Game Over Online ~ Army Men II

GameOver Game Reviews - Army Men II (c) 3DO Studios, Reviewed by - Rebellion

Game & Publisher Army Men II (c) 3DO Studios
System Requirements Pentium 90, 16 MB Ram, DirectX 6.0
Overall Rating 75%
Date Published Wednesday, February 17th, 1999 at 12:49 PM

Divider Left By: Rebellion Divider Right

Sarge is back in 3DO's latest installment of Army Men. New levels and new weapons are at your disposal as you rally your greens to o battle with the evil tans. Magical portals into other worlds smear the boundaries between what is real and what is plastic. Conspirators from the Blue and the Gray armies will aid you at times and kill you at another time.

The original Army Men wasn't particularly revolutionary, but it did have a certain persona that made it have a unique feel. It wasn't one of the more entertaining games, but nonetheless, it had its own little bit of charm. While I wasn't a big fan of the original, I was interested in what 3DO had done and therefore interested in the sequel.

Army Men 2 expands a bit off the original, using some new and better designed levels. AM1 was primarily outside and most of the missions seemed to use generic, bland trees and grass, with little of interest to the gamer. AM2 adds some more interesting levels, like the kitchen countertop and the front lawn (with its pink flamingo). Level design in AM2 is probably the biggest step up from AM1.

Graphically, it hasn't come very far from the original. Backgrounds are still grainy looking and the color is still pretty uninteresting. AM2 does add a lot of scenery to the boring forests. One level has you at an airbase and another will have you fighting at a train yard. Like I mentioned before, the level design is nicely done and a lot more interesting when compared to AM1. It's still not up to the graphics par of other RTS style games we've seen in the past year or so.

The audio is decently done. There's a good bit of speech from Sarge, though he's sort of a Duke3D takeoff, and occasional quips from the other men. There's also some voice-overs when certain objectives have been reached or from the enemy when reaching a certain location. Weapon noises are average as vehicles and explosions. The sound is adequate for an RTS but other then the semi-humorous speech, it's nothing outstanding.

It plays decently as a RTS game. The control hasn't changed much from the original. Control can be done by mouse, by keyboard, or by both. This makes it a little bit more complicated then the average RTS and the mouse implementation is a bit non-standard, so it takes some practice. I still think the mouse control could be better done, but it does do what it's supposed to.

Games range from rescue missions to evacuations, from protection to assassination. It's a very good assortment of mission types. Sarge is the main character, although there will be different units to join for certain missions. Some units will carry over to the next mission, so it's of good interest to keep them alive. AI isn't particularly impressive, but the AI is suited for the missions. It does, however, have a decent pathfinding process. Units could go from point A to point B pretty easily. It may have been a little overdone, since units would prefer to go their own way instead of going in a straight line.

Entertainment was decent from AM2. I got bored of AM1 pretty fast, even though it was a unique game. AM2 held my attention a little bit longer, but it's still not a gripping game. Sometimes I got frustrated by the game being difficult at times, but for the most part, I thought the levels were a little too time consuming for the challenge level.

Multiplayer is worthy enough of an addition to give AM a little bit more replay. If you're big into the game, the multiplayer is good. It has some great ways to play, including king of the hill and capture the flag. AM2 uses DirectPlay so you have all of the usual methods of multiplayer. It also lets you fill slots with computer players. It only supports a max of four players, but the boards are small so there's plenty of action. You can also play custom maps to give a little extra flavor.

Army Men 2 is a decent title, but it still can't pass for a great RTS. It has differences which make it a good look for those turned off by the everyday RTS. If you enjoyed the original, AM2 won't displease you. The enhancements over AM1 are pretty significant from at least the level design aspect. If 3DO gets to building a new engine for AM, they could get a hold of a great game. Until then, Army Men still comes off looking a little bland, playing a little sloppy, and looking a little immature.

Highs: different, improves over the original
Lows: Small Soldiers syndrome - looks like kiddy, but is complicated, graphics need work


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