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"No green soldier ever won a war by melting for his country..." Those immortal words can only come from one source. Yep, Sarge, the hero of the Green plastic Army, is back taking his war across countertops, through hallways, and into the backyard, fighting for the Green way of life.
The original Army Men 3D quietly sneaked up on us as it surprisingly turned out to be one of last years better action games. It looked and felt just like you were playing with plastic toy soldiers. This time the stakes are high. For if the Tan Army manages to secure the explosive sky rockets, horrific magnifying glasses, or the dreaded Garbage Disposal, the balance between good and evil could be shifted forever.
Sound and Vision:
"War is not all black and white... it's Green and Tan." Further immortal words of wisdom from the man with more classic quotes to his name than Sir Winston Churchill. The intro is once more paraded as an Army Men public information film as The Green Plastic News neatly combining pre-rendered colorful images with crackly, black and white plastic war footage.
You don't need to run the latest Army Men game alongside the original title to realize that big changes have been going on behind the scenes. Obviously a brand new game engine has been brought in by 3DO as the depth of color is now truly stunning. Every item of terrain has been smoothly sculptured from seamless polygons providing a highly detailed and richly cultivated battleground.
If it's personal comments you are after then I must say that the original graphics offered far more realism than these do. The slightly misty horizon gave an eerie battlefield effect, whereas the fogging here seems to have been implemented because of viewing limitations. The re-draw distance is much shorter and scenery gradually appears as you move forward. This doesn't really affect the gameplay, although your task is made much easier by edging forward until you can just see the outline of a statuesque enemy.
Also evident is that the graphics now race along in a much higher resolution bringing back that growing issue where some members of the gaming public suffer from vision problems. It maybe worth running the game prior to purchase if high-res games sometimes make you feel dizzy.
Playing environments are constantly changing throughout the game. Some levels in Plastic World place Sarge right in the middle of a fierce engagement on an open battlefield. Others, due to the continuing portal story, see him warped off into another dimension. In the Real World the 2-inch tall soldier must negotiate human size obstacles such as wandering through a gigantic flowerbed, or performing a search and rescue around the rim of enormous bathtub. Very Micro-Machines!
The visual effects of war are again impressive with long trails of flak following from each bullet fired. There is also a neat smoke effect following a direct hit with a missile. Apparently the game features Plastosheen lighting effects giving the soldiers an amazing plastic sheen. One lives and learns!
The sound effects are excellent. During the heat of a battle you almost want to duck and dodge the sound of incoming fire as missiles whistle towards their target and bullets ricochet all around. Once again the military background music constantly booms out in time with the action, while later in the game it gets quite funky with a few reggae tunes thrown in for good measure. Between each level there are lengthy CG movies, which tie it all together superbly.
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