8-Bit Commando is a run and gun platformer with fast-paced action, a rocking soundtrack, local multiplayer and explosions.
User reviews: Mixed (61 reviews)
Release Date: Jun 2, 2014

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Reviews

“Excellent animation and serious attention to detail really bring it life”
8/10 – Game Cola

“Sets out to be an authentic 8-Bit era experience and it largely succeeds”
Gaming Daily

“All the levels are distinctively individual and look fantastic”
82/100 – Bytten

About This Game

8-Bit Commando is a run and gun platformer with fast-paced action, a rocking soundtrack (from the chiptune artist Ozzed), local multiplayer and explosions. The graphics will take you back to the classic age of gaming and the gameplay is bound to challenge even the most seasoned vets.

Features
  • 6 levels of intense action
  • Local coop multiplayer
  • Beautiful retro graphics
  • 2 difficulty modes
  • Online hiscore
  • Rocking chiptunes soundtrack

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP or later
    • Processor: 1 GHz
    • Memory: 256 MB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 8.1
    • Hard Drive: 64 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: At least one controller required for co-op play
Helpful customer reviews
23 of 33 people (70%) found this review helpful
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 23
8-Bit Commando is a 2D run and gun shooter. Run to the right, there is no left. I've owned this game for years and played it a few times on Desura. If you can't tell this game is a Contra clone that sadly never is itself. It tries to be Contra mini. They have the same look, levels and so on. It doesn't steal Contra's sprites, artwork, music or sounds, but mimics them with no originality. The levels aren't just inspired by Contra, but they have the same themes as Contra, Super C and even the GBA version of Contra 3.

I want to like this game, and I think that I still like this game even with all its shortcomings. I just can't recommend it to other people for a lot more reasons than 'lolz Kontra klone.' There's just not enough of it. I've felt brief 2 - 3 hour games are fun and exciting enough to be worth $15 - $20, but this is too easy, and too short. There is no hard mode either for people that go through it on normal. I would have appreciated more of a challenge.

This is the start of a good game engine that they can make other games with. Those games need to feel like their own game and not just Contra mini. It feels so much like Contra that I'd rather play Contra, even if this is a mixture of Contra levels. At least with games like Ittle Due that take inspiration from Zelda, they offer fresh things. There are different twists, different characters and enemies, this offers nothing new.

On the good side, the art and especially animation are great. Plus, there is a lot of enemy variety. Enemies with drops will have them randomized so they can drop weapons or health. I appreciate the randomness of the few drops there are. Some might see it as a positive that this game is also much easier than Contra. How is it easier? A health bar at the top of the screen. As someone that beats Contra and Super Contra once a year without getting hit, I feel like I don't need easier. So its a good thing there is a difficulty setting. Wth only 6 levels in the game on top of a timer that ensures no level lasts more than 5 minutes, that makes for a 30 minute play through.

It uses Contra's simple controls, which is a good thing especially when you're going for that 8-bit feel. Some of us don't like dual stick shooters. You have one button to jump, another to shoot with 8 directional shooting. It feels nice, it feels like Contra. It is missing some of the functionality of Contra suck as down + jump will make you drop through certain platforms. You can hang from ropes, but jumping just makes you fall. I would have preferred it to jump and down + jump would make you fall from the rope.

Now for the number of downsides. The weapons just don't feel that different or fun. Your standard machine gun spits out a slow bullet if you hold the button down or quicker bullets for those that tap the button. The same for the laser, the beam is longer, but still pretty short. Fire offers just a puff of a projectile and homing missiles do the job, but they're still pretty meh. There is some sort of grenade launcher that just feels weak. I'd prefer my explosions larger than the projectile is. Is there a spreader? Not that I've found, but some of the enemies have a short range shotgun to use against you. Here's a hint, ducking won't save you. If you think oh I can just shoot them from far away. Yes.... you can, assuming the bullets don't fly through them as if they weren't there. I've found that issue a few times.

Every time I press escape to exit out of the game, it doesn't exit, but rather crashes. Changing resolution doesn't change resolution when you hit apply. It changes automatically every time I fiddle with the resolution. I found a resolution my monitor doesn't support so now I can't see the game. Can't see the game, can't change resolution. So I'm now stuck. The game is stuck on a black screen. I cannot alt + tab out or ctrl + alt + delete my way out either. I need to restart my computer. I have never had an issue like this with any other game. The fact that there are beta testers for this game and no one discovered this out is amazing. I have this error time and time again.

After all that, in game, when I'm aiming up and left with a keyboard, I can't fire my gun. I would say its just me, but with 2 PCs and a laptop + Desura and Steam versions of the game, I assume its not just me. It still works on a 360 controller though. But if its a right scrolling shooter, why care about that? Boss fights. Especially the helicopter boss fight that comes from the left. Its okay though, you can jump and shoot to the left. The brief moments of precision platforming are well imperfect and you can fall through things. To top that off, you can die after you beat a boss.... meaning you'll have to beat the boss again.

The other downfalls include the fact that you don't get lives, but rather unlimited continues. Why is that bad? When you die it takes you to a continue screen instead of just putting you back in the action. There are checkpoints too. I'd rather have lives and checkpoints with continues that send you back to the start of the level. If you run out of time, then you're forced to restart the level from the beginning. So that's a nice twist I guess.

After each level you get to see your stats and post a high score. The problem is after you post that score, you get sent back to a level select screen. All that breaks the flow of the game. There aren't any memorable boss battles either. While I know a game should get graded for what it is, not what it isn't, but if Contra has memorable things. Then you need to get to that level or better.

On the bike stage, you have the ability to move into the far, near and medium lanes. The game will mercilessly throw cars at you to dodge, not just dodge, but they'll aim for you. Which is fine, you can jump over them like in Contra right? Nope, who ever heard of jumping, you gotta blow that stuff up even when its taking up all 3 lanes forcing you to crash into the debris! On top of that, think the game knows what lane you're in and you're safe if you're in one lane over another? Nope, bullets and rockets don't care. A hit is a hit even if you're not in their lane. Just seems like poor programming that could have been better. I could also talk about how easy and quick the final level is... but it just seems like beating a dead horse.

Get this in a bundle like I did. Maybe its worth $1, but I've bought a few $1 bundles with this in it.
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16 of 24 people (67%) found this review helpful
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 23
Screenshots look awesome for this game, the idea seems good too. A simple side scroller where you shoot things. When I start the game all I get is a black screen. From the forums this seems to be a common issue that most people get a black screen on startup making the game unplayable. The dev is practically missing from the forums, except for the drama where the dev tells people who bought it from some bundle site they cant have keys. Im not sure what that is about, but if the dev spent more time fixing the game we could actually play it whenever those people do get keys.

*This may be a 64 bit windows 7 issue from the majority of forum posts, other platforms the game seems to be hit and miss if it works or not.
Unplayble:
Rating: 0/10 Value: $0.00
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9 of 11 people (82%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 16
I think this game is not too bad, it's just mediocre game that you can find easily when you were children and playing famicom games. It's thumbed down by many people because this game pretends to be "Contra" but if you give it a try, may be you will find out that it's kind of fun game.
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8 of 13 people (62%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 7
It's a little too short but it's the closest you'll get to the good old Contra.
7/10
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 29
8-Bit Command is a horrible little game where your primary source of death isn't enemy fire, but rather cheap instant kill pits and traps that you simply cannot avoid. Also because the game doesn't see fit to lock your controls while firing, much less give you the option to do so, firing at an angle is more than likely to send you charging off into a pit to your death, especially during bosses, which nearly all have said instant death pits.

The weapon system makes no sense; given no actual choice, you randomly can go from your weak default weapon to a laser gun, a homing missile launcher or a machine gun, and all the while not a single one seems to be stronger than any other. The only one that seems to have any significant power behind it is what appears to be a grenade launcher, but even that is rare that it may as well not even exist in the game.

The music, of which you will be hearing over and over due to the cheap deaths slowly drills its way into your mind, grinding your will to live down until the sound of a tortured cat would be preferable. Or maybe the sound of a cat being tortured as rendered through a Sega SG-1000. Either would be better than this, which seems to be babies first attempt at making 8-bit sounding music.

An overall bland looking, incredibly irritating to the ears game with no redeeming value other than it was cheap. But even then, I spent 3.50 USD too much for this thing.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 29
Pretty decent homage to Contra with 8-bit style graphics (in case you couldn't tell by the title of the game), challenging gameplay and some catchy music. Another game I recommend playing with a controller (maybe an NES-style controller, in this case).
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 7
Short, retro style game. Although it is nothing special, I will give it thumbs up just because it reminds me (but only a little) on legendary Contra.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 28
Great game, especialy if you have a buddy to play with. You will feel like the good old Contra days. But the game is short, You can pass it in 2 hours, or 1 hour if you are skilled in such games so the fair price for the game should be 1$ really, 2$ if dev would develop the game some more, like free dlc or something. Anyway, get it cheap and enjoy
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 3
Of course that this game wants to give you an authentic 8-bit experience, but it fails miserably.

It is worse than Contra 1 from NES, but Contra was made in 1987, 8-Bit Commando was released in 2014!

27 years later they give us a flash game with an awful control, a repetitive soundtrack and an extremely boring gameplay, I wouldn't like it even if I was playing this 30 years ago.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 31
Simple retro platform shooter. Single weapon, health points, one life, time limit, has continue checkpoints, occasional powerups. Reasonably well done, but nothing super amazing. I played long enough to get through the first two missions and maybe half of the third before I got bored. Can benefit from using a gamepad, but keyboard works fine too since the controls are few (direction+AB buttons).
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 17
Yeah I'm just repeating what everyone else is saying, it's Contra, but lame. Unlike the majority of people I really disliked Contra 4 but I might just have to reassess that game after playing this. Hell you'll probably have a better time playing Contra Force than this (even though to this game's credit it ran smoothly whereas CF is notorious for its slowdown). Contra Force is the game where it seems to take most of its inspiration actually, with its more "down-to-earth" military theme instead of aliens, mutants and robots you'd normally fight. Here, it's mainly tanks, airplanes, trucks, with only a couple of robot-ish things to battle. It's probably better than Legacy of War and C: The Contra Adventure... maybe, so there's that.

Let me talk about the options menu first. You have two difficulties, easy and normal. No hard available at all, which I'm not complaining about, as the game is irritating enough on its default difficulty, but it just looks odd, especially for a game like this. Also, resolution settings - rather than select from a list like a normal game, when you select it it'll immediately switch to the next resolution up and automatically adjust your screen accordingly. This didn't cause me any problems but it did for others apparently, as in crashes and such. Well I flicked through the resolution options until I came across one that didn't look like everything was stretched across the screen like latex before moving on.

So, as said, the game is Contra. Except the levels look more widely spaced as afforded by the higher resolutions not available on the older consoles. And the one-hit deaths/continue system has been replaced by a health bar and checkpoints. It does make the game seem easier than most Contras, theoretically but because of certain design decisions it feels much more frustrating to play. You have a health bar but it can drop down very easily when getting hit by various things around you, taking anywhere from 2 to 4 hits off your life bar. Levels are short, and you have at least one checkpoint in between, but that's where things get interesting (actually the only interesting thing about this game). The levels are set on a five-minute timer, and if you die after a checkpoint, the timer doesn't stop, so die often enough, you may come back with only 16 worthless seconds left and then it's time to redo the whole level again.

Otherwise it sticks to Contra very closely, sometimes almost blatantly ripping off levels from the series wholesale (such as the first level in the first Contra stuck somewhere in the middle of the game). Sprites are similar, and are competently drawn, but lack color and the art design in general is dull. There is some nice-looking parallax scrolling, most noticeable in the biker stage, and it runs smoothly, but it is totally uninspired. It's a game that copies the dull tones and browns of your average modern military shooter but "retro" style. Same with the music. Yeah they sound "8-bit" but none of it is catchy, memorable, well-composed or does anything - whether to pump you up, ratchet up tension, no, none of that - except sound "8-bit." It's as faceless as the protagonist and the tacked-on story about playing a game of nuclear missile hot potato with whoever the villains are. You'll probably find a more fleshed-out story in any of the other Contra games ever made than here, and better endings too.

Now the experience of playing the game itself... it feels slow and dull, with mediocre level design, broadly spaced-out enemies and traps, and really, really crappy weapons. Your default gun is probably what you'll be using most of the game as power-ups are few and far between, and what power-ups you get you'll lose pretty quickly from dying (that you carry over what health you had from the last level to the next doesn't help). Don't worry, because most of those are boring too, except for the homing missiles, and they managed to find a way to bork those as well, as I found many instances of the missiles just circling around enemies or bypassing them and not even hitting their appropriate target unless you're like, standing right next to them.

There's been talk of the controls being poor and indeed there are issues I have with them. You have eight-directional shooting, and shooting diagonally means having to run in that direction. This might have been how a bunch of Contra games also were designed but I don't recall them being as irritating as they are here. Because of how widely open/empty the levels are, the puniness of your pea shooter (which would be an apt description for any weapon you get), the tiny enemies on screen with equally tiny bullets coming from different directions you can't see, how slow your character feels and responds compared to any character in any Contra game, and some questionable hit box detection (I've fired right through a dude's head and it did nothing - there also were missiles firing straight at a platform below me and at one point I just arbitrarily took damage, standing there), makes for an unpleasant concoction of annoyances that as the game goes on and gets harder become more visible and make you want to throw the keyboard across the table.

And I've saved the worst for last - the bike-riding stage, the penultimate level of the game. I thought at first "oh nice a bit of variety for once" but nope these frustrations manifest even more horribly here. I still don't know what sense to make of this level. First one of the biggest dangers of the level, isn't the bullets, isn't missiles, but barrels. Yes, a truck appears at the beginning and end and throws barrels at you that take away three hit points as opposed to two from bullets. They appear to be empty barrels too. It throws three of them at you at a time and there's no logical perception as to where these things actually bounce toward. Even if you move out of the way after they're thrown, they seem to hit you anyway. Homing barrels? Oh and the same rules apply here as they do with the regular stages but you're on a constantly moving bike, making diagonal firing, a necessity when the annoying helicopter/invincible barrel truck combo come along, more of a pain. Before that though you have to weave through traffic by... shooting down pedestrian vehicles? Some of who will just try to ram into you? What drunk idiot designed this level? Oh and the boss fight. Getting a hit in is almost impossible without getting hit yourself, he crams you in with his bullet fire so much, and moves back and forth in patterns that make no sense and will certainly kill you. By the time you get to the second stage of the fight, where it's "BULLETS BULLETS BULLETSSS!" you will be low enough on health that you'll die the moment it starts. Here is where I said "Screw this bull****" and just set it to easy, where the barrels destroy as normal empty wooden barrels would with a high-powered gun, and where I could proceed to the final level (where I switched back to normal) and be done with this stupid game for good. Oh, the last level isn't very good either and exemplifies "diagonal shooting" with its final boss at its worst but at least it's not the biker stage.

The low price and Contra-looking aesthetics and gameplay may be tempting but really, don't bother. It's a game made by Contra fans who grew bored of their project the moment they started it, yet somehow finished it. Maybe if this was 75% off (which would make it about $0.99 in my currency), OK. Plus there's local co-op, which I haven't tried as someone with no friends, let alone ones who would be willing enough to share the boredom with me, but if you do, I guess that might be an incentive to part ways with one of your Washingtons, but for everyone else, stick with your emulators or cartridges of the older Contra games, if you're lucky enough to have them (my rec: Contra: Hard Corps for the Genesis, an amazing game and the polar opposite of this sad little thing.
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 24
I were suggested this game is like Contra, but they were wrong. As i played it, this game does not even made it as a platformer, so this is not definitely like Contra.

8-Bit Commando tries to emulate the gameplay of the already mentioned game series Contra, using a side-scrolling based game (the only thing that remains so far faithful to the game), trying to deliver a "fast-paced action", meaning that you wont' have big challenges to face during your adventure in 8-Bit Commando, because of the few enemies and the few dangers to avoid for not getting killed.
Resolution configuration is badly done, as increasing it may strangely enlarge the vision of the area around you.

I'm not really expert in this genre of games, but as a customer i don't find this game enjoyable and, compared to other games of this genre, really bad. Surely not worth 4€, and probably not even in a bundle.
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4 of 7 people (57%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 24
If you loved Contra, you'll tolerate 8-Bit Commando.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 25
While I quite like the idea of side scrolling shooters, not minding straight up Contra-clones this game simply doesn't deliver much. Music is good and while it feels like flash game with retro-like graphics thrown on, its acceptable. Large palette kind of invalidates the 8-bit aesthetic, looks more like Sega Genesis/Mega Drive-game. There's just handful of short and checkpoint-filled stages and the major part of challenge comes from unreliable controls. Its just not fun to play. Yeah its indie and all that. Its getting old.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 7
8 Bit Commando is a very basic Contra clone, with only six short levels which take about an hour to complete. Gameplay itself is pleasant but unremarkable - level design is simplistic and platforming is undemanding. Contrary to Conta, the game offers an unlimited amount of continues and gives the main character HP which allows him to take several hits instead of just one, effectively removing any possible challenge. Weapon upgrades are largely useless, as they are actually a step down from the power and range of the main gun -with exception of the homing missiles, which in turn are overpowered. Enemies prove no real challenge, while the boss fights can be frustrating as the hit zones are simply too small.

In short: while it's not a completely terrible game, it's an entirely disposable one - certainly not worth the full price, and possibly not even the sale price. Like most players, I got it in a bundle with a few other games for a dollar - and I feel as if even that would be too much, as you can emulate and play the old Contra for free and have a much more fun and challenging experience, even after 27 years.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 25
Very dull, very simple, and very short. It tries to be Contra, but it's just not exciting or engaging. It mostly works on a functional level, although I would complain that powerups feel too sparse, and if you die and reload from a checkpoint, the timer keeps counting from when you died. It's just a boring game, and there are much better games in this genre out there.

Also: lamest final boss ever.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 14
It's boring, empty, and hollow. There are practically no enemies, the guns are Contra's guns, and it just feels like someone played Contra and thought "I should do that," without realizing what made Contra so special.

It doesn't deserve the name 8-Bit Commando.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 11
Little heart was put into this game. Bland graphics, dull gameplay, and overall, for a retro throwback, it fails. You won't be impressed. Believe me.
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: July 13
75/100
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40 of 60 people (67%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 8
8-Bit Commando is about as cut and dry a Contra like sidescrolling shooter as you are likely to find. From the basic gameplay straight down to the ascetic and setting, it's close to overstepping the "inspired by" threshold into actual plagiarism, but considering Konami has better things to do than suing small indie developers I can let it slide. In any case, more Contra is rarely a bad thing, though with 2DEngine's attempt to ape to legendary series, there's a clear feeling that the developer is simply repeating the same game we've played before; either for being unsure how to inject their own flavor into the formula, or unwilling to branch out from what has already been proven to work.

Through seven levels (which should take you about 30-60 minutes to complete, depending on your skill), you run and gun your way through military grunts, occasionally partaking in some light platforming before eventually showing down a boss at the end. The levels themselves change quite a bit throughout, from running on top a moving train to chasing down enemies on a highway by way of motorcyle. It's some welcome variety, but despite this Commando's core gameplay is so rudimentary and dated that it quickly grows stale as you wrestle with the unwieldy controls, made worse by the almost obnoxious difficulty and strongly enforced time limit for each level.

As generic and frustrating as it may be, I enjoyed 8-Bit Commando well enough for what it was, but not enough that I'd recommend it to anyone but those dying to play more Contra. It's not a bad game, just a derivative and unremarkable one, existing in a spectrum of games designed to fill a role but never extend beyond the status of a basic clone. All things considered, you're almost certainly better off replaying the games that so strongly inspired it, which even years later are still entirely more worth your while.
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