Cobra Command (NES)

Cobra Command Box Art

Cobra Command

System: NES

Release Date: November 1988

Developer: Data East

Publisher: Data East

Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up

We’ve got another side scrolling shoot ‘em up in store today with Cobra Command. A better title that would have gotten the game across would be Crappy Choplifter, but unfortunately, Data East went in a different direction. You need to go into different countries and save hostages as you find them. Enemies constantly spawn and seek to snuff you out. You are armed with a machine gun, which you use with the B Button, and missiles, which you fire with the A Button.

Flying forward or backward will change the aim of your weapons. Flying forward tilts the nose and aim down, while flying backward tilts the nose and aim up. You need to become adept at changing your aim, although you only get about a 30 degree tilt in either direction. I found trying to defeat the ground enemies as you’re moving to be a very difficult task. That coupled with the horrible programming associated with screen scrolling made me incredibly unhappy with the game. When you move forward to scroll the screen, actual movement is cut down to about a quarter of what it should be. This makes you a sitting duck, especially in areas like the missiles near the end of level one, that shoot straight up and kill you in one hit.

You find fortresses that must be destroyed to get underground. Then you enter the claustrophobic portion of the game. You have to be careful, because if you bump anything with any part of the chopper, you explode. In the fortresses are loading depots where you can get upgrades to your equipment. The first depot upgrades your guns and engines, but that’s all I could find, because what turns out to be the second fortress of the level wouldn’t explode, so I gave up.

Graphics: 1.5

The graphics are alright, the background, at least, is detailed.

Sound: 1.5

The outside music could be straight fire if it was programmed better.

Gameplay: 1.0

I assume the slow scrolling is unintended, because it makes no sense. The existence of powerups is where the point comes from.

Difficulty: 1.0

Bad programming makes for difficulty that isn’t properly balanced.

Fun Factor: 0.5

I didn’t have fun, despite going back to try a few different times.

Overall Grade: 1.1

Cobra Command earns a D. Crappy Choplifter is a game that can be avoided without missing anything.

Cobra Command Video Review on YouTube