If there had been computer games in the 1940s, it probably wouldn't have been considered safe or even tasteful to make a game about World War II until maybe 1965. This logic may explain what appears to be a newfound interest in the Vietnam War among computer game developers like Digital Reality. The film Platoon was released back in 1986, so if you happen to be keeping track, the developer has had plenty of time to try to follow up on the atmospheric film but may have fallen short of the mark.
The game does a decent job of re-creating the feel of fighting in the Vietnam War.
Despite the movie tie-in with the trademark shot of Willem Dafoe on the manual, the game itself has nothing to do with the film, except for the Vietnam setting. There is a sort of story told through the main character's diary, but generally speaking, Platoon is a fairly straightforward squad-level real-time strategy game, which turns out to be a good thing. The game incorporates terrain, weapon types, visibility, and cover in a surprisingly elegant manner. Terrain exists as "areas" on the map, and different terrain types grant different types of cover and visibility bonuses. You can see the extent of any terrain type by holding the cursor over that feature. This eliminates any guesswork while creating some interesting tactical choices.
The graphics are nicely done, and although the soldier models look a bit clunky, the animations are superb, and the terrain--while it looks a bit artificial--does a decent job of setting the stage. The sound is a bit inconsistent; Platoon has simply excellent background music and absolutely awful voice-overs. You'll be best served by turning the voices completely off.
The game itself has 12 separate missions. Once you play a mission in the campaign, you can unlock it for solo play. The first time you go through a mission, you'll find that the game does a good job of re-creating what it must have felt like to fight through the jungles of Vietnam. You'll creep along, unsure where the next danger will appear, and worry about the slow speed of your support weapons, and you'll also have to worry about making your soldiers crawl to take advantage of cover. Soldiers have only health points and endurance--they can't develop their skills, so Platoon doesn't really have much in the way of role-playing game elements.