Vietnam War is something of a mystery. It was one of
the bloodiest conflicts of recent years and America's
first real defeat despite technical superiority.
are several reasons known to have contributed to the
loss of the war. Not least of these was the political
aspect. Politicians have this wonderful way of starting
wars and then continually interfering, making it impossible
for the military to act effectively. Then there was
the fact that this was the first televised war. People
could see the atrocities almost as soon as they had
happened. Propaganda was, if anything, negative.
there was the flexibility of the enemy forces. This
proved to be the decisive factor in many engagements.
American equipment and tactics left their troops vulnerable
on several occasions. Difficult material from the point
of view of game design.
author has been wise enough to avoid a large scale game
which would have required unwieldy commands and unit
types, as well as needing to incorporate the political
factors. Instead, the game is a collection of six mini-games,
each scenario based on a medium-sized engagement that
actually took place. Each scenario may be played at
any of three difficulty levels, with the extra option
of having historically accurate deployment at the beginning
of the game.
the prompts you need to make your selection are displayed
in large but tidy text along with a mini-version of
the relevant scenario map, so setting up is easy. So
is play. The game uses phased movement and combat and
is controlled, for the most part, by the joystick. This
is a far better method than the old, six directional
numeric control featured in their older games.
reason for this is because SSI have dropped the old
hex system in favour of the free-flowing technique introduced
in Field of Fire. The map is smooth scrolling,
which is a vast improvement on the old system where
the screen would re-draw as the cursor reached the edge
of the visible map.
not all good news, however. The unit symbols are pretty
pathetic, being a series of badly redefined characters.
Whereas before you had most of a unit's information
incorporated into its map marker, a message line is
now employed whenever the cursor is above a friendly
unit. As is the case with most SSI games, only one player
may take part and there is no choice of forces. A save
game feature is included.
are scaled to represent individual vehicles or small-fire
teams of infantry. Consequently, the game is largely
tactical in nature. This is ideal for the format and
works well in play. The atmosphere is intense from start
to finish. Overall, the feeling is one of increased
sophistication at no cost to playability.
unit has its ID, strength, movement allowance and armour
factors displayed when selected. Unit types are truck,
infantry, APC (M113), recoil-less rifle, tank (M48 Patton
or M41 Walker Bulldog), helicopter and 81mm mortar.
Support and infantry units may be carried by APCs or
helicopters. This is often the only way to get at the
enemy. Line of sight limitations and bad terrain often
inhibit your armour from making the most of its firepower.
barrages and air strikes may be called upon during each
turn, but the speed of enemy force movement limits their
effectiveness. If an enemy unit is in heavy cover, only
helicopters can really fight them. The single exception
to this is the mortar unit which is the most flexible
form of indirect fire system you possess.