====================================================================== ====================================================================== == == Army Men 3D Mini Strategy Guide == == Version: 1.0 == Author: Jack Herrington == jackh@axon.com == == Copyright: This document Copyright 1998 Jack Herrington == All rights reserved == This document, or parts thereof cannot be == copied in any fashion without the prior written == consent of the author. == ====================================================================== ====================================================================== ----------------------------------------------------------- Premise ----------------------------------------------------------- Army Men 3D is an arcade style combat game based on old-style toy action figures. You play the fairly hard to kill green `Sarge'. Sarge has job of completing missions critical to stemming the invasion of the `Tan' (and later Gray) menace. I'll start by describing the weapons and vehicles at your disposal. Then describe the enemies. Then go through strategies to use throughout the game and strategies specific to each level. This is not a walk-through in the classic sense because the game doesn't lend itself to a set walk-through. You need to develop a small skill set and then use it to overcome increasingly complex obstacles. This strategy guide provides techniques and tips that will make the harder levels much easier. ----------------------------------------------------------- Weapons ----------------------------------------------------------- Rifle: This is your standard weapon. It has unlimited ammunition, and nearly unlimited range. It is your first and best weapon. Automatic Rifle: This is an absolutely worthless spray weapon. It's glamorous, but pointless. It runs out too quickly and most importantly it has limited range. One of the things that makes this game very easy is that the tan player uses a lot of automatic rifles, which, while they sound bad are easy to avoid and easier to kill. Grenades: This is your next best weapon. The game has some clipping problems that allow grenades to go through almost anything. Mortars are in the same league, but you won't get many of them. Grenades are everywhere and they are an invaluable tool in winning the game. It's important to note that you should always try to under throw a grenade. It appears that having the crosshairs right on top of the target is having the crosshairs just a little too far. The grenade will go off harmlessly behind them. Always check your Grenade count before getting a box of grenades. If you already have nine, then you will only get one from a box of five and discard the rest. Stupid Sarge! What a waste of the second best weapon in the game. Mines: Absolutely worthless weapon. Mines are a senselessly vicious defensive weapon. In this game you are never on the defensive. Not once are you choreographing a planned retreat from a stronger force, where mines might prove handy. I have no idea why the programmers put this weapon into the arsenal. Bazooka: This weapon is only good against tanks. You can't range it, and it's tough to aim accurately. Three shots will take out a tank. However, you have to practice to be accurate. Grenades from a sheltered position are a much more predictable way to remove a tank. Bazookas are pretty worthless against any other targets. Mortar: A longer range, slower, grenade. Great for taking out targets that don't respond to Rifle fire (strangely) that are too far away for grenades. Flamethrower: While the graphic effect is very admirable the weapon itself is pretty useless. I never found a situation where I was more comfortable using a flamethrower than a traditional weapon. Much like the Automatic Rifle. The strategy is simple, be in a place where you can hurt him while he can't hurt you. With grenades you can hide behind a rock and throw them. With a Rifle you can pick guys off from a considerable distance. Certainly long before they can target you. With a flamethrower you have to be right in the enemies face. This is a very bad place to be. Explosives: Required to remove certain specific strategic items. ----------------------------------------------------------- Vehicles ----------------------------------------------------------- Jeep: Fast but worthless for removing real targets. The only time I could find a Jeep useful was when it was required to complete the mission on one of the early levels. Tank: This vehicle is particularly worthless. The main gun has the same potency as a bazooka, but the vehicle itself is much less maneuverable than Sarge. So why use the tank? I never found a situation where a tank was required. The best way to kill a tank irritate it into attacking you while you are covered behind a terrain feature (like a mound) and to hurl grenades at it (four will kill it.) The second best way is to use the roll-left and roll-right features of Sarge while using a bazooka. ----------------------------------------------------------- Helpful Extras ----------------------------------------------------------- Minesweeper: Used to locate mines. It also disarms them! Now that is a useful device. Medical Kit: Heals perhaps 3/10ths of damage done to Sarge. Medical Pack: Heals all of the damage done to Sarge. When faced with a choice between a Kit and a Pack you should look at how much damage you already have and how much you are likely to get soon. Choose the pack when Sarge is only showing knees. When Sarge is about half full use a Kit. Information: Key for finishing some missings. In some case you will get this during the mission and it will show you things like paths through minefields. Reconnaissance: This is pretty much worthless, since Sarge has amazing X-Ray vision with his `enemy scanner' in the lower right hand bottom of the screen. The only time I found this really useful was when I was going into a fenced in area where your vision is obstructed. ----------------------------------------------------------- What's missing? ----------------------------------------------------------- What's missing from the game is almost as important as what is there. 3D0 has done something really shocking in this genre. They have built a combat shooter game that has no `shield' items that you can pick up that make you temporarily invincible. I think that is remarkable. It changes the nature of the game entirely. You need to think and plan ahead. You also need to be careful and thoughtful in your actions. Bravo, 3D0! Another thing that is missing are bosses. Perhaps it's not in the nature of the game, but you would figure that, using the tools that you have today (Rifle, grenade, bazooka) you could go up against an enormous tank or a dive bombing fighter. Man on man! Or a "keep moving or die" level, like Normandy Beach. ----------------------------------------------------------- Enemies ----------------------------------------------------------- Snipers: I'll call enemy soldiers (both tan and grey) with Rifles firing single shots Snipers. These are the worst enemies in the game because their range is as long as yours. They can chisel Sarges strength down with just a few shots. I've found the best way to take out snipers is to use roll-right and roll-left techniques (explained below.) It's important to take out snipers first and machine gun nests second. Snipers can kill you slowly. While machine gun nests, as long as you are out of range, are harmless. Machine gun nests: Machine gun nests are the easiest targets. You can see them at long range on your scanner. Then they will start to fire even before you are in range, which gives you all the information you need to pick them off at a comfortable distance. When you are within the range of one of these guns then rolling left or right will avoid the hit or at least reduce the damage and then you can use the time between bursts to target the nest and take it out. Tanks: As I mentioned above in the Tank part of Vehicles the best way to take out a tank is to have it spend it's time firing pointlessly into some terrain element you are hiding behind and to lob grenades onto it. Grenades have crosshairs which provide superb accuracy. You can hit anywhere on a tank with a grenade, and tanks are very large. Four grenades take out a tank, while it takes three bazooka shots. The game gives you a lot more grenades than bazooka rounds. So I prefer to go with the grenades. By the way, tanks appear to follow a set pattern, even when `attacking' and thus are easily out-maneuvered or simply run past. As you become more comfortable with grenades, using the terrain, rolling, and (when unavoidable) good use of the bazooka you will find that tanks have a big roar and little bite. You'll find that tank levels, like the Colonels Mansion level, are refreshingly easy once you pick up these simple techniques. When you run out of grenades or bazooka rounds on a tank, don't get scared, just run away from the tank. It will not follow. It will resume the set pattern. Pick up some more ammunition and come back to kill it. Tanks are silly in this game. This is no Saving Private Ryan for sure. Take the Green tanks for example, they can't even run over rocks! It's obvious that the tanks were hindered thus to keep you from using them through an entire level. The sad thing is. I'm not sure you would want to use them that long. Bazooka Men: Bazooka men are easier to kill but are more offensively dangerous than their steel encased counterparts in the tank. Bazooka men move around quickly. They also avoid grenades! The best way to kill these guys is to get as far back as possible and to use roll left and roll right techniques to avoid the shot and then hit them with long range Rifle fire. It's also important to note that while the range of a bazooka is long it is not unlimited. However, it's not much less than the Rifles range. Certainly not like the machine gun nest! So practice those roll left and roll right maneuvers! Grenade Guys: These guys almost always come in the stationary variety and they just lob a grenade at you every so often. The best way to kill them is to snipe them from a distance. Or, you could just walk up to them and shoot them point blank. One important thing to note is that grenades have a very small area of effect. If there is a grenade at your feet then a single roll left or right will get you out of the range of any damage. Flamethrower guys: Don't stand in the flames too long! I know it sounds silly but the less time you stand in the flames the less damage you take. So the moment you start to get torched get the hell out of there. Otherwise, flamethrower guys are just like machine gun nests, they have a limited range so stand back and plink them from a distance. If you can't do that then get behind some shelter and use a grenade. Stationary/moving guys: This is a computer game so every follows a set pattern. Even the surprise guys, the bazooka men or snipers that pop out of buildings and run at you are following a set pattern. I'm guessing here, but it makes sense to me that there are trigger lines on the map that if you step over cause an enemy unit to pop up and make it's fixed pattern attack. After a few times watching these guys it's pretty simple to find a good place to be to kill them before they shoot at you. There is one exception. On the last two levels I saw a variety of sniper that would follow you. They don't follow fast though, so run far enough away using a zig-zag pattern then turn around and use roll- left and roll-right to kill them. ----------------------------------------------------------- Basic Strategies ----------------------------------------------------------- Roll-left/Roll-right: This is so important. Using L2 and the left and right directional buttons you can roll left and right by a prescribed amount. You can use this technique to pop out from behind a shelter area, shot the target and then pop back. Or to avoid the shot of a bazooka (or a tank) while firing at it. One key point to notice is that Sarge angle of rotation does not change as he rolls left and right. Let's say that when you roll out your target isn't straight ahead of you, he is slightly off to the right. Roll back to the safe position and press right a little. Now he will be slightly turned to his right. Now roll back out and snipe the target. If you hit, then good for you. If you miss, roll back and re- adjust. With a little practice and a good sense of timing you can roll out and pick off a sniper who is very close at hand. Don't move back: If you move straight back in the light of enemy fire then you will die. If the only way out is straight back then turn around and run. The only reason I can think of to move straight back is when you are already sheltered and you want to give yourself some space between you and a machine gun nest. Don't waste grenades: As I mentioned earlier, check the amount of grenades you already have before opening a new box. If it is around ten then use the grenades you already have then come back for more later. Otherwise you will waste them. Another common waste is to use grenades on a machine gun nest when you could easily go back a ways and snipe it from a distance. Rifles have unlimited ammo. Always go to the Rifle first. Watch how Sarge aims: Sarge is real smart about targeting stuff he can't see. You'll notice that even at a very long distance Sarge will aim up and down if a target is on that rotational axis. Sometimes all you have to do to find an enemy is to spray an arc and see when he fires up or down from flat level. Use the 3D perspective: The game is based on a three-quarters perspective and you can see a lot more than a man in Sarge's position really could. Use this to your advantage. When you are up against a wall and there are enemies on the other side use the left and right buttons to change your angle of view to see through the wall and to see exactly where the enemies are. This is powerful technique to use in combination with grenades. Remember, grenades go through anything. Grenades go through anything: There are two real tools in Army Men 3D, grenades; which go through almost anything. And the Rifle, which can shoot and kill almost anything you can see (except a tank.) What more do you need? Remember, Army Men 3D is a game on a computer. Walls are actually infinitely flat planes. Use this unreality to your benefit! Snipe everything you can from a distance: Fixed snipers, grenade guys, bazooka men, flamethrower guys and machine gun nests can all be shot from a long distance before they even know you are there. They can also be killed by position alone. So you don't even need to really see them. You just need to know where they are. Using your rifle you can also make a sweep of an area to kill everything in it. Remember, you have an unlimited amount of Rifle ammunition. With a Rifle and the enemies scanner (in the lower right hand corner of the screen) you have a powerful arsenal. Avoid cross-fire: Like any good military strategists, the guys at 3D0 set up a lot of cross fire situations. Situations where you will get pinned between two machine gun nests or snipers. Generalized advice would be difficult to give, but on strategy is to remove one nest, then move Sarge into it and snipe the other nest. ----------------------------------------------------------- Scenario Specific Strategies ----------------------------------------------------------- Desert / Depot Run: Not much to say here. A couple of pre-programmed attacks. A lot of snipers. Roll-left/roll-right will save the day. Desert / Spy Hunt: Nothing much to mention here again. Lots of medical packs are around. So getting through should be fairly easy. The initial outpost that has a lot of machine gun nests can be cleaned up with the plentiful grenades you get. The snipers can be picked off with roll-left/roll-right and grenades. Desert / Drive By Rescue: Pretty simple. Clear out the entire area, lock stock and barrel, of tan. Then take the minesweeper that you get and clear the minefield. Who put signs on a minefield anyway? Bring the jeep up next to the barbed wire fence (that you can remove by shooting the drum next to it.) The barbed wire area is in the very heavily defended area. It's tough to describe where it is since all of the terrain looks the same. It's close to the minefield. After you get the jeep up near the barbed wire, get out of the Jeep and get the guys. Then drive the jeep to the Helicopter located up on the hill. Desert / Comm Down: The first enemy tanks you see! There are two. The first is a fairly easy kill with grenades from behind the mound that is between the crates and the trench. The second is a little more difficult. There is an area that you can use with some safety to lob grenades onto the tank. It's not that easy, however. It may be worth doing a tank-on-tank battle here. You will have an even chance because you will have a completely untouched tank because you destroyed the first tank with grenades. The rest is mainly snipers, nests and grenade guys. The usual strategies apply. The target is remarkably well defended. Explosives take down the tower. Desert / The Key: Despite the Sarge's pessimistic attitude this is actually a pretty easy level. The stuff at the top of the pyramids are simply covered machine gun nests that can be taken out with a single shot. First thing to do is take out everything at the front of the main pyramid. Then move inside to the front of the ramp and kill everything you can get to on the right, left and center from there. Then go outside of the pyramid and go to the right. Following as for as you can in every direction. You will get a lot of mortars. You will get all the way around the back of the pyramid. Plus you will get lots of opportunities to pick off guys at long distances. Most importantly is the last mortar that you get around the back. With that mortar you can knock out the power generator which is half of the mission. It is in the very un-pyramid looking section to the right of the pyramid (from the back). It is at the absolute limits of the range of the mortar. Blow it up and you will save yourself a lot of trouble. Now return to the front of the pyramid and clean out everything on the hill to the right. More mortars, more health, and more opportunity for sniping (with Rifle and mortar). Now that you have cleaned that out you can go up the pyramid. Start on the right hand side and watch out for guys popping up out of nowhere. Make your way to the top and use a mortar to shell the guys inside. Get the first key. Now use the mortars to shell the tanks that come out. Viola! Desert / Dry Gulch: This is actually a pretty simple level. If you wait long enough the tank will leave the company of the bridge and leave it wide open for explosives. Alpine / Downed Chopper: Three ways to make this level a whole lot easier. 1) Use the barrels located next to each of the tents to blow up the tents before all of the tan soldiers wake up and start pounding on you. To use the barrels to blow up the tents, shoot them. 2) When you are clearing out the minefield, clear out the section next to the big rock right where the guys are located. It's not posted as a minefield, but it has mines, and one of the troops is pre-programmed to walk right into it. 3) Lead the guys out to a safe distance out of the minefield and have them defend. Then go clear out the area around the chopper pad yourself. Then go back and get the guys and take them to the Helicopter. Alpine / Lumber Strike: I'm sure this is nowhere near what the authors intended, but. Once you have survived the initial pre-programmed strike on the first island you need to start cleaning out the front emplacements of the camp. Then moving from left to right clean out the emplacements right inside the front gate of the encampment. Then move into the middle of the road and pick off the guys in the center. Then go back to the right and pick off the machine gun at the edge of the wood pile. Now move in closer and draw the bazooka fire. Using roll left and right, kill the bazooka guy. Now proceed to the left. Kill the machine gun nest and the rifle guy in back of him. Get the explosives out and set the next to the Helicopter. Retreat and wait for the explosives to go off. Then you are done. Alpine / Mining Camp: This is another cleanup operation. There is one pesky flamethrower guy pre-programmed to come out of the mine car area. You will want to kill him as quickly as possible. Alpine / Race to the lake: Initially there is a bazooka guy located right ahead of you. You can avoid him simply by standing a little behind the rock and firing at him. The rest is a standard mop-up. Alpine / Tan Express: The biggest threat on this level are the four machine guns right ahead of you from the beginning. You can go to the hill on the right early and pick them off. The one on the far right will need to be avoided with rolling maneuvers. Alpine / Train Station: Again, I'm sure this wasn't the way they intended it. However, the best way to get through this level quickly is to head immediately to your left and over the train tracks as soon as possible. Of course, after getting through all of the pre- programmed attacks. Make sure to bring enough grenades and/or bazooka rounds to kills at one tank. After you get over the train tracks proceed to the right and then head in towards the left when the rock divides the way. There will be two machine guns and a sniper there. Take them out. Then destroy the tank. If you use grenades he will not attack you. If you have a bazooka out he will turn around and fire. Either way, he is an easy kill. Then proceed into the fenced in area to get the key. It will take a little while for the shock to set it, but the program will eventually offer you the option of Saving and moving on to the next level. Alpine / Prison Break: This level is divided into four sections. The first is the machine gun (and sniper) nest. The second is the tank. The third is the prison (and surrounding area). The fourth is chopper (and surrounding area.) You can run right around the first two sections (the machine guns and tank). Avoid them entirely. Now clean out the whole third area. Blow the building. Now have the hostages go into defend mode and go clean out the fourth area. Now have the hostages follow you out to the chopper. Bayou / Weapon Plant: There is not much to say about this level. It's a mission where all of the tan are pre-programmed or fixed. You need to kill them all. You should be able to successfully finish the mission without entering the Weapons Plant area itself. Just sniping everything inside. Bayou / Colonels Mansion: Three tanks! Oh no! The tanks follow the roads in a set pattern. I found the most predictably successful strategy was to stand in the middle of the road (!) and fire a bazooka right down the muzzle of the tank. When I ran out of ammo I would just run and get some more and keep on banging away on them. After you kill the tank the colonel comes out and you take him to the front of the house to a waiting half-track unopposed. Bayou / Bridge Battle: This is a tough one for two reasons. The first is the pre-programmed attack on you and the colonel. The colonel will pick off some guys before you can stop him. You have to stop the bazooka guy before he kills the colonel. The bazooka guy always comes over the crest of the little hill. Be there and kill him before he gets to your guy. After you take care of that, park the colonel somewhere safe. Don't worry about him after that. There are no more pre-programmed attacks. There is a large weapons and medical cache in the mine field area. You will have to switch from minesweeper to Rifle and back again to clean out the area and successfully make the run. It's worth it. The second part of the mission, the bridge part, is tough until you notice that while the bridge is sure shaking around a lot that you aren't taking any damage personally. The only real threat is that sniper on the right hand side of the bridge. Remember that since he can shoot you when you are on the left side of the bridge you can shoot him as well. So wear the damage to locate him then spray the area. Then use a mortar to clean out the bazooka and sniper. Then use roll- right and roll-left with the bazooka to kill the tanks. After that resistance is minimal. Get the colonel and take him to the end of the level. Bayou / Bourbon Street: This is a tough one. More of the pre- programmed triggered attacks. With the addition of some snipers who have a tracking ability to follow you. One key technique to use on this level is the ability to look through buildings using Sarge's 3D left-right rotation. This way you can see the really nasty bazooka / flamethrower combination that comes fairly early on the level and use grenades (which again, pass through anything) to knock them both out with little effort. Bayou / City of the Dead: You have to get the mortar that is located on the far bottom right of the graveyard. Then take the mortar to the far upper left and bomb the cracked section of wall. Rifle fire and grenades won't do it. Is this the first time a mortar is required? After that, resistance is mainly bazooka guys. It's interesting to note that if you make an immediate left after entering the area outside of the cemetery (that you opened with the mortar) that you will find another mortar. More interestingly is that while you are making this grand discovery, the bazooka guy who is almost right inside the entrance will fire into the thicket and melt himself with his own explosion. Oh my! When you finish this level you will be presented with a pretty sad FMV which in no way compares in quality to the opening FMV. Needless to say that the resolution of the game leaves large possibilities for a sequel. My gut tells me that they rushed this part of the program to get to the release date on schedule. Oh, well. ----------------------------------------------------------- Gripes ----------------------------------------------------------- While I find that the game overall has a very solid feel I have some significant problems with it. Camera Angle: 3D games notoriously suffer from one major problem, camera angle. Either you can leave the camera floating up above and have it spun with where the user is looking, like Army Men 3D. Or you can have the camera positions for a given user position pre-programmed, like Crash Bandicoot or Metal Gear Solid. The problem with the user- controlled spin is that you can get situations where you are looking through a wall at your character. In short, you get clipping problems that you don't get when you have the camera in pre-programmed positions. However, with the combat nature of this game, and with enemies that can come at you from 360 degrees I think that 3D0 made the right choice of technologies. What they could have done is, instead of removing the intervening walls between you and the Sarge, they could have rendered them semi-transparent. Giving you the impression that something real is there. One area that clipping becomes a major problem is on the Bourbon Street level. Horizon Graphics: Objects beyond a particular distance from view are not rendered in this game. On most levels this is distance object removal is done by replacing the object with a white and hazing around it. Which gives you that great foggy "Silent Hill" look. That's fine, but there are some Desert levels that replace that distance objects with blue (because of the blue sky) and that looks bad and removes the critical suspension of disbelief component of the game. Audience: It's obvious that this game isn't intended for adults because of the complexity level. The game is less complex than Crash Bandicoot. On a five day Blockbuster rental I finished the game in three nights after work. I have no problem with that. However, for a game targeted at kids I think the violence level is high. I remember going into the camp on the Prison Break level and seeing a post that you would tie prisoners to and shoot them. True, it fit in with the concept of the level, but it's pretty gratuitous. Lack of play testing: Certainly on the later levels there is a feel that the game was rushed. The terrain is not smooth, so you end up getting stuck in hidden vertices. The camera angles often obscure your view at critical times, so that you end up shooting blindly or jumping out into a hail of bullets. The beginning Desert levels seem well thought out, but the terrain all looks the same and you end up running around in circles. I'm not sure if this avenue was explored or not, but I don't see why the map in the bottom right is fixed. If the character were always pointing North and the map were rotated around him I think it would be easier and quicker to comprehend where the enemies and the objectives are. Another avenue to explore would be to remove the sequence numbers from the maps. The game is easy enough already without the map telling you to first go here, and then go there. Little replay value: Unlike similarly complex games (i.e. Crash Bandicoot) this game has little replay value after the missions are finished. Not real world tactics: The movie Saving Private Ryan sparked my interest in WW II to read some books on it. One of the key factors that came through in those books was that soldiers who moved were the soldiers that lived. This was especially true on the beaches of Normandy. If you staid put, you died. In this game you are mainly going up against fixed positions, where the soldiers on the other end of the machine guns will have the entire area of fire pre-sighted. Realistically you would be in a position where staying put under enemy fire means death. Having to run and shoot to get through a level would heighten the excitement and the realism. Implied racism: Perhaps I'm being overly sensitive, but the only difference between you and your enemy is the color of your skin. This seems like a poor premise for the game. I understand that this is the way that the real action figures come, but it still seems off to me. As I said, in general it's a good solid game. It will alternately have you yelling and cheering at the screen as a good game should. It's a solid rental. ----------------------------------------------------------- Revision History ----------------------------------------------------------- 1.0 - Started the document.