The Myth community is still going strong even though it’s been three years since Myth II hit store shelves. So when Take 2 Interactive purchased the rights to the Myth franchise from Bungie, they decided to assemble a few members from the mod community to create their own total conversion, entitled Green Berets. So the question arises, is Green Berets a clever enough mod to release to retail? Let’s don our fatigues and find out.
Green Berets is a squad-based tactical strategy game set during the Vietnam War. As commander of a squad of soldiers, the object is to complete a series of ten treacherous missions. Operations will see you scouting and destroying enemy structures, rescuing downed pilots, defending military locations and assassinating high-ranking Viet Cong officers. To help you accomplish these goals, four types of ground units are offered up. The Green Beret is an M16-totting soldier that also carries a bayonet and a grenade launcher. The weapons sergeant sports a massive M60 machine gun and a flak vest for protection, making him the most impenetrable unit, as well as the slowest a foot. The medical sergeant follows closely behind the squad with his first-aid kits for the wounded. Last but not least, the leader of the troop brings an M16 into battle, as well as special skills including the ability to call in air strikes and set off demolition charges.
Unfortunately, many of the missions are plagued by poor design. The first mission in particular is extremely frustrating. The goal of this introductory assignment is to manoeuvre your squad to an unobstructed pass through the mountains. The problem here is that there are no cues to aid in your venture to find this route so unlucky troops may end up wandering about the jungle for several hours. By rule of thumb the first mission should not be the most aggravating, a poor decision to say the least. The good news, missions tend to get more exciting as the game progresses, although there’s still far too much aimless adventuring throughout the campaign.
Adding to the frustration of some of the poorly designed missions, Green Berets is also extremely difficult. Although there are three levels of difficulty to choose from, you’ll still find yourself saving and loading your game several times, due in large part to surprise attacks from enemy units. The mortar units in particular are dreadful. Not only are they capable of killing units with a single shot, their range is incredible and they’ll often spot you well before you spot them. Snipers are just as annoying and when you spend an hour or two trying to accomplish a goal, such is the case in the first mission, you’re sure to run into more than your share of these menaces.
The other major fault with Green Berets is a problem that existed in both of the previous Myth titles as well, that being awkward camera angles. You can perform a myriad of actions with the camera to position it, such as zooming out, panning in and rotating the view, but it still presents a problem around the edges of the map, or when you come into battle and have to quickly re-position the camera. It’s also a nuisance in that it doesn’t zoom out far enough. If you want to get a gander from high up above, you’ll be limited in what you can see.
Green Berets ships with the original Myth II and requires that Myth II be installed alongside the mod. This is certainly an added bonus to the package, especially if you don’t already own a copy of the classic Myth II. If you’ve never played any of the prior Myth titles, there is a tutorial provided and the manual is helpful as well. On the other hand, veterans of the franchise will feel right at home, as none of the controls have been altered. A map editor is included with Green Berets, allowing you to create your own units and maps, and multiplayer support includes Internet, LAN and TCP/IP, so you can join your friends on the battlefield cooperatively, or pit your soldiers against each other in the competitive mode.
Visually, Green Berets is dated, plain and simple. I suppose it’s not surprising, since the Myth II engine is three years old, but it can be a bit of a hindrance at first. Environments are stale in color, units are blocky and besides the weather and special effects, such as explosions and rain storms, there’s nothing too spectacular here. The audio is along the same lines, with generic gunfire, crickets and voiceovers that are quite bland. I’m sure fans of the franchise will be able to overlook the dated presentation, but newcomers are likely to be deterred.
When the battle is over, Green Berets comes away a bit of a wounded warrior. Despite some exciting battle sequences, solid replay value and the inclusion of Myth II, Green Berets suffers from poor mission design, a bland presentation and vexing camera control. With numerous community mods available for free, I can really only recommend Green Berets to diehard Myth fans. As for the rest of you soldiers, there are bigger battles to fight.