Army Men 3D is a great concept marred by lousy control, sub-par graphics and a lot of cheap shots that will frustrate the most patient gamer.
The one thing hardest to understand about Army Men 3D is why it was released now. It's not ready. It missed the lucrative Christmas rush already, so why not take the time, make a great game and get it out in April, May or June, when it's open season on anything good and gamers are dying for a great game to buy? It doesn't make sense to me, as to why 3DO think they needed to rush this game out the door, NOW!
The concept behind the game is genius. Base a game on something that 95% of the game buying public played with as kids and they'll love it! Sounds good to me. All of us 20 - 30 year olds would look pretty stupid playing with the plastic guys outside in the backyard sandbox. So, this way we get someone else to buy the game for us, pop it in and go back to being 5 years old (like that's such a stretch anyway for us men...). Sounds like a good time, except for the fact that I don't remember playing with army men being so damn frustrating. At least the graphics are as grainy as my pre-pubescent memories.
You take control of Sarge, a one man (Green) army fighting against the evil Tan guys. Rescue your captured men while dodging gunfire, tanks, minefields and the most terrifying weapon any plastic army man has faced, the infamous magnifying glass. Okay so that's not in the game, but it should be. In it's favour, Army Men 3D at least varies the missions Sarge must tackle. The range of objectives is the games saving grace. Although thanks to the awkward controls, finicky enemy targeting, cheap shot deaths and no mid-level save points, only the most patient need apply.
As a combat-meister your weapons include the usual implements of destruction; machine guns, bazooka's, grenades and the ever popular flamethrower. Yes they all get the job done, but let's face it, it isn't a war until someone starts lobbing grenades. Sarge can also use tanks and jeeps to eradicate the Tan menace. Unfortunately, targeting your enemy with the auto-feature can be hell on the battlefield. Since it auto-targets you don't have much say as to whom you want to take out, especially when faced with numerous enemies. Needless to say, this leads to many a game over.
The two-player mode wasn't comfortable at all. Both myself and player 2 were amazed at how difficult it was to play in this split screen mode. We didn't continue playing it for long as it was actually making him ill. So, scratch Army Men 3D if you were thinking that you could salvage a bad one player game for a decent two-player game. Uh uh.
As for the music and sound fx, they are both disappointing. It would have been amusing to hear kids making the sound fx of the machine guns and explosions, rather than what made the final cut. At least it would have been different.
Well, the jury just returned to their seats and the verdict is in: Army Men 3D is Guilty of not being very much fun. The only thing that is worth keeping from this game is the concept. If the control, graphics and camera get a re-tooling then a sequel could be something special. They say War is Hell, but I didn't think it would be this bad.