Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty

        Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty, a standalone expansion to Behind Enemy Lines, The original Commandos was a surprise hit. It cleverly combined strategy, puzzle, and action elements with great graphics and an all-too-apt subject matter, and while there was some debate over just what kind of game it was trying to be, most found its demand for planning and precision to be both unusual and exciting.

        Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty is more of the same, with a few new levels and characters. But the fact is, you can have too much of a good thing. The original Commandos was a great game because each member of the squad was highly specialized. In Beyond the Call of Duty, though, each character gains the ability to throw a stone or toss a pack of cigarettes. These new abilities are fairly interesting, but the fact that every commando has them clouds the sense that your soldiers are working as unique and complementary components of some perfectly tuned machine. The commandos' roles become less clear, and with that, some of the game's appeal slips away.

        It also doesn't help that the game is even more difficult than the first. It's tempting to justify the excessive difficulty by the fact that the game contains only eight missions (the original had more than twice as many), but that would be a solution to the wrong problem. Besides, nobody complained that the original Commandos was too easy - all of its missions were difficult, though some were far more difficult than others. Nevertheless, all its missions could eventually be completed so long as you were patient, and the game didn't get too frustrating because each mission could be reduced to a series of smaller situations, and you'd rarely get stuck at any one point for too long.

        In spite of everything, it's inaccurate to say that Beyond the Call of Duty is far worse than the original. If anything, the two games are difficult to distinguish, so fans of the original will enjoy Beyond the Call of Duty because of its inherent similarity to its predecessor. And to be fair, there are certain subtle new twists to this game that add strategic depth, such as the spy's ability to wear several types of uniforms. But at the same time, most of the subtle changes have adverse effects and make Beyond the Call of Duty feel like more of the same in the worst kind of way.

        I completed all commandos games and I am a big fan.