- Army Men (series)
"Army Men" is a series of
video games made by The 3DO Company.
The series was based on a war between four main sets of plastic
army men: the Green, the Tan, the Blue, and the Grey. Two other factions, red and orange, had brief appearances, but neither played a large part in the story. Two factions, the Galactic army and the Alien army, were introduced in "Army Men: Toys in Space".
The series was started with "Army Men" (PC) in
1994, then the sequel "Army Men 2" (PC) was released in 1997. Around that time the first console game, "Army Men 3D", was released for the Sony PlayStation. In these early games, before Army Men had established itself, it is probably easy to say the biggest draw card for Army Men was that it was a sophisticated version of Virgin Interactive's Cannon Fodder. In Army Men, especially early in the series, realistic physics and combat situations were off-set by soldiers melting into puddles, or snapping like broken plastic as well as an apparent sense of humour on behalf of the development team.
The series continued with "" (PC), before branching out with the "World War" series for both PC and console (mainly the PlayStation 1 & 2). At around the same time period "Sarge's Heroes" was released, a sequel was released a year later.
Other variations and spin-offs of the series were also released. They included the
helicopterthemed games "Air Tactics", "Air Attack" ("1" & "2"), "Air Combat", & "Air Combat: The Elite Missions". They also included the "World War" series. There is also a Contra-inspired game called "Green Rogue".
The only spin-off of the series was "
Portal Runner". A spin-off of "Sarge's Heroes 2", it was released just a year-and-a-half after the original game.
The series featured many characters, of whom four were the protagonist of a game: Sarge, Captain William Blade, Vikki Grimm, and Omega Soldier. Many of the characters in the games were caricatures of well-known archetypes.
Also, there are many other soldiers in the series. The characters mostly die in a short period of time or stop following and just stand there. They also never communicate unless it's a mission-specific encounter
Factions in Army Men
"Green" - The 'good guys' in the series - representing a
USstyle army. In the first few games the political balance was unstable and they were fighting against the Tan and Blue - Grey were sometimes allies and sometimes enemies, depending who paid the highest price. This changes in "Army Men: World War" when the Green ally with the Blue (French-esque) against the Tan Menace (German-esque in this game). In "Army Men: Sarge's Heroes", the Blue are Tan spies, and the Gray are allied with the Green. It is unknown where the Green Army is located in the Plastic World though it is stated multiple times that the country contains desert, alpine, and bayou regions.
"Tan" - The main enemy in the series and represent various real-life dictatorships (Nazis, etc.). They start the current war with Green when they invade in three main areas of the Green nation (the
Desert, Alpine, and Bayouregions). At the beginning of the game they have a partial alliance with the Blue Information network, though this alliance becomes fluid through the series. According to Sarge "It isn't that they're evil, kid, just because they want to conquer everyone else and steal everything they have. I think they just don't know any better. It's a tragic flaw in their character, that's beyond their control. That's why they're better off being dead." According to Army Men: World War their country is located in a Western area of The Plastic World.
"Grey" - Again, to quote Sarge: "The Grays are a bunch of hit-and run guerrillas" (with a rather caucasian ethnicity); "when I was little, my dad used to scare me at night by telling me stories about the Grays. You don't have to like the Grays, but you gotta respect them.". The first encounter with Grey forces is in the original PC game: Sarge is attempting to outflank the Tan and finds himself on the Grey-Tan border. Whilst both are at war with Green, they are also at war with each other and Sarge finds himself in a three-way shooting match. Shortly after Sarge discovers the Grey have formed an alliance with Tan in order to generate some rather bizarre "weapons of mass-destruction" (seen in later games). In Army Men 3D, a Grey Colonel is captured in one of the last missions. The Grey Army is located in the Western part of the Plastic World because it borders the Tan nation (which according to World War lies in the Western Part of the World.
"Blue" - "The Blue on the other hand are stinkin' cowards! They make better sneaks than they do soldiers. They're more likely to ambush you than shoot you in open combat. The Tans put up with the Blues because they can use them as couriers, saboteurs, and spies" - Sarge.The Blue army (often with a French influence) seem to have very fluid alliances, though they are rarely seen on the front lines. The Blue army's real talents lie in
espionage, sabotageand other such covert missions. The Blue nation is often depicted as working toward anything they see beneficial, often this means paying for their services. In some games they are allies with the Green Army, but in others they are an enemy. The Blue Army (according to World War) is located in the Eastern part of the Plastic World.
"Red" - Appear in Multiplayer in "Sarge's War", and one is rescued in Dr. Madd's castle, and in Sarge's Heroes in the cut-scene where Shrap is rescued from the spider machine. Originally they would probably represent a
communiststyle army. It is also unknown where these Nations reside, though if it is anything like Our World they are probably east of the Blue Nation.
"Orange" - Mentioned only in "Sarge's Heroes 2", when General Plastro is bragging about conquering all the nations in the plastic world. Not related to the Orange aliens. Not much is really known about the Orange as they are never seen and only mentioned.
"The Aliens" - The main enemy in "Toys in Space". They appear only in "Portal Runner", and "Toys in Space". As Tina Tomorrow secures an alliance with Sarge, the aliens form an alliance with the Tan Empire and join in the quest for domination by providing a whole new armada of lethal creatures, deadly new weapons and other nasty things to make Sarge's life miserable. "The Galactic Army" - Allies of the Green Army in "Toys in Space". They only appear in this game. Lead by Tina Tomorrow, the Galactic Army is light blue in colour and are provided as a spoof of early
Sci-Fiserials. The main army is female with support troopers (eg Mini-Gunners) being male. The Galactic Army provides a number of unique weapons to assist Sarge through "Toys in Space" - the stun guns especially adding a new dimension to the game's strategy. The Galactic army, while of the same color, are not related to the blue army men.
"The Cult" - Only appears in "Army Men 2", in two levels (one of which seems to be an adaptation of "
Apocalypse Now"). It is composed of Blue, Green, Tan, and Gray soldiers, as well as suicide bombers. Lead by an AWOL Colonelfrom the Green Army. Sarge was originally tasked to locate the Colonel, but learning of the Colonel's insanity he is ordered to instead destroy him and his cult of followers.
"Malice's Tans" - Only appear in . They are responsible for planting the bomb in the statue and delivering it to the Green/Tan peace ceremony which is destroyed by it, with all Greens (except Sarge and remnants of the Green Army) and all of General Plastro's Tans caught in the blast. They do not look like the tans from other games. Their weapons appear to be metal and they wear objects that aren't tan.
"Bugs and Insects" - While not always seen in the Army Men Series Bugs and Insects appear in Army Men: Air Attack (2), Army Men RTS and several other of the Games, they are usually Hostile to all Armies and pack some heavy firepower.
"Major Malfunction's Toys"- Only featured in Army Men Major Malfunction. After the end of the Tan Army, Major Malfunction (Former Green soldier) went insane and killed Sarge. He made an Army constructing of any toy gone mad.
The original series followed the character Sarge in Army Men, Army Men II, Army Men Toys in Space, and Army Men 3D. Sarge's name is never identified along with his squad. He usually goes on solo missions and is a "Shoot first, ask questions later" kind of guy. When the Sarge's Hero's series was developed many gamers thought they had killed Sarge and made him more comical and aimed at a younger audience, although Sgt. Hawk and Sarge may be two different people. Army Men 3D introduced a closer 3rd person point of view.
World War Series
The World War series consists of World War, World War: Land, Sea, Air, World War: Final Front, and World War: Team Assault. The series follows PVT/PFC/SPC/CPL/SGT/LT/CPT Green through many missions. Usually the game is of a "duck-and-cover" style, meaning the player takes cover behind a log, rock, etc... and pops up to shoot the enemy. Most of the games featured several fronts (excluding Team Assault) and after completing a front the player was promoted (except for Team Assault where the player remained of the Specialist rank throughout the game. The game introduced new vehicles such as the motorcycle, PT Boat, commando raft, submarine, and a gunner position on a vehicle. The bayonet/knife was also new to the entire series in this smaller series. It should also be noted that Army Men: World War: Team Assault was the only game to lack a flamethrower.
arge's Heroes Series
Sarge's Heroes series was the first to actually follow a named, developed character who people knew more about. The game introduced the leader of the Green Army, Colonel Grimm, and named Sarge. It featured better made cutscenes which developed the characters and showed some background. Sarge's squad was also given names and character development. Many fans say this series killed the original Sarge because it make him comical and less of an actual soldier.
Air Attack Series
This series consists of Air Tactics, Air Attack, Air Attack 2, Air Combat (which was just the GameCube version of the series) and Air Combat: The Elite Series. The game followed Cpt. William Blade, a member of the Green Airborne Cavalry, who usually would help ground units or rescue soldiers. Beginning in Air Attack/Air Combat co-pilots were introduced to add various new gameplay options.
Army Men: RTS
RTS followed the Green Army, lead by Sgt. Hawk, attempting to remove an insane Colonel Blintz, who was a Green solder gone Tan, from power. This was the only RTS type game of the series. This was the last game made by 3DO before it went under.
There are only three games (so far, though it is unlikely that others will be made) that weren't created by 3DO, Army Men: Sarge's War and Army Men: Major Malfunction. The games don't have much in common because they were made by two different companies. The third and newest one is Army Men: Soldiers of Misfortune is about a young boy who has been shrunk down to the size of an Army Man.
The Plastic World
Not much is known about the plastic world because it is never shown on a map or discussed for an extended period of time, though there are certain things that can be inferenced. There is a pacific island area (stated in World War). The Eastern part of the world houses the Blue Nation (a border is seen but it is unknown if this is another country) while the Western houses the Tan. It is unknown where the Green, Orange, and Red Nations reside, as again it is never stated. There is a map of it behind Sarge at the beginning intro of Sarge's Heroes 2 but this is probably a map of the Green Nation because it shows desert, bayou/woodland, and alpine regions. If this is a map of the Green Nation, the Green Nation is an island as the map shows.. The only map that can be seen is in the mission select of World War where three continents are shown (they appear to be similar to North America, an island continent in between that resembles South America, though it isn't attached to anything, and the Eurasian continent.). The North American-esqe continent is home to the Tan capital, the Pacific continent resembles South America (though it is unknown if any country resides there.), and the Eurasian continent holds the Blue Nation with another possible country to the south of it. If the Plastic World is anything like our world during WWII (seeing as how that's how the game is usually laid out.) the Red Nation would probably be the country to the south of the Blue Nation, the Orange Nation would probably reside in the Pacific area, and the Green Army may be in a northern region as an island, seeing as how in order to invade the Tan nation they mounted an amphibious assault in World War (G-Day, a reference of D-Day.) Though none of this is certain because it is never discussed in the series. The Gray Nation is in the Western area as well because it borders the Tan nation according to "Army Men". The only thing really known about the Green Nation is that it contains desert, alpine, and bayou regions.
*M21 Sniper Rifle
*M60 Machine Gun
*M79 Grenade Launcher
*Colt .45 M1911
*12 Gauge Shotgun
*.50 Cal Mounted Machine Gun
--Non-Tracked Land Vehciles--
--Tracked Land Vehicles--
*BMP APC (Seen only in Army Men: Sarge's War)
*M48 Patton Tank
*M60 Patton Tank
*CH-53E Super Stallion
*AH-1 King Cobra (Super Cobra)
*Fokker Dr.I (Flown by Baron von Beige)
* Plastrification, according to Dr. Madd in "Sarge's Heroes 2", is a condition that occurs when a soldier from the "Plastic World" spends too much time in the "Real World" causing the hardening of the limbs, forming of a plastic base, and getting plastered. The soldier, afflicted with this condition, becomes paralyzed and grows a plastic base, ending up like the army men commonly sold at toystores. Also in SH2, Bridgette Bleu has developed a serum that reverses the effects of plastrification, which she uses to revive General Plastro. She has also developed one that causes plastrification. The reversal serum is stored in Cola cans.
*The version of the M16 changes from cutscene to cutscene and game to game. Certain ones show it as an M16A1 with a 20 round magazine, other times its an M16A2 with 30 magazine, and sometimes an M4 with a 30 round magazine.
*In the first few games Sarge is shown to be an average soldier who is never identified as well as his squad. It is also mentioned that Sarge's father was Col. Grimm. This would contrast the fact that in the Sarge's Heroes series Grimm wants Sarge to marry Vikki. Also mentioned in the Sarge's Heroes manual it states that Sarge's father was melted. This could mean that either Sarge was adopted by Grimm or Sarge and Sergeant Hawk are two different people, which would greatly explain these questions.
*The Army Men in the Games usually use Toys that exist from around the World today, examples would be
Lincoln Logs, Lego, Meccanoand several other Toys.
* One may see references to several famous movies scattered through out the games. One of these is a level in "Army Men 2". In that level there is a patrol boat on a jungle island, which is used to hunt down an insane Green special forces colonel leading the Cult, a nod to
Apocalypse Now. This plot is also present in RTS, as the main plot is to hunt down an insane green special forces colonel named "Blintz".
* Vikki Grimm and Bridgette Bleu are the only characters not to have a "coloured" skin (Green, Blue etc.) instead they are modeled with flesh tones more like
Barbiedolls and simply wear clothing that matches the colour of their allegiance.
* There are armies other than the Tan, Green, Blue, and Grey. In "Sarge's Heroes 2"
GeneralPlastro makes a reference to an 'Orange Army', and later in the game, Sarge rescues a Red soldier from Tan soldiers, in Dr. Madd's castle. In "Sarge's War", in the multiplayer mode, the 'Red Soldier' is playable.
* Most of the titles of the levels are named after war movies. For example, in Sarge's War there's Das Drain, an obvious reference to "
Das Boot", or The Thin Green Line refers to The Thin Red Line. They are also named after video games like "Toast Recon" obviously referring to " Ghost Recon".
* Army Men: RTS - features a number of breaches of chain of command during its cutscenes: Most notably the opening cutscene where Sarge is walking along and is saluted by a private (the rank of
Sergeantis a non-saluting rank). This is followed by Sarge entering the command tent where ColonelGrimm and a Lieutenant Calt are waiting - Grimm salutes first, Sarge returns the salute and Grimm is also the last one to drop his hand. This should actually occur in the reverse order, and as it stands it suggests that Sarge outranks his Commanding Officer. However, this may also suggest Sarge has received a medal the equivalent of the real world Medal of Honor.
* The Army Men series is never set in a specific date in any of the games. In a few of the games, modern weapons such as the M16A2 can be seen, but in other episodes the vehicles and weapons seen are from the
World War IIor the Vietnam Warera, with weapons & vehicles such as the M16A1, the M48 Pattontank, the P-51 Fighter, the M-79 grenade launcherand various other Weapons, it is also speculated that the Army Men were based on the Clones of Tim Mee Soldiers in the later PS2 games while MPC, Marx and Airfax in the earlier PS1 Games. However, modern choppers such as the AH-64 Apachecan be obtained in Army Men: Air Combat. Famous battles such as the Normandylanding are imitated, and the style of fonts and film quality mimic the style of the 1940s.
*In the opening cutscene in there is a map of the Plastic World on the wall behind Sarge.
*It should also be noted that Sarge or any of Bravo Company Commandoes first names are never mentioned. Their ranks aren't mentioned either (excluding Sarge and Hoover) in the Bravo Company Commandoes.
*The events described at the end of Sarge's War "do" occur at the beginning of
Army Men 2, making the assumption that both games have relation and explaining the lack of iconic characters.
*Army Men often used Toys and Fireworks that exist in Reality, including
Lincoln Logs, Lego, Firecrackers, meccanoand similar items.
*The Army Men often fought inside the 'Real World' inside Houses, although they appear throughout the Game the House changes almost every time speculating that Games follow different Timelines and Locations.
*Army Men RTS had some particular critiscisms, for example all of the soldiers had
metalweapons, grenades and minesweepers (as well as Army Men: Sarge's War) which almost entirely ruins one of the most common aspects of the games. It should also be noted that there is no Toy Maker (so far) that makes typical plastic Army Men with metal Weapons, in addition the UH1 'Huey' and the 'Halftrack' could not transport Infantry into Combat which again ruined one of their most useful aspects, also the UH1 Huey was modeled rather badly as the tail of the Helicopter is missing the two side Wings, one of the worst problems was that FlamethrowerMen were unavailable which brought down the feel of real Army Men as most other Army Men games featured Flamethrowers.
*Almost every army (Tan, Grey, Blue, Green, Etc) had the same weapons and forces, their sole Tank Divisions were composed of US
M48 PattonTanks, in addition, their Air Forces were typically composed of UH1 HueyHelicopters and other 'copters (From The Air Attack Series), also their Infantry sport the Same Weapons: M16s, an experimental version of the M60 Machine Gun(which never saw Combat with the US Army), the M14 Sniper Rifle and the M1 'Bazooka'. However, the storylines and other sides often encompass the sides of nations, such as the Tan being Nazi Germanyand the Green being the US, but similar weapons were probably used by each side to maintain realism for the idea of plastic soldiers. In Team Assault, however, there are fully automatic AK-47 which apparently was Tan's weapon.
*In "Army Men: Sarges Heroes", Fort Plastro has the same structure of
*In Army Men: World War: Team Assault the Tan army apparently speaks a different language although this is not mentioned or shown again in any of the other games.
*Army Men: Sarge's War featured a grittier version of the series. Sarge makes no comical moves, pharsed ... etc., holes are blown into soldiers and there are different voices (the game was distributed by a different company). The weapons were also metal including no M16's or any of the previous weapons.
*IGN Boards have mentioned the possibility of a new Army Men game; Army Men: Soldiers of Misfortune. Though not much is known about it. If the game should be released the series is not quite yet dead.
*The company released several small action figures including a card with a bio, tips, and stats. The figures released were Sarge, Vikki, Riff, Grimm, Hoover, and Plastro. A second series was planned but the company tanked before they were released. The second series was to include Tannenburg, Scorch, William Blade, Thick, Shrap, and Bridgette Bleu.
*In the Sarge's Heroes 2 intro Vikki calls her father a General although in the game he still is referred to as a Colonel despite the fact the insignia on his saucer hat states he is the General of the Green Army.
*Army Men: Soldiers of misfortune has absolutely nothing to do with the original Army Men series.
End of 3DO
"Army Men: RTS" was the last "Army Men" game to be released.
In 2003, 3DO filed for chapter eleven, bankruptcy. The major franchises were auctioned off, and "Army Men" was purchased by
In 2004, Crave Entertainment published "Sarge's War". The PS2 and Xbox versions were completed by some members of the original 3DO Sarge's War development team. Then Crave released Army Men: Major Malfunction for Xbox (as well as a limited region PS2 release), and planned a DS version, which apparently was not released, because no screenshots or reviews can be found, nor does it show up on the Nintendo website. The Xbox/PS2 version is currently the latest game in the series. Future installments are possible, but unlikely, due to the poor critical and commercial performance of Sarge's War and Major Malfunction. However, the Army Men series, 30+ game releases strong as of Major Malfunction, as well as Army Men: Platoon Command for Gamecube (cancelled), has rarely been critically acclaimed, yet still seems to sell enough to generate revenues for publishers, even outliving its original developer. There has been talk of another game, Army Men: Soldiers of Misfortune, on the IGN website, though not much is known.
The "Army Men" series has been a target of criticisms from several parts of the videogame media, including
X-Play[http://www.g4tv.com/xplay/features/44541/Army_Men_Sarges_War_GCN_Review.html] and Seanbabyof "EGM" [http://www.seanbaby.com/egm/armymenturfwars.htm] , for the frequency and declining quality of each new title.
*moby game|id=-group/army-men-series|name="Army Men" series
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