When Legos revolt!
I remember a couple of years ago I wanted to get a link cable for my Playstation. No reason in particular, I just wanted one. Eventually, I picked up the PSX version of Command and Conquer. My friend Aaron and I played for days on end, only leaving the couch to greet the pizza guy. The only drawback was the powerful sense of real military battle that I just didn't want my kids to witness.
Late-night gaming is fun, but not when that's all you can do. If only there were a game that played like Command and Conquer, but I could play in front of my precious children...
...enter Team Buddies, the perfect solution to my dilemma. Team Buddies takes the strategy and action of real-time battle and sugarcoats it with loads of humor and cartoon characters. Though there's no link cable support (not suprising), the two-player split-screen is loads of fun and has more options than the boys from 'N SYNC at a high school dance.
The Buddies are a race of bizarre little Lego-esque dudes. They lived a peaceful life, until one day an ominous airship flew overhead, dropping crates across the landscape. Curious, the Buddies smashed open these crates, and, lo and behold...GUNS! And lots of 'em...more than enough to go around. The Buddies had never seen such things and were fascinated, which led, of course, to rampant carnage and segregation. The once peaceful Buddies now had a taste for power, and they were hungry.
Graphically, Team Buddies is crisp and clean. The environments are cutesy and fun; buildings do the "Jell-O-mold wobble" when hit and the Buddies squash flat when driven over with a vehicle. There are also silly elements like bulls that ram anyone nearby, friend or foe, and medics that heal wounded Buddies with a bicycle pump. The audio is top-notch, with very funny sound effects and constant wisecracks from everyone.
The gameplay is pretty complex for a game that seems so childish. A mix between a pure action romp and a strategy game, Team Buddies has you running around as the various Buddies, doing your best to complete the objectives for each mission. This also requires constant building of new Buddies, weapons and vehicles while simultaneously ordering troops around; fight here, guard there, and generally wreak havoc on the opposition.
Building troops, weapons and vehicles requires the crates that constantly fall from the sky. There is a stacking pad next to each base; different stack patterns produce different results. When you have stacked the pattern for the item you want, give the crate a swift kick, and viola - crate open, weapon procured. Be careful, though - sometimes crates in your area are limited, so build wisely.
The missions are a hoot. You'll have various objectives, everything from simply destroying all other colors to repossessing your bike and squashing the culprits. Each time you complete a mission in the single-player mode (there are 64!), a new option opens in the multi-player.
Multi-player plays like the skirmish mode in C&C. You choose from 1-4 teams, each being either AI or human opponent. Each picks a color, everyone decides on a mode and a weapon level and goes for the gusto.
Team Buddies has some of the most creative ideas for multi-player that I have seen in a long time. There's the typical free-for-all Last Man Standing game, or things like Domination mode where one team must tip all of the trash cans over while the other must try to keep them upright. Then there's Capture mode, where you must whack stray dogs to stun them and carry them to your base to collect points. The ASPCA might not like it, but I do.
Despite its childish overtones, Team Buddies is a very good game, combining humor and fun with strategy and competition. The single player missions are both challenging and fun, and the multiplayer has enough options to be interesting on through the next millennium.