Vietcong is a First-Person Shooter series consisting of 2 video games and 3 expansion packs (2 are free), developed by Illusion Softworks (2K Czech).It's quite notorious for its high difficulty, and it managed to capture the atmosphere of The Vietnam War. The games are notable for quite realistic portrayal of hardened soldiers and their environment as well as for including less popular themes, such as supporting the Montagnard tribes and urban combat during the Tet Offensive. With helicopters, plethora of military tropes and music from the '60s added for good measure.The first game puts players as US Special Forces Intelligence Sergeant Steve R. Hawkins, assigned to the SF camp in Nui Pek to replace the previous (dead) intel sergeant, Douglas Warren, who is playable in the expansion pack, Fist Alpha. Both the original game and Fist Alpha was bundled and ported to the PlayStation 2 and XBox in 2004 as Purple Haze.In the second game, players assume the role of MACV Cpt. Daniel Boone and Viet Cong member Mai Van Minh during the Tet Offensive.Has a character sheet. Please place all character-specific tropes there.
On the brilliant side, they can go from cover-to-cover, flanking their targets, avoiding and detecting booby traps (if they're pointmen), healing other team-mates, and can even follow your orders precisely.
On the stupid side, they seem to ignore dead bodies that are in front of them in stealth missions. Also, sometimes the pointman has problems with waypoint finding.
Bigger Bad: Although they never made true appearances in any of the games, Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap can be seen as this for the Americans. For the VC, you have Lyndon B. Johnson and William Westmoreland.
Cold Flames: Averted. You can and you will be hurt whenever you touch or stand next to/in a fire.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Anti-communist forces will always wear camouflaged (ERDL/Tigerstripe/Duck), lime, or brown uniforms while the NVA wears dark green and tan uniforms. Some VCs in the first game (or all of them in the second) wear black pajamas.
Concealment Equals Cover: Averted. Like Operation Flashpoint, hiding in bushes or tall grass slows you down and makes you both effectively invisible (unless somebody directly stumbles upon you) and more vulnerable to enemy fire.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: Try playing this game after playing Medal of Honor, Half-Life, Call of Duty, or any other FPS where you only need to hold either the left mouse button or the G key to use the grenade. Here, you'll have to press the left mouse button, then hold the button to cook the grenade, then release the button to throw it. Worse yet, the grenades in all of the games have exactly 4 seconds before exploding.
Death from Above: Several times throughout the series. All come from the Americans, who certainly love this trope.
Dirty Communists: Played with. The NVA and the VCs hardly ever commit any atrocity in the first game, except in the second game with the church massacre in Hue. Completely played straight for Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong, with Hawkins calling both of them mass murderers if he finds their photos.
Do Not Drop Your Weapon: This game has a rare variation where you can drop your weapons/items by pressing the Backspace key.
Do Not Run with a Gun: Played straight, naturally. Even more so if you're lying down; you cannot fire, let alone aim while crawling, and vice versa.
Dummied Out: There are some unused model and sound files in both games, such as a hi-res version of Rosenfield's model and Minh finding Hornster's dogtags after killing him.
Escort Mission: In Fist Alpha, once Douglas and his team finds the F105 pilot, they must protect him until the evac chopper arrives. In the second game, the player has to ensure that both Rigley and a US armored vehicle survive throughout certain parts in the US campaign.
It's safe to say that the first game is one huge Escort Mission; if one of your team-mates goes down, it's mission failed.
Expansion Pack: Fist Alpha and Red Dawn for the first and Fist Bravo for the second. The latter two are freeware, as mentioned in the page description.
The most challenging war experience. No ammo counter, no health bar, no radar, no save games. Just you, your squad, and your gun.
Have a Nice Death: Averted. When you die, the game just says "MISSION FAILED" and allows you to either restart the level, go back to a checkpoint, or return to the main menu as the camera slowly fades to black and a somber (and instrumental) rock song plays.
Heal Thyself: The player is usually equipped with a medikit (otherwise he can find one himself), which completely replenishes the player's health. You can also use it on any wounded teammate. The PS2 version of Purple Haze advises the player to only use it when his health is less than 50%.
Last Stand: In the first game, very narrowly averted with the LLDB outpost Mountain Eagle and the US radio relay in Dong Tam Hanh hill. If it wasn't for Hawkins and his team's aid they'd be dead for good. Not to mention Nui Pek itself.
Late in the second game, the battle for Imperial City and pretty much the rest of Hue City is this for the NVA. Lampshaded by marine interviewees:
Marine 1: Yeah man, I've heard that almost all the Communist officers are dead by now and that the North Vietnamese rag-tag troops are commanded by lower-ranking officers.
Marine 2: Their casualties are terrible man, and they're out of ammo. But it's not enough for them to back off. They fight till they can't stand.
Marine 3: We're beatin' 'em hard, but they're still kicking. Any of us can be shot dead anytime by some bastard hiding in ruins or thick bushes.
Life Meter: Which decreases anytime the player gets healed, depending on how badly injured he is.
Limited Loadout: You may carry only one knife, a primary weapon, a secondary weapon* second game only, a handgun, one grenade type* two for the second game, one medkit, and one special item* a portable radio, C4, etc.
Revolvers Are Just Better: Averted. None of the revolvers were the strongest sidearms in the series, and they take much longer to reload.
Save Scumming: An attempted aversion; you may only quick-save for 5 times. Again, as if the game wasn't already hard.
Scenery Gorn: Po Tlong Karai hill and Nui Pek towards the end of the first game.
Send In The Search Team: At the beginning of Fist Alpha, Douglas and his team sees an F105 going down. Naturally, they search the jungle for its pilot. In the second game, Boone and his team is tasked with rescuing ARVN Captain Soat, who "knows too much".
The Sneaky Guy: The pointman. In the first game, he's always an LLDB member, thus making him The Face as well in certain situations where he's the only guy who can talk to a Vietnamese who doesn't understand English. He doesn't appear in the second game except in one level in the VC campaign.
Combat Medic: Armed with either a submachine gun or an assault rifle.
The Engineer: The engineer in this case refills your ammo. Doubles as the Demolitions Expert. In the second game's multiplayer mode, he's The Team Benefactor, providing ammo and repairs. His C4 doesn't count because the Commando class has his own.
Communications Officer: The radioman. In the first game, you have to use his radio whenever the radio icon shows up. In tunnel-based missions, you're equipped with your own radio. In the second game, he uses the radio himself.
Standard FPS Guns: Played absolutely straight. Knives aside, you have pistols, automatic weapons, semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, grenades, and rocket launchers.
Straw Civilian: Averted. The Montagnards, not to mention the civilians in Hue City are friendly to the anti-communist forces. Even the villages (such as Minh's) that supported the NVA/VC avoid this trope big time.
Tanks, But No Tanks: The old French armored cars are called "tanks" for some reason. Not to mention the T-34-76s used by the NVA, when they should be using T-34-85s, and M50 Ontos tank destroyers in the second game.
Tank Goodness: For the NVA in the last level of the first game and the Americans in the second game. Earlier in the first game, air recon picks up what appears to be a couple of VC tanks. Turns out they're actually just rusted French armored cars.
Nhut: Look trung-si! Tanks will no shoot. This old French tank, me know it.
Hawkins: So this is what a VC tank platoon looks like?
You can also drive tanks in some of the second game's multiplayer maps.
Title Drop: Anytime a character says "Viet Cong", "VC", or "Fist Alpha".
The Vietnam War: The series mainly takes place in 1967 and 1968. The only exception is the tutorial mode, which is set in 1960, five years before the American involvement in the war.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Averted whenever the NVA/VCs launch an all-out attack on an American/ARVN base or a Montagnard village. By the player. And in the case with Nui Pek during the Final Battle, almost played straight.
Easter Egg: The very first level has the infamous "VC zombie", which appears after you attempt to open a locked door near your bunk 15 times (acquiring an M79 in the process).
Foreshadowing: Bronson is concerned that the VCs might send in tanks to destroy the radio relay in Dong Tam Hanh hill. The NVA does the exact same thing when they attacked Nui Pek.
Game-Breaking Bug: A really notorious (and famous) example occurs when the game is run on newer computers, especially in the third mission, where the game always crashes after Hawkins says "I can almost smell the VC bastards". It also crashes whenever the radio icon shows up on the HUD. Fortunately, there's a third-party program that tweaks the game to prevent it from crashing.
Good Guns, Bad Guns: Played straight in Quick Fight mode. As Hawkins you can only start with NATO firearms, while as a VC soldier you can only start with Soviet/Warsaw Pact firearms.
Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Quick Fight mode suffers from this. The AI accuracy (both friendly and hostile) is significantly worse than in the campaign; for most of the time you'd end up doing all the killing yourself instead of your teammates.
No One Gets Left Behind: The only reason why the team, after finding the French armored cars decide to rescue Sgt. Marvin Fisher. Hawkins' first attempt to locate him failed, but eventually they manage to find the village where he's held up, sneak into it, rescue Marv, and blow the village sky-high.
Nothing Is Scarier: Subverted. Granted, this is Vietnam, where the NVA/VCs could be hiding everywhere in the jungles, ready to ambush any unwitting patrols. Fortunately, the pointman can give away their positions, slightly nullifying this trope.
Nhut: Think VC.
One-Man Army: Deconstructed. In any mission or quick fights where the player is alone, a stealthy approach is the only way to win it other than using God Mode.
Respawning Enemies: Played straight in the last mission of Fist Alpha. If Douglas gets detected after clearing the MG nests and AA guns and meeting up with Defort, the NVA/VC will scour the whole place for you, not to mention calling in reinforcements. Even if you manage to take down all of the enemies, excluding the colonel, there will always be at least one enemy in the base. Maybe the developers thought that the player will try to clear the base before killing the colonel, gathering the intel, and blowing up the fuel tanks.
Douglas: Shit, it's gonna get tough now. Should've been more careful...
Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Double subverted. While nothing is virtually known about the temple ruins on Po Tlong Karai hill other than it being used as an NVA base, it makes completely perfect sense... until you find a VC tunnel network under it, which leads to another ruined dungeon beneath it and finally a VC-held village.
Stealth-Based Mission: Some missions require the player to sneak through an enemy base/camp. Getting detected just once will instantly fail the mission. This can be problematic if you're not equipped with a silenced pistol, which itself is useless against long range targets. At least the missions in Fist Alpha are a hell lot easier with the addition of the silenced Sten SMG.
Super Drowning Skills: Once you're underwater and deep enough, you may kiss your ass goodbye. This is especially problematic in Red Dawn's single-mission campaign, which takes place in a slightly submerged land.
Temple of Doom: Again, double subverted with the Po Tlong Karai temple. Sure, it's filled with NVA forces, but there are no booby traps. The same can't be said for the VC tunnel network beneath it.
Training the Peaceful Villagers: The whole point of the CIDG program. Subverted because the montagnards aren't exactly peaceful and they know how to defend themselves against the VCs.
You All Look Familiar: Any unimportant NPC. The North Vietnamese/VC has exactly 6 face textures, while the Americans have 3, and the South Vietnamese (counting Montangards) have 5 (including the tribe chiefs).
Actionized Sequel/Sequel Escalation: While the first game mostly consists of patrols, hit-and-run/search-and-destroy raids, or sneaking missions, the second game consists of intense firefights, full-scale battles, and nothing else. Also, the second game is clearly not designed as a Simulation Game, unlike the first game; it's not as realistic as the latter.
America Wins the War: Averted for the Americans. Aside from the ARVN, the game makes a crystal-clear depiction of the ANZAC involvement in the war. Played brutally and obviously straight for the NVA.
Another Side, Another Story: While the original game and Fist Alpha casts the players as a Green Beret, in the second game they're either a MACV operator or a VC fighter.
Armor Is Useless: Some South Vietnamese and American troops wear flak jackets. Their effectiveness is completely questionable.
Asian Hooker Stereotype: The US campaign starts in a brothel, so this trope is to be expected. There's even a streetwalker in front of the MACV HQ, just before the offensive begins.
Been There, Shaped History: Boone and his team for participating in and helping the Americans/South Vietnamese win the Battle of Hue.
Boss in Mook Clothing: The NVA "hero" and the marines in the last levels of the US and VC campaigns, respectively.
The Cameo: Boone can talk with Hawkins and Rosenfield in the first and third US missions, respectively. Also, Minh and his team encounters and kills a Green Beret advisor who, according to unused game files, is none other than Hornster.
The Cavalry: At first, Rigley and his marines. Boone's team ends up becoming The Cavalry themselves late in the US campaign.
Climax Boss: A high-ranking RPD-totting NVA officer at the end of the US campaign and an entire US marine platoon (complete with an M113 APC) at the end of the VC campaign. All count as Final Bosses.
The US campaign ends with the tactical failure of the Tet Offensive, but the NVA wins a propaganda victory, becoming the first step to the fall of Saigon and the withdrawal of US troops from South Vietnam.
The VC campaign ends with Minh and other VC troops sent to assault Hue City's Cathedral and capture a group of priests. Sure enough, he kills himself when Boone and the marines surround him while holding the French priest hostage.
Hold the Line: When the Tet Offensive kicks in, the player is tasked with defending the MACV HQ until Rigley's armored column arrives.
Immediate Sequel: The US campaign takes place 22 days after the attack on Nui Pek.
NVA officer: Don't touch the bodies! They could be booby-trapped.
[two levels later]
VC pointman: Look out, booby trap!
Minh: Damn. They are using our tactics against us.
Storming the Castle: The last two missions in the US campaign deals with Boone and his team storming Hue's Imperial City, assisted by ARVN troops.
Suicide Attack/Taking You with Me: At one point in the US campaign, a VC soldier tries to kill Boone by setting off his grenades. Later, another VC runs into an Ontos tank destroyer to blow it up. He gets killed by Boone as well.