Army Men RTS's story is loosely based on Apocalypse Now. A rogue Green colonel has "Gone Tan", requiring Sarge to assemble a team to invade the house that he is currently fortified in. The story takes players through the front garden, through the basement, into the kitchen and eventually into the attic where the Tan HQ is situated.
Army Men RTS was the first shipped title from Pandemic Studios' Brisbane studio. Based on the Dark Reign 2 engine, the title was developed in 15 months for both PC and PlayStation 2 with a team of 12 people.
While there was no marketing budget for the title, Army Men RTS still sold a respectable number of units for the time, reaching 200,000 units on the PlayStation 2 and 60,000 units on the PC.
A publisher error with the creation of the PC gold master caused 50,000 discs to include two versions of the game: one retail copy from a week before gold master, and one development copy from a month before gold master, complete with development tools. All copies of this disc were landfilled a week before release and reprinted, making this version of the game extremely rare and hard to find.
When 3DO collapsed, Global Star Software purchased the rights to the Army Men franchise and produced a GameCube version of Army Men RTS.
Army Men RTS was Matt Harding's last shipped title as a lead designer before he left the games industry, toured the world, and became a viral internet dancing sensation as "Dancing Matt".
Unique Mechanics and Controls
Army Men RTS had a number of unique firsts that either influenced future console RTS titles or were unique to RTS games at the time:
- No cursor. Army Men RTS was the first console RTS that didn't use a cursor to select and order units around. Instead, the left stick moved the camera around, and the Circle button created a selection ring in the center of the screen that selected units in that area. The ring would grow if the Circle button was tapped again before moving the camera. This system has since been used in games like Halo Wars.
- Flick Targetting. Instead of having to select a unit by moving over them and selecting them, players could flick the right analog stick in the direction of the enemy they wanted to target.
- Cannibalistic Resources. Players could melt down the corpses of dead units and use that plastic to create more units.
PC System Requirements
- Pentium 233MHz Processor
- 250MB Hard Disk Space
- 64MB RAM
- 4X CD-ROM Drive
- 16MB DirectX Compatible Video Card
- DirectX Compatible Sound Card