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Any love for NAM/WWII GI?

User is offline   Toxic34 

  • 8

#1

As many of us know, the last commercially released Build engine titles were NAM and WWII GI, released in October '98 and '99 respectively. These games received a very cold reception and have been mostly forgotten. But is there anything good in these games, and are there people who realize it?

It is clear that these two titles are just clear Duke total conversions with slight modifications to the weapons. You have virtually the same mechanics as Duke, complete with same visual style, same grunting and underwater sounds, and so on. However, it was decided to use the Build engine for the purpose of slow crawls through the levels, crouching and sniping at enemies from unseen locations, rather than charging headlong into the fray and spraying bullets at will, like you'd expect to. For many used to the run and gun style of the other Build engine titles, this is thoroughly disorientating. It also means that the games are far more difficult than expected, even on the easiest difficulty. In my experience, WWII GI is the harder title, particularly in certain levels like the D-Day landing, the seaport level where a King Tiger tank is included, and so on. While the enemies are harder to find and dispatch with in NAM, their damage in WWII GI seems to have increased, making it easier to be gunned down and leading to further reliance on stopping and saving.

These games tried to make a name for themselves by advertising as being "the first realistic 3D shooting experience of the war" using "true-to-war strategies." Of course, when your characters have the ability to absorb quite a number of hits, and can be healed by medics and medkits, this clearly shows this statement to be a lie. NAM in particular is quite ludicrous in its conceit of your playable character being genetically engineered to absorb pain and be revived by an experimental serum. Clearly, if such a thing had happened, the US wouldn't have lost the war. The games also do not provide any kind of sense that the wars are being brought to life, or giving any kind of snapshot into this moment in history. Call of Duty, Battlefield and Medal of Honor certainly excel in this sense, even with the regenerating health. In addition, the Build engine had simply become obsolete by this point. Redneck Rampage Rides Again was arguably the true end of the Build engine, as it certainly feels like the passing from one era into another. By the time of these games' release, many fans had moved on to the likes of Quake III Arena, Half-Life and Deus Ex as representative of FPS gaming at that point.

That said, I still find myself playing these titles and working to finish the campaigns time after time. Why? Because it certainly is intriguing to see arguably the first war-based FPS titles that aren't Wolfenstein 3D, and seeing what the developers had hoped to accomplish. While the grainy 2.5D environments aren't stellar and don't stand out, especially not in comparison to the earlier Build engine titles, they are hardly the product of lazy artists. It is clear to see that great care was taken with rendering these levels and they wanted gamers to rise to their challenge.
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User is offline   Hank 

  • 1,305

#2

It's been a long time I played Nam.
The catch with the advertisement, 'intense action and real ambiance of the Vietnam war' is that an FPS will have a hard time to accomplish that. No matter what, you really sit on a couch playing a game.
Nam was intense game though, and I liked it.

The things I don't know could fill libraries.
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User is offline   Commando Nukem 

  • Judge Mental
  • 1,950

#3

I played a lot out of WW2 GI as a kid. It stirred my imagination. That is, until I moved on to Medal of Honor on Playstation.

NAM is an exercise in frustration. Probably fairly true to the spirit of the war, you get ambushed and blowed the fuck up and sniped from enemies you almost never see until it's too late. Weapons kill quick and hard, and the whole thing is very unforgiving, forcing you to play at a snails pace. They haven't aged well.

I've always wanted to see someone redo NAM in the spirit of the Shadow Warrior reboot. The little bit of "story" NAM had talked about some kind of a super soldier experiment. It would be pretty cool to run with that, instead of trying to make it some kind of a tactical experience in build. Especially when they only went halfway with it.

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2

User is offline   RunningDuke 

  • 219

#4

I've actually played and finished recently NAM and WW2GI, both in EDuke32. I didn't like them that much due to the high difficulty (I played on third difficulty, mind you) but I didn't find them as hard as everyone says so. Sure, there were some levels where I died a lot of times but there were also few levels (like 2-3 per each game) where I didn't die at all, as I carefully killed the enemies, conserved health and ammo, and so on. There are some levels that have a lot of health and ammo supplies, while in others you may be lucky to find a few ammo clips and a single medkit.

As for damage done by enemies, actually in NAM you take a bit more damage compared to WW2GI, for example in NAM you take 23 damage per bullet if you have no armor (a bit less if you have armor) but in WW2GI you take 17 damage per bullet, no matter how much morale you have. I know morale influences the accuracy and the amount of health received per medkit. Speaking of which, WW2GI has a different healing system in that you can have up to 2 medkits in inventory and to use them, you must stand still. During that time, don't move or hope you don't get shot because the healing process stops and the medkit is wasted. I recommend finding a safe place and use the medkits if your health is around 65 or lower, since you get up to 35 health per medkit. If you are low on health and have low morale, you may get less health points per medkit, like only 25 or so until healing process stops. Using a medkit also boosts your morale, as does killing an enemy and smoking a cigar (although in this case, you will lose 3 health).

That said, the games are really hard and I can understand people getting frustrated by these games, since I did have some parts that pissed me off as well, like the one level in NAM (I think it's halfway through first episode) where you get ambushed right at start of the level and have no cover until you kill some of the enemies and rush behind a tree or something. Because I had 42 or so health from the previous level, I had a hard time surviving the part from the beginning, so I died around 10 times until I managed to kill them all before they would hit me, then hide behind a tree, kill the ones that were hiding and then collect the health that was placed right behind the crashed helicopter.

I also found annoying the placement of some enemies, landmines and booby-traps as well as the occasional airstrikes but more than half of the time I could tell when an airstrike was incoming, maybe I was just lucky but usually when an airstrike happened, I just backtracked a bit and waited for the explosions to finish. Another annoying thing is you are bleeding if the health reaches 25 or lower, however I don't think I've died before from bleeding except maybe once or twice but it does cost some health points and each HP matters. Oh and yet another thing that I really hated was (mostly in NAM) in some of the levels, the enemies respawn. Right in the first level of NAM, I have seen some enemies suddenly spawning from certain places after each few minutes (which costed me a death since they killed me from behind just as I previously made sure no one is behind), so it's impossible to kill everyone in some levels.

Overall, I think both games aged badly as Commando Nukem said and I think they would have been much better received if they were released for free and were just total conversions for Duke Nukem 3D, like Platoon TC was. They just didn't make sense to be commercial games since they feel like they are pretty much just TCs for Duke3D and nothing more. Sure, they used some enhancements from original EDuke but that was pretty much it.

This post has been edited by RunningDuke: 11 August 2017 - 01:45 AM

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User is offline   Toxic34 

  • 8

#5

Probably the hardest level of all for me is the 4th one in WWII GI, entitled Hunt for the 88s. The beginning is insanely difficult to get through a field and take down the snipers, even if you have full health. Then there's the fact that you have two tanks to take out as well. It's quite ludicrously difficult.

Maybe it would've been nice to see the super soldier experiment in NAM as well, especially since it wasn't fully consummated to their competing desire for realism.
2

User is offline   Toxic34 

  • 8

#6

Also, I find somewhat hilarious that they attempted to give one-liners for Alan "The Bear" Westmoreland in NAM. He rarely uses them, and when they come out, they're incredibly stupid. There are cliched ones like "war is hell" and "shit happens." Often, when killed, he might say "I'm about as useful as a football bat," which is completely idiotic. Then, to show how much of a total conversion it is, he'll sometimes say "Damn, I'm good." At least Marty Girardi in WWII GI is silent.
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User is offline   RunningDuke 

  • 219

#7

I agree, it was pretty difficult but the beginning was easily done with the sniper from the previous level. Sniper is usually a 1-hit kill weapon and it's very accurate, just aim your crosshair on the enemy that you want to kill and he will die in one hit. For tanks, you have to use Bazooka or the Detonating Explosives to destroy them. The very annoying thing that I found in general about WW2GI is that the enemies seem to be invincible at first until they see you and their sprite becomes active. This is something that was also present in original Duke3D, with enemies such as Enforcers and Mini Battlelords that took no damage if they didn't see you first.

As for quotes, I thought he said "I'm about to smack you with a football bat" but I was pretty close. I also think he says "Sweet, not bad!" when you select third difficulty and when the randomized crates contain health inside. At least this is what sounds to me.

This post has been edited by RunningDuke: 12 August 2017 - 08:05 AM

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