Like a package of Fizzy Milk, life is filled with disruptive crap we just don't need. I'm barkin' about things that are not only useless and unwanted, but often taint anything wholesome that they come in contact with. For example, Puff Daddy, who has nearly single-handedly ruined all of my favorite old '70's jams. And then there's that canine king of uselessness that turned a brilliant and riveting mystery show into the laughingstock of Saturday morning television. Scrappy Doo is his name, and being a waste of space and destroying good whodunits is apparently his game.
Unfortunately, the Army Men games have quickly fallen into this vat of unnecessary goo. Just add a dash of Steven Segal, a pinch of cilantro, stir and serve hot. Voila! Completely useless flambé.
Army Men: Sarge's Heroes 2 is 3DO's latest sacrifice to the Well of Needless Things, though it's definitely an improvement over some of the more recent offerings of Army Men drivel. The game isn't fatally flawed, but it isn't much fun, either. Read on.
The opening is a treat, and the FMV's are all very nicely done - which seems to be the norm for 3DO's most recent wave of next-gen drink coasters. But at this point, bad FMV's are more surprising than good ones. By now, programmers should have the hang of CGI.
Ladies and gents, the fabricated word of the day is "plastrification". Plastrification, in the Army Men mythos, results in the hardening of limbs and the frightening growth of a plastic base around the feet. A person, er, plastic guy, can be plastrified (my editorial spider-sense is screaming with every scribble of this fake word) due solely to excessive amounts of time spent in an alternate world.
Why is this such a feared issue for hard-plastic army men who's ancestors were "born" with a plastic base around their feet? Maybe it's like some type of heinous de-evolution. Don't laugh! You wouldn't want to be reverted back to some single celled bottom feeder as a result of too much exposure in a place like, say...the state of Utah. That place is an alternate world.
At any rate, General Plastro, the head baddie in charge of the Tan army, had become a victim of plastrification. That is, until Brigitte Bleu rescues him with a serum created by Dr Madd. I was always told not to judge a book by its cover, but with a name like Dr. Madd you just know he's up to no-good. Now it's up to Sarge (that's you) and the rest of Bravo Company to hold the Tans at bay while trying to discover their master plan.
For the most part, the battles take place in appropriate Army Men locales. Over the course of the game's 17 levels, your mettle (actually more like your patience) will be tested on a pinball machine, in a refrigerator, a toy store, an elaborate dinner table and other accurately scaled settings. All of these places are well-textured, though they house too few enemies. But overall, the environments fit the mythos.
As opposed to the evil camera in the original Sarge's Heroes, maneuvering Sarge this time around is very easy and intuitive. Bottom triggers (L2 & R2) make your character strafe left and right. The analog stick is optional, but it offers tighter and more precise control when moving and firing simultaneously.
No man of the military worth his salt enters a fracas without being properly strapped for the occasion. Thankfully, the Sarge here is no exception. He's got an ample supply of firepower to assist him in putting the hurt on the Tans. The M-16 is standard issue, but littered through out the landscapes are shotguns, grenades, grenade launchers, sniper rifles, flame-throwers, bazookas, heavy machine guns, dynamite, stealth suits and a small compliment of power ups to increase firepower. All of these weapons are kind of neat and easy to use. The explosive artillery, like dynamite and bazookas, blow things up quite nicely.
Too bad you're up against plastic dimwits instead of plastic veterans. Although they occasionally run for cover, the Tan's primary battle strategy is to stand their ground and squeeze the trigger. This makes peppering them with machine gun fire while strafing so easy it's just plain boring.
And unfortunately, that's what you spend most of your time doing - shooting at a bunch of Tan morons. This gets redundant and eventually will drive even the most dedicated military man insane.
On some missions you will find yourself with a little company for back up, which is annoying. It's never needed. And if I let my comrade go in to get some kills, he/she always dies, ending my mission. Stupid plastic! Remind me never to recycle.
The relatively decent graphics, fine character animation and easy gameplay make Sarge's Heroes 2 a surprisingly playable Army Men game, but that isn't saying much. It's far better than Green Rogue, but so is a kick in the "dangling chads." Why does 3DO keep spitting out these unnecessary wastes of space? We don't know. But we do know that solid control and decent graphics don't automatically make a game good. Truthfully, I would rather go to the local carnival and see the spider-baby.