. It might have become one if they'd continued working on it, but it's easy to see why they didn't: someone obviously had the thought "can we make a strategy game for arcades?", and it gradually became clearer that the answer was "not really".

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