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Are you going to buy an Xbox One X This Holiday Season?

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Hope to Receive it as a Gift


Game Profile
FINAL SCORES
5.5
Visuals
5.5
Audio
7.0
Gameplay
5.0
Features
6.5
Replay
3.5
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Dreamcast
PUBLISHER:
Midway
DEVELOPER:
3DO Company, The
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1-4
RELEASE DATE:
November 16, 2000
ESRB RATING:
Teen
IN THE SERIES
Army Men RTS

Army Men RTS

Army Men: Operation Green

Portal Runner

Army Men Advance

More in this Series
 Written by Cory Ker  on January 12, 2001

Review: I love the smell of melting plastic in the morning...


There really should be no complaints made by any self-respecting and sane gamer about the Dreamcasts library of games. There's just so much to cause diehard fans of just about every genre to spew happiness from every orifice. All but the most incessantly retro gamers agree that at least some of their favorite games have been enjoyed on our fairer console.

So what's there to complain about? Well... nothing compares to Goldeneye.

Before you start off on a rant about my obvious idiocy, at least let me explain; I'm not talking about entertainment value, graphics, replay, or any other immediately obvious game aspect. I'm simply stating that NO games for the Dreamcast fit into that genre. Well, sub-faction of a genre of a genre.

We have strategic shooters, in Rainbow Six and Hidden & Dangerous. We have solid deathmatch experiences, in Quake III Arena, and the upcoming Unreal Tournament. But nothing manages to cram itself into the dead center of the two sub-genres just mentioned. Meaning an easy-to-pick-up shooter with strong strategy elements, simple control, and some of the most enjoyable, easy to use multiplayer modes.

Since we are moving toward a more precise control system inspired by the PC, it's harder to simply turn to the right than ever. With some practice, and a little hard work, you can grow to master these control systems, and be a more precise gamer than ever. But those control schemes aren't for those who just want to pick up the controller and have a 4-way deathmatch. No tutorials, no costly extra peripherals, nothing; Just the game, the console, the standard controllers, and some friends.

Army Men: Sarge's Heroes comes pretty damn close... but doesn't quite hit the mark. I'm afraid that with pretty much every area incased, they all fall flat on their face just short of the finish line. What we ended up with was a rushed port of a mediocre game to begin with.

This game actually has a very intriguing concept: There exists a parallel dimension to our own, which is inhabited by those Army Men you all played with as a child. Unfortunately, there are two feuding strains of little plastic folk: The Greens, led by Colonel Grimm. The evil Plastro directs the Tans.

Those Tan bastards have coldly stolen away Colonel Grimm's daughter, Vicki. As the only inhabitant of the plastic world, for whatever reason, with somewhat human skin tone, she is a revered member of the community indeed. In addition, she is the love interest of Sarge - The game's main character.

Sarge is obviously not amused, and not only has his girlfriend been captured, his entire platoon, Bravo Company, has been taken hostage. The 16 missions involve rescuing your team, ultimately your lady-friend, and a few side missions. While 16 missions might sound like plenty, they get tiring very quickly... and if you're any sort of gamer, you'll blow through them in a mere few hours. Bringing up the amount of missions leads me to one of my biggest quibbles with the game - Password Save. Yes, I just uttered the words you haven't heard in common practice since the Super Nintendo days. The missions you've plowed through aren't kindly saved on the VMU for your convenience. You have to remember an arcane password that's simply a jumble of letters. Even more irritating is that Army Men takes up 4 blocks of VMU space. While this isn't exactly a major bother, as 4 blocks isn't too much, the game seemingly saves NOTHING. That's right, 4 blocks wasted. On a lark, I tried deleting the file every time I played, and it made nary a difference.

Visuals in this title suffer from a problem often noted in PlayStation and N64 ports. The graphics are somewhat updated to take advantage of the Dreamcast's power, but only somewhat, and only sometimes. Many of the character models look great, with some very sharp texture work, and a decent polygon count. But some models are the epitome of suck, namely, Vicki. She looks so blocky and terrible that I'm shocked some of the graphics were this bad even on the PlayStation.

The backgrounds are a very different story than the top-notch models, unfortunately. Roads are just a long strand of brown/black/more brown muck, and grass is just dotted green. Tree trunks have only 4 sides, and their foliage is just a few flat circles cutting through the rectangle. Explosions are just a few overly bright shades of red, and smoke is no better. It's not even worth mentioning lighting effects, as there are only a few, such as when an explosion is near. Even then, they look, for lack of a more insulting body part printable on these pages, like ass.

Sound isn't too bad, with a few forgettable speech samples such as "Party Time!", when a rocket launcher is picked up, and little conversations in the decent cut-scenes. Sound is pounding big bands playing 50's marching music, and that gets kinda tiresome.

Control is very simple, and I'm afraid the simplicity is the only good part. The scheme is incredibly limiting, especially after seeing how intuitively the DC Controller can be used in this type of game, such as MDK2. Jumping is pretty much useless, except for the few times you get up on top of a building.

The multiplayer mode is almost a saving grace, but like everything else in the game, it's not quite to the point of being fun. It does offer easy, fast run-and-gun gameplay, but it's not enough to warrant the purchase. Also worth mentioning is the idiotic way that if you're in 3-player mode, the third player gets a much better view of the action. Think of it as the screen being halved, then the top part being halved. The bottom half is still nice and wide, and offers a clear advantage over the top two.

Bottom Line
If you actually want a mediocre game that you'll quickly tire of, then by all means, run out and snap up this one. On the other hand, if you value quality, gameplay, and in a purely cosmetic sense, graphics, you'll want to chuck this onto the road and take a miniature plastic flamethrower to it.


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