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Iron Commando


Iron Commando is a brawler developed by French developer Arcade Zone. The game was released in Japan, but a PAL version of the game was leaked out.

By: Evan G
Last updated: March 3, 2017

Arcade Zone is probably best known in the retro gaming community for another unreleased game they made, Nightmare Busters. Despite Arcade Zone being based in France, Iron Commando was only published in Japan. Perhaps there was not sufficient interest in Europe to find a publisher. At any rate, a prototype of the PAL game was leaked out by an Italian scene group called Paradox on December 30, 1994.

______________/\    _______________/\ ___________  ___________  /\___
 !eNf \____    \      \  _\         \      \\______    \_\___  \    \/    /
     __\__/    /\      \/  \  /     /\      \/    /    /    /   \_      _/
    /    _____/         \    /_____/         \   /    /    /    /        \ 
   //   /    /.    /\    \  /    \_     /\    \_/    //   /   _/.         \_
  /____/    /___  /_______\/\_____/__  /_______\____/\________\___  /\_____/
                \/                   \/                           \/
<-[ GAME INFO ]-------------------------------------------------------------->

      NAME    : IRON COMMANDO  (c) Arcade Zone      

      FORMAT  : Snes/Smc/12Mbits   


<-[ PARADOX WHQ ]------------------------------------------------------------>

Unfortunately, the scene group hacked an intro into the game (see below), so there is no clean dump of this game. Literally two days after the Paradox scene release, another scene group called Elitendo made a hack to remove the intro, changing 16 bytes. I've included this IPS patch with the ROM image archive.


Even after that, another version of this has made it into the ROM auditing programs. It has an additional two bytes changed from the Elitendo hack. This is summarized below:

Comparing files Iron Commando (PAL - with intro).sfc and 
Iron Commando (PAL - intro removed).sfc:
000000B0: 10 00
00007FF0: 5C 00
00007FF2: 80 00
00007FF3: 30 00
00007FFC: F0 19
00007FFD: FF 80
0000803B: EA A9
0000803C: 22 80
0000803D: E0 8D
0000803E: 84 00
0000803F: B0 21
0000937B: EA A9
0000937C: 22 80
0000937D: 47 8D
0000937E: 83 00
0000937F: B0 21

Comparing files BETA Iron Commando (E).sfc and Iron Commando (PAL - intro removed).sfc:
000000B0: 10 00
00000151: 01 00


Is the version that is floating around on ROM sites a good dump, or is it a hack of the original no-intro hack? I would say the later is more likely, since the header bytes are unchanged, and I doubt that Elitendo had access to the original dump. One of the changed bytes is identical to the original release too. I have never seen any authentic Iron Commando prototype in my years of keeping records, so about the only thing I can authenticate is the original scene release by Paradox, and the intro removal hack by Elitendo.

The Game

Honestly, I find Final Fight clones to be a chore. Iron Commando is no different, with even the easiest enemy taking multiple hits before dying. There are many weapons you can pick up, but like Double Dragon, it just slows you down and makes you more vulnerable to taking damage. The prototype has a level select option, which lets you skip to any part of the game, including the end game credits. I played through the first level, which took nearly 10 minutes. The graphics are pretty detailed, and the gameplay is actually pretty fluid. However, it is pretty hard to avoid taking hits when there are many enemies on the screen. This is probably made a lot easier in two-player mode.

As far as I can tell, this game is pretty much complete. The scene release was less than two months before the Japanese release, so it isn't really that surprising. The main difference between this prototype and the Japanese release is that the intro story is in English, and of course the PAL slowdown. There is no compelling reason to choose the PAL prototype over the NTSC Japanese version, as the in-game text is still in English.

Japanese title screenPrototype title screen
"Since the first meteorite, there has been disaster."Prototype
Japanese options, seriously mono sound is on by defaultPrototype - includes a level select option
Japanese - you get five more lives by defaultPrototype

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