Vietnam: Black Ops

Between the graphics, lame gameplay, hackneyed plot and retarded AI, there’s little in Vietnam: Black Ops to make it worthy of recommendation. On one hand this is expected since the game was a value release, and hence didn’t really benefit from the tons of cash that other studios might have at their disposal. But even as a bargain bin game, it’s embarrassingly executed.

With the absence of any real AI – squad-driven or otherwise – the game conveniently throws you into the fray alone against dim-witted VC patrols, a victim of a miscommunication that lands you in an enemy POW camp. You’re Special Forces Something, however, and a flimsy bamboo cage ain’t enough to keep you down. You escape and begin your journey to eliminate the troublesome General Pham, blasting hoards of enemy soldiers in 80s Arnie fashion through nine dreary levels.

10_1 - CopyAll of this sounds a lot more fun than it actually is. The action is devoid of any depth. The moronic AI ruins any degree of fun that may have been derived from Black Ops, and exposes the title for what it really is: a glorified shooting gallery. Although you can actually move, there is little to differentiate this game from that old carnival throwback, since enemies will pop up or out of the shadows as you pass by, firing at you until you either leave or shoot back. Beyond a scant amount of inappropriate and highly irritating platform jumping, that’s all this offering is about.

Environmental effects are essentially illusions, since nothing beyond enemy gunfire or drops from large heights can affect you. I once got caught in the middle of an enemy air raid, but got out completely unharmed despite being surrounded by bomb blasts – a game glitch, or possible feature? We’ll never know. The weapons are also largely for show, as the AK-47, M16 and M60 are essentially the exact same weapon with a slightly different rate of fire. Enemy types, with the exception of kamikaze soldiers, are just as boring and indistinguishable.

If you’re looking for a genuine Vietnam shooter with a tactical bent and solid action, play Vietcong. Play anything as long you stay away from these garbage ‘value’ games.

System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win95

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