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I've captured several aliens in UFO: Extraterrestrials (gold edition). However, every new alien I capture is immediately executed because he/she/it is not a commander.

How do I recognize which aliens are commanders on the battlefield so that I know which one to capture?

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sounds like a fun game – Paralytic Apr 11 '12 at 6:50
There seems to be some discussion about this topic here. – A. Still Apr 11 '12 at 17:01
UFO ET is awesome, I played it a lot when it first came out – l I Apr 13 '12 at 13:32
@spartacus: Off-topic, but: This game is supposedly a spiritual-successor to "UFO: Enemy Unknown" (aka. XCom: UFO Defense). That game has an official sequel as well as another, lesser-known spiritual successor that were both recently released on Steam, and both received very high praise. You may want to check them out. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Jan 7 '14 at 13:56
@BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft Oh yes, I've been playing xcom to death, the enemy within DLC with the training roulette second wave option totally rocks. I've also been keeping an eye on xenonauts for a long time. – l I Jan 7 '14 at 23:45
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Normally when spotting an alien a red icon shows up in the bottom right of the screen. Double clicking this icon will take you to the alien in question.

Example of spotting an alien who is not a commander.

When encountering a commander the same icon will show up, however this time it will have a yellow border. This is the easiest way to spot alien commanders on the battlefield. A second sign you're dealing with an Alien commander is the different color of the aliens skin, for example in the screenshot below the Vipon commander has a green skin while regular Vipons have brown skin.

Example of spotting an alien commander.

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also, some of the commanders shoot a different color when firing, you'll be able to see it even if the commander is out of sight. Lastly, most commanders are sitting in the bridge of the UFO (only the bigger ones). – l I Apr 13 '12 at 13:33

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