It’s not easy being green.
Life in the 21st century sure ain’t easy. The price of energy has skyrocketed,
schools are no longer safe, and the President of the United States bears a startling
resemblance to a chimpanzee.
Each day when I drive home from work, I notice the poor folks who have fallen
on hard times. These unfortunate individuals are often forced to do degrading
things in order to survive this harsh, unforgiving world. Most resort to begging,
some steal, and the rest make Army Men games.
Army Men: Green Rogue marks the next chapter in the ongoing nightmare
that is the Army Men saga. The Tans have gained the upper hand in the
war and the situation for the Greens is looking grim. In an effort to create
a super soldier, DNA has been sucked from the Green’s finest warriors and melted
into a single body known as Omega. In an “original” turn of events, Omega ends
up lost in Tan territory and must fight his way through hordes of enemy soldiers
single-handedly. Bet you didn’t see that one coming.
The result of Omega’s adventures in Tan land is a “High-Tech Arcade Shooter”
for the Playstation 2. High tech for the early 1980s, that is. In actuality,
Green Rogue is a low-tech vertical scrolling shooter that might have
been cool if it had only been released about two decades ago.
The problems start off early, as a horrific control scheme renders the game
nearly impossible to play. You use one analog stick for movement and another
to aim. While this scheme may have worked for other cool games like Virtual
On, Robotron and Cloak & Dagger, it wreaks complete havoc
in Green Rogue. In short, aiming your weapon is like beating Sal
Magicpants: it just can’t be done without dying a lot.
This leads to an interesting assortment of weapons that fall into one of two
classes: totally inaccurate at close range and completely inaccurate at long
range. Using a rifle, grenade launcher, or bazooka basically guarantees that
you won’t be able to hit the guy standing right in front of you. On the other
hand, using a flamethrower often renders you unable to kill any of the plastic
men more than a few steps away. This might not have been so bad had you been
able to carry several weapons at once, but players are forced to make due with
a single implement of war at a time. Looks like you’ll just have to pick your
As you are forcefully pushed through 16 levels of excruciatingly painful gameplay
(no, you can’t stop), you’ll encounter brainless hordes of Tan soldiers who
can only kill with mass fire tactics. They don’t really do much outside of standing
and shooting, but I suppose the developers decided that the pathetic targeting
scheme made the game difficult enough.
game’s graphics are ultra-plain, leaving me to wonder if a PSX game somehow
snuck into a PS2 box. It’s almost as if someone thought that “3D” automatically
makes graphics look “amazing.”
On top of theese problems, plenty of other stupid mistakes come up. On one
occasion, I completed a level and was asked if I wanted to continue without
saving. Not wanting to waste any precious memory on this game, I answered “yes.”
Wrong answer. I was not allowed to do any such thing. So when I finally gave
in and answered “no,” it let me go on. And now my memory card is tainted.
There are even errors within the Army Men world. Just in case you didn’t
know, the motto for the Army Men games is “Real Combat. Plastic Men.” The story
goes that Omega was created from the DNA of Sarge and his heroes. The last time
I checked, there was no DNA in plastic, so can someone please tell me how you
extract DNA from plastic men?
Furthermore, Omega has the ability to execute a “Bio-Strike” that eliminates
all enemies around him. How can a biological weapon kill plastic men? It’s like
giving the ebola virus to your left shoe. If you’re going to create a fantasy
world, at least make it consistent.
It’s hard to believe, but there are actually some genuinely good things going
on here. One is the CG. The cut-scene plastic men have never looked better,
but this is definitely the kind of thing that’s fast becoming the norm for the
The best thing about Green Rogue, however, isn’t even in the game.
It’s the packaging! The box for Green Rogue contains a place to stash
you memory card! I’ve seen this before in Japanese PS2 games and have no idea
why more companies aren’t doing this over in the States. The box guy gets the
genius award for this project.
Army Men: Green Rogue is a take on the old school vertical-scrolling
shooters gone horribly wrong. Its simplicity is shattered by terrible control
and the fun factor diminishes at the speed of light. Someone needs to recycle
this plastic and make something more useful, like a toilet paper holder.