STORY / GAMEPLAY
Vietnam 1966. Your squad flies back to the Base from a routine mission. But only 57 miles away from home your chopper is shot down. You command a team of seven survivors from this crash and your mission is to return home safe. Your quest is tough, as the territory is full of enemy VC patrols searching for you after their success in bringing down your chopper, booby traps and low morale. Your team's supplies are limited, having a few hand grenades, bullets and food for 2 days only!
The game has a unique for its time gameplay. It is an icon based graphics adventure in which you guide your team across the main game map using a compass. The team walks at three different paces: double march, normal and extreme caution. You'd better check your walking speed and assign scouting tasks as there are several threats across the way, like booby traps which will probably hurt or kill your team members instantly.
You can also use recon which will give you info for the land terrains! The enemy just pops up in small or large groups toting heavy enemy fire. And here comes the action sequences of that marvelous game!
There are several action scenes. You might come across minefields, snipers, head-to-head combats and also deal with villagers. Minefields require you to check the ground for explosives with bayonets and some slow digging before the time expires! You may also encounter unarmed close combat (a la beat 'em up) with VC soldiers using your punches and kicks. Also, you will find yourself pinned down by heavy enemy fire in which you must duck to avoid or stand up to shoot or even throw grenades against the VC groups, trying not to be killed or overrun!
Actually, the most fun part is the sniper sequence! Your squad is pinned down by enemy snipers and asks you to spot their hideouts (since they are visually invisible and seeking their muzzle shot flush!) and kill them. Use you rifle scope to magnify the position of the enemy and shoot!
The game also offers the ability to deal with local villagers. You may find villages that you can correspond with for important info by choosing an appropriate question from the 4 available at a time. You can also directly kill a villager to threaten the others and gather more info. Be noted that some villagers may be VCs who will surely try to give you misleading info (i.e. there are cases when searches at the village reveal VC tunnels that you must destroy with grenades etc).
Note that you must also take care of your team's need in food, rest, sleep, wound care, so you have to let them take some rest at times, otherwise they won't be docile any more. GRAPHICS / SOUND
Lost Patrol is surely an impressive game on the ST computers although its 16-colors only scenes! Comparably, the original Amiga version show at least 32). The game has some nice still and animated screens with impressive details but it does not include the 5 digitized video sequences found on the Amiga and DOS versions. Also, some of the total (28 on the original) intermediate scenes are also missing but still there is much to see! Although it can get repetitive interacting with the same scenes we must take into consideration that this is a three floppy disks game!
The game's sound on the ST version is good, with a nice in-game tune (when not in an action scene) and also a few sound effects, some of them sampled. Overall, Lost Patrol is a well presented game for the Atari ST library!