Probably the worst FPS based on Build engine ever made, NAM is a terrible shooter that anyone would do well to avoid. Which is a pity, because the Vietnam War setting is one that is rarely seen in PC games, and holds a lot of promise. Brett Todd of Games Domain says it all in his critical review of this Real Dog: |
"The setup behind NAM is virtually identical to that of any other FPS. Run around, collect keys and health, kill stuff. Although the cover advertises the game as being "The first all-action, 3D shooter to realistically bring the true experience of the Vietnam War to life," don't expect anything remotely like that on your monitor; truth and the guy that writes PR for GT had a parting of the ways a long time ago. No, instead of being Joe Grunt, you're Alan 'The Bear' Westmoreland (yes, I'm serious), a CIA-trained super soldier who's been dosed with some kind of experimental serum (yep, still serious) that's turned him into a killing machine. Think Captain America without the tights and shield. So, with the gripping back-story explaining why you can take a dozen rounds in the chest and drive on, you venture into the jungles of Southeast Asia. Just like all the Build games, you can choose from four difficulty settings -- called Boot, Grunt, Salty, and Locked On in this instance. There are two Tours of Duty in NAM, comprising a total of fourteen missions. They're sort of strung together in haphazard fashion, running into one another but not really forming a coherent narrative. Multiplayer is well-supported, with Capture the Flag, Co-Op, Fireteam (a variation on co-op play), and Gruntmatch (pure deathmatch) options.
Weaponry in the game is varied, with most of the everyday hardware from the actual war making an appearance. The standard is the M-16, although you'll soon come across more potent firepower like the M-60, Remington Assault Shotgun, and the M-79 Grenade Launcher. Some levels feature stationary weapons such as 60mm Mortars and M-2 Browning Heavy Machine Guns. Other items on your jungle shopping list include Night Vision Goggles and MediKits.
One word sums up the actual gameplay in NAM: frustrating. Even on the Boot setting, this game is incredibly difficult. Even after hours of play, I was still reloading every couple of minutes. This would be sort of okay if the game were actually challenging, but it's not. Instead of presenting you with a real fight, NAM just kills you in all sorts of surreptitious ways. Vietcong snipers will often nail you from out of nowhere. Satchel Bombers will suddenly appear and blow you up. Regular VC soldiers will hide in the shadows and drill you full of hot lead before you realize what direction the gunfire is coming from. MiGs (!) will fly overhead and bomb you back to the Stone Age.
For me, every level of NAM turns into a race. I start off being cautious, creeping from tree to tree searching the jungle ahead for camouflaged VC. Then I get killed. Then I get killed again. And again. And again. And again. Step two involves me being a little more aggressive -- instead of hiding behind trees, I run up and blow away the enemy at point-blank range. Then I get killed. Then I get killed again. And again. And again. And again. For step three I put on my track shoes and head to the end of the mission Donovan Bailey-style.
All in all, I'd rather slog through the jungles of the real Vietnam than re-up for any more time with NAM. Even as cheapo shovelware, this game fails on every level. It's frustratingly difficult. It's insulting. It's based on three-year-old DOS technology that predates Windows 95. Didi mau away from this one, soldier."
Reviewed by: Underdogs