Sept 17, 2007
At first glance, Operation: Vietnam is basically a simple, one-player arcade-style top-down shooter - sorta like those super-old arcade games Commando or Mercs. You view the jungle setting from above, and your hard little Rambo look-alike, separated from his team in a helicopter crash, walks in whatever direction you press on the D-pad and shoots directly in front of himself whenever you tap A. And it's all fine, if a bit sluggish. However, first impressions can be deceiving, and this quickly reveals itself to be a more complex operation than you had previously thought.
The evolution begins right away. Your machine gun-wielding character, Sarge, locates his first missing crewman, a medic. You now have a team of two, one of whom is very good with the health kits, and both of whom you can switch between at will. The character you aren't controlling will follow you around and shoot enemies, or can be told to stay in place to guard something or just stand on a pressure-sensitive switch. Hmmm. That's a little deeper than we'd guessed.
Before long, you've rescued your other two crewmen, a sharpshooting sniper and a heavy gunner with a rocket launcher. Thus, you now have a four-man team, each of whom is passably smart (in an arcade kind of way - this isn't a fancy military sim), can be told what to do, and has his own unique weapon in addition to smoke bombs, frag grenades, and air-strike-inducing flares.
Operation: Vietnam is - when all is said and done - a slightly slow, single-player only arcade shooter. It has ten levels (plus ten bonus missions), above average graphics for a DS game, and a decent auto-aim that can't quite compensate for the fact that you can't strafe, and thus spend a lot of time running directly into enemy fire. But it's priced right, and it's a fun diversion that leaves you wanting more - no bargain game can ask for much higher praise than that.