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Army Men Air Attack 2
Score: 82%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: 3DO
Developer: 3DO
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1- 2
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:
Take one look at Army Men Air Attack 2 for the PS2 and it is plain to see that the graphics have been dramatically improved, taking good advantage of the power of the new system. Environments are far smoother and objects are more detailed. The levels look good and include such interesting locations as a Japanese garden, a western area complete with fort, a molten lava area and a toxic waste dump. I'm not sure how the whole toxic waste dump fits in with the toy motif, though. Even here in Louisiana, most parents don't let their kids play in toxic waste dumps, but I digress. ;) The FMVs, however, are identical to the ones found in the PSX version. No changes there. They tell the story well, but chances are you'll bypass them to get into the action.

In the sound department, don't look for big changes over the PSX version, either. That's not to say they were bad to begin with, by any means. You'll still find nice weapon explosions and decent sound effects. The voiceovers are pretty good as well, with just enough over-the-top attitude. However, in the final battle, you WILL go mad as the Baron repeats the same few taunting phrases over and over and over again. Oh how I wish 3DO would have added a few more phrases or just didn't have them repeat so often. The background music is fitting for each level, and although I don't think you'll be humming it after the fact, it works very well during gameplay.

For those fo you who aren't familiar with the Army Men universe and the Air Attack series, you play as Captain William Blade, the leader of the Alpha Wolf Squadron for the Green Army. The battle between the Green and the Tan rages on as General Plastro, the Tan's nefarious leader, has enlisted the aid of Baron Von Beige, the Tan Army's one hope against the seemingly invincible Captain Blade. In AMAA2's Single Campaign, you'll fly your helicopter on 20 different missions such as recon of downed or imprisoned Green Army members or helicopter parts, defense of certain areas, attacks on key Tan holdings and so on. There are several helicopters to choose from, as well as 4 main co-pilots, each with a special weapon. The missions are entertaining and a fairly good mix of action.

You can also grab a partner and do any of the levels cooperatively. This helps on some of the levels where it never seems like you don't have enough time to do everything. It's a nice touch and I like the fact that the players can go their separate ways inside the levels. There are also 4 Head to Head games including a capture the flag, deathmatch and others. These are not bad, although I had a hard time getting anyone to play them with me. Of course, that is because I am a vicious competitor and a really bad loser. Umm, nevermind. But anyway, the real staying power of AMAA2 is the Single Player.

Hmmm. The difficulty is kind of inconsistent in AMAA2 as some levels you can breeze through and others are an absolute beeyotch. Sure, the difficulty is supposed to ramp up as you progress, but Lordy. In some of the later levels, the enemy AI gets wicked hard, as the Tan choppers seem to anticipate your every move and dodge before you can even think to shoot them. Ugh. And don't get me started on the final battle with Von Beige. Cheap, cheap, cheap. He has this weapon, see? Triple Bombs o' Death I call it. If he gets you square on with this, you die, even with full health. Now, keep in mind that he can be completely across the level (and you can see this via the map) and can still cap your ass with these wonderful bombs. How? Is it Tan Army voodoo magic? I don't know, but it stinks. I can't tell you how many times I threw my controller in disgust... (did I mention I am a really bad loser?) You will too.

Game Mechanics:
The control in Air Attack 2 is pretty good. The choppers handle well and are very responsive. There are a good many weapons at your disposal and this is a good thing. I would have preferred to have all the co-pilots to choose from all the time, however, instead of being forced to use certain ones due to storyline. The winch, once again, plays a vital role in beating the game, as you are encouraged to use it to sling things at the enemies to save on ammo. For the most part, AMAA2 has a good bit to offer the fan of this genre.

Do be aware that AMAA2 is almost identical to the PSX version. Sure, it is prettier and offers the Co-Operative 2-Player option and a few added levels, but still, at its heart, it is the same game. If you already have the PSX version, you don't need the PS2 one, unless you are an Air Attack completist like me or a die-hard chopper action fan. Its not bad, its just not different enough to warrant getting it if you already own the PSX version.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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