Saturday, June 3, 2023

Relive the Vietnam War as a Vietcong Soldier in TACO

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ARMA III, a hyper-realistic military first person shooter (FPS) released in 2013, spurred numerous spinoffs, including several excellent mods set during the Vietnam War.

One of the challenges for first-time ARMA Vietnam players however, is the relative lack of singleplayer missions, as the game was designed for people to create their own campaigns and scenarios – something most people might not have the time and skills for.

To address this, game developer Tiger Yan recently launched a readymade singleplayer campaign for ARMA III called ‘Born in the North to Die in the South’ – a popular saying of North Vietnamese soldiers traveling to South Vietnamese battlefields during the 20-year Vietnam War. Tiger Yan formerly developed and launched The Nam: Vietnam Combat Operations (VCO), a freely-downloadable real time strategy (RTS) mod based on the Command and Conquer game engine, in 2020. VCO took almost 20 years of research and work – including several trips to Vietnam – to complete.

The Nam: Arma Combat Operations (TACO) features a seven-mission campaign unveiled through the diary entries of People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) soldier Nguyen Van Binh. Missions put players in the Ho Chi Minh sandals of a North Vietnamese recruit making his way down the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail, the strategic trail which supplied South Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian battlefields with fresh troops and supplies. Enduring disease, snakes and B-52 strikes, the player participates in the battle for Khe Sanh, the largest single battle between the Americans and Vietnamese during the Vietnam conflict.

“I wanted to make the experience as gritty and realistic as possible,” explains Tiger Yan, who hails from the Philippines. “As opposed to VCO’s top-down approach where you command hundreds of nameless troops, aircraft and armor, I wanted to zoom in to the daily experiences that shape a soldier’s life – relentless boredom from mundane tasks like carrying supplies and waiting for ambushes to start, all the way to the heart-pounding excitement of penetrating a heavily-defended enemy base, even as hundreds of your brothers are being gunned down beyond the wire just to buy your team some time.”

Each of the campaign’s missions shows the advancement possible within the PAVN, which during the Vietnam War became the fourth largest army on Earth. “You get to experience life as a new recruit relegated to menial tasks, to a wide-eyed but eventually bush-savvy rifleman fighting with South Vietnamese Vietcong guerillas, to a sapper trained to penetrate heavily-guarded firebases, to the leader of various special units trained to hunt down Green Berets. You’ll even get to impersonate South Vietnamese officers to infiltrate some of the South Vietnamese Army’s largest bases.”

The first three missions of the campaign can be downloaded freely HERE, with further scenarios available via Patreon. The game requires a previously-installed version of ARMA III with the following required mods: SOG Prairie Fire, Unsung, CBA, K9 and Tiger.

Tiger Yan is now working on a complementary campaign where players can experience the war under the heavy steel pot and stifling flak jacket of a United States Marine. The Vietnam War ended in 1975 when the North Vietnamese and Vietcong unified Vietnam under communist rule, though fighting rage throughout the area well into the 1990s. Watch a clip of TACO gameplay HERE.

The Nam: Arma Combat Operations (TACO) will include various campaigns for players to experience life from the point of view of various combatants – from Vietcong snipers and North Vietnamese sappers to Marine infantry and pilots providing close air support over the skies of Vietnam. (VCO)

Born in the North to Die in the South. Heavily-laden North Vietnamese soldiers trudge to South Vietnamese battlefields via the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which snaked through Laos and Cambodia before ending in South Vietnam. ‘Born in the North to Die in the South’ was a popular saying for soldiers who faced disease, injury and death in a foreign land daily. (VCO)

Blooming Lotus: specialized North Vietnamese and Vietcong commandos called sappers make their final preparations before infiltrating an American hilltop firebase. The Vietnamese devised a deadly tactic called the ‘Blooming Lotus’ where infiltrators penetrated to the center of a base and attacked outwards. Many US firebases suffered heavy damage due to this. (VCO)

Green Beret Hunters: elite trackers called counter recon soldiers hunted allied special forces troops up and down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Inserted by truck and sometimes accompanied by hunting dogs, units such as C-75 fought many fierce battles and inflicted heavy casualties on MACV-SOG and its indigenous troops. (VCO)

Vietnamese Fighters. Reenactors don the lightweight equipment of North Vietnamese Army soldiers and southern Vietcong guerillas in the Philippines, where there is an active military reenactment community. (Albert Labrador)

Grunt Gear: Extensive research was done to ensure the accuracy of the campaign, including numerous trips to Vietnam and the acquisition of books, documents and wartime equipment. Shown are various paraphernalia of a North Vietnamese soldier, including the iconic sun helmet, canteen, oil bottles and of course, a patriotic picture of Ho Chi Minh. (VCO)

From RTS to FPS: The Nam: Arma Combat Operations (TACO), a first person shooter (FPS), is the second Vietnam War offering from Tiger Yan, who previously developed The Nam: Vietnam Combat Operations (VCO), a well-received and freely-downloadable real time strategy (RTS) game. “I wanted to give Vietnam War enthusiasts a new experience – an on-the-ground, in-the-mud viewpoint of the Vietnam War as a nod to great Vietnam War FPS games like Vietcong.” TACO missions can be downloaded HERE. (VCO)

For more information:

E -

F - The ‘Nam: Vietnam Combat Operations

W - The ‘Nam Wiki Page

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1 comment:

  1. Immersing yourself in historical re-enactments can be an exhilarating experience, providing insight into the past through the eyes of those who lived through it. “Relive the Vietnam War as a Viet Cong Soldier in TACO” takes players back to the tumultuous era of the Vietnam War, allowing them to take on the role of Viet Cong soldiers amid intense conflict. As I immersed myself in this virtual battlefield, I couldn't help but think about the meaning of military uniforms, such as those worn by US Army soldiers during World War II, as detailed in the article -of-the-U-S-army-wwii. Each uniform tells a story, serving as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by those who bravely served their country during the war.


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