was a great game that introduced war-themed scrolling shooters to the masses. As great as it was, how much better could it be to cross-breed this classic gameplay style with squad-based combat? Operation: Vietnam
does a nice job of using squad combat to spice up an old formula.
As the game begins, you find yourself in familiar territory, inhabiting the carcass of a lone soldier. Moving through the jungle, you quickly encounter the enemy. Squeeze a burst of machine-gun fire and then another and watch the enemy crumple in a pile with a pitiful "aaargh!" This can't be all that's on the menu, right? Nope. Exploring the jungle further, you find a switch and quickly learn that the switch is attached to a cage where one of your comrades is imprisoned. The first character you rescue is the doctor, an important person. The game's first-aid packs are more useful when the doctor is leading the group, and the first lesson in switching between squad members is delivered. Four squad commands are available and only one allows you to control a character directly. Characters otherwise can be put on attack mode, told to follow, or told to stay. The third and fourth members of your party each have special skills that will come in incredibly handy. Sharpshooting and heavy munitions round out the team, but most gamers will feel most comfortable using the original character since he's the most well-rounded.
As a mission-based game, Operation: Vietnam does some interesting things to reinforce the squad concept. Early into the game, you split up and the pairing is not what most strategic gamers would choose. Instead of balanced teams, the two-man teams imposed on you are polar opposites. One team contains the doctor and the average guy, while the other team contains both the specialists. This kind of stuff is contained also in the design of each mission area and various obstacles thrown in your way. Operation: Vietnam is not a stupid game. It isn't going to appear on anyone's "Game of the" list, either. If you like classic or retro gaming, you will definitely dig this. It is a shame there aren't inventive things done with touch controls, sound or multiplayer. A more ambitious outing that took advantage of the special DS features would be worthy of special mention.