Reviewed in 2012 by Tibe

IT WAS NOT MY WAR, COLONEL

by Tibe

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Very first Neo Geo soft (NGH 001), Nam-1975 takes us back in the hell of Vietnam, under the skin of two US commandos into operation. With its big 46 megas cartridge , the game made a strong sensation in 1990. This is a shooting game in the Cabal style, a genre that wasn't too much explored and thus the opportunity with this SNK game to discover a quite original way of playing. Your character moves on a single line at the bottom of the screen . You manage both his movements and a viewfinder to aim at the enemies. Shoot, throw a grenade, run and do a roll-ball are your basic moves. It's p to you to develop great skills to escape without getting a bullet from those damn viet-congs. During the game, different weapons can be picked up: bazooka, flamethrower, machine gun, double gun... By saving the beautiful blonde hanging around, you'll have her giving a hand... to face the hordes of enemies. 

Some fights require great dodging abilities.
Some fights require great dodging abilities.

Be aware, Nam-1975 action is downright breathtaking: your reflexes are sollicited at one-hundred percent, right from the first level! Many players might complain a for the high difficulty at first, but practicing is rewardful: you can get better quite quickly, since you get the timing and mechanics of the game. We learn instinctively to survive in this deluge of fire, at least in the early levels... because it gets harder in advanced stages! Pick up bonuses and many grenades, because this stuff proves very useful against Bosses or during tough passages. Earning an extra-life thanks to the score might also prove decisive. If the realization of Nam may seem quaint to many young players today, it should be put back in context, in the early nineties. Right back in its heyday. The graphics are detailed, with beautiful shades of color, cloudy skies and mountains beautifully drawn in the background. No detail has been overlooked, including the buildings and tarmac that mark under bullets' impacts. The Bosses are downright impressive: immense tanks, giant combat helicopters, cargo-fighter planes, etc... Plus, enemies' animation is often embellished with successful zoom effects

I love the smell of napalm in the morning...
I love the smell of napalm in the morning...

Nam-1975 impressed the whole videogame press around the world back then: the review you can read in the different magazines at the time were unanimous about the game, as well for its technical performances as for its great gameplay. While not looking as good as Magician Lord released the same year, the soft is still successful and the bellicose mood of Vietnam is palpable. The animation of everything that moves on the screen is incredibly smooth and decomposed. All movements of characters and the different ways to die (burned, crushed, screened, atomized) are particularly well-crafted. Enemies also benefit a particularly nice animation and sometimes show very surprising (some burrow to escape the fire!). As for the Bosses, their size is sometimes gigantic, while they're also perfectly animated. Another remarkable part of the game is the soundtrack: we can say that Nam-1975 featured a top-notch realization in this very part, mainly because the Neo Geo packed tremendous capabilities for a 16-bit system, and the editor wanted the players to be aware of this.

Please don't smoke and fasten your seat belts!
Please don't smoke and fasten your seat belts!

The various sounds of machine guns, screams, explosions, spitting flames, plus the numerous well-played vocals are superb. The different melodies of the game, martial at will, manage to plunge players dramatically into the subject (a blend of Rambo and Full Metal Jacket), and it's very pleasant to see the intermediate screens punctuate the action. SNK managed to immerse the players deeply in the action, and that's one of the most remarkable thing with Nam-1975. Besides, the game is not especially long, but particularly challenging. You'll need to get out your guts to overcome, especially if you try the "one credit challenge". An period of adjustment is necessary to learn controls, but the move & shoot system once mastered is great, and we soon learn to avoid bullets. The cooperative play is a highlight of the title, as mutual aid will allow players to go further in the game while increasing fun. Don't miss Nam-1975, one of a kind on Neo Geo: a game that stand as part of the few which made the system's reputation, packing both a great gameplay and an amazing realization.


GRAPHICS

79%

Simple but well made, the graphics are looking good and transcribes perfectly the ambiance of war in Vietnam - even if i wasn't there back then.
ANIMATION 90%
Surprisingly fluid, Nam-1975 features an intense action filled with great zooms, and stricly no slowdowns.
SOUND 83%
The martial themes are pretty adequate, while effects and voices are excellent.
REPLAY VALUE 73%
The game is difficult while not being excessively long: clearing it  stands as a tough challenge, even better when you play in cooperation!
GAMEPLAY 85%
Controls are intuitive and respond perfectly. Players handles its sticks, praying for killing some more enemies before dying!

NEOGEOKULT

RATE

84%
Instant classic for the Neo Geo, Nam-1975 is a great shooting game providing a lot of pleasure.

VALUE FOR MONEY

Nam-1975 costs generally les than 50 euros. It's an interesting investment, because no other game in this genre was released on the Neo Geo. Furthermore, it's a chance to discover one of the first titles released on the system, and also to live a 'Full Metal Jacket' adventure with a great immersion.

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