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Game Profile
FINAL SCORES
6.6
Visuals
7.0
Audio
6.5
Gameplay
7.0
Features
7.5
Replay
5.0
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Game Boy
PUBLISHER:
3DO Company, The
DEVELOPER:
Pocket Studios
GENRE: Adventure
PLAYERS:   1
RELEASE DATE:
December 10, 2001
ESRB RATING:
Everyone
IN THE SERIES
Army Men RTS

Army Men RTS

Portal Runner

Army Men Advance

Army Men: Sarge's Heroes

More in this Series
 Written by Matt Swider  on May 13, 2002

Review: Army Men brought in the green with the amount 3DO has sold, but our quest is to find out if the gameplay is colored with gold.


3DO's Army Men franchise hasn't received a great reputation over the years. It has been filled with sporadic second-rate performances that have produced some lackluster results. Despite a series of downfalls, 3DO is still pushing its franchise with more titles based on the little green men and generating sufficient numbers to make it a best-selling franchise for the company. Last year, when Game Boy Advance premiered on the market, 3DO had its army lined up for launch day with a portable edition of the game that featured satisfactory enjoyment. While that version showcased cartoon-style visuals and diverted its gameplay from past releases, Pocket Studios has sought to bring back the original form of the series in our latest battle against the tan in Army Men Operation Green.

Operation Green pits you as the lone green solider within a hotbed of the hostile tan forces. Compared to Game Boy Color versions of Army Men, we are treated to more enemy action and use of gunfire thanks to Game Boy Advance's healthy boost of power. Now we're able to see a swarm of tan army forces coming forward to engage in extreme battles that feel very true to classic movies?a single hero beating a massive amount of enemies against all odds. While this advancement of action will increase the enjoyment for many, it won't suit others who feel that the gameplay becomes monotonous due to a repetitiveness found in each of its fifteen levels.

To combat this recurring problem, Pocket Studious has included tasteful additions to Operation Green. Not only does the game feature an arsenal of machines guns, missile launchers, and grenades, but it also allows players the freedom to hop in vehicles and mow over the tan army. As you progress through the game, different vehicles are available including half-tracks, jeeps, cargo trucks, and of course, tanks. Besides collecting ammo for weapons and fuel for jeeps, players are able to upgrade their arsenal with a number of power-ups scattered on the battle site.

Even with these extras, the game suffers from dreary gameplay at times. This can make it very tedious to complete objectives. Also, moving into real life locations causes the environments to feel unimaginative. Past Army Men titles have crossed between realistic locations and enlarged household settings for some interesting and inspiring play. While this may be gone, Operation Green does display adequate visuals. Here, the characters appear rather small in size and closer to real life amongst the objects surrounding them. Textures used also contain a fair amount of first-rate detail, catching my eye more than once. Also, during times of immense action and confrontation on screen, the game's framerate dosen't slow down to deteriorate your fun.

Music wise, Army Men delivers average tunes that are less noticeable than everything else. Some may find them to be unappealing and the included option of turning them off solves that problem in a flash. A stronger point in the audio department has to be the sound effects like gunfire and explosions.

As you start out in the first level, you may feel the control to be awkward and unappealing. To fix this problem, the options allow gamers to switch the setup of the directional pad by reversing its scheme. The second selection feels more natural than the default making me wonder why it wasn't the choice from the start. Even with this easier control scheme, players will still have a hard time aiming as enemies approach at various angles. No, it's not impossible, and learned tactics will enable quick solutions, but killing one tan man can be quite complicated even when he's only a couple of steps away.

With large levels and a lot of action, you'd think the save system would be the painless task of pressing start and selecting to save your progress. That's not the setup at all. Operation Green uses a password system instead, causing a great deal of frustration when you're in the middle of a battle and unable to complete the level. Also, being unable to find a pen and paper causes a problem as well as Game Boy Advance sports itself as a portable. Making matters worse, the game saves with numerous passwords for each level, causing players to start again with the same number of lives as they completed a level with. Doing this causes hardship when you finish a stage and are down to one life. Now you'll begin the next with a single health meter and can't restart in full again. This is just another gripe coming from this password system, which could have been avoided with a simple battery save method.

Bottom Line
Army Men: Operation Green is filled with the good features in addition to some bad qualities. Many who have found the series to be boring in the past probably won't change their mind here. However, those who yearn to try the latest Army Men title should be able to get a decent dosage of enjoyment out of playing it for a couple days. Other than that, with no link play and little variety between levels, the war will be over before you realize it's started.


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