Side-scrolling shooters were a rare breed and have almost died off completely today. Back in the late eighties/early nineties, though, they had some legs to them in arcades and garnered their fare share of quarters from young gamers with itchy trigger fingers. I mean, what was cooler than running along, killing everything that moved? Dynamite Duke, Cabal, T2: Judgment Day, and the classic Operation Wolf all stand out as highly playable members of the genre. Being the money vacuums that they were, I can remember blowing my whole allowance on a single machine, only to realize afterward that I hadn't played anything else in the entire arcade. It was still a blast though, and one of the biggest (and hardest) of them all has to be NAM-1975.
After many a tour in Vietnam, Silver and Brown (the heroes) had returned home. They are called back to rescue Dr. Muckly and his daughter, who have been abducted by the Viet Cong and taken into the country's interior. Supposedly, the enemy is constructing a laser weapon and you need to sop it before it can be used against the allied army.
I know, I know. The story has nothing to do with the real war and is about as phony as a three dollar bill. So what? We're here to slaughter people and blow stuff up, remember? Since when do action heroes need any other motive than "kill?"
You can go it alone or a friend can join in for the fun. Playing with a pal is always better, and you'll need all the help you can get for this mission. NAM probably ranks up there as one of the more difficult games of this type and like many of them, if you're not paying attention, you'll run out of lives before you can blink. You get only three lives but can continue as often as you like up until the last boss. Once he wipes out your stock of men, that's all she wrote. He even laughs at you for losing and then shows you the price for your failure.
The AES stick works quite well here and makes it easy to jump right into the action. Even though you actually play from a behind-the-character view, the gameplay in NAM is almost exactly the same as in games such as the ones I mentioned earlier. The only difference is that you can dodge attacks by pressing the C button. Your guy will do a little cartwheel or make a dash out of harm's way. This isn't foolproof, however, as you often find yourself stuck in a corner with a barrage of bullets and grenades heading right at you. Killing enemy soldiers before they can shoot is imperative to survival. Standing your ground and blasting away a la Punisher will only get you a quick trip to the "Game Over" screen.
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