Green Beret is a classic old school run-and-gun arcade game that was developed and manufactured by Konami in 1985. The game was called “Rush’n Attack” in some territories, which is a play on words of “Russian attack” due to its Cold War setting.
You play a US special forces soldier who is infiltrating an enemy base to rescue POWs from execution by firing squad and are armed only with a combat knife, but can supplement your firepower by capturing enemy weapons as you find them. By eliminating certain enemy soldiers you can also obtain a flamethrower, an RPG, or a pack of hand grenades.
Like many arcade games of the time Green Beret is known for having a relatively hard level of difficulty, but the gameplay is straightforward: keep running to the right and keep stabbing and shooting until you reach the end of each level. When you do reach the end you then have to contend with an extra rush of soldiers to complete the level, or occasionally a boss battle.
As the levels drop by the wayside the enemy soldiers become more determined to kill you, some even doing a kung fu kick at you (if they can get close enough) and others dropping in by parachute and shooting diagonally at you. You can jump and duck, and you can also climb ladders to reach different levels on the scrolling background, which becomes essential to survival later on. There are mortar-firing enemies and even dogs that rush at you. By the third level things really start to get tough as you desperately turn left and right to try to keep up with the sheer number of enemies being thrown at you.
One thing that is annoying (and unfair) about Green Beret is that there is a timer counting down for each level, but it isn’t shown on screen, and if you don’t move forward fast enough you can find yourself running out of time without even realising it. The timer really should’ve been shown on screen.
Aside from the timer issue, Green Beret is a fun, challenging arcade game that has stood the test of time quite well. Graphically it’s a bit sparse, and a bit more variety in the background graphics wouldn’t have gone amiss, but otherwise it’s still a decent action game.
Green Beret was converted to a variety of home systems by Imagine Software in 1986, and they did a pretty good job with most of them. The ZX Spectrum conversion, by Jonathan Smith, is known for being one of the best. It also appeared on the MSX in 1986 and the NES in 1987, converted by Konami themselves. Green Beret has also re-appeared on a number of modern systems more recently too, including the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.
More: Green Beret on Wikipedia