I never knew Vietnam was so… cubist.

The horrors of pixel warfare.

NAM claims to “Realistically bring the experiences of the Vietnam War to life”. Yikes! Until I played NAM, I always assumed that a grunt who stepped on a land mine would only be traveling via stretcher. But NAM taught me that as long as a soldier was reasonably healthy – say, at about 60 percent of his full strength – he could stomp on a land mine and still keep slugging through the jungle. And that’s not all: if he was lucky enough to have a medkit on him, he could get back to full strength in just a couple of seconds.

I always thought it took a while for an air strike to arrive, but NAM taught me that our flyboys were always just overhead and would drop their bombs about two seconds after your request. Hell, I never knew that the NVA or Vietcong left grenades and ammo for M-16 and M-60 machine guns lying around. And silly me — I didn’t know that the way you prepped for a mission was to run around your start point looking for weapons, ammo, mines, medical kits night-vision goggles, and other goodies lying all over the place.

I’m kidding, of course, but you get my point: to say that NAM offers the “true experience” of the Vietnam War is not only a joke, but a downright insult to anyone who went through that war in person. That’s not to say there aren’t some aspects of NAM that more or less accurately reflect the dangers and hazards of combat in Vietnam. Enemies blend almost seamlessly into the dense jungle foliage by virtue of the game’s low-res, pixelated graphics. Punji sticks and other booby traps are an annoying hazard, and bombs meant for the enemy can always damage you.

But make no mistake: this is Duke Nukem set in Vietnam, with the main exception being that it doesn’t look as good as Duke Nukem or, for that matter, play as well. The graphics here are the blockiest of any Build engine product, and it runs surprisingly slow. To think that the guys making this garbage had the balls to release it alongside such heavyweights as Unreal and Quake II speaks volume about them. To claim it’s a realistic experience of the Vietnam War just ads insult to injury.

System Requirements: 486 DX4 100MHz, 16 MB RAM, 60 MB HDD, MSDOS

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