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Army Men: Green Rogue
Score: 48%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: 3DO
Developer: 3DO
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:
The graphics in Army Men: Green Rogue are definitely a step up from the old-time graphics on the PSOne, but they're still not too terribly impressive. The world is a relatively muddled world of low-resolution textures, and even then things seem to run too slowly for comfort. Perhaps that was a conscious choice of the developers, to make dodging bullets a little easier, but nonetheless it's disconcerting. And the framerate actually drops whenever there's more than a few enemies on the screen. Considering the power of the beast that this game is running on, that's a frightening prospect. And the repetitive levels and graphics don't particularly help the situation.

On a positive note, Green Rogue sports some of the best FMV that 3DO has ever put out. Sharp and beautiful, it's almost worth renting the game to see the FMVs.


The sound effects are weak and uninspired, with gunfire sounding like someone spitting in the wind and explosions sounding tinny and ineffective. It doesn't help that the sound seems to cut out at times, quieting down immensely so that the music takes over. There's voice acting, but it's not particularly impressive either -- the Rogue's attempt to sound like a badass ends up making him sound like someone trying to sound like a badass. Er. In any event, the things that are said are usually pointless and inane. The music is passable, neither too terribly annoying nor spectacular. It tries to be a pounding war-techno thing with overtones of both action and Army Men, but it ends up failing on both accounts. You probably won't feel the need to mute it, but it's definitely not impressive.

Chances are great, however, that you'll feel the need to throw Green Rogue out the window after playing it for a while. Mind-numblingly repetitive, buggy, and hackeneyed, Green Rogue offers nothing new to the world of gaming and ends up making you feel worse for the wear after playing it.

The intro FMV explains the Green Rogue. Created from the combined 'DNA' [read: plastic] of various elite Army Men, the Rogue is something of a super-powerful combatant. You must fight your way out of the jungle you crashland in and blah blah blah. The game gives up any intention of a real plot almost as soon as it starts -- basically, blast anything that moves that isn't you.

The game is on rails, and it's constantly moving forward. While this makes sense in a game like Panzer Dragoon, it's pretty nonsensical for a game where the main character starts moving on foot. Is there some sort of magnet pulling you forwards? Indeed, I almost got stuck at one point where the game wasn't backing me up enough after getting in a corner. Bad coding, folks.

There are a number of weapons, and each can be upgraded. These upgrades occur by picking up a powerup with the same weapon you're using. Unfortunately, the power ups cycle through the various weapons [and health], and they all look very similar, making it something of a crapshoot. Quite a few weapons are nearly useless as well -- anything that fires slowly is generally not worth it -- making the fact that you can only carry one weapon at a time amazingly frustrating.

What's even more frustrating is the way the engine tries to be clever. By putting enemies in weird locations, you have to use the 'aim up' button to hit them. This is all well and good, but the items that they drop often get stuck in inaccessible locations. Whee.

The game's slowness is also frustrating. When you see bullets coming at you and you have enough time to dodge, it's a little silly but understandable. But when rockets take seconds to cross the area, and are impossible to aim properly, it's downright stupid.

And the worst part is that the game just isn't fun. Killing Tan after Tan after Tan gets more tedious than anything else, and since gameplay consists of basically holding down the fire button and moving around and aiming, there's really not much to be had here. After playing for ten minutes you've seen just about as much as someone who plays to the end of the game -- if any one is actually ever that desperate.

There's a two-player mode. I couldn't convince anyone else to play the game with me.

Green Rogue can be amazingly challenging, but it doesn't come from the core game so much as it comes from the horrible problems with the game. You can shoot an enemy at point-blank range and not hit them. Bullets will go through certain enemies, such as the shark sub. Aiming up a slope is an exercise in frustration. Aiming any non-rifle weapon is a crapshoot. Placing enemies in almost impossible-to-reach locations with large weapons to kill you with is a common occurance.

See a theme here?

Game Mechanics:
To 'play' Green Rogue, you must use both of the analog sticks. The left one moves your character around the screen, and the right one changes where he aims. It's a simple enough concept, but the execution is marred by the inherent flaws in the game engine. Powerups will often be in inaccessible locations. Bullets will pass through enemies with nary a scratch. The framerate stutters in large firefights. The idea of having only one weapon at a time is ludicrous, and the way that weapons change [alternating powerups] is so old-school as to be downright silly. The menus are Spartan almost to an extreme, but they're perhaps the most playable part of the entire game.

Although I see where 3DO was trying to go with Army Men: Green Rogue -- it smacks of Ikari Warriors more than anything else -- the game trips, stumbles, and falls flat on its face. Repetitive, buggy, and downright boring, I can only imagine the type of people that would get real enjoyment out of Green Rogue. And I fear them. I can heartily recommend to everyone to stay away from this game, unless you rent it to see the nice FMV. In a word: ugh.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

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