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Game Profile
Nintendo 64
3DO Company, The
3DO Company, The
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1-4
July 20, 2000
Army Men RTS

Army Men RTS

Army Men: Operation Green

Portal Runner

Army Men Advance

More in this Series
 Written by Matt Swider  on July 26, 2000

Review: Plastic toys never looked so armed and deadly.

Over the years, 3DO has developed the Army Men series into a franchise with titles appearing on multiple platforms. After a successful debut of Army Men: Sarge's Heroes, the series has invaded the N64 yet again, this time, with a Nuclear Strike type game. If you weren't satisfied with THQ's previously released Nuclear Strike title for N64, you may find some enjoyment in 3DO's Air Combat title with the plastic Army Men you once enjoyed playing with.

Although the visuals might not be the gem of this title, gamers will be sure to tell what everything is on the screen. However, Air Combat does suffer from slight choppiness and some faulty animation, sometimes making the player weary of continuing any further. Gamers shouldn't get too frustrated considering this title fixed the problem from Nuclear Strike. Now, the helicopter takes up less room on the screen during four-player games.

The good points of the graphics range from sweet looking explosions, nicely designed environments, and different designed models including four different copters to play as. Now, if only we could grab a sight of the horizon, then maybe the view would seem more enjoyable.

The audio heard throughout Air Combat fits in very nicely with tunes from the army and messages between different commanding forces. Other nice sound effects include the explosions, gunfire blasts, and voices of fallen soldiers. Many of the messages given to you by the commanding officers might be hard to catch if you aren't paying attention, and are muggy in the first place. Also, the voices seemed to be overused a bit, like "Find the portal. Fly into it captain." Other than that, the music is enjoyable and won't get on your nerves.

While everything else in Air Combat is fair, the gameplay shines as the best part of the title. It's green versus the tan, and as a player, I got into the game when I had to serve and protect my plastic forces against those of the evil tan army. Your helicopter in the game is armed with many different missiles as well as a main firepower. Types of missiles include tracking, napalms, and even kamikaze paratroopers, which parachute from the sky, with dynamite strapped to them, running toward your target. A very unique idea for a weapon, considering the game wasn't developed in Japan.

Sure, the basic play of this title is exactly like Nuclear Strike, but the details advance this game further. You can pick up different objects with a drop hook, and use the item, or move it to somewhere else. This hook will also serve a big purpose during the main campaign, like when different objects are cluttering the train tracks that must transport a secret weapon; A very innovative feature for players here. The single player campaign may seem easy at first, but soon after the first couple missions, the challenge to become steeper. The controls aren't a problem and well placed on the controller for comfort and fast accessibility. Again, even if you look down upon every other part of this game, you will surely be impressed by the gameplay.

Overall, Air Combat features 16 campaign missions and many multiplayer games are included in the game. Up to four players can participate in the multiplayer missions, which really adds the games value. Games include Bug Hunt, Food Fight, Flag Nab It and Rescue. This is where you can really help master your skills for the one-player mission game...that is, if you need help with the campaign mode. A part of the game you may find just as fun is the co-op mode, in which two gamers can join forces for a great game. Other features include interactive environments such as soda cans and food, Expansion Pak for enhanced use, the Controller Pak for memory, and some slight Rumble Pak support.

The replay for Air Combat lies slightly higher than the middle of the road. Sure, this game is about blowing things up and explosions when you go through the campaign, but with the co-op modes and multiplayer support, the game receives additional replay value. The gameplay can be addicting for many, and will keep some gamers playing for a while.

Bottom Line
Army Men: Air Combat might not be the right game for everyone to buy, however, I can assure you, that if you rent this title, you will definitely enjoy everything about it.

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