You are a highly trained solder whose mission is to annihilate the enemy and rescue important captives. To do this you must destroy the enemy base, which is said to be impregnable. Your weapons consist of a machine gun with unlimited shots and a limited supply of hand grenades that may be replenished by stealing from the enemy.
Commando is a vertically scrolling shooter staring an elite soldier named Super Joe. The object is to help Super Joe blast through enemy lines, destroying compounds and rescuing hostages along the way, over the course of 16 stages. Armed with a machine gun and supply of grenades, you must carefully avoid near continuous gunfire from rival troops, tanks, and jeeps. Trees, bunkers, and similar barriers can serve as a temporary reprieve from the onslaught of bullets, and extra lives can be earned by achieving specific point milestones. While Super Joe has an unlimited amount of ammunition, he must periodically replenish his grenade supply by finding crates left behind by enemies.