3_1Based on the Oliver Stone movie with the same name, Platoon attempts to recreate small-scale missions into Vietnam from a squad perspective. The singleplayer campaign is a series of 12 missions encompassing three years in the tour of duty of Martin Lionsdale. Players guide squads of fixed-unit composition through each mission, completing combat, recon and tactical objectives. The storyline, meant to add depth and plot to the campaign structure, is simplistic and is complete with goofy dialogue that constantly reminds one this isn’t a US-made game.

The enemy soldiers are always alert and waiting, and battles are short and deadly. Catching the enemy by surprise is often a matter of luck or, more likely, of replaying the same mission again and again, until you’ve learned the map. Contributing to even more frustration is the inexplicable lack of a savegame feature. If you find yourself killed by the last enemy soldier, you have no choice but to micromanage your squad through through every gun battle, minefield and belly crawl.

The controls aren’t totally broken but do present problems. To the game’s credit, it uses a 3D engine for rendering, but this makes navigating through the game difficult when your squad gets obstructed. Map rotation is a broken afterthought that wasn’t completely implemented. Pathfinding oscillates between passable and garbage. Click on an unreachable position, and your units will move randomly, sometimes to an exposed area where they get shot up.

Platoon does have passable graphics and a nice soundtrack, but with gameplay this muddled and frustratingly repetitive, one might be excused if they decide to pass on this war.

System Requirements: Pentium III 600 MHz, 256 MB RAM, 600 MB HDD, Win98

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