Good morning Extreme Gamer! It's a hot one out today and we have the Gatherings newest offering, Vietcong: Purple Haze. Purple Haze is the console follow up to the original PC shooter Vietcong. Now, excuse me while I kiss the sky.
We all know the story of the Vietnam War, or at least we have seen a few movies about it. Even Tom Hanks in Forest Gump went to Vietnam and fought for the good of his country. Historical wars are great material for videogames and the one with the most close-combat dynamics is the Vietnam War. Out of their element the Americans fought in the Vietcong jungle trying to stay alive at all costs. 50'000+ Americans served in the Vietnam within the four year skirmish and now you can be one of the thousands; Private First Class Douglas, a hero out of the pack.
The best thing that Vietcong: Purple Haze has going for it is the atmosphere. Like Vietcong for the PC we are treated to the same visuals and even better environments. When you are playing Vietcong: PH you will learn to use your eyes as much as your ears. The trick of defeating the enemy is stealth and awareness because the majority of Vietnamese soldiers are ready and waiting with an ambush. You also need to say alert and watch out for "booby-traps". The war wasn't a pretty sight and you don't want to end up like a human shiskabob fallen on a dozen sharp sticks watch the ground and take it slow.
Vietcong: Purple Haze has another strong point and that would be in its realism. There is no running and shooting a thousand bullets and accidentally "commando-ing" out the whole opposition. You have to be more careful and plan your attack and shots with consideration of ammo, weapon and reload time. All those aspects make the combat really enjoyable. It would all be perfect in the battles if it wasn't for the iffy AI, at times you think they have the ball dropped on you, but then other times you can use the 'Rambo' approach and run towards the enemy while they just stand and look at you. You won't notice the AI flaws as much if you play the game how they intended, slow and steady. but if you start running around like a goof then the game looses its appeal.
The realism goes beyond the weapons but also on your character, because he can only take so many shots and how the character reacts with his team. When you are on the missions with your team you have basic instructions you can give them. The team is fairly important and each member has there own specific job to do. You will have the point man, medic, and radioman along with yourself. It's crucial to keep your team alive since they all have important roles. Some great moments come when you are under heavy fire and you need to make a radio transmit for an air strike. You call over the radioman and have to wait for him to make his way too you. Although occasionally you might have a few problems, when your team mates wander around like idiots! At times it's funny at other times it's sad, especially when the compromise your position. Who drafted these blind troopers?! I am over here.
Vietcong: PH has the standardized game modes, most importantly the single player campaign. Quick Fight where you can pick a map and fight it out on either side of the generics. Then there is multiplayer, multiplayer action is enjoyable with the standard modes like capture the flag. It's real interesting to see people struggle more with the multiplayer in Vietcong. You will either have amazing players or wandering targets, it's a great game for live and has a nice chance of pace compared to other online shooters.
The game design of Vietcong: Purple Haze is absorbing and that is probably the reason why the demand was big enough for a sequel. If you're into war games you will want to check out Vietcong: Purple Haze. It's the little touches which go along way in Vietnam : Purple Haze. It's not flawless in its execution but its gets by.
Graphics & Sound
The graphics are a mixed bag of tricks in Purple Haze. On one side of the polygon you have excellent environments which are sculpted after real life areas. During the breaks of jungle warfare you can find enjoinment viewing the scenery in Vietcong: PH. It might sound corny, buts its true.I absolutely loved this aspect of the graphics. and here it is...whats so bad then? Sadly I hated everything else.
The bad side of the polygon is just that the graphics! The textures are really bland and these 2-D sprites and character models have to go! There has been a larger technological jump then the Vietcong achieves, and Vietcong lacks the flash and physics of other new titles. I would strongly suggest licensing a new graphic engine if there is another Vietcong, and then I am sure this game will be something people talk about. Auh!
The sound is another mixed bag. They have some great tunes in the game, including a cover of Hendrix's 'Hey Joe', a carry over from the PC. The music adds the right touches and helps fill a nice void in the atmosphere. The effects are done nice and good enough though at times I swear they are too off balanced. The bad to this good, is the voice acting. The voice acting just isn't that great and the characters aside from the main one sound lifeless. Even though it's good mixed with the bad I love the quietness of Purple Haze and would only touch up spots.
* Side Note: Kudos for the awesome opening scene! Perfecto.
Vietcong: Purple Haze innovation shines in the realism field as I covered in 'THE GAME' section of the review. Vietcong: PH does a respectable job at making you feel like you've fought in the Veitnam war. The slow pace, realistic weapons, team mates and weight system are a nice addition which couldn't have been left out. Veitcong has some innovative ideas that differ from other popular war games (medal of what?!) which I'm happy for, but on the same track maybe they need to borrow a little fragment as well.
I am a huge fan of Vietcong from the PC, it came out of nowhere and took gamers by surprise and it had the chance to do the same on the console. Console gaming is a little different then PC gaming and with more competition on the console platform Purple Haze is struggling to keep up.
Vietcong: Purple Haze does have mojo though and does an excellent job recreating the atmosphere of being in the Vietnam War. Sniping, Booby-Traps, Swamps are all cool things to put in a game. The realism is commendable and definitely runs with mojo-power. There are some problems I have with the game and really want the feeling I had with the PC version back. The mojo waiting in the shrub for the next installment.
Vietcong: Purple Haze is nice switch up from other war games, and it's a realistic as you can get. The graphics run a little below par, but if you can handle the gritty look and sometimes doggy AI you'll be rewarded with a great experience. I would recommend checking Vietcong: Purple Haze out, but rent before you buy.
Gameplay: 7, Graphics/Sound: 5, Innovation: 6.5, Mojo: 6. Final: 6.5
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy -
Sept. 30th 2004
"No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now. Rarely have so many people been so wrong about so much. Never have the consequences of their misunderstanding been so tragic."..... Richard M. Nixon