Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 1/06/2019 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night
Army Men 3D was the third game in the Army Men series following the Windows releases of Army Men and Army Men II and marked the series’ debut on home consoles. Army Men 3D, taking advantage of the hype around 3D game worlds in the mid to late 90s, is essentially a slimmed down remake of the original Army Men but as a 3D third person shooter. As is par for the course with the Army Men series, it’s not a breathtaking game that will make anyone’s Top 10 PS1 games list, but it’s a fun enough little game especially for fans of the series.
Being a remake of the original game, Army Men 3D follows the same basic story as Army Men albeit abridged. The short version is that the Green Nation has been invaded by the Tan Nation, and Green intelligence reports that the Tan are assembling a mysterious super-weapon that’s being transported in three pieces. Playing as Sarge, you have to fight your way through Tan forces to secure the three pieces of the key so that you can not only keep the weapon out of Tan hands but discover just what it’s supposed to do. This PlayStation remake cuts out probably a quarter of the game which, given the move from PC to PlayStation, makes sense, but fortunately, what’s cut out is largely filler missions that aren’t central to the story. The shorter level list ends up working out well too given the somewhat awkward controls that result in what I felt was a more difficult game than the Windows game. Overall, I’d say they’re roughly comparable in length with Army Men 3D coming in maybe a little shorter.
Visually, the game is about as “okay” as it gets for PlayStation games. It certainly doesn’t look bad for the hardware or the era, but it doesn’t look especially good, either. This is especially true of the cutscenes. It doesn’t preserve all of the cutscenes from the PC original, but it does have the iconic opening and closing cutscenes. The problem is that these scenes are extraordinarily low resolution and noticeably choppy. To some extent, that’s an unfortunate reality of video on mid-90s CD technology, but it’s a shame that the presentation took such a hit because of it. It’s admirable that 3DO tried to include those two most dramatic scenes, but given the hit the presentation took, I almost think it would have been better to try to remake the scenes in a style the PS1 could more comfortably handle.
The audio is probably the part of the game with which I have the most issues. The voiced dialogue is extremely minimal which, truthfully, is more a blessing than anything else given the quality of the cutscenes and the soundtrack. The music is…truly awful. It’s not even that the music itself is what’s bad; it uses the same actual song from the PC original. What makes the music in Army Men 3D so bad is not what music is but how its used. Instead of using the whole song for what I assume are disc space reasons, it uses a two or three measure clip. And it loops it. Endlessly. For the entire game. I got through about a level and a half before I muted the TV and just turned on Sirius.
Army Men 3D is as competent a first entry into the home console space as a game in that particular series can be expected to have. It’s not bad. Excluding the music, it’s really not. I’d even go as far as to say it’s a fun time if you’re into the premise of Army Men. Unfortunately, if you’re NOT into the premise of Army Men, it’s…okay. The biggest problem is that the whole thing just feels unpolished. If you’re a fan of the series, absolutely play it. If you’re just a PlayStation enthusiast, then I’d still recommend giving it a play as it’s a solid even if forgettable title. Overall, though, it doesn’t stand out much from the other “hella 1990s” games on the system.