Retro Review: Green Beret
Platform: ZX Spectrum
When I was a kid I spent many a Saturday afternoon perusing the shelves of my local computer game shop. I’d spend hours looking at the wonderful covers of all the games, studying each as if they were a beautiful piece of art hung in a gallery. In some ways they were pieces of art and because graphics were a lot more primitive compared to nowadays, the cover of a game was a major selling feature. It’s much like video shops were a treasure trove, where looking at all of the amazing covers helped you decide what to watch. As much as this digital age is amazing, I pine for those days of walking around a real shop and holding a box in your hand.
Green Beret on the Spectrum is one of those games that has an absolutely stunning cover which helped it to stand out from the crowd. Designed by legendary cover art specialist Bob Wakelin, it shows a muscle bound soldier screaming whilst carrying a huge M60 machine gun. It’s probably no exaggeration to say that Bob Wakelin helped to sell a huge amount of games purely by the box art alone.
Green Beret is a home conversion of the Konami Arcade game Rush’n Attack. The game is set in the Cold War which probably contributed to the ‘oh so subtle’ name! You control a lone soldier initially only armed with a knife. Your mission is to rescue prisoners of war, attacking various locations including an air base and harbour. You run left to right stabbing the endless enemies as they attack you. The enemies range from standard soldiers who just run at you to soldiers with guns and even baddies that deliver flying kicks. If you take out a specific enemy then you can collect a special weapon to help out. In fact the key to success in this game is collecting a flamethrower or rocket launcher as soon as possible as it makes life a lot easier.
The game is fairly short with only four levels but also extremely tough as you have no respite from the soldiers which are constantly charging at you. Playing Green Beret on my ZX Spectrum was one of my first gaming memories and for that reason alone will always remain special to me. It may not look or sound great but it is still playable and well worth trying if you have strong memories of it like I do.
Graphics – Not the best looking game and the limited colour palette of the Spectrum does it no favours, however it still has a charm and the soldiers and setting look ok. 4
Sound – There is barely any music or sound except for the noise of your stabbing knife which you will hear over and over again. 3
Playability – One of the main strengths of Green Beret is its playability but be prepared for a challenge. 4
Re-Playability – Green Beret is still playable today but even with a short play I could feel a few extra grey hairs appearing on my head due to the challenging difficulty. 3
Overall – For me playing Green Beret feels like a lovely trip down memory lane, but it’s the memories that are more special than the actual game itself. 4