Plastro, the infamous leader of the Tan Army, has recruited alien forces from another world to aid in his ongoing war against the Green Nation. It's up to Sarge and Vikki G. to jump into action to save their troops from a variety of unknown enemies, and then track down Plastro himself for a final confrontation!
--From the GBA Army Men Advance instruction manual.
"Army Men Advance" is a 2D shooter from the "Army Men" franchise. "Army Men Advance" is true to the franchise, placing the player on the green side of an active conflict. "Army Men Advance" was one of the first generation of Game Boy Advance games, and at times it shows. This game is very straight forward, and at times underwhelming. At the start of the game, the player has the option of choosing one of two heroes, there is no way to reverse your decision and change character mid-game, so choose wisely.
The adventure begins behind enemy lines, your character must find a way to escape the tan soldiers. Escaping involves finding a key to open a locked door, a recurring and somewhat repetitive objective that persists throughout the game. Your soldier is also tasked with destroying targets, and collecting objects. The lack of objective variety can grow wearisome, especially on the dull, first level of the game.
The beginning of "Army Men Advance" was a little bit jarring. To begin with, "Army Men Advance" has no music. None. Zero. I can't remember ever playing a game with no music, it was very strange. The truly tragic aspect of having no music on "Army Men Advance" is that the blanket of silence intensifies the sound effects. The gun shots sound fine, but the moan emitted by an enemy soldier taking damage is slightly disturbing. The enemy soldiers sound as if they are moaning from pleasure, not pain, when they are shot by the player. It was very creepy (especially heard over large computer speakers), and I briefly considered a life of pacifism.
"Army Men Advance" missions switch between the miniaturized world of tiny army men, and a full sized human world. I didn't quite understand how, or why, the game is at different scale, perhaps the answer lies in one of the earlier games of the series. "Army Men Advance" is very short on story details, and I get the impression that the game is geared towards those already familiar with the Army Men world.
The graphics aren't abysmal, but at times the color is. The first mission seems to be carried out in a mental hospital, devoid of any colors except gray and khaki. The game starts to pick up in the later levels, where the player will encounter a much broader spectrum of enemies than in the early levels. The levels get more colorful as the player advances, and the player gets the chance to drive a tank, and navigate a boat, both of which are a blast. "Army Men Advance" does have something to offer gamers, unfortunately you'll need to put a little bit of time in before you can access it.
At the start of the game the player is given the option of choosing one of two characters, either Sarge, or Vicki G. Sarge has more health, and Vicky G. has faster movement speed. Vicki G seems to be the better of the two options, especially if you're trying to race through the first few levels to get to the more impressive content. The player has an energy bar in the upper right hand corner of the screen, when the bar is depleted the character will die, and the game will end.
There are a number of different weapons that can be found throughout the game including a flame thrower, grenade launcher, upgraded assault rifles, and grenades. The player can also melee enemies with their weapon. There are twelve stages that must be completed before fighting the game's only boss.
The enemy AI is equivalent to an army of digital Forrest Gumps, enemies will be immediately alerted to the player's presence at the player's sight of the enemy, the enemies will then repeatedly attempt to shoot through the wall, if there is no direct line of fire they will not reposition, but continue to pump lead into the wall between you. Stronger enemies are recognized by their red headband.
Unfortunately, "Army Men Advanced" utilizes the password feature to continue the player's progress.
|R Button||Hold to strafe|
|L Button||Hold to strafe|
|Select Button||Cycle weapons|