G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero

aka: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero!
Commodore 64 Specs [ all ]
Buy on Apple II
Buy on Commodore 64

Description official description

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero is a 2D action game with two different game types.

In the first mode, you have to destroy enemy tanks, radar stations and Cobra HQ in a top-down view. There are different geographical locations like wood, desert and Arctic tundra. The available characters in this mode are Ace (jet fighter), Steeler (tank), Wild Bill (helicopter) and Clutch (Jeep).

In the second mode, various Joe characters ("Joes") face off against Cobra characters in one-on-one battles, using their unique weapons that all vary in weight and reloading speed. Battles can be fought against backdrops like city, Cobra HQ, Arctic tundra, desert, or the woods. The loser of each battle goes to prison and becomes unavailable for future battles.

There are 12 available Joe characters in this mode: Duke, Scarlett, Recondo, Torpedo, Snake Eyes, Roadblock, Spirit, Zap, Gung-Ho, Snow Job, Blowtorch, and Stalker. On the Cobra side, the available characters to battle are Destro, Baroness, Zartan, Firefly, Cobra Commander, Storm Shadow, Major Bludd, and Scrap-Iron.

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Credits (Commodore 64 version)




Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 10 ratings with 1 reviews)

A sentimental favorite for children of the 1980s.

The Good
Ok, there’s no getting around it: the best thing about this game was the toy license. If this had been Team A vs. Team B and not Joe vs. Cobra, then I doubt many people would have bought it (or even pirated it). Fortunately for Epyx, they scored the Joe license so they could sell the product – and marketing is half the battle!

It was a pretty fun little game, though. You got to pick one of your favorite Joes and take on the evil forces of Cobra. Different Joes had different weapon strengths and different movement speeds, and you had to adapt your playing style to the character chosen. So if you wanted slow but powerful, you could take the machine-gun-toting big man, Roadblock; if you preferred light and fast, then crafty ol’ Snake Eyes was your man. The playing field also changed based on the location of the mission on the global map. Not that it had much of an effect on the gameplay, but the environments looked different (indoors, snow, desert, city, etc.), so it was a nice change of pace. It was a real kick to hunt down and capture all of those infamous baddies like Destro, Scrap Iron, and even old Chrome Dome himself.

As I recall, the quality of the graphics and sound were pretty high by the standards of the day. It even played the G.I. Joe theme song! “Doo doo doo duh-dooooo…Yoooooo Joe!”

The Bad
It’s too bad there was only one difficulty setting. Except maybe for the vehicle combat missions, the game was pretty easy. Unfortunately, the non-vehicle Joes were more fun to command, so I wasted a lot of hours winning easy battles instead of challenging myself. Oh well, it passed the time. Maybe all of those victories over Evil Terrorists Determined To Rule The World were good for my self-esteem, or something.

You couldn’t really “win” the game, either. As soon as you captured most of the Cobras, one of them would escape from prison and you’d have to catch them all over again. That mechanic certainly kept the game going, and the elusiveness of Cobra was certainly an ongoing theme in the cartoon/comic, but some kind of endgame still would have been nice. Or maybe a scoring system of some kind?

Finally, I should mention that the license was acquired fairly early in the 80s, so this is the earlier G.I. Joe. The more diverse and colorful characters that dominated later TV episodes/comic issues are missing, so don’t play this game and expect to find Hawk, Serpentor, or Dr. Mindbender, cause they hadn’t been made into toys yet.

The Bottom Line
A fun, if lightweight, diversion that made pretty good use of the G.I.Joe license. Not an arcade classic by any means, but children of the 80s who missed this one should check it out, as it will probably bring back some fond memories.

Apple II · by PCGamer77 (3159) · 2007


German index

On May 26, 1987, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero was put on the infamous German index by the BPjS. For more information about what this means and to see a list of games sharing the same fate, take a look here: BPjS/BPjM indexed games.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by 80.

Additional contributors: Xoleras, formercontrib, Patrick Bregger.

Game added August 28th, 2003. Last modified August 30th, 2023.