Review by KFHEWUI
Fast paced action game that is great to play at least once but has zero replay value
Army Men: Operation Green begins with a band of green troops landing on a beach where shortly thereafter tan soldiers launch an attack on the green troops. Every member of the group is slaughtered except for one lone green soldier. This survivor is the last hope for the green army to make Operation Green a success. Success would be a powerful blow against the tan that would greatly hurt their military force.
The story is typical cookie cutter affair for the Army Men series, and each level begins with a brief explanation of what is happening followed by the objectives. Only one level in the game has a cut scene in the middle of the level. While the story concept is generic and has been done before, the little story telling in the game is not that great however it is passable. One serious issue is how bad the pacing of the story is, and the story jumps around with three campaigns which are all randomly paced. The game starts out at a beach, but later on it jumps around from jungle levels to city levels without any rhyme or reason.
Unlike most of the Army Men games, Operation Green does not have a boot camp so it is straight to the single player campaign, but there is no multiplayer and unfortunately there is only one difficulty. Operation Green plays similar to the Game Boy Color Army Men games however with refined controls. Movement is controlled by the D-Pad however "up" and "down" moves the character forward and backwards while "left" and "right" move a reticle around that is used to show where the player will shoot. Thankfully the controls have been tighten up so aiming is very easy and moving the cursor no longer feels loose. "A" is used for firing the weapon while "B" is used for throwing grenades, and thankfully jumping into vehicles is done by simply hitting "select". The controls feel solid, and they are nicely laid out. Grasping the controls does not take too long especially for any one that has not played the GBC Army Men games.
The game is composed of thirteen levels in all and each level is massive and maze like in nature, and each level has multiple objectives that take place all over the levels which can lead to late of backtracking. Objectives range from destroy objects, find objects, rescue and escort prisoners, find portal, destroy portal, and activate object just to name a few, and to help the player from getting lost there is a map including which can be selected from the pause menu. The map shows where the player and objectives are, but the symbols can be confusing. X represents the player while an arrow represents the objectives, and it is confusing at first even after playing through most of the game, I still kept on confusing the arrow and x. As good as the map is, it can be quite confusing and navigating the levels can be troublesome due to the poor design of the map. The lack of detail on the map can make it frustrating to navigate, and the last two levels are nightmarish thanks to there being no map at all.
While the backtracking can be frustrating, luckily there is a groovy soundtrack for the game. The track for the first level has a nice pumping up vibe but strangely bears a striking resemblance to a track from Metal Slug. Each track does fit the vibe of the level, and they are great to listen to even when they loop since the levels are so long. Sound effects are decent including gun fire, helicopters flying by, and barge landing on the beach with explosions from the grenades. There is a line of spoken dialogue that sound good and is clear. Overall the quality of music and sound effects are crystal clear.
Army Men: Operation Green plays on an isometric perspective, and the map is shown at angle to match the perspective which helps making it confusing to navigate. There are plenty of tan enemies to kill along the way but there is not a large selection of enemy types including gunners, tanks, helicopters, watch tower, AA gun, trucks, kamikaze, and grenadiers. Combat is basically aim and shoot due to aiming being controlled by "left" and "right", this mean the player has to stand still and take a damage. At least that is how it used to be and strafing can be performed by holding either "L" or "R". However combat does have some issues and for watch towers, hitting them can be tricky due to the flaky hit detection system on watch tower which makes it better to avoid them instead of wasting time to destroy them. Vehicles on the other hand have a huge flaw and if the player stands on top of the vehicle, the vehicle will be disabled allowing the player to destroy them with ease.
The player starts with a machine as their default weapon. As the game progresses numerous different weapons can be collected and used including flamethrower, grenades, heavy machine gun, and bazooka to name a few. Also there are minesweeper, fuel, health, and life to pick up, and at certain points in the level crates will float down from the sky that usually house health or ammo. At other times, grenades and missiles will fall out of the sky, and the grenades are easy to dodge while the missiles are borderline unavoidable.
Upon completion of a level, a password is given that is composed of eight characters, but only level 12 does not give out a password meaning to reach level 13, level 12 has to be beaten again which makes no sense and can feel like a cheap trick to lengthen the game. Each password can be composed of letters and numbers, but I have to ask why not just have a save system? Having to carry pen and paper around to write passwords down on can be troublesome.
There are some issues with the game, and one of the serious issues is navigating the levels. While Operation Green looks great with the beach, destroyed, cities, tan bases, and jungle levels, and the textures are nice and crisp. Enemies and player are nicely drawn, and even the bullets are large enough to see. Before each level is a still shot of a 3D render that includes a beach, jungle, and city locales, and the end scene is a 3D render of the final boss in ruins. The problem is the levels are repetitive in some areas, and for example the last two levels take place in a jungle with no map. It is very easy to get turned around with the multitude of passages that all look the same.
Sometimes the camera perspective can block the view of where the player has to go, and in one instance, the player will come to what looks like a dead end but really is the correct path to take. Another major issue is the lack of replay value, and while it did take me about eight hours to complete the game on my first playthrough, there is zero reason to replay this game especially since there is only one difficulty option.
Army Men: Operation Green is a decent game that can provide some entertainment for a while; there is little subsistence that will bring player back to replay it multiple times plus the lack of replay value and a few issues hold it back.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Army Men: Operation Green (US, 12/02/01)
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