The Army Men series, once a promising venture, has faced dwindling success in recent years. However, with the launch of the Game Boy Advance, 3DO saw an opportunity to breathe new life into the franchise.
Army Men Advance takes players on a familiar journey, pitting Sarge and Vikki against the nefarious General Plastro and his tan figurine army. Together, they embark on missions ranging from rescues to investigations, all with the aim of thwarting world domination.
A Battle of Controls: Simplicity Meets Frustration
While the controls are straightforward, they falter in execution. Firing weapons, tossing grenades, and movement are managed with the A and B buttons and directional pad. However, in tight spaces, maneuvering becomes a cumbersome task.
Delayed responses lead to constant evasions, and avoiding enemies in narrow passages proves nearly impossible. Moreover, the absence of a continue option amplifies the frustration, forcing players to restart missions upon defeat. Additionally, instances of character entanglement with objects hinder fluid movement.
Arsenal of Armaments: Weapons and Gameplay Variety
Players wield an array of weapons, from the trusty M-16 to flamethrowers and bazookas. Each serves a purpose, providing strategic advantages in different scenarios. The introduction of gunboats and tanks diversifies gameplay, offering a break from standard third-person shooting.
Piloting these vehicles through enemy-infested terrains adds a layer of excitement. The ability to control fellow soldiers and access their unique weapons adds further depth to the experience. However, the absence of multiplayer modes leaves a void in replayability.
Visuals and Audio: A Mixed Bag
Army Men Advance employs an isometric perspective, creating a pseudo 3D environment with 2D sprites. Environments, though reminiscent of previous installments, lack vibrancy, often appearing monotonous.
Sparse detailing and limited enemy variety contribute to visual repetition. The audio, featuring basic sound effects and military-themed tunes, fails to leave a lasting impression.
The Verdict: A Franchise at a Crossroads
Despite attempts to reinvigorate the Army Men series, Army Men Advance falls short of expectations. Lackluster graphics, unpolished controls, and limited gameplay depth relegate it to the lower ranks of Game Boy Advance titles.
While it may find a niche with younger players, its challenges and design flaws may prove frustrating. With a plethora of standout titles available at the GBA’s launch, Army Men Advance struggles to make a compelling case for itself.
March Onward with Army Men Advance – Where Every Mission is a Triumph!
Army Men Advance, though earnest in its attempt to revitalize the franchise, falls short of delivering a standout gaming experience. Its shortcomings in controls and graphics detract from the potential it holds. While it may hold some appeal for younger audiences, it struggles to compete in a market saturated with superior titles.
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