Green Rogue Hands-On

Army Men: Green Rogue attempts to draw in a new audience with a brand-new character in this third-person shooter.

At the unveiling of the 3DO PlayStation 2 launch lineup, we were able to get a good look at the demonstration level of the upcoming third-person shooter Army Men: Green Rogue. The Green Rogue character is a bit of a departure from what we've seen before from 3DO's protagonists - think of the T1000 from Terminator 2 and a bit of Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe melted into green plastic. Interestingly, the character will morph into one of several well-known Sarge's Heroes characters based on the type of armament you pick up. This should be interesting when implemented, and hopefully it will be well executed.

The design team took a simple enough route with this shoot-'em-up, putting you on a constantly scrolling field, Ikari Warriors style. The controls are straightforward. You move with the left analog stick and aim with the right, and pushing down on the right stick has certain effects, like enabling a laser sight for certain weapons. The shoulder button should of course be constantly depressed in order to discharge streams of lead death in the Tan Army's direction.

The old school gameplay, in all its Smash TV glory, was a bit uninspired. The combat was nothing you haven't seen before, as all the innovative morphing effects the Green Rogue character will feature aren't available yet. The demo level introduced a few traps in addition to the gunplay, such as the alley where statues reminiscent of those on Easter Island shot across the path. Since the nature of this game involves constant uncontrollable movement, bypassing this sort of obstacle and variations thereof may be fun.

Graphically the game just didn't take advantage of what the PS2 has to offer. The backgrounds for the demo level were decent looking but standard polygonal jungle fare. The enemies weren't very detailed, and the "bullets" were extremely disappointing 2D lines that inched ever so slowly toward their targets. The explosions and character animations in general lacked luster. With a significant graphical overhaul, the solid, simple gameplay and this different Army Men theme may make Green Rogue more appealing.

The game definitely still needs development, as it lacked shadows and a lot of other details that would have made shooting up plastic soldiers and collecting power-ups more fun. The gameplay was simple, and for this type of game, it's probably best kept that way. If the final version of Green Rogue cleans up well in the near future, then fans of visceral shooting action might want to try this one out.

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