Army Men, a series of titles deemed by the majority as pretty much just a collection of average, uninspiring games. Out now for the PC, the newest game in the series is taking a new approach to the army men world. Aptly named, Army Men: RTS is the game's first dive into the pure real-time strategy environment. Does 3DO's latest attempt at the genre offer enough to get rid of the series' semi-bad name? Read on and you might end up giving this one a try... maybe.
The graphics in this game definitely aren't the next big thing, especially when compared to Empire Earth, but they still offer a nice amount of eye candy. Textures are bright and crisp and the buildings' and units' models seem to have a nice polygon count. The scenery is also presented nicely. The game is complete with fully polygonal grass, baseball bats, doghouses, and other various backyard and indoor objects.
Sounds / Music
Army Men: RTS isn't going to receive any awards for sound, but the sound was still pretty clean and fit the atmosphere of the game. The background music had (what sounded like) snare drums, which of course goes hand in hand with the army. The sounds effects were also pleasantly presented, with troops yelling "Yes, sir!" and with the usually sound of gunfire and explosions.
Gameplay in Army Men: RTS is pretty basic when it comes to being a RTS. You start out with a bulldozer to build your buildings with, working up the technology "tree" until you are finally able to obtain any possible unit the game has to offer. Unfortunately, the tree seems to be missing a few branches. It doesn't take very long at all to build each and every building type available in the game. Hardcore RTS fans, or even some casual ones, will quickly be bored by this, as you find yourself flying through the base building process very quickly. The number of different units at your disposal is also limited, causing the same problem as the shortage of buildings.
Then there's the very basic RTS routine of hunting through the "fog of war" to find your enemy's base, and then demolishing the base with bigger and better units. Not to say this is bad (it was still fun to do), but I was doing this same exact thing back in the days of Warcraft I and II. It would've been nice to see some innovation in this area.
The game isn't all bad - I actually had a fair amount of fun with this title. That's compared to the fair amount of hatred I had for previous Army Men titles. The problem came when I was growing tired of the simplicity after I had seen every type of building and unit in about ten minutes. Gameplay is definitely geared more towards the beginner RTS player.
The multiplayer mode is everything you'd expect from a RTS game, and nothing more. You can set up your game for up to eight players, including the availability of having computer opponents. Basically, you build your base as quick as you can, and then try and demolish your enemies. If you destroy your enemy he has three minutes to establish a base again, otherwise he faces defeat. Not much different than the basic gameplay seen in the single-player mode, but playing with friends is always a blast.
Army Men: RTS is pretty good for being an Army Men game, but it really only appeals to the beginner or the laid-back RTS player. The hilarious cut-scenes offer more value, because everyone loves comedy, right? Bottom line: For most people this game is good, but could've been great given deeper gameplay and a little innovation.