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|Publisher(s)||Ocean Software Ltd|
|Composer(s)||Chris Glaister (Amiga)
Jonathan Dunn (Atari ST)
|Genre(s)||Action role-playing game|
Lost Patrol (also known as The Lost Patrol) is a survival action role-playing game with strategy elements developed by the team Shadow Development and published by Ocean Software Ltd for Amiga computers in 1990 and the Atari ST in 1991; a DOS version was also released by Astros Productions.
The game is set during the Vietnam War, where on June 7, 1965, a U.S. helicopter returning troops from a R&R break in Saigon crashes in remote Central Highlands of Vietnam. Seven American soldiers, survivors of the crash, face the task of trekking across 58 miles of harsh terrain infested with booby traps and enemy soldiers and make their way to Du Hoc, the nearest U.S. military base. The team has little food or ammunition and their chances of making it home are slim.
The player assumes the role of Sergeant Charlie Weaver, the only man left to take charge of the surviving crew. The player must learn the characteristics of the team, as completing the mission may hinge upon character reactions to the player's decisions, and then try to keep the group's morale high (or risk being fragged) and fatigue low, managing the dwindling resources (food rations, ammunition, hand grenades and Claymore mines) and fending off the enemy.
The game also features action sequences:
- Hand to hand combat - Scouts at times encounter lone VC guerrilla guarding an arms or supply bunker. The player must defeat the opponent in unarmed combat, using a choice of keyboard or joystick controls. If the player fails to defeat the opponent before a timer expires, that soldier is assumed missing in action and is no longer available.
- Firefight - The player mans an M-60 machine gun against a group of the VC, trying to be neither killed nor overrun; hand grenades may be also used against the enemy.
- Machine gun nest - The squad encounters one or more entrenched machine gun positions of the NVA and the player must eliminate them by hurling hand grenades from the first-person perspective.
- Snipers - The squad is pinned down by enemy sniper fire, requiring the sniper(s) to be located and disposed of. The player can chose which member of the team will assume the role of the shooter, with skill levels varying. To locate the position of the sniper(s), a magnified view of the terrain is visible through the scope of the player's rifle, which he must use to locate the flashes of enemy fire.
- Mine field - The squad must cross mine fields laid by enemy forces to defend an entry to a bunker. Mine fields are visible on the map, but the booby traps are not (the only solution is to move slowly in an areas that may be mined). To successfully navigate the mine field, the player must choose a member of the squad to crawl through the minefield, stabbing at the ground along the way to check for explosives, before time limit runs out.
The player may always try to retreat from each encounter, but this is risky, too. The group may also encounter local Vietnamese (Montagnards in the mountains) civilians, including while entering villages visible on the map. A range of options is then available, from searching area to killing one or even all of civilians. The player may also attempt to communicate with the locals (in a friendly talk or a hard interrogation) using the key words typed from keyboard (for example, typing "VC" to ask for enemy forces).
- Sgt. Charlie Weaver (U.S Residence: Springfield, Illinois. Status: 5'9" ; 153 pounds): 29 years old, single. 10 months active service in Vietnam on W.H.A.M. mission, intelligence. Decorated for valor during action in the An Lộc Province during October 1964. Weaver's death ends the game.
- Pvt. Richard Bachman (U.S. Residence: Bangor, Maine. Status: 5'10" ; 161 pounds): 28 years old, single. Six months active service in Vietnam. Highly proficient marksman and thus useful in the sniping sections of the game.
- Pvt. William Blom (U.S. residence: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Status: 6'1" ; 168 pounds): 24 years old, married, one child. Six months active service in Vietnam. Aikido 2nd dan. Due to his background as a martial artist, Blom is useful in the hand to hand sections.
- Pvt. David Cain (U.S. residence: West Liberty, Kentucky. Status: 6'0" ; 163 pounds): 27 years old, single. Seven months active service in Vietnam.
- Pvt. Robert Case (U.S. residence: Columbus, Ohio. Status: 5'11" ; 147 pounds): 31 years old, married, 2 children. Nine months active service in Vietnam. Case is also proficient with the rifle, making him very useful in sniping sections, just like Bachman.
- Pvt. Juan Gomez (U.S. residence: Montgomery, Texas. Status: 5'6" ; 132 pounds): 24 years old, married, two children. Nine months active service in Vietnam. Gomez is invaluable in the game as he is more likely detect booby traps in the map if made squad leader. He is also capable of entering Viet-Cong holes found around the game. (Like the one found in the first village.)
- Pvt. Harvey Moore (U.S. residence: Fayetteville, North Carolina. Status: 5'8" ; 162 pounds): 22 years old, single. Six months active service in Vietnam.
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Despite their appearance, all graphical cut scenes except the black and white in-game animations are hand drawn, not digitized.
|This section requires expansion. (August 2012)|
The game received mostly positive reviews, including the scores of 79% in Amiga Format, 83% in CU Amiga, and 89% in Zero. However, a 1992 Computer Gaming World survey of wargames with modern settings gave the game zero stars out of five, criticizing the joystick controls as "so poorly done that the entire game is totally unplayable".