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“Every once in a while you come across a game that is...”

Written on: 02/04/2006 by TOMLEECEE (121 reviews written)

Good Points
The box art is passable

Bad Points
Feels unfinished
Dull gameplay
Basic visuals
Choppy frame rate
General lack of quality in every area

General Comments
Every once in a while you come across a game that is so bad it makes you wonder if anyone actually played it before it went on sale. And then you have to wonder that if they did, what standard must the rest of their life be at if they deemed the game to be of a standard worthy of general release?

Army Men: Sarge's Heroes is one such game, and it pains me to see something as sloppy and downright offensive as this on a console as good as the Dreamcast. As if being a blatant port of an N64 game isn't bad enough, the 3D0 Company haven't even seen fit to put any Dreamcast specific extras in. You know, like decent graphics, intuitive controls, a consistent frame rate, or indeed anything to make you want to play for longer than five minutes.

To be fair, one wouldn't really expect to see anything less than this from a developer whose back catalogue reads like a necronomicon of putridity. The 3D0 was hardly a success, and the other games that it has been involved in (mainly the consistently poor prequels to Sarge's Heores) have been almost universally lambasted.

In Sarge's Heroes, you control the titular Sarge (a green plastic soldier), as he struggles against the onslaught of the merciless Tan army. You get to lead a crack team of green soldiers in various missions against the enemy, but before you imagine intense fire fights around the legs of coffee tables or across hallways, forget it. In theory, Sarge's Heroes had the potential to be a fantastic little war game - like a cross between Toy Commander and Halo. Take combat, shrink it down and make the living room or kitchen a theatre of war. Excellent.

However, take this formula and give it to 3D0, and what you end up with is this mess. The visuals are laughable, and it is riddled with slow down. The animation is bad, and the way every single enemy dies with the same animation is just pure lazy development laid bare. Skill is not an aspect of Sarge's Heroes either, due to the amount of auto aim you get - you can just run around the levels with the fire button held down and you'll automatically lock on and take every enemy down. Occasionally you'll come across a tank that will be able to fire shells at you with almost pinpoint accuracy from several hundred miles away. You'll die. You'll go back to the start of the mission. You'll try again, die in the same place and then take the disk out of the drive and use it as a Frisbee.

There are no redeeming aspects of Sarge's Heroes whatsoever. Even the cut scenes are appalling. There are so many graphical glitches I almost lost count of them - polygon tearing in the 'landscape' is akin to a PS1 game, and an early one at that. When you go prone (lie down) you sink into the ground so only half of your body can be seen, which I'm sure would help you go unnoticed in reality, but probably isn't intentional here. And as mentioned, there is a lot of slowdown. It's reminiscent of Doom on the Saturn in some areas - seriously! But when you consider what it is you are looking at and the platform the game is being played on, you'll be scratching your head as to why. Oh wait, I forgot - it's a lazy conversion of an already lacklustre N64 game.

The comedy of errors continues, however. You can actually kill yourself in the 'boot camp' training level - so if you say, have to destroy some barrels during the grenade throwing exercise and one bounces back and detonates in front of you, you'll die and must restart the level. Cue ridiculous loading time and then start again. Thankfully, it's not compulsory that you complete the training, so you'll probably never see the end of the level.

Instead of just making out that the characters are just toy soldiers battling for control of a big house (which would have been totally acceptable), 3D0 saw fit to tack on some pathetic story about the soldiers being real (R.E.A.L. anyone?) and from a parallel universe. The war actually spills into our dimension through some kind of portal, and in our universe the soldiers happen to be tiny. Totally unnecessary. Just like the existence of Sarge's Heroes. If you're still a bit vague on my opinions on this game, I'll condense them into one sentence: Sarge's Heroes is one of the worst games I've ever played!

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