Army Men – Sarge’s Heroes

Table of Contents

Army Men: Sarge’s Heroes is a third-person shooter where players take the role of soldiers in 3D battlefields.[3] It has the feel, pace, weapons and level design of classic arcade shooters like Ikari Warriors (1986) and Guerrilla War (1987), and also features elements of GoldenEye (1997), Command & Conquer (1995), and platform video games.[3] In Their World (the setting for the plastic soldiers) The Green Army, led by Colonel Grimm, has members of the Bravo Company, its best troops, and Grimm’s daughter Vikki, a top reporter for the official Green Army newspaper Green Star News, captured by the Tan Army, led by General Plastro.[4][5] The Tan Army have discovered portals to Our World (the human world), which lie weapons such as magnifying glasses that can melt soldiers.[4][5][6][7] On the Green Army’s base, the game’s first mission is the leader of the Bravo Company that did not get captured, Sargent Hawk, getting Grimm, his mentor, to an escape chopper. This is all the while the invading Tan Army and other Green Army soldiers attack each other, where Sarge also helps his fellow men.[3]

The Nintendo 64 and PlayStation versions have 14 missions with up to five objectives each, the Dreamcast 16 missions with three-to-four objectives each, totaling to 40.[4][8][9] Tasks vary from finding and rescuing the Bravo Company and Vikki, and disabling a “bug zapper” gate, to capturing blue spies, killing Tan Army soldiers and destroying the portals.[8][9][10][11] The camera defaults to a steady and slightly over-the-shoulder third-person perspective of the player character.[4][12] Other options are to view the character from the front or first-person, activated with the press of a button.[5][13] The 3D spaces can theoretically be traversed at the player’s own free will, but the missions can be completed by following a path with no requirement for backtracking.[9]

The mission locations bounce between Their World (the plastic world) and Our World (known by Plastro as the Alternate World, the human world).[10][c] In Their World, the soldiers are scaled human-size in proportion to the setting, and fight on army bases, forests, towns, mountains, and snowy wastelands.[5][10][15] In Our World, the plastic soldiers are tiny in proportion to the space and battle in areas of a typical American suburban household, such as the countertop of a kitchen, sandbox, backyard, living room, bedroom, garden, and bathroom.[d] In Their World, foes are the Tan army’s soldiers (which dies in one or two hits), tanks and helicopters, while in Our World, enemies include a big spider.[6][17]

Nine characters are playable in single and multi-player modes.[4][8] With control that heavily uses context-sensitive buttons like a previously released Nintendo 64 game, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998), the player can jump, climb, latch onto ledges, drop and roll, crawl, crouch, strafe, and sneak up to enemies and attack them typical in stealth games.[e] In addition to Hawk, Grimm, Vikki, and Plastro, the game stars five Bravo Company soldiers, modeled after specific poses. The Riff is a Bazooka Man with “the musical chops and coolness of a Blues musician”. Hoover is a very skinny, geeky Mine Sweeper hired for his fluid movements and intense focus. Sharp, a Morter Man with a surfer dude personality; Thick, the M-60 Machine Gunner with a strong aim but low intelligence; and Scorch, a Flamethrower so mentally-unstable he loves being near fire.[5] In single player, Sarge and whoever is rescued are the only playable characters; in a mission, a rescued soldier assists for the remainder of a mission, which ends prematurely if they die.[19] In multiplayer modes, players can act as a tan, blue or grey fighter as well as a green one.[20]

Army Men: Sarge’s Heroes features variations on 13 weapons that equip the player, most of which require the rescue of commandos that each have a unique set of weapons: an M16 rifle, .50-caliber M60, sniper rifle with a scope for zooming, shotgun, grenade, grenade launcher, C-4, flamethrower, artillery launcher, bazooka, mortar, satchel charge, and mine detector.[8][9][15][13] Collected extra weapons are removed from the inventory by the entrance of the next world.[21] Via simple objectives, the Boot Camp mode, which takes place on a practice range, teaches the player how to platform, use the weapons and push down the levers.[4][10]

Some tasks can be only be achieved with certain equipment; soldiers on mountaintops can only be killed with snipers, and those in bunkers with grenades. Additionally, some lands are filled with hidden mines solely detectable with the minesweeper.[13] Other scenarios allow multiple choices of weapons to take out opponents. For example, when destroying a tank, it is longer but safer to lay mines around it and then activate them with a grenade throw, than directly destroy it with a bazooka, where missing the shooting could gain the riders of the tank attention to the player character.[4] All weapons besides the default M16 rifle are out of the soldiers’ bag if a life is lost.[4]

Army Men: Sarge’s Heroes features split screen multi-player modes for two players on the PlayStation, and up to four players on the Nintendo 64 and Dreamcast, consisting of deathmatch, capture the flag, and matches where players invade each other’s bases.[f] In a Family Mode borrowed from 3DO’s BattleTanx (1998), players can individually choose the difficulty level of the choice of weapons, i.e. ones that are quicker to adapt to.[5]

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