19 Part One: Boot Camp
Copyright/Publisher: Cascade Games, Coding by: Joe Booth,
Graphics by: Damon Redmond, Music by: Rob Hubbard,
Release Year: 1988, Genre: Multi Events, Number Of Players: 1 to 4

That predominantly instrumental record by Paul Hardcastle enjoyed weeks of success at the top of the charts in March, 1985. Boot Camp is the first part of an intended duo interpreting the single, and covers the gruelling events designed to make you real hard.

Up to four players can be recruited, their names entered and their draft numbers given by the computer before play begins: each player's progress is measured by their Co-ordination, Stamina, and Morale levels. The accuracy of target shooting, jeep driving, obstacle jumping, and unarmed combat moves determines the coordination rating, and stamina depends on how long you endure each training event. Morale is a measure of your overall performance.

The first event is the assault course, and involves climbing walls, swinging along monkey bars, leaping hurdles, and jumping rocks and ditches. It consists of eight separate courses with decreasing time limits, so your speed is vital to success.

Obstacles are cleared by pressing fire to impose an indicator onto the last third of the meter, and timed by the release of the button. Points are awarded for obstacles cleared in three attempt or less, and a bonus is given for time remaining on completion of the course.

Two: aiming down your rifle sight, you have two and a half minutes to complete each of the eight ranges in the shooting event. A qualifying score, which increases with each range, has to be beaten to continue, with points ranging from 100 to 500 awarded for shooting soldiers, depending on which area of the body is hit. 1000 points are taken away if a woman, child or baby is shot.

Three: a jeep is driven down eight courses of decreasing time limits whilst avoiding obstacles. Hay bales, cones, tyres, and fences decrease your speed temporarily and increase the damage meter, which decreases your maximum speed.

Rocks, logs, tree stumps and oil drums also increase your damage, and momentarily stop the vehicle. If the damage mater reaches its maximum level, the jeep is undrivable and the event ends.

Four: you can have your revenge against the loathed training instructor in the final training event: the sublte art of unarmed combat. Once again in eight rounds, but with an increasing time limit, four offensive moves are used to decrease the instructor's energy. Your energy has to be higher or equal to his when time runs out for you to win the bout.

At the end of each event, the player's ratings are displayed and an overall comment made (bit like a ZZAP! review, really!), from abysmal to exceptional. Recruit data can be saved for use in the next Vietnam game: Nineteen Part 2 - Combat Zone.

Right from the outset, this seems to be taking the wrong concept from the original record. Paul Hardcastle's hit basically dealt with the trauma of the recruits during battle and after returning home, so why place the scenario in a boot camp?

The only reason as far as I can see is to tap into the Combat School following without having the hassle of a licence that demanding. The presentation is poor to say the least, and hinders the gameplay on occasions.

Particularly confusing are the shooting range and jeep test sections, where it is very hard to tell what is going on. The graphics are quite military in style and atmospere and a respectable version of Nineteen the record plays from time to time, but these can't rescue the game from being a tedious experience from start to finish. I just hope that part two is more impressive.

Gordon Houghton
I'm in disagreement with the other reviewers this month, since I enjoyed 19 very much. Ocean have made a clean sweep by gaining the licenses for Platoon and Combat School, but Cascade's interpretation of the Vietnam war has got off to a good start.

It's not exactly the most relevant interpretation of the record, nor is it the definite Combat School clone, but each event is playable and enjoyable, providing plenty of variety and challenge.

The graphics attempt to produce the sombre look of Platoon and succeed to some small extent, but the interest lies more with the lastability - the combination of time limits, strenuous gameplay and the ability to choose any of the four events guarantees this.

I even quite liked the music... Oh well - check it out for yourself and see which one of three faces you see in this page fits...

Considering the age of the record, Nineteen has missed out on musical topicality, and no doubt is intended to cash in on the recent fad of films based on the Vietnam war. Boot Camp is very similar to Combat School, a point which is obvious even before playing, as three of the four events (Combat School has seven) are reworkings of Konami's army training sub-games.

They aren't as good as those in Ocean's conversion - timing is awkward in the assault course, it's difficult to tell which part of the screen you're aiming at in the shooting range, and the unarmed combat is fairly boring.

The rendition of Nineteen is tepid, which seems stupid, as this was supposedly the inspiration for the game. If you're still hungry after Combat School, Nineteen Part 1 - Boot Camp gives you some extra training.


Free 12-inch single and the training events can be played in any order, but gameplay is slightly awkward sometimes.
Generally detailed, marred by an occasional blockiness.
Reasonable rendition of 19 instrumental, and occasionally good effects.
The control/gameplay in each stage puts you off the otherwise addictive format.
Re-training is something you'll want to do often70.
An impressive Combat School clone; but there was some disagreement, so remember the old reviewer's adage and 'try before you buy'.

Title Screen

Assault Course

Shooting Range

Jeep Training

Unarmed Combat