"Every red blooded American is sickened by our enemy's injustice toward our men who gave their lives for their country. Many of our boys are still over there and you're going in to get them out". Three guesses where POW was originally developed? You got it. Thankfully, hiding under the propaganda is one of the best Operation Wolf type games yet to appear on either the Amiga or ST.
This is the first of a set of Actionware games which lets you use a special light gun instead of the mouse, for added venom in combat.
You, the hero, are part of a parachute team landing in the darkest jungle, from where you set about waging war upon the entire army of Vietnam all for peace, justice and the American way.
Each mission takes you through a variety of different backdrops ranging from the jungle to the enemy encampment, to rescue your compatriots, and finally onto the beach to make your escape. It isn't going to be easy, as Charlie throws everything at you in an attempt to bring about your rapid demise. As soldiers pop in from the side of the screen, you have to get them in the mouse-
First Aid Kits and spare ammo cases fall to the ground at various times - shoot them to collect their benefit. If you run out of bullets, it's mission over.
For an extra £49.95, a light gun is available for use with POW. This replaces the mouse and would definitely add to the realism - unfortunately we didn't get one with the review copy, so we can't say how reliable it is.
Officially, the last American combat soldiers pulled out of Vietnam in 1975 when the capital, Saigon, finally fell to the overwhelming Communist forces.
Contrary to the official view, many Americans still believe that some soldiers are being held captive in Vietnam. This sets the scene for POW, and of course Rambo, where Sylvester Stallone proved that you don't need to be able to act to make a lot of money.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
It's not only in the gameplay that the similarities between POW and Operation Wolf are apparent. In the graphics department too, the parallels are unmistakable. Each backdrop is beautifully drawn and very detailed, with many in-jokes - watch out for the banjo-
The enemy has a definite South African look, rather than Vietnamese, which in the light of recent U.S. foreign policy makes you feel as though you're holidaying in Nicaragua.
Animation within POW is well designed and fast - almost too fast as all too often you find yourself overwhelmed by an ever increasing number of enemy soldiers and tanks.
POW has a rather dull music score that does no justice whatsoever to the rest of the game's sound. The rattle of enemy machine guns and the last screams of a dying soldier are all high quality digitised spot effects.
Several Operation Wolf clones already exist, but none as well put together and as playable as POW. It looks like Ocean are going to have to produce something very special indeed with the official coin-op conversion if they are to put POW in the shade.