Review by KFHEWUI
3DO and Army Men go out with a bang
After many years of fighting, a peace treaty is on the verge of being signed by the tan and green armies, and at the peace treaty signing, a bomb detonates and kills every one and not only Sarge's friends but his love, Vikki dies on that day. Sarge, the sole survivor, has only one thing on his mind, and that is revenge so he starts his one man war against the enemies responsible for such an act that turns out to be a renegade tan squadron.
Army Men: Sarge's War is not only 3DO's final game, but it also brought a lot of changes to the series. The story in this game is lot darker and takes a more serious tone instead of being light hearted, and it actually works. There is nice amount of story development that leads up to some nice twists including a dark memory from when Sarge was new to battle.
The game is split into three campaigns, and the first and third campaigns only have three levels apiece. The second campaign is the longest with six levels. For one final time, the player will get to control Sarge, and this game received a lot of changes from the previous games. The camera still moves behind Sarge like the previous games but this time there is camera control so the player can look around the corner and try and spot enemies before running head first into a death trap. The biggest and best addition is the lock on feature which now players can lock onto enemies or they can hold down "R" to aim freely. This is a great addition to the series, and it really helps tone down some of the difficulty of previous games. As for the rest of the controls, they are standard Army Men affair, and the controls are solid and responsive. It does not take too long to grasp the controls. Boot camp is included which allows the player to play through it and learn the lay out of the controls.
Music also now has a more serious tone, and it plays throughout the levels unlike most previous games where the levels were silent. Barry Blum performs the soundtrack again, and it is perfect. Each track fits the mood of the levels, and it is unforgettable. The sound effects are decent, and the guns sound okay. Explosions and screams of enemies are great, and the voice acting for the game is not that bad although Sarge has deep scratchy sounding voice now.
Sarge's War looks good, and the textures are clean and crisp, and the models look great. When Sarge and the enemies take damage they will lose limbs, and this time the player can shot off limbs. I found it humorous to watch enemies leap around on one leg or to run around with no head even more enjoyable is the melting animation which is great as enemies slowly melt into a puddle of liquid plastic. The CG cut scenes look good, but there is only a handful throughout the game. The final cut scene is unforgettable.
The single player campaign is composed of twelve levels, and each level is broken up into several sections. There is no load time between each section, and the load times for the game are quite good and are only a few second longs before the start of each level. At the start of every section is a checkpoint, new to the series, so that the player does not have to restart the level over every time they die. Every level will take about ten minutes or longer to complete except for the final level which is just a boss fight.
Every level has several objectives, and the objectives range from destroy tan weapons, finding hidden entrances to tan bases, etc. Along with the primary objectives there are also secondary objectives, and these objectives are usually find war plans and tan flags. Completing these bonus objectives will reward the player with an award. There are several different awards that are collectible, but they do nothing. One issue I have with this game which is one of the changes that is not good is that there is no way to replay levels, and in past games when loading the game, it brings up a screen with each campaign and any level can be selected. This time loading a file takes the player straight to the next level. After checking the manual and trying to find a level select option, I could not find one. The single player campaign takes place in desert (sandbox), toy town, basement, kitchen, war torn green city, and tan facility to name a few of the levels.
Along the way Sarge will have numerous types of enemies to fight including spotters (call in air strikes), snipers, helicopters, tank, APC (can carry tan soldiers), grenadiers, green eaters (armed with either flamethrowers or machine gun), and a new type of enemy that can turn invisible (only flamethrower will work). These enemies start out weak, but as the game progresses, they become tougher. The game is actually well balanced except for two levels (9 and 12), and these two levels are extremely cheap. Level 12 is the final boss, but enemies endlessly generate and get tougher as the fight continues. Level 9 starts out with the player being overwhelmed by a massive amount of enemies from the get go. There are three different difficulties to choose from which do help add some replay value.
Sarge is equipped with a wide variety of weapons to combat the enemies, and his arsenal includes: grenades, sniper rifle, bazooka, flamethrower, assault rifle, automatic rifle, carbine rifle, shotgun, HGM (heavy machine gun), and mounted guns (only at certain parts throughout the game). Ammo for the weapons is usually hidden in boxes but sometimes is hidden in the open. Sarge can also collect armor and health, and the enemies will also drop health when killed however it only stays around for a short time and does not restore much health.
Multiplayer is included which allows for up to four players at once, but the multiplayer is very limited. There are only four maps and three game modes which are Deathmatch, Team Advance, and Capture the Flag, but even with the limited options, especially the amount of level since there were twelve in the single player campaign but only four in multiplayer, the multiplayer can still be quite fun and enjoyable.
Army Men: Sarge's War marks the end of not only a series but a company, and it was one heck of a game to go out on. The game is very solid, and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Although I must admit it almost brought tears to my eyes because this is not only the last Army Men game, but it would be the final time playing as Sarge. Although the series was uneven with some good and some bad games, I thoroughly enjoyed the series and miss it.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Army Men: Sarge's War (US, 08/21/04)
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