Review By: Christopher
soldier, decorated from many past battles has lost his mind, In
his insanity he becomes treacherous and evil, joining the forces
that fight against his former compatriots. Deep within enemy
territory he has built his fortress, and amasses a great army.
He must be stopped.
familiar? Well, unfortunately most of the great war movies that
this game pays homage to with it’s sharp, witty parodies will
be unknown to the majority of the market that this game (and all
Army Men games) are targeted towards. The general plot of the
game, as described above, comes directly out of Apocalypse Now.
Apart from the plot, Army Men RTS steals away bits of memorable
characters and scenes as well. The result is that on top of a
great game, is a memorable gameplay experience. This game is
fun, start to finish.
new mission, which are often based around scenes from war movies
themselves, are mini intro animations full of colorful
characters and inside jokes. One does not have to have seen all
the movies that this game mimics, but it will certainly add to
the enjoyment of play. The mission names are all a "play on
words" from various movies titles, such as: ‘The Thin
Green Line", "Full Plastic Jacket", etc. Clever.
of the game is to lead your army (the green army) against the
forces of Colonel Blintz (the tan army.) Violence and aggression
ensue. The violence is all in the form of plastic men, fighting
with plastic weapons; which is of course the whole concept
behind the Army Men games. The difference is that 3DO finally
produced a game which plays the way fans have wanted all along.
Real Time Strategy (RTS.)
not familiar with RTS games, you’ve probably been mostly a
console gamer, rather than a PC gamer. What does RTS really
mean? Well, the action takes place in ‘real time’, meaning
that even if you don’t instruct your men to take action, the
action still happens. Your units (men or vehicles) take orders
from you, but carry out those orders on their own. You send them
into battle, and then watch the battle happen. You can give
orders on the fly, such as: attack a specific enemy unit or
building, move here, retreat etc. But you don’t fire the
weapons yourself. Basically, you are the general (or in the case
of the game, Sergeant.)
of Real Time Strategy has been around since before the PSone.
But due to the complexity of gameplay, and variations of
controls, there has never, until now, been a successful
conversion to a console. [For evidence of this, compare the
award winning Command and Conquer series on the PC, to the
unplayable PSone port.] Pandemic and 3DO have done a superb job
translating RTS controls to the Dualshock2. Of course some of
the more complex functions (such as group formation, route
markers, and unit strategy) are missing. However, once you adapt
to the more limited structure of this game, the extra functions
would only serve as a bonus, and not a necessity.
that impressed me the most with this game was the level designs.
Almost all RTS games follow this formula: start with a limited
number of units, and a home base. Collect resources found around
the map to build more units. Research more powerful units,
repeat. The idea is that the resources available are limited,
and you are in competition with the enemy over what is
available. In this game, the resources are plastic, and
electricity. You are required to spend a certain amount of
plastic to build units; some units also require you to spend
electricity. If you run out of a needed resource, you cannot
build. In some of the longer, more difficult missions, near the
end of the battle, resources become very limited. I actually ran
out of both plastic AND electricity during the final mission of
the game. I had to melt down buildings I controlled in order to
create soldiers in order to attack the last remaining enemy
units and buildings. In other missions, you might find that you
run out of electricity but have plenty of plastic. You can
therefore, only build military units, not tanks or helicopters.
The game is very well balanced. In true Army Men fashion, you
collect the resources a number of creative ways. In some
missions you melt down plastic toys found out in the garden, or
deplete a battery lying near your base. All of the missions take
place in various rooms or areas around a ‘real world’ house.
At one point, the enemy is found to be powering their base using
the output from a PS2, complete with games and controller lying
around the room.
The AI is a
lot better than I expected. Especially for your dump truck units
(which are used for the collection of resources.) These units
have no offensive capabilities, and are exceptionally good at
avoiding, or running from danger. Very important, since if you
lose too many, you are probably going to lose the game. Also the
units recognize when you are running low on a certain resource,
and instead of continuing to deplete an unneeded resources, they
will attempt to locate a needed one. Impressive.
the 15 missions in Campaign mode, this game has a TON of replay.
By completing ‘bonus objectives’ within a mission, you score
either a bronze, silver, or gold medal. For each gold medal you
receive you unlock either a new "Great Battles", or
"Special Operations" mission. Incase you aren’t
paying attention, that means that you can DOUBLE the number of
available missions. Not to mention that there is a fair number
of units and vehicles to research. You can eventually call in
paratroopers, or bombing runs, and even research an aerial
magnifying glass to melt enemy buildings. Lots’o’fun.
that as I review more and more ‘fully 3D’ games, the
constant gripe present in nearly every game is the shoddy camera
controls. Well, no change there. And again, I don’t understand
it, since it seems to be an easy fix. You have control over the
"zoom", but cannot rotate the camera. It’s not as
big a problem as in most platformers, but the camera does at
times get stuck in an awkward position making some units
difficult to select or control. Otherwise, the graphics
themselves are top-notch. The transitions between animations and
gameplay are seamless, meaning the animation images are taken
straight from the gameplay. And the game never slows down, or
falters, even with thirty or more units onscreen at one time.
Sound and music are also very well handled. I even thought at
one point that the music score was almost too good. Like it
really was from some award-winning movie, instead of a
teen-rated video game. Again, great job 3DO.
addictive, with lots of gameplay
story, and mission animations
- What fans
have been waiting for
translation of controls to console game
- Lacks some
of the more complex controls common in the genre
- Not overly
somewhat of a ‘beginner’ RTS game. The controls are easy to
learn and the button controls are almost intuitive. Fans of the
genre might be disappointed at the lack of complexity, but
although the ‘strategy’ aspect might not be as complex as it
is when using a mouse and keyboard combination on the PC, the
gameplay holds it’s own against other similar games. Finally,
a console RTS with a control scheme, and gameplay that is not
only playable, but also fast, and addictive. Add the great
control translation, and the gameplay to the often hilarious
animations, characters, and clever missions, and 3DO has a
winner. Even veteran PC RTS fans should give this one a try.