Created by Steve Evans, famous for classics such as Guardian. This game was a very sly Commando clone, and as soon as Elite (who owned the rights to converting Commando) saw the game, they gained an injunction to stop it from being sold.
A shame, but as you can see for yourself, Elite were right… and it was a blatant copy of the game. The full game has sneaked out, and now exists with the same music as the sequel which was released (featuring different level maps). Here is the full unreleased game for you to enjoy and spot resemblances to Commando.
The game eventually resurfaced as “Who Dares Wins 2” as many of you know, but the big news was when the original first game turned up for auction on Ebay many moons ago, and was sold for over £50 (would have been a lot more today!).
It was discovered that the game was in fact briefly released at a computer show in 1985, just before the official release was planned, and before Elite even saw it. Rich Stevenson confirms that the game was actually on sale elsewhere too for a very brief period, but the injunction meant that it was taken off shelves right away. It may have only been on shelves for a matter of days.
So there are likely to be a few originals out there to see. But the guy who won the bid on Ebay, kindly allowed us to have a scan of the inlay for you all to see. So click the scans link above and see what was to be. Then in August 2020, Tom Roger Skauen kindly provided a far better scan of a copy owned by Richard Stevenson which we’ve also included alongside.
Glenn Stubbingfield also found a scan of the advert, just before they changed it to number 2. Another shred of remnants of the first game. Case closed, and luckily one that you can all play… Hopefully one day we will be seeing the original TAP file too.
Contributions: Sam, Glenn Stubbingfield, Martyn Carroll, Rich Stevenson, Ross Sillifant, Tom Roger Skauen
Steve Wilcox from Elite talks about the WDW saga (extracted from Retro Gamer)…
“Imagine the situation. You’ve just done a significant deal with Capcom to bring Commando to home computers and then you clap eyes on Alligator Software’s Who Dares Wins. It looks the same as Commando, it plays the same; even the layout of levels are similar. Best of all, this uncanny clone was on sale before Commando!
“We felt that if Who Dares Wins came out before we got Commando to market it would certainly take some of the shine off our product,” says Steve, smiling about the situation now. “We contacted Alligata and made them aware that we held the rights to the Commando license, and they basically told us to get lost!
We sought a bit of legal advice on what our options were and we were advised to go to the High Court and obtain an injunction to prevent sales of the game. The court found in our favour and granted us something called an Anton Piller Order. We then had to contact the local sheriff, which was a completely bizarre thing to be doing in the 1980s, and tell him that we’d been granted one of these archaic orders which required him to assemble a posse! And over the course of one weekend, the local sheriff and a group of his merry men, armed with this Anton Piller Order, went over to Alligata’s offices in Sheffield and literally sealed them off! The Alligata guys turned up for work on Monday morning and found that their entire warehouse full of this Who Dares Wins game had been sequestered.
“But being the canny lot that they were, Alligata took a bit of advice itself and discovered that if they changed the product, then the specific order we’d got would no longer apply. So in fairly short order they popped up with a game called Who Dares Wins II, which as far as I recall didn’t differ a whole lot from Who Dares Wins except that the commando in the game had a blue beret as opposed to a green one. But it bought us a few weeks and Commando successfully made it to market before Who Dares Wins II.”
- 26/08/21 – Addition of better quality scan
- 15/10/20 – Tidy up of entry page.
- 06/01/17 – Updated about game’s release
I got my copy of Who Dares Wins (with the original cover) from Australia. Alligata must have given the inlay (print plates or photos) to Ozisoft down under, as they sold Alligata titles there. Later they too changed game and design of inlay. There was one sold on ebay not that long ago (few months) and its sold for over £400,- iirc.
Wow that is incredible. I’d imagine it would be similar, if a lot more, if the UK version turns up again.
Thanks for sharing this – and of course the making/updating all of this great website!
I used to love this game – and this version is a great recreation of the Commando.
Just to confirm, WDW1 was actually released and the injunction meant that any unsold copies had to be called and destroyed. This mean there were copies out there. I have a copy in my loft. I was working at Alligata at the time and worked with the developer Steve Evans on the updated version, WDW2.
Thanks Rich, updated the page quickly. Nice to know there might be more out there to find :)
I actually bought the original WDW from that same computer show before it was reviewed anywhere, and it turned out to be a nice little game. I later passed it on with my C64 when I upgraded to an Amiga. Had I realised…
That’s a shame Mark – just one of those things though. I’ve only ever seen the one copy, and that was how we got the scans. Nothing since, but must be more out there!
I have a copy of the original Frank, in my loft.
I think the game was officially released, maybe it was retired later. See “Computer Gaming World” n°26, March 1986, page 41 (http://www.cgwmuseum.org/galleries/issues/cgw_26.pdf), it talks about Alligata’s WDW still available at £9.95. Is there evidence of Elite’s injunction? Maybe it’s an urban legend…
If it was released, then it was only in very limited numbers, and currently the only known place it was found was briefly for sale at one of the early computer shows. However, we’ve only ever seen the one copy in the past 10-15 years in the original packaging.
It could be that CGW got a copy pretty late on, and before they heard that the original was pulled (to be replaced by the sequel). When we spoke to Steve Wilcox, he did confirm that an injunction was requested back then. David Palmer (who was at Alligata at the time) also remembers when they had to frantically get the game changed so it wasn’t too similar to Commando any longer.
….Oh I see. My Dares Wins tape has a totally different inlay. Mine shows what looks like an embassy being stormed.
Must be different. Mine’s probably worthless if this is the gold.
Hi Mick – yup, that’s the DKTroniks game of the same name that you probably have, or the Alternative Software budget re-release of Who Dares Wins 2. The Alligata first version is the green covered edition in the Gallery area, without the “II” part.
I have a copy of Dares Winds on tape. Or do you mean a pre-development production TAP or something?