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Review by: Keith Durocher
Published: August 23, 2004
Marines are not allowed to die without permission.
- Gunnery Sgt. Hartmann, Full Metal Jacket
From “tug of war” through to miniature strategic wargaming and paintball, when it comes to leisure activities boys always seem to gravitate towards make-believe killing. A long-standing staple of children’s toy boxes has been the venerable green plastic army trooper. We’ve all had them at one point or another, rifle barrels irreparably bent downwards and little bits of flash plastic sticking out from the mass-production molds. They’ve been the ideal cannon-fodder for countless playground wars. For some time 3DO has been producing the Army Men franchise of PC games – digital versions of our sandbox armadas. The latest iteration of this line is produced by Global Star Software and is called Army Men: Sarge’s War, a one-man-versus-countless-odds tale of retribution and revenge. Who will be the last injection-molded polypropylene soldier standing?
In this 3rd person perspective 3D title, you play as Sgt. Hawk, the toughest, meanest, most battle-hardened veteran of the Green army. On the verge of a historic peace accord between the Green and Tan armies, a renegade warlord by the ominous name of Malice from the Tan forces decides to strike at both sides in an effort to eliminate the leaders. This allows not only for the continuation of hostilities, but creates a command vacuum for the Tans, that he can then fill while making victory over the leaderless Greens all that much easier.
Alas, the best laid plans of mice and psychotic warmongers tend to be particularly susceptible to Murphy’s Law, and Malice didn’t figure on Sgt. Hawk surviving this terrorist strike. In wiping out all of the Green army’s leaders, all Malice accomplished was igniting the fires of vengeance in the most capable soldier in the Green armada. Killing the Sarge’s woman didn’t help matters much either. Using a wide array of ordinance, Sgt. Hawk is going to make sure Malice gets his come-uppance at the end of a barrel. Lock and load, it’s Sarge’s war now.
Army Men: Sarge’s War is very much an action release; playing it feels like a return to the old coin-op arcade days. The methods employed by Sgt. Hawk are mostly equal parts blitzkrieg tactics and lead-pipe cruelty. The Tans haven’t shown much in the way of mercy, so the Sarge plays by their rules. Starting out using an infinite-ammunition carbine rifle, you are immediately thrust into a warzone straight out of a Hollywood effects blockbuster. The first order of business is to find better armament, and there is plenty of it just lying around. Throughout the course of the game there are nine different weapons the Sarge will find and use. Just to name a few, there is the shotgun, the automatic rifle, the GA-9 sniper rifle, and the flamethrower. Yes, we have grenades too! Pull the pin, then throw it at them. The enemy does like to shoot back using these same weapons, so keep your eyes open. An interesting feature is the damage that Sgt. Hawk takes: if he gets shot enough times, his body starts to look quite haggard. Bits of his head and torso blow off and he even develops a rather pronounced sucking chest wound. When I say it’s pronounced, I mean it in a “I-can-see-right-through-him” sort of way. Good times.
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