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Army Men: Air Attack 2
Score: 89%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: 3DO
Developer: 3DO
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:
Smooth graphics and brilliant surroundings are what will greet you with 3DO's chopper sequel Army Men Air Attack 2. Many of the levels are themed and very well thought out. Among my favorites are the western levels with the oh-so-perfect cowboy tunes plunking in the background and the Japanese garden level, where tinkling strains of Oriental music can be heard. Again, there are Our World and also Their World levels, so things always stay fresh and you don't get bored with the same old thing. And don't get me started on the cool little objects (all interactive with the winch!) scattered about the levels. Everything from toys to cell phones to mouse traps can be found here. Did I mention the nifty enemies? Sure, your tan bad guys are here, but they have also enlisted the help of Rottweilers, dinosaurs (in the Japanese garden level, of course!), insects and more.

Also new to AMAA2 are the video pop-up windows. This way, you can see your co-pilot as they talk to you or watch Col. Grimm as he derides you for screwing up the mission. It's a nice touch that helps to bring the characters more to life. Also, there are more FMV's than there were in AMAA and they really help to bring the story together. Not just at the beginning either - they are sprinkled between missions as well. News headlines at the end of each mission tell the tail of whether you succeeded or failed, and they show no mercy if you failed. All of these extra touches help to make AMAA2 a much better gaming experience than its predecessor.

If there's one thing Air Attack 2 has, it's gameplay. You once again reprise the role of Capt. Blade, fearless helicopter pilot leading the green army to victory via the skies. You begin with only the King Cobra chopper and the lovely Bombshell as your co-pilot, but as the plot unfolds, more helicopters and co-pilots are added to your arsenal. Each chopper and co-pilot has distinct weapons and skills or handling, so choose carefully depending on what mission you will be undertaking. You'll be required to defend bases, save team members, engage in recon missions, build forts, take out enemy installments and much, much more.

The action is generally hot and heavy with plenty of gunfire to satisfy even the most trigger happy among you. Mastery of the winch can be very useful in times of short ammo, and in some levels, winch use is essential. There are also mini-challenges within each level and by completing these, you can open up new helicopters or upgrade weapons, so snag that blue plastic that you come across. Oh, and you'll notice a few toy friends who come to your assistance in various levels. Step back and let them take the heat for a while. Trust me, the tan army will definitely shoot at a giant eggplant who looks surprisingly like Mr. Potato Head. A little disturbing.

So, what if you have friends? There are also 6 different Head to Head modes such as Flag-Nab-It and Aerial Assault, and the 22 level single person Campaign mode can also be played in Cooperative mode. I found the most enjoyment in the single player Campaign as there is no fighting for screen space and you can focus on the mission at hand. The multi-player modes are a nice diversion, but the single player Campaign is where AMAA2 shines

A little green helicopter. Some tan plastic guys. How hard can it be, you say? It can be very hard. And also very easy. It just depends on the level and also on your skill and efficiency in weilding the winch. If you master throwing the winch around with precision, you will do very well. Your ammo will easily last you the entire level and you'll eliminate groups of enemies in one fell swoop. Or choose not to learn the winch and play it the hard way - the really hard way. There is plenty of challenge in AMAA2, so don't expect to jump in and beat the game in one sitting. The difficulty has been ramped up considerably since AMAA and this is a good thing. I find it to be on a more even keel in AMAA2, whereas in AMAA, the first group of levels were really easy and then the game suddenly turned devilishly hard. Here, you are eased into the difficulty and it gradually increases. If someone tells you this game is way too easy, they are either a former Vietnam chopper pilot or are using an invincible code.

Game Mechanics:
Your chopper's winch plays a far more important role this go round than it did before. Now, instead of having the ability to use the winch if you choose to, you are required to use it and to master not only picking up and dropping things, but hurling them at enemies. One nicely aimed Our World object can wipe out a pack of enemies instead of depleting your precious ammo. Nice. There are also some nifty power-ups such as camo, which will have you flying about disguised as a bee. Yes, a bee shooting rockets. Interesting to watch. There's also a Disruptor, which reverses your controls (it's the one with the Dreamcast symbol on it. Hmmm) and many, many more. The health seemed to be more scarce in AMAA2, but again, maybe that is to encourage you to use that winch and get them before they get you.

You use your D-pad to control your chopper and the controls are very responsive. Since each chopper and co-pilot have individual weapons assigned to them via the Square and Triangle buttons, there is no need for a weapons menu. Sending out Woodstock's Kamikaze Paratroopers will quickly become second nature. The overhead map is back again and it's a great help on the single player missions, but gets in the way on the Co-op mode. Not enough screen room. Still, it helps you get to where you need to go and you can switch it on and off when you need to.

For the most part, the enemy AI is very good. Enemy choppers and tan guys assault you with reckless abandon, Roman candles and bottle rockets never miss, and even the insects seem to get in your way just for fun at times.

To sum things up, Army Men Air Attack 2 is a good sequel to the original. More of everything you liked in AMAA is here, plus a few things you never thought of. If mission-based helicopter action is what does it for you, there isn't a finer example of the genre out there. Great graphics and sound effects, an engaging storyline and tons of action are what you'll get when you pick up Army Men Air Attack 2. And I recommend you do.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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