This page will cover the NES/Famicom version, which is widely considered to be the worst version of the game, which otherwise received a decent reception.
Why It Sucks
- Bare-minimum grasp of the source material. The game tries to capture the movie's anti-war message by including a morale bar which goes down whenever you kill a civilian in the first level, but fails to properly adapt its story.
- A monotonous and droning soundtrack.
- Abrupt gameplay changes between levels.
- Sluggish aiming controls in both the second and third levels.
- Viet Cong enemies tend to show up out of nowhere in an unfair and unpredictable way. Realistic? Maybe. Fun? Nope.
- The final level of the game boils down to a slight clone of Contra‘s semi-3D levels where you fight your way against VC soldiers until you reach the end of the level, where the final boss is Sgt. Barnes hiding in a bunker. This makes no sense in the context of the movie where the "final confrontation" ends with both Chris (the film‘s protagonist) and Barnes tackling each other before getting knocked out by a napalm airstrike that kills almost everyone in the base save for a few named characters.
- Assuming you don't get stuck on the first level, the game can be beaten in under 18-20 minutes.
- It is nearly impossible to beat the first level for so many reasons, it will have its own section:
- Your character‘s movement is very stiff and slow. You can't jump and shoot simultaneously, either.
- The VC soldiers will always move and shoot faster than you. To make things worse, they tend to ambush you by jumping out of trees or spider holes before you can even react.
- There are tripwires throughout the level that are hard to avoid, let alone see. Triggering them will kill you and cost a squad member (your life).
- The level is effectively a maze. It's not helped by the fact that you're never told what your objectives are until you find enough explosives to blow the bridge at the end of the level. Failing to gather them will cause an instant game over via a VC flamethrower incinerating you and your squad at the end of the level.
- Whenever you get inside a village hut to find the necessary tools to navigate the tunnel in the second level, there's a good chance that said hut has a self-regenerating VC booby trap which will explode whenever you go through it, rendering the game unwinnable.
The Video Game Critic gave the game a D-. He criticized it for being too irritating and frustrating.