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At the end of each mission in Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines, merit is awarded, and the player may be promoted for excellent performance. Enough promotions are supposed to grant access to a secret mission.

The game manual says that merit is mostly awarded for time taken and damage sustained, and that enemy casualties are irrelevant. It does not confirm nor deny that those are the only factors however. The mission completion screen looks like this:

enter image description here Merit has zero stars because it's like an experience bar, when maxed it goes to the next level. Most of my missions look exactly like this, but without the promotion message and with 3 stars lighted up for merit, indicating only half the maximum amount gained.

I have been doing the missions and achieving some amazing speeds by having all characters doing different things at the same time, and my "time" meter is always full. However, this rarely results in a promotion, and I always restart the mission until it does. Are there other factors that affect merit gained and are not reflected in the end screen? Which? Is it all about time, with the end screen giving three stars for speeds that are good but not enough to rank up, and the same three stars for truly awesome haste?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Wrong, 3 silver stars for sustaining damage and 3 silver stars for mission time equals 3 gold stars and that's the maximum amount of merit per mission. You need 6 gold stars to get promoted. You need all 120 silver stars which equal 60 gold stars to get the maximum rank of Field Marshall. You need 30 gold stars to access the secret mission (that's the 20th mission, though in some versions of the game there's no merit requirement).

In my opinion, the time limit for 3 silver stars is more than fair.

However, you can basically abuse the system for merit by retrying missions, from end screen, so Field Marshall is probably attainable by retrying the first mission over and over. Seeing as how it can be done in one minute (you don't need the driver) you can realistically get to the rank of Field Marshall in less than half an hour...

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With the exception of the first sentence, none of this is an answer to the question. – Steve V. Dec 5 '13 at 20:03
I'm going for extra credit – BEL Dec 5 '13 at 20:55
Sorry for the late accept. Only if I had known this at the time - I retried the dam mission so many times I had it down to mechanical perfection and never managed to get promoted on it, I was sure I was missing something. Only to now learn that it's simply that the merit meter requires two completions to fill :) – Fadeway Mar 30 '14 at 18:21

Further experimenting has yielded that merit is based only on time and sustained damage. Alas, the speed required to get three stars on "mission time" is significantly lower than what is required to get promoted, and if a player isn't getting full merit, they should keep retrying and going for better times, despite the end screen rating them with three stars.

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