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
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
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.
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.