Gameplay snippets from Green Beret, more commonly known in the states as Rush’n Attack. Much like Raid Over Moscow and Balance of Power, this was an excellent game that was a product of its time: the Cold War, which was beginning to wind down in 1985 when this game was released but still had a grip on imaginations everywhere. The game never explicitly says that you’re facing off against Russians (virtually synonymous with the Soviet Union in media of the 80s), but the cold, Siberian-style climate, heavy-coated soldiers and military atmosphere felt like half the “Russkie” stereotypes out there all rolled into one game—not to mention the pun in the American release’s name (“Russian Attack” - get it?) All that’s missing is a Hammer & Sickle proudly displayed somewhere on the many hangars and installations you pass.
This one of the best pure action “lone wolf soldier” games you’ll find this side of Capcom’s Commando, which came out in the same year. Instead of an overhead shooter like that game, here you’re in a side-scrolling world, armed only with a knife and tasked with rescuing four “captives” (“prisoners of war” in the Rush’n Attack version.) You can occasionally kill elite solders to pick up a limited supply of special weapons (flame thrower, rocket launcher or grenades) but otherwise it’s just you, your knife, and steel nerves. You’re up against everything the
Russians other guys have to offer: standard grunts, martial artists, riflemen, paratroopers, attack dogs, and even crazy enemies like pyro soldiers and helicopter pilots. The precision needed for controls and number of enemies makes this an ultra-tough game to get through, especially since, just like real life, there are no continues. Rambo made it look so easy. Why they send one man to fight an army capable of capturing four men, I can’t say, but if you can rescue the prisoners, I salute you.
Though the soundtrack is little more than some military cadence drum beats, the graphics were a revolutionary advancement for Konami. The characters may have a little extra caffeinated jitter in their step, but they’re animated quite well and manage to convey in a very small size exactly what they are. You quickly learn to identify enemies by their distinctive attire and color patterns. This game is notable for pioneering the “faceless” character design motif that Konami would go on to use, with slight modifications, in a large number of its games, such as Iron Horse, Double Dribble, and Jail Break the following year. It also became a staple of games they developed on the NES, including the Contra, Castlevania and Metal Gear series. It’s a distinctive look that would last for years, and started here.