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jmke 21st July 2004 23:10

Battlefield Vietnam Review
Review by Jim Bollansée, aka Blue_Boy © 2004


I’ve always been a “fan” of the Vietnam War era. The music, the hippies, the strong anti-war movement and the fact that the US of A got a seriously whoop-assed by Ho-Chi-Ming and Co sparked my interest in this time period.

“Full Metal Jacket” and “Apocalypse Now” score very high in my “Best Films Of All Times List”, and they helped me to become a diehard pacifist. But even I can't resist the virtual pleasures of shooting someone through the head from a distance of 300 meters with a sniper rifle. So I was quite eager tot test the new incarnation of the Battlefield series, and after a familiar installation I was ready to go.

So soldier, in the next few paragraphs I’ll be telling you everything about Battlefield: Vietnam, on a need to know basis that is, and anyone who has any objections against my little plan: “I’ll unscrew your head and skull-**** your brains out!”

Helmet cloning was invented in the early 60's and has played a important role in the Vietnam war...


The gameplay in Battlefield Vietnam is all about conquest mode (and it’s pretty much the only gameplay mode, because Dice removed the “capture the flag mode” which was in Battlefield 1942). In conquest mode there are two teams, which start with an even amount of “tickets”, and it’s your team's task to bring the enemy team tickets back to zero. The team which tickets reach zero first loses.

There are two ways of losing tickets; the first way is to die as every respawn costs one ticket. The other way is to capture more spawn points then the enemy team.
When your team has captured most of the spawn points on the map, the enemy tickets will slowly decrease until they recapture their spawn points. You can capture an enemy spawn point by standing next to it, and it will start “converting” to you side if there are no enemy forces in sight.

Hover a bit to the right man, i think i see a drive-in McDonalds

One of the new improvements in the gameplay is that you can convert enemy spawn points faster if there are more team mates converting it, which will certainly encourage “squad based flag capturing actions” (or team play ;) ). To help you with this task you can use a wide variety of tanks, airplanes, jeeps, boats and even scooters. In most cases, everyone who is in a vehicle (except the pilot) will be able to shoot out of it; so even jeeps pack a serious firepower (which wasn’t exactly the case in Battlefield 1942).

Do we have any SA missiles left?

Before you dive into a battle, you’ll have to choose your class. There are four classes in Battlefield Vietnam: Gunners, Heavy Gunners, Engineers, and Scouts. On every map you’ll be able to choose out of two different equipment packs, to suit your needs. You’ll also be able to customize your character a bit, which basically means you’ll be choosing one kind of torso, and a head to keep it company.

Great punch! (must have been reading the Kung-Fu forum)

The gunner acts as your basic cannon fodder, his best friend is his M16/AK-74 assault rifle and peace sign on his helmet.

When I say heavy gunner, think of Rambo, a portable machinegun and a rocket launcher are his weapons of choice, scrap-metal his habitat. (In the latest patch, the USA Heavy Gunner had to give in a bit on his equipment because, although he was slow, his combination of weapons was a bit too powerful).

Gameplay element: Prone position reduces recoil :p

Engineers consider coffee as their most important energy source and a wrench as their most loved sleeping bag companion; consider them very handy if your heli or jeep is looking not like it came right out of the box.

Watch out, a sniper :)

The last one, and my favourite class is the scout, equipped with a long-range rifle, some binoculars and a mind that thinks stealth; he’s a one shot, one kill fanatic. From a high hill hidden in the grass, he takes out anyone who makes the mistake of standing still more then one second.

When you die in Battlefield Vietnam, a wooden cross will appear on the place where it happened. On this cross is your helmet and primary weapon. Apart from looking very cool (imagine a plain full of these crosses), it also can be picked up by anyone else to change its class. One of the changes in gameplay since Battlefield 1942 is the absence of the medic class. On the difficult maps (for one of the two sides, that is) you’ll be able to choose kits that include a medical kit, but don’t be too happy, you really need it. There are a ton of other little gameplay tweaks, like portable spawn points, American heli's which are able to airlift these portable spawn points and every USA vehicle in the game.

These portable spawn points might require a little explanation, for the USA side, they come in the form of ammo/health crates, which can be airlifted and dropped anywhere you like (like let's say… behind the enemy’s main base?). The NVA (North Vietnamese Army) have a more sneaky way, they dig tunnels. When you are a NVA engineer, you’ll be able to pick up a tunnel entrance if you find one and place it anywhere you like.

Get ready for that looping guys

Tanks aren’t as powerful as they were in Battlefield 1942, and it’s quite unique if you see one in the game. The maps in Battlefield Vietnam are also smaller, which means shorter loading times and less searching for some action. I must add that the AI hasn’t changed and that Dice also removed “Campaign” from the single player menu. Not a bad choice if you ask me, because if you’re going to have any fun with Battlefield Vietnam, it’ll be online.


The main and most obvious graphic improvement is the vegetation. As we all know my dear little children, a big part of the Vietnam War happened in the jungle, so you’ll see a lot more plants in Battlefield Vietnam then you saw them in Battlefield 1942. All the grassy goodness you see in the game has a gameplay function though (besides heating up your GPU), you can hide in it. When you lay down in the grass it will get translucent so you can see other people but they can’t see you. And it really works; this grass saved my live many times, and helped me to take it from enemies even more times.

For the rest, I know I could run Battlefield 1942 on “highest detail” settings, and now I’ve got to be happy with “medium detail” settings. The reason in my opinion is that every episode in the Battlefield Series is a real memory hog (especially on windows XP), and Battlefield 1942 was the reason I upgraded to 512 MB of ram. So if anyone can miss a 1024 MB ram stick, I’ll happily accept it.


If there is one part I like about the Battlefield series in general it’s the sound, it really pulled me in the game; The sound of an airplane passing over, the sound of a bomb coming down, it all sounded very convincing and natural in Battlefield 1942 and it still does in Battlefield Vietnam.

Recently I discovered this was because the Battlefield engine simulates the “Doppler effect”, which means the pitch of a sound gets higher when the object producing it is racing towards you, and gets lower when it’s racing away from you.

But the best and greatest part about Battlefield Vietnam’s sound is the soundtrack.
The game has an incredible soundtrack, which features 15 or more authentic tracks from the Vietnam War era. Famous hits like Deep Purple’s “Hush”, “War”, “The letter”, and the “title song of the game”, “Fortunate Son” by the Creedence Clearwater Revival. Not only is this great music, but it also really helps to pull you in the game.

Now when will you be able to hear this music? Anytime you want, if you are piloting a vehicle that is, with the push of a button. There is nothing more fun than joyriding on the tones of “Hush”, or wreaking your havoc on innocent VC with “Flight of the Valkries” as your co-pilot (Apocalypse Now anyone?).

Napalm, Napalm, i tought i heard it burning your face (sing on the tones of "Hush")

Other than being very cool, all these radios could off course attract unwanted attention or invoke funny situations. Another great “sound feature” is the subliminal messaging you’ll hear in the cities. In convincingly bad English, some Asian chick wants you to believe that the war is as good as over, and the best choice is to desert. To counter all this subliminal messaging, you can listen to some radio in the big USA camps. This radio programs are quite entertaining and funny to hear (and they reminded me somewhat of “Good morning Vietnam”).


As you guys already might have found out, I’m very fond of Battlefield Vietnam’s style and feel. While Battlefield 1942 was great gameplay for me, Battlefield Vietnam delivers a convincing Vietnam feel (from what I'd gathered from the movies that is), and the music plays a big role in it. From the menu style to the soundtrack, everything makes you believe you stepped into a magical time machine and got beamed right back to ’67.

I love the smell of napal screenshots in the morning


Now soldier, is it a wise choice to buy this piece of equipment? For me it was, someone who detests Tom Clancy (Joint Operations, by some called the next best thing), and dig the Vietnam Era.

I would describe Battlefield Vietnam as Battlefield 1.5, better graphics, sound, and gameplay and interface tweaked to perfection. If you already own Battlefield 1942, make up your mind and decide (play it at a friend’s house, or beg EA to release a demo).

If you don’t own Battlefield 1942: 'get of that stinking arse and rush to the nearest game store soldier! And that’s a direct order, you senile tart!'

Useful links:
- Official site:
- Official Strategy Guide:
- Game Faqs:

[Bonbon] 23rd July 2004 10:58

This review encouraged me to install the game , gonna play it this afternoon !

Blue_Boy 23rd July 2004 13:56

mmm, i know i can really be very "enthousiastic" about games.
i'm what you would call a passionate gamer :)
too much emotions :D
i even made JmKe reïnstall Max Payne 2;-)
Should i do Homeworld 2, or Spiderman 2 next?

kristos 23rd July 2004 16:21

homeworld !!

nice screens btw :drool:

But I still like bf1942 desert combat better... waaaaaay better :p

Blue_Boy 23rd July 2004 17:21

really?, i hate it :s
i meant dc, not homeworld, i dig homeworld, but it's so frustrating hard :s
i'll never finish it...

Sidney 23rd July 2004 18:43

Take out the M1A Springfield (M14) and AR15 (Sandra AR - M16); grab two hundred rounds of ammo each (308 Win and 223), head out to the range over the weekend ..... 200 meters.

Do some real shooting instead;)

jmke 23rd July 2004 20:07

after watching Bowling for Columbine and reading up on most of the facts mentioned in the movie I'm pretty happy we have a no-gun law in place here in Belgium :)

Blue_Boy 23rd July 2004 21:02

i think i'll have a puke now

Sidney 23rd July 2004 21:02

You guys use Karate.;)

jmke 23rd July 2004 21:51

no, you are thinking of the Japanese. The Belgians use their almight Astrix & Obelix with some magic potien we become stronger then Superman ;)

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