8-Bit Commando is a run and gun platformer with fast-paced action, a rocking soundtrack, local multiplayer and explosions.
User reviews: Mixed (45 reviews)
Release Date: Jun 2, 2014

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“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.

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

System Requirements

    • 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
39 of 54 people (72%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
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.
Posted: June 8
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22 of 29 people (76%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
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. Bluntly, I never thought this would be Greenlit by Steam due to comparisons from a popular 8-Bit Nintendo game. 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 merely 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 of 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, but 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 clearly take from Zelda, it offers fresh things, 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. Plus with only 6 levels in the game on top of the timer that ensures no level lasts more than 5 minutes, that makes for 30 minutes to be the slowest time you can beat the game. To make up for an easier game, you won't get abundantly cool weapons.

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. Personally, I would have preferred it to jump and down + jump would make you fall from the rope.

Now for an abundance 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 repeatedly 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. Let's also talk about the fact 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 literally 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 of 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 literally get sent back to a level select screen. All of that breaks the flow of the game. There aren't any memorable boss battles either and I know a game should be 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.
Posted: June 23
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24 of 34 people (71%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Oh, 8-Bit Commando - I had high hopes for you. Unfortunately, you did not deliver.

Let us start with the good stuff, graphics and soundtrack are the high point of the title and quite nice overall. The game has a late 80ies arcade-vibe going on (could be a PC-Engine game as well), which I very much approve. It shows some effort.
Then there is this "feature" (seems more like an engine-problem of lacking proper upscaling) of seeing a whole lot of a level if you pick the wrong resolution, which almost reminds me of the few Taito-games with multiscreen setups. Seriously though, If you are just in it for the aesthetics and the whole throwback-thing, 8-Bit Commando might work out for you.

It all goes downhill from here. The game itself is just not very well designed or planned out. Stages are incredibly short, I am not really exaggerating when I say that you make about 3-4 leaps and you are at the bossfight. The platforming is incredibly simplistic and dull. Same goes for enemy placement and attack-patterns. Obstacles almost feel like an afterthought, and if it weren't for the shoddy jump-controls that are more floaty than they should be I would have hardly died at all. Power-ups are scarce and don't feel powerful at all - a spreadshot laser that needs to charge up and only spreads after being about 1 second on the screen? Who thought that was a good idea? Also, drops are random - meaning nobody really cared to craft a good challenge to overcome in the first place.

Bosses have tiny hitzones, and are rather unspectacular both in size and attack-power (becoming MORE boring as the game goes on) and I just don't see any point in going back to this title after finishing it once (which took about 40 minutes, would have taken even less if I had realized earlier that mashing buttons helps in getting more shots on the screen).

Gameplay and design simply don't back up the nice visuals and music, which is a real shame. But considering that for just a few bucks more you can get either Oniken or Metal Slug 3 here on Steam, the offering of 8-Bit Commando feels all the more pitiful. Lacking the tight controls, creativity and leveldesign that were standard about 30 years ago - I am pretty disappointed.
Posted: June 8
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14 of 20 people (70%) found this review helpful
5.2 hrs on record
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.
Rating: 0/10 Value: $0.00
Posted: June 23
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13 of 19 people (68%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Retro plateformers might be a fashion with little pearls that can be found. Yet this one is nothing like a pearl. 20 minutes long, totally unbalanced with levels you can beat without even looking, and one level in the middle that is a real pain. Add low quality animation. I understand it as a prototype, not as something you pay for and called final release.
Posted: June 14
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