Army Men: Toys in Space
"Bring in the fly boys," Sarge orders as reconnaissance clears a path for the Space Troopers. The Tan Army won't get away with it this time as long as you help Sarge and the Green Army prevent earthly invasion when the aliens make a joint agreement with Commander Plastro to overtake the galaxy together. You will eventually team up with Tina Tomorrow and her stun girls for a fierce onslaught against Plastro and his new Alien Army recruits. With the beam down of Space Troopers to assist you, the battle has just begun between the Green and Tan Armies.
Similar to Warcraft and Command & Conquer, Army Men: Toys in Space isn't really anything new to those who've played the original Army Men and its sequel, Army Men II. However, the interface has been pumped up and although there are some changes, the benefits are clear. The most noticeable difference is that you can command units fully by mouse. One downfall is that the cursor keys control the map location instead of spinning the direction of the units -- not a bad trade off, however.
The familiar Squad Members are back to do damage to alien scum. Tina Tomorrow's new Galactic Army consists of these Space Troopers: Stunner, Paralyzer, Gunner, Incinerator and Robot. The Robot is semi-useless because it's slow and doesn't do much damage, however it has radar detection capabilities and close range firepower. Perhaps the most annoying of the bunch (particularly when your opponents in multi-player mode are using them) are the female Stunners who can freeze whole groups of units for about ten seconds, allowing other troopers to destroy you in the process!
The Alien Army's Larva, Spider, Drone, Commander and Oculons take a long time to destroy, but fortunately don't possess the artillery that the other armies have. And lastly, the Speeder and Rover join the mighty list of vehicles. They are weapons amongst themselves as you can flatten your enemies into plastic pancakes, but be careful when your own troops are around -- they are quite vulnerable, too.
Some of the newer power ups do major damage such as the Sniper Rifle, Incendiary Mortar, Fly Swatter, Glue and Laser Rifle. The Glue looks like Elmer's and its effect is just like a stun ray. All of these in addition to the usual Flak Jacket, Force Field and other pick up items can be enabled or disabled or randomly distributed from the options menu. Other items like the Medical Tent, Anti-aircraft Gun, Radar Installation, Auto Repair Facility and various Pillboxes are home base units that are deployed during unit placement so that you can prevent enemy air attacks and flag stealing.
Although there are newer maps, the graphic quality remains the same as the first two Army Men titles. Even with a couple of different resolution modes that are automatically detected, the 256 colors on screen are just not enough for a game like this to compete in the visual medium. Lots of plastic pieces stay on the ground for a long time, yet it can make your computer slow down significantly when there is too much going on. It would've been nice to have a 3D world since hardware accelerated cards tend to increase the speed and fluidity of a game over software rendering. Plus, it would've given Toys in Space some much needed special effects.
The music is very space-like and fits perfectly with this game. The voices are generally the same as Army Men II with the exception of Sarge calling out Space Troopers and Tina's dialogue during the Campaign Mode. Sound effects-wise, a real military war couldn't sound more realistic and this game pulls it off very realistically.
Controls may take some time to get used to, but it's easy once you do and that is where most of the fun takes place because you don't have much time before your opponent turns you into heaps of plastic rubbish. Single player is almost as fun as multi-player, something most games lack in their single player modes. Heat.net is the preferred online gaming service that the game takes advantage of if you want to play over the Internet, but playing against three of your friends locally is such a joy ride.
Overall, Army Men: Toys in Space is a good action/strategy simulation game with varying degrees of difficulty (easy, medium, hard) that is fun for kids as well as adults who want to be kids again. The humor and fantastic movies are enough to pique anyone's curiosity. The game could have used more colors and 3D graphics, but in the long run good gameplay is what it's all about. It's nothing entirely new but if you want to delve into another one of Sarge's action-packed missions to rid the Tan Army from destroying the world, then Toys in Space will satisfy that thirst for vengeance.
Go ahead, collect all the plastic army figurines and place them on top of your monitor or computer for the full effect. "Real Combat. Plastic Men." The toys of tomorrow. ~ Cal Nguyen, All Game Guide
Still just 256 colors in 2D with little special effects. Maybe next time, boys! ~ Cal Nguyen, All Game Guide
Great combat sound, almost like the real thing, but nothing new about it. ~ Cal Nguyen, All Game Guide
If you're into action, strategy, simulation and war, this game's got it all, but don't rely on your computer to keep it from crashing! ~ Cal Nguyen, All Game Guide
The multi-player mode is where most of the replay is. ~ Cal Nguyen, All Game Guide
Thirty-six pages of easy to understand documentation with lots of pictures and other smorgasbord. ~ Cal Nguyen, All Game Guide