Battlefield Vietnam Profile Preview #2 - The Maps of Battlefield Vietnam

The next game from the creators of Battlefield 1942 will take place during the Vietnam War. Get briefed on where you'll be serving your next tour of duty.

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It all started with a demo. Battlefield 1942 was a multiplayer World War II first-person shooter--an action game that let you play as a soldier and also let you fight battles online. It sounded interesting, but once a playable demo of the game was released, PC game players everywhere took note. The fast-paced game not only let players engage in combat as various types of soldiers, but it also let them jump into a number of different World War II vehicles--including tanks, jeeps, fighter jets, and even aircraft carriers--so they could blast one another to smithereens. It wasn't just a run-and-gun game either, since both teams were limited by "tickets," which represented how many times fallen soldiers could respawn. By capturing enemy bases, you could not only ensure that your team had a new base of operations, but you could also cut into the other team's ticket supply. The team that ran out of tickets instantly lost the match. The game quickly became a smash hit and gave rise to two expansion packs, and it also inspired groups of devoted hobbyists to create popular modifications for the game. This is part of why Battlefield 1942 remains extremely popular to this day.

Battlefield Vietnam will ask you the age-old question: War, what is it good for?
Battlefield Vietnam will ask you the age-old question: War, what is it good for?

It's now 2004, and the creators of the original game, EA Games and Digital Illusions, have their sights set on the next game, which is Battlefield Vietnam. The new game will take place during the Vietnam War, and it will let you play as US or US-allied troops (including the US Army, US Marines, US Special Forces, or the Army of the Republic of Vietnam) or the opposing Vietnamese forces (the North Vietnamese Army or the Viet Cong). In our last preview, we took a comprehensive look at the soldiers of Battlefield Vietnam. This time around, we'll take a look at where they're headed--namely, the steamy jungles of Southeast Asia. The new game will have a total of 14 different missions across 11 levels, three of which--Hue, Quang Tri, and the Ho Chi Minh Trail--will be featured twice, as they were all historically captured and later recaptured during the war effort. The new game will have four main mission types. These include nine assault maps in which one team assaults the opposing team's base. The game will also have two mission-mode maps where one team must accomplish a specific mission while the other must prevent it, much like in the Secret Weapons of WWII expansion pack. In addition, Battlefield Vietnam will feature a siege map in which one team must attack a single, static base. The game will also offer two hybrid conquest maps in which each team must attempt to deplete the other team's reinforcement tickets by picking off enemy soldiers and capturing control points.

Mission, Siege, and Conquest Maps

Operation Flaming Dart will feature plenty of air-to-air action.
Operation Flaming Dart will feature plenty of air-to-air action.

Operation Flaming Dart
Map type: Mission, US

In retaliation against a mortar attack that caused eight American casualties, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued approval for Operation Flaming Dart, a two-part offensive led by US Navy Task Force 77, which began on February 7, 1965. The first part of Flaming Dart involved the bombing of a North Vietnamese army camp near Dong Hoi.

In this map, US forces launch from the island of Doa Con Co, which is equipped with two airfields and a dock from which vehicles spawn--though aggressive North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops can come in and destroy these areas. US players must reach the mainland, where the NVA has six installations. Though US players can take over three of these normally, the other three are equipped with air towers that must be destroyed in order to complete the mission successfully.

US troops must make it to Landing Zone Albany to have any hope of accomplishing their mission.
US troops must make it to Landing Zone Albany to have any hope of accomplishing their mission.

Landing Zone Albany
Map type: Mission, US

Just three days after the successful assault on Ia Drang (see Assault section, next page), a routine occupation mission of a designated landing zone went sour. On November 17, 1965, some 400 members of the US 7th Cavalry were ambushed by NVA reserve troops stationed near Ia Drang, suffering 155 deaths and 124 wounded.

In this challenging map, US troops must advance through NVA territory, and past enemy control points, to capture the landing zone. Since the mission itself was originally intended to be an infantry operation, US troops will begin the map with little to no vehicle support and must capture enemy vehicles as they go.

The siege of Khe Sanh was one of the bloodiest battles in the Vietnam War.
The siege of Khe Sanh was one of the bloodiest battles in the Vietnam War.

Siege of Khe Sanh
Map type: Siege, NVA

US Special Forces deployed to the Lang Vei region later moved to a base in the neighboring province of Khe Sanh. The contested area was eventually completely surrounded by NVA forces, thus cutting off Lang Vei and setting the base in that area up for a follow-up attack (see Assault section, next page). The grueling siege of Khe Sanh began on February 7, 1968, and lasted 77 days, making it one of the longest and bloodiest conflicts in the war.

US troops must defend the Khe Sanh installment from invading NVA troops, but they must follow special rules of engagement in this map. US troops are based only out of Khe Sanh itself and must move outward to capture all surrounding NVA encampments. Until they capture these encampments, the US forces continually lose tickets, which will obviously cause them to lose if they run out of them. In addition, NVA forces can storm and capture the compound itself.

Operation Hastings represents one of the largest military operations in the war.
Operation Hastings represents one of the largest military operations in the war.

Operation Hastings
Map type: Hybrid Conquest

After a series of unsuccessful scouting missions around the Quang Tn province, the combined forces of the US Marines and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) to take on a massive NVA force of 10,000 strong in Operation Hastings. The battle, which began on July 15, 1966, was the largest combined military operation in the war to date.

The actual map in Operation Hastings will consist of forests and jungles, connected by river, in regular intervals. US players and NVA players begin the map at bases on opposing sides, and each has access to land, sea, and air vehicles. Each base can be captured, though each base has two persistent spawn points that will allow its original owners to respawn there when defeated. The rest of the map also contains four neutral bases that can be captured and controlled by either side.

Now drop and give me 25! AAAAAHHHHHH!
Now drop and give me 25! AAAAAHHHHHH!

Easter Offensive - Quang Tri
Map type: Hybrid Conquest

On September 16, 1972, South Vietnamese ARVN forces moved on the occupied city of Quang Tri--the same bombed-out city that appeared in the motion picture Full Metal Jacket, starring R. Lee Ermey. However, government spokesmen refused to concede that the city had been recaptured until the walled citadel at the center of town was captured. This was the same city that had been attacked by NVA forces four years prior to this mission (see Assault section, next page). The Easter Offensive in May would be part of a larger operation over the next several months that would involve more than 40,000 troops and thousands of casualties.

Since this map takes place within the confines of a city, Quang Tri is a small, close-quarters level that is best approached with coordinated infantry squads that use smart team tactics.

US Assault Maps

In Operation Game Warden, US forces must fend off NVA troops along the Mekong Delta.
In Operation Game Warden, US forces must fend off NVA troops along the Mekong Delta.

Operation Game Warden
Map type: Assault, US

Operation Game Warden is based on an actual US military operation of the same name. On January 16, 1965, US forces determined that an NVA arms shipment was headed up the banks of the Mekong Delta, so they sent in an intervening force to prevent the delivery.

In the game, US troops must make a coordinated assault on NVA forces by using attack choppers, armored Tango carrier ships, and PBRs (Patrol Boat, Rivers). The Mekong River runs right through this map and should afford players with plenty of opportunities for aquatic skirmishes.

Heads up. The battle of Ia Drang Valley was won with the assistance of B-52 bombers.
Heads up. The battle of Ia Drang Valley was won with the assistance of B-52 bombers.

Ia Drang
Map type: Assault, US

The Ia Drang map is based on the battle of Ia Drang Valley, which took place on November 14, 1965. It was the first major skirmish between US and NVA troops on the ground, though the US troops had the support of artillery and air strikes from B52 bombers. The historic battle ended in a dramatic victory for the US and included 79 casualties and 121 wounded. The NVA suffered an estimated 2,000 casualties. This impressive battle was re-created in the 2002 movie We Were Soldiers, which starred actor Mel Gibson and his not-so-impressive American accent.

In the game, US troops begin with a remote air base that acts as a spawn point and also carries a number of landing zone points that must be airlifted behind enemy lines. The NVA has three bases in the northern hills, as well as a base near a southern riverbed.

In Operation Irving, US troops attempt to drive occupying NVA forces out of a village in South Vietnam.
In Operation Irving, US troops attempt to drive occupying NVA forces out of a village in South Vietnam.

Operation Irving
Map type: Assault, US

Operation Irving began on October 2, 1966, in the Qui Nhon province of South Vietnam. The nerve-racking mission required US troops to invade a village province in which NVA troops had entrenched themselves.

This map starts US forces with a remote air base. US troops must air-drop into the riverside village, while NVA troops control a persistent spawn point and outlying control points that which must be defended.

On February 23, 1968, US Marines and ARVN forces recaptured the ancient city of Hue.
On February 23, 1968, US Marines and ARVN forces recaptured the ancient city of Hue.

Reclaiming Hue
Map type: Assault, US

After suffering defeat at the hands of NVA forces (see below) in Hue on New Year's Day, US and ARVN troops recaptured this ancient city during an operation that began on the evening of February 23, 1968.

Each team begins this map with a base on opposite sides of the enormous city of Hue. The city itself contains four major hotspots, with the fourth lying at the center of the city on an island.

The Ho Chi Minh Trail was a critical supply line for the NVA.
The Ho Chi Minh Trail was a critical supply line for the NVA.

Ho Chi Minh Trail, Morning
Map type: Assault, US

On February 2, 1970, the US conducted a series of air strikes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail--a crucial supply line of soldiers and arms for NVA troops throughout the war. Despite the best efforts of US troops, this supply line wasn't truly halted, and some 500 US jets were downed during attacks on the trail over the course of the war.

In this map, US forces must storm the Ho Chi Minh Trail and capture any enemy control points along the way. These include an abandoned temple on a hilltop, which is accessible by stone bridges on either side and features another bridge at the opposite end of the map. Both points are under NVA control at the start of the game.

NVA and Viet Cong Assault Maps

In the Tet Offensive on Hue, the US and NVA forces must battle for control of this ancient city.
In the Tet Offensive on Hue, the US and NVA forces must battle for control of this ancient city.

Tet Offensive on Hue
Map type: Assault, NVA

On January 31, 1968, a temporary cease-fire was declared in observance of Tet (New Year's Day). The NVA used this opportunity to launch the Tet Mau Than Offensive (known in the US as the "Tet Offensive"), which was a surprise attack that involved assaults on multiple fronts, including the ancient city of Hue--though the city was later retaken by US Marines and South Vietnamese forces.

Each team begins this map with a base on opposite sides of the enormous city of Hue. The city itself contains four major hotspots, with the fourth lying at the center of the city on an island.

The NVA must oust the US forces from four encampments in the city of Quang Tri.
The NVA must oust the US forces from four encampments in the city of Quang Tri.

Tet Offensive on Quang Tri
Map type: Assault, NVA

Another part of the Tet Offensive, which took place on January 31, 1968, included an NVA assault on the city of Quang Tri.

In this map, the US forces begin the game while in possession of four control points, and NVA troops must file across a river and infiltrate the city. In this case, you won't be doing much wandering up and down the streets of Quang Tri. The small size of the ruined city means that you'll have more than a few close-quarter battles.

NVA troops must stage an assault on the US Special Forces base at Lang Vei.
NVA troops must stage an assault on the US Special Forces base at Lang Vei.

The Fall of Lang Vei
Map type: Assault, NVA

On February 7, 1968, NVA forces surrounded the Khe San Marine Base, which left the Special Forces base in nearby Lang Vei vulnerable to further attacks. The NVA offensive included a devastating combined assault--just after midnight--which was complete with tanks and infantry that eventually overran the base.

The actual map layout of Lang Vei consists of an elevated plateau that's surrounded by forests and valleys. The US bases are all located in and along the central plateau, while the NVA forces begin their campaign from the eastern side of the map and must fight their way into the American encampment.

As the NVA, you must defend the trail from US troops.
As the NVA, you must defend the trail from US troops.

Ho Chi Minh Trail, Evening
Map type: Assault, NVA

February 2, 1970, marked the beginning of the US troops' unsuccessful campaign to shut down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Each time the trail was attacked, it was subsequently repaired by civilians.

In this map, NVA forces must capture and hold control points on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, including an abandoned temple on a hilltop that's accessible by stone bridges on either side, in addition to another bridge on the opposite end of the map.

This concludes our look at the maps of Battlefield Vietnam. Be sure to keep an eye out for more coverage on this promising action game as we approach its March release date.

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