One of the eight bosses in Megaman V for NES is “Napalm Man.” His level starts in the jungle, and one of the first things you’ve got to do is avoid pits with spikes at the bottom. Eventually you move underground, and, in the background, there are giant tanks. The boss himself just lobs little explosive bombs at you, but when you beat him, you gain the “Napalm Bomb” power. It’s a bomb shaped like a football that you just roll along the ground that eventually—impotently—explodes. Not a very imaginative power. I guess all the imagination went into creating the really ham-handed symbolism behind this level.
I can’t even begin to imagine why, of all places, somebody decided that the best place to remind people of the Vietnam War, 18 years after it had ended, was in the middle of an also-ran video game on a console that people had stopped playing in favor of the now-firmly-entrenched Genesis and Super Nintendo. Did some game designer decide that that moment, 1992, was the time to have a flashback to when he was back in The Shit, and that all the kids who hadn’t upgraded to one of the 16-bit platforms needed to witness this moment of catharsis?