Action figures: if they're not being used in some crude ritual of sexual awakening with Barbie dolls, they're being eviscerated by the neighbourhood dog. Maybe Small Soldiers is just the chance these victims need to gain some respect in the world. Or maybe it's just a way to cash in on another kids' film. Who knows? Who cares? Relatively ignored on full-price, it's decided to sell itself on budget street, where it hopes its low cost will catch the eye of the undiscerning kerb-crawling gamer. Aimed at the younger market, Small Soldiers is an RTS lacking any of the complex strategic manoeuvres of Tiberian Sun or TA. The interface has been designed as simply as possible and the gameplay veers towards the arcade side, with health packs and power-ups to pick up along the way. Even if you were prepared to put up with its faults, all that could really be said is that Small Soldiers is an average G&C clone riding on the back of an average film.
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About the only similarity between Small Soldiers the movie and this action/ad-venture game from Electronic Arts and DreamWorks is the name. Here the Commandos and the Gorgonites (action figures come to life in the flick) are actual races. The fascistic Commandos are out to purify the universe by eliminating all races that don't meet their standards, and they have trained their sights on the Gor-gonite homeworlds. You play as Archer, leader of the Gorgonites, in behind-the-character, 360-degree, run-n-gun gameplay. Small Soldiers will feature approximately 15 levels of singleplayer action and possibly 8 levels in two-player mode. Small Soldiers won't replay the movie, but it certainly plans to continue the battle.
Small Soldiers by Electronic Arts attempts to re-create the diminutive. alien-busting action from the DreamWorks movie of the same name. The preliminary version showcased massive firepower, and there are plans for 12 mission-based levels featuring Commando Chip Hazard versus the Gorgonites. Soldiers' gameplay features include building up your arsenal, commandeering enemy vehicles, and capturing weird creatures in order to keep Earth safe from invasion.
This ain't like the movie! Small Soldiers for the PlayStation should be a finger-burning firefight, with massive firepower the order of the day.
Space Laid Waste
Small Soldiers will turn the Commando and the Gorgonite action-tigure characters from the movie of the same name into two distinct races of beings, with the Commandos becoming fascistic warmongers. You play as the Gorgonite leader, Archer, who must zap the baddies across 15 run-n-gun single-player levels. In the eight split-screen dual-player levels, you'll take on Commando leader, Chip Hazard, mano-a-mano. You'll also summon other characters from the flick, such as Punchit and Ocula, who will fight for you courageously on autopilot.
Night Made Right
In the preview version of Small Soldiers, the blistering shoot-em-up action was fast and fierce, but the chase-view cam held steady as the firefight spread out 360 degrees. Although the controls were a mite skittish, the Dual Shock joystick generally kept Archer on track, and the recoil during automatic gunfire was awesome. There's a sniper view, too, but Archer's best move was strafing, which locked his weapons on target as he ran.
War Is Swell
It looks like Small Soldiers plans a major attitude assault with its graphics and sounds: At the get-go, the Commandos launch a sneak assault on the DreamWorks logo, zrapping the Tom Sawyer-like kid who's fishing on the crescent moon. In addition, Commandos such as Butch Meathook and Chip Hazard often cop mean grins just like their big-screen counterparts. To pump the audio, actor Tommy Lee Jones re-ups as Chip Hazard's voice and a weird Gorgonite choir sings mesmerizing background vocals.
In Small Soldiers the movie, toy action figures battle on Earth. In the game, the war takes place in an alien dimension where the figures are real creatures. Fourteen intricately rendered 3D battle zones pit you as Archer, the Gorgonite leader, against Chip Hazard and his Commando Elite. Fully mobile, you interact with the terrain throughout your various missions while you free trapped Gorgonite comrades who then aid you in battle.
Thirteen weapons and many power-ups are at your command, including the handy shoot-around-the-corner starbolt. Plus, a two-player mode throws Archer against Chip in head-to-head or capture-the-flag combat Finally, a Dual Shock controller is a must if you want to feel all the heavy artillery fire.
The effort funneled into creating a unique gaming adventure--instead of just duplicating the movie--is evident in all aspects of this well-made game. Small Soldiers is a fun and fast action/adventure title. Ten-hut!
- The eerie chants add to the atmosphere and provide keys to secret areas. PRO TIP: In two-player mode, taking out Chip Is just as effective as capturing the Rag. PRO TIP: It requires g leap of faith to overcome some apparent dead ends. PRO TIP: Keep your bigger on unlimited crossbow fire, shoot in the direction you're walking, and use all nooks and comers. PRO TIP: Free captured Gorgonltes to help you and to draw Ore.
Impressive terrain, ambient lighting, and attention to detail create a believable 3D world with depth and substance. Only the distracting pop-up in the environments as you back into corners prevented a higher rating.
Although the control is solid overall, handling your character with the analog controller was a little loose. You often bump into walls when stuck in tight corners or when you react to sudden attacks. Practice improves your aim with weapons.
A fully orchestrated soundtrack and distinctive sound effects create a moody cinematic atmosphere. The eerie chanting is especially unnerving.
Small Soldiers packs an intriguing story line and enough levels, hidden objects, and weapons to stand out from the rest of the 3D action/adventure pack. There's lots of shoot-em-up fun here.
Small Soldiers--a decent movie. Small Soldiers--a below-average game. Why? First we have the hit-detection problems. There's nothing more fun than getting stuck on a wall, in a doorway or on an object...especially when an enemy is laying into you with a rocket. Notice the sarcasm. Next we have the control. This is by far the biggest problem in the game. Let me explain--when moving forward, your character has a certain momentum that builds up. As you turn right or left, he continues to move forward with a sort of arc movement. Although this may not seem like a problem, when you're near a ledge, in a narrow corridor or trying to target an enemy, this control flaw (at least what I consider to be one) is REALLY annoying. So you have to literally stop, then turn and then move in the direction you want. Otherwise you do this annoying forward arc thing. Those two major problems take the fun out of the game. It's unfortunate really, considering how cool the story behind SS is (using the backstories behind the Commando Elite and the Gorgonites instead of simply making the movie into a game). In addition, the graphics look great and the art style creates a great mood. Two-player play is fun but again, the control is an issue. Overall, rent this one. I wouldn't recommend buying it.
Why make a "game of the film" that isn't? Why make a game of a film that uses excellent rendered visuals and then not use said visuals anywhere in the game? Why make the controls appalling? Why make the collision detection so bad you can get stuck on corners or even in apparent open space? Why make the "turning circles" of the character’s oil tanker-like? Most importantly...why bother with this complete waste of space?
Well here's a surprise--a movie-license game that has little in common with the flick on which it's based (you're not even toys). Not so surprising, however, is that Small Soldiers stinks as badly as most movie-based games. Although the graphics are really quite good, the game itself is a dull, repetitive, mindless third-person shooter with sluggish control and horrid camera problems. Even the two-player Deathmatch Mode is boring.
An interesting film license coupled with a generic third-person adventure game equals about 11 hours out of your life you'll never get back. The environments and most of the special effects are nice to look at, and the missions have multiple tasks to accomplish. The problem with all this is that we've seen this all before. It's almost a paint-by-the numbers-type of adventure which adds nothing new and isn't executed well.