Army Men: Green Rogue is the latest addition to 3DO's growing library of Army Men games for the PS2. In many ways, Green Rogue pays tribute to classic arcade shooters of old, like Ikari Warriors or Commando, with a scrolling field of play, droves of hostile enemies, and an amazing amount of gunfire thrown in your direction. However, Green Rogue's cumbersome gameplay makes it a much more frustrating game than those that inspired it.
The game begins with a dark and ominous tone as you're clued in to the origin of the mysterious Omega soldier. During this detailed and lengthy cinema sequence, you learn that your character has been biogenetically engineered in a secret lab and given special powers to help you overcome the evil Tan Army. After this sequence ends, you're thrust headfirst into the action.
Green Rogue owes quite a bit to several mid-'80s arcade shoot-'em-up games, though it gives the genre an overall face-lift by featuring a 3D environment with polygonal enemies instead of the 2D bitmapped graphics, which have been a staple of the genre. Another key difference between Green Rogue and other games in the genre is the constant scrolling of the levels, which can be annoying. For example, if you have to maneuver past a power-up to dodge an enemy's attack, the level will have already scrolled past the item you wanted to pick up by the time you've successfully avoided the enemy. You can also expect a similar situation with enemies that scroll offscreen. Unfortunately, there's no way to backtrack to pick up items or destroy missed enemies. Throughout the game, you'll probably miss many items and hostile soldiers because of the constant scrolling.
Green Rogue's controls take some getting used to. The left analog stick guides the Omega soldier, and the right analog stick is used for aiming. Either the face or shoulder buttons can execute functions such as shooting, crouching, or setting off lethal "biostrikes." At first, it may take a little practice to get the hang of the controls, but after about 30 minutes or so, you'll be taking out Tan soldiers by the truckload.
Green Rogue carries some fairly smooth and detailed textures and is a decent game to look at. While the graphics are nothing spectacular, the Army Men games have come a long way since their debut on the PlayStation years ago. Green Rogue's smoke and fire effects are particularly nice and come into play when you wield the flamethrower. Many objects can be set ablaze, such as trees, houses, and, of course, enemy soldiers. While the effects may be pretty, when they are on display, Green Rogue can often slow down to an almost unplayable speed.
The game also lacks reliable collision detection. Many times throughout Green Rogue you'll find yourself shooting an enemy soldier repeatedly because your shots seem to have no effect. To make matters worse, there's no way to switch between weapons during the game. So if you've inadvertently picked up a weapon that is difficult to wield, you're stuck with it until you pick up another. When you add these factors up with the dipping frame rate and the constantly scrolling maps, this game can become quite maddening. Unfortunately, this isn't because the game is difficult--it's simply because the game is flawed in key areas that intersect quite often.
In the end, Army Men: Green Rogue is a decent game at times and should be commended for paying tribute to several old-school arcade shooters. But it's hampered by several flaws, which make it on the whole not such a great game to play.