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
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.
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.