The first game in 3DO's Army Men series for the console systems, Army Men 3D for the PlayStation, lacked a great deal of spit and polish but had enough going deep down to make you hope for a sequel, albeit one that was much improved. The sequel, Army Men: Sarge's Heroes, has now arrived for the Nintendo 64, but not much, if anything, has been improved upon, and it contains a whole new batch of problems.
You once again take the role of Sarge, a soldier on the Green side of a world full of plastic army men. The Green are in a war against the Tan forces, who have recently begun importing terrible weapons from our own world, such as magnifying glasses, which they use to melt your men down to plastic puddles. Your mission is to gather your troops, a la John Belushi in The Blues Brothers, to create a unit capable of stopping them. Your arsenal is made up of weapons from Army Men 3D, such as a machine gun, flamethrower, and grenades, with new additions like a sniper rifle and mines.
The game camera in Army Men 3D's single-player mode was near perfect because it stuck right behind your back, but in Sarge's Heroes, it seems to have loosened its grip a bit. The camera does float behind you, but when your character turns, it takes the view a few seconds to catch up. You might turn around the corner of a barracks and confront an enemy unit, who will fire upon you immediately, but he won't come into view for a few seconds. Or you could be in close quarters running around an opponent, trying to face him to get a shot off, and it might take three turns to get it just right.
You probably won't need to get close to too many troops, though, since the autotargeting is set so you can pick off enemies situated in towers simply by firing in their general direction. That was in place in Army Men 3D, but you weren't really able to get away with just running around blasting opposing forces because you'd get eaten up by machine-gun fire. Now, while enemies still fall with one shot, your character is a lot tougher, and health-restoring power-ups can be found all over the place. It's true the first title was harder than it needed to be, but the sequel is easy to the point where the main challenge lies in dealing with the camera.
Your character now has a nice plasticine look that wasn't in the PlayStation game, but otherwise, the graphics in Sarge's Heroes are pretty poor. The environments are sparsely populated and are painted in bland-looking textures that are reused often, and the enemy is hard to distinguish from other objects at a distance, even using the sniper sighting. If you use the RAM Pak and change the resolution to high and letterbox, the visuals are bumped up to average (although fog blankets the environment), but if you don't, expect sub-first-generation N64 graphics. The sound effects are also similarly bad. Explosions, weapon fire, and your character's Duke Nukem-esque chatter all sound muffled, the military-themed music is tinny, and the songs repeat too much. The multiplayer mode now allows for four players at once, and the levels are laid out better than before, but the camera problems are even more frustrating when you have an even smaller section of the screen, making it something you'll largely ignore.
In short, the sequel is not as good of a game as the original. What needed to be fixed from Army Men 3D has either been ignored or overcompensated for, and what was already fixed is now broken. Stop the franchise, I want to get off.