Image: Army Men RTS boxart
Written by: Elijah Moon Blackwell
Little plastic green toy soldiers occupied so much of my time as a child.
I had hundreds maybe thousands of toy soldiers and vehicles. It was fun to create huge battles using furniture around the house. Each room was a theatre of war.
There is a series of games based off the green toy soldiers.
The Army Men franchise was created by Studio 3DO. The series started with a strategy game but third person and top down shooters were also produced.
Most of the games can be found on Steam or GOG but some were console exclusives while others never received a re-release.
Army Men RTS is a great strategy game for those very new to the genre. Also it’s kind of a treat for war film buffs.
Apocalypse Now: Plastic Edition
Army Men RTS released in 2002. So if you have seen any war films pre-2002 then you may get some of the references.
Perhaps the most referenced movie is the 1979 epic Apocalypse Now. The plot of Army Men RTS follows Sarge, a soldier in the green plastic army, who is tasked with finding a commander who defected to make his own tan army. He has gone mad and it’s up Sarge to hunt him down.
Apocalypse Now has the same kind of plot. A soldier during the Vietnam war is sent on a highly classified mission to kill a special forces officer who formed his own army. The officer made a base in Cambodia and began to be worshiped by his American and Montagnard soldiers under his command.
The mission titles are also references to war films. One mission is called “Thin Green Line” which is a parody of The Thin Red Line. Another is called “Full Plastic Jacket” which is a play off Full Metal Jacket. You get the idea.
Army Men RTS is pretty much fan service for people like me who are obsessed with everything military.
Too bad the game isn’t really for me
While the game continuously parodies military media, it’s just too easy.
Army Men RTS is a very simple strategy game. Usually missions boil down to the stereotypical gather-build-attack. You have toy dump trucks that gather resources from left behind toys. Using the resources, you can construct buildings that will create soldiers and vehicles.
Typically the objectives are about destroying a specific obstacle or enemy installation.
Heroes can join your party. Not only do you control Sarge, but you can also control named characters. Each one has a specific ability and role. The game will end if Sarge dies, but the characters can die and they will return in later missions.
The battles can be won by adopting the Soviet Union’s strategy during World War II. Just spawn a bunch of units and throw them at the enemy. The enemy has limited numbers while you do not. Overwhelm the opposition with a ton of cheap rifleman.
There are some missions that don’t allow you to build barracks to produce reinforcements. In that case, just inch forward till you are spotted by an enemy and let them walk into a wall of gunfire. It’s slow, but effective and it keeps Sarge alive. Thankfully not many of these missions exist.
This is a fantastic game to give to someone new to strategy all together. It teaches the player the basics of real time strategy games. The theme of toy soldiers also makes it more appealing for children. If you want to teach a child or preteen military strategy without all the blood and gore, then get this game.
Unfortunately for me, I almost fell asleep. It’s not a bad game, just a really simple one.
There isn’t much in terms of unit variety. You can count the types of combatants on one hand. The heroes spruce this up a bit but they aren’t always available.
The game also lacks bot support for offline skirmish matches
Most of my time in strategy games are spent in the battle modes. While I have played a lot of the Age of Empires II campaigns, 80% of my time was spent in 1v1 or free-for-all matches.
It’s a way to refine your strategy as well as extending the play time of a game.
Army Men RTS does have a multiplayer mode. It is no longer supported. 3rd party programs like Gameranger is needed to play over the internet.
To play with bots in offline mode you need to install a few mods.
I find it annoying that the developers just didn’t make this an option to begin with. A strategy game with bot support is already less than ideal.
Regardless, still it’s a good game for new comers to the genre
Army Men RTS has to be the most accessible real time strategy game I’ve ever encountered. It’s forgiving and does a good job of teaching the basics.
The game is also very nostalgic. Whether it’s because you’ve played an Army Men game before or if it’s because you too had a ton of toy soldiers in your toy box.
Pick this game up if you are looking to ease yourself into the world of virtual commanding. Black Friday is only a few days away. The game will go on sale for fairly cheap.
It will be the perfect time to this game up.
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