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
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.
Tropes present in the series
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- Acceptable Break from Reality: Mounted machine guns having Bottomless Magazines? Check. Hollywood Silencers? Check. Your engineer having unlimited supplies of ammo? Check. The ability to drive tanks despite not being a tank crewman? Check!
- All Asians Wear Conical Straw Hats: Some of the VCs, quite obviously.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: In the first game, the VCs (later the NVA) launched a couple of attacks on Nui Pek. And of course, the Tet Offensive in the second game.
- A.K.A.-47: Subverted. Some weapons appear with their real names, while others, such as revolvers appear with generic names such as the "Revolver 1935".
- The Alliance: The anti-communist forces of course, consisting of the USA, South Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand. South Korean and Thai flags appear in the MACV HQ, too.
- Alphabetical Theme Naming: The expansion packs, except Red Dawn.
- America Saves the Day: This being a game that is true to history, you'll just instantly know that this trope is averted big time.
- Anyone Can Die: Subverted with your team-mates in the second game.
- Artificial Brilliance/Artificial Stupidity: The series' AI is impressive, if not above-average:
- 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.
- Asian Speekee Engrish/You No Take Candle: Any Vietnamese character except the Hue Mayor, the LLDB Mountain Eagle CO, Captain Soat, and Major Thu, all of whom speak English fluently.
- A-Team Firing: Averted. You can hit an enemy while firing from the hip.
- Autosave: Sometimes occurs if you've used a radio, or completed an objective.
- Badass Army
- Bag of Spilling: Averted, at least in the campaign mode. You always keep what weapons you have, except in tunnel-based missions, where you always start with a silenced pistol as your only weapon.
- Battle in the Rain: Many missions throughout the series.
- 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.
- Black Dude Dies First: Averted. Both Thomas Bronson and Stone survive throughout the series.
- Blasting It out of Their Hands: Averted. You cannot disarm an enemy by shooting his weapon out of his hands.
- Booby Trap: Of course. It's Vietnam, for crying out loud. On the plus side, the pointman will always spot them, and you can disarm them yourselves.
Le Dhuy Nhut: Trung-si, you see the sign? Charlie makes traps. Signs tell VC where.
- Boring but Practical: Any silenced weapon and assault rifle.
- Bottomless Magazines: Any and all mounted machine guns. However, they will overheat if fired for too long.
- Chromosome Casting: All of the important characters are men.
- Cool Guns: Naturally.
- 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.
- Contractual Boss Immunity: Averted. But then again, it's not like the bosses are stronger than typical mooks when it goes to health.
- Cluster F-Bomb: There are lots and lots of swearing. Especially from the Americans/ANZACs.
- Critical Existence Failure: Played straight with the player.
- 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.
- During the War (The Vietnam War)
- Dwindling Party: Averted. None of the player's teammates dies as the series progresses, story-wise.
- Elite Army/Elites Are More Glamorous: We have the Green Berets, the CIDG, the LLDB, MACV, and the Vietnamese Rangers (Black Panthers/Hac Bao).
- Elite Mooks: Arguably, the NVA. They're considerably better fighters than the VCs. In the second game's VC campaign, you have US marines.
- Enemy Chatter: Naturally. You know it's time to worry when you hear someone who isn't your pointman or ally shout in Vietnamese.
- 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.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: Played straight. Any vehicle will explode once they've been badly damaged.
- The Faceless/He Who Must Not Be Seen: Averted. All player characters are depicted visually, both in concept art, cutscenes, and third-person view.
- Fackler Scale of FPS Realism: Realistic.
- Five-Man Band: The player is accompanied by at least 5 team-mates in the first game and Fist Alpha. In the second game, it's usually 4.
- Foregone Conclusion: Fist Alpha and both campaigns in the second game.
- Friendly Fireproof: Averted. See also Video Game Cruelty Punishment.
- Game Mod: There are lots and lots of mods for the series. Unfortunately* most of them are multiplayer-only.
- Gameplay Ally Immortality: Averted. Subverted in the second game with your teammates, but still averted for everyone else.
- Gauls with Grenades: The First Indochina War is mentioned throughout the series, and there are signs of French presence in some missions, such as the rusted armored cars.
- Grenade Launcher: The M79 and the XM148, the latter of which is always underslung on an M16.
- Gun Porn: There are lots and lots of guns in the series.
- Gunship Rescue: Many of 'em for the Americans in the form of Huey, Choctaw, and Cobra gunships.
- Harder Than Hard: Vietnam difficulty. As if the game wasn't already very hard.
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%.
- Hellish Copter: Any helicopter shot down by the VC counts. Most notably, Hawkins' Huey crashes while approaching Po Tlong Karai. And pretty much all of the Hueys in the VC campaign.
- Heroic Mime: Averted. All of the player characters talk throughout the series.
- Hide Your Children: Civilians appear throughout the series, yet there are no children.
- Hit Scan: Painfully played straight for a realistic game franchise.
- Hollywood Silencer: Played straight with any silenced weapon. Thankfully an Acceptable Break From Reality, since if this trope is averted, it would've made any stealth-based mission extremely hard.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Averted. See Limited Loadout.
- Iconic Item/Nice Hat: Pick any headgear worn by the protagonists. From bandannas, boonie hats, US marine caps, NVA pith helmets, the list goes on.
- Just Plane Wrong: Averted for most of the time, but for some bizarre reason, not so for ground armored vehicles.
- 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.
- Level in Boss Clothing: The bosses in the series act exactly like regular mooks, absolutely playing this trope straight.
- 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* , a handgun, one grenade type* , one medkit, and one special item* .
- Military Alphabet: Prevalent throughout the series. Hotel Six, everyone?
- Missing Backblast: Again, Jarringly played straight for a realistic game franchise.
- Mission Control: In the first game and Fist Alpha, it's Captain Rosenfield. In the second game, we have Colonel Lewis and an unnamed NVA commissar.
- Mook Chivalry: Averted, period. The enemy AI can and will gang up on or ambush your team.
- More Dakka: Many weapons. From M60s, WWII-era BARs, RPDs, the list goes on.
- Nintendo Hard
- No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Played straight throughout the series, except with Fist Alpha's last mission or Nui Pek in the prologue and post-briefings.
- Notice This: Averted. None of the series' objectives or pickups glow, making it hard to find them.
- Not So Different: The NVA, the ARVN, and the VC are depicted this way.
- One Bullet Clips: Averted, with the exception of revolvers and shotguns.
- Orphaned Series: Illusion Softworks/2K Czech has yet to announce, let alone work on a third installment as of 2013.
- Pink Mist
- Rated M for Manly
- Remixed Level: The first game has the Nui Pek camp. The second game's US campaign is especially guilty of this with Hue City's town hall, MACV HQ, and the streets.
- La Résistance: The VCs.
- Reporting Names: Also prevalent. Thunderchiefs, Hueys, 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".
- Shout-Out: Here.
- Short-Range Shotgun: Averted.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Subverted, gameplay-wise. They are powerful (even more so in short range), but their low rate of fire, not to mention slow reloading speed can be problematic at times.
- Shown Their Work/Truth in Television: Lots and lots of 'em throughout the series.
- Sniper Rifle: The M21, Dragunov, M1 Garand, and Mosin-Nagant.
- Sniper Scope Sway: A particularly annoying example since, unlike other First Person Shooters, there's no way to steady your aim.
- The Squad: And. HOW.
- The Leader: You. Doubles as the Demolitions Expert.
- 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.
- The Big Guy: The machinegunner.
- 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.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Caused by your C4 charges, no less.
- 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.
- Vietnamese with Kalashnikovs
- War Is Hell: The series doesn't really demonize war, but its hard difficulty, not to mention its focus on realism screams this trope at the top of its metaphorical lungs.
- We Cannot Go On Without You: Subverted. If you die, your team-mates will continue fighting. Still mission failed, though. By the way, this trope also applies to the aforementioned team-mates as well.
- Yanks with Tanks
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Again, the VCs.
- Zerg Rush: The NVA assault on Nui Pek in the first game. The VC campaign's last level has the player and his allies inflicting this on the Americans.
Vietcong, Fist Alpha, and Red Dawn
- Anti-Air: In Fist Alpha the Thunderchief gets shot down by one of these. In the last mission, Douglas and his team sneaks through them and "silences" them.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: The NVA/VC's only strategy when it goes to attacking US/ARVN bases and Montagnard villages. But in some cases, they bring mortars and tanks with them.
- Atomic F-Bomb: "Holy shit! That sounds bad— FUUUUUUCK!!!"
- Artistic License – History: Some of the NVA/VCs wear Mao hats that are only worn by the Pathet Lao.
- Bilingual Bonus: Both Nguyen and Nhut refer to the player as "trung-si", which is Vietnamese for "sergeant".
- Bittersweet Ending: The NVA assault on Nui Pek was repelled at the cost of many American and Vietnamese lives, not to mention the camp itself, but Hawkins' part in the war is temporarily over.
- Bloodier and Gorier: Inverted. Compared to the second game, the original is very bloody.
- Bolivian Army Ending: Subverted.
- Book Ends: The game starts and ends with Hawkins entering/leaving Nui Pek on a helicopter, set to the tune of Deep Purple's Hey Joe.
- Chinese with Chopper Support: Sometimes, Hawkins can find PLA weapons/supplies, usually from dead NVA/VC.
- Classic Cheat Code: "GIFTFROMPTERODON" and "CHTKOSTEJ".
- Cool Plane: The F105 Thunderchief is a painfully obvious subversion. Granted, it's a fighter-bomber, but in this game, it's essentially an A6 Intruder with the chassis of a, well, Thunderchief.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
- 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.
- Crossdressing Voices: An extremely bizarre version; the female VCs speak with a male voice.
- Dark Action Girl: Hawkins and his team encounters some female VCs in a few levels.
- Description Porn: Hawkins' diary and documents. In spades.
- Does Not Like Shoes: The Montagnards and some of the "poor" VCs.
- 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.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Most of the American characters, as seen here.
- Kill It with Fire: The napalm strikes.
- Ludicrous Gibs: Averted. While it's possible to dismember enemies, you should never expect them to rest in pieces.
- Multi-Platform: The Purple Haze ports.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If Hawkins fails to reach the LLDB outpost in time, Nhut will chastise him.
Nhut: Outpost dead now.
- Non-Standard Game Over: If one of the player's team-mates goes down and either The Medic dies or takes too long to heal him* , the mission will fail. See also Escort Mission and Video Game Cruelty Punishment.
- 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.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Here's a present, motherfucker!" (cue T-34 exploding)
- Prequel: Fist Alpha.
- 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.
- Shooting Gallery: Obviously present in the tutorial mode.
- Simulation Game
- Slice of Life: This game is pretty much about the everyday life of a Green Beret in Vietnam.
- Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: Only occurs in the campaign, where the player starts with just a knife. Averted for the rest of the game.
- Spikes of Doom: The VCs' punji sticks. Mostly found in the tunnels. There are also bamboo spikes. Springing or disarming them will result in a Jump Scare.
- 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.
Jarai tribe chief: VC no move the Jarai!
- Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: Hawkins at several points in the game. While searching for Marv, no less.
- True Companions: Everyone in Nui Pek.
- Tunnel Network: Hawkins infiltrates some of these in the campaign.
- Unexpected Shmup Level: Some of the levels start off with the player becoming a Huey door gunner. Subverted whenever he is forced to disembark.
- Updated Re-release: Fist Alpha.
- Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Killing a Montagnard will result in mission failure. The same goes for prisoners of war you help to capture in one mission, even if Hawkins encourages you to execute them.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Some of the "poor" 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.
- Aussies with Artillery: Some ANZAC soldiers appear in the game. Cobber is one of them.
- Awesome but Impractical: The RPG. While it can bring down a chopper in a few shots, it'll miss. A lot.
- Awesome Personnel Carrier: The M113 APC.
- 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.
- Difficulty Spike: The VC campaign as a whole, due to being much shorter (only 4 levels!) compared to the US campaign (13 levels).
- Downer Ending: Both campaigns end this way:
- 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.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Hawkins. Some of the VCs in the Cathedral as well.
VC soldier: I am amazed how great wine is stored under a Christian church.
- Karmic Death/Pay Evil unto Evil: Boone orders the dead VC (including Minh) in the Cathedral to be buried along with the civilians they've killed previously.
- Kick the Dog: The CIDG destroying Minh's village at the beginning of the Vietcong campaign. Also, the VC assault on the Cathedral.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: Boone's (player-determined) conversations with Hawkins and Rosenfield instantly gives away the ending of the first game.
- Late to the Tragedy: Boone's team gets to the Cathedral just in time to witness the VC massacring and burying the civilians there.
- Lethal Joke Weapon: The trombone gun.
- No Campaign for the Wicked: Subverted. You have to complete the US campaign first in order to play the VC campaign.
- Numbered Sequel
- Ragdoll Physics: Anytime a character dies, his corpse ragdolls. Can fall into narmy territory at times.
- Semper Fi: Subverted big time in the US campaign. Played horribly straight in the VC campaign, where they are, really, really hard to fight. At least they still go down easily like anyone else.
- Start X to Stop X: The Americans and the South Vietnamese employing the NVA/VC's own Booby Traps against them.
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.
- Story-Driven Invulnerability: See Gameplay Ally Immortality.
- The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Averted with Hue's Imperial City. It's technically the "final dungeon", but... not as "immersing" or "epic" as the other examples.
- Translation Convention: Averted. All of the Vietnamese characters speak Vietnamese and the Americans speak English throughout the VC campaign.
- Universal Driver's License: Played straight in multiplayer mode.
- Urban Warfare: The entirety of the US campaign takes place in Hue City. The VC campaign on the other hand, is much closer to the original.
- We Have Reserves: Conversed by Boone regarding the NVA and the VC.
Boone: Well, commies never cared much about causalities. Tell it to the French at Dien Bien Phu.