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A world exists that's quite different from our own. There, a battle rages out of control. A battle between good and evil...Green and Tan.
—Intro to Army Men: Sarge's Heroes
Army Men was a popular series of Video Games by the now defunct software company 3DO, about a war among several factions of plastic Army Men. The game was inspired by the developers' childhood memories of playing with miniature Army Men. The series lasted from 1998 to 2003, when 3DO went bankrupt. Many fans of the series laud the initial games' more "family oriented" take on the shooter genre. After Army Men: Air Attack, the brand started suffering from lower quality sequels and spinoffs (let's not talk about a certain game starring Sarge's girlfriend). Since 3DO went under in 2003, various other companies have since tried to make games based on the Army Men brand, to even lower results than 3DO's later games.
This series has examples of:
- Big Bad: General Plastro for most of the series.
- Major Mylar for Army Men 2.
- Colonel Blintz in the RTS game.
- Lord Malice in Sarge's War.
- Big Good: Colonel Grimm.
- Black Best Friend: Riff, to Sarge.
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: Every faction across the series. The four most common are Green being good guys, Tan being evil, Gray being, well, gray (in some games they're allied with the Greens, in others they're against everyone), and Blue being spies (for most of the time), typically allied with the Tans except in the World War sub-series.
- Crosshair Aware: Due to engine limitations in Sarge's Heroes multiplayer, every player can see everyone else's aiming reticule for mortars and grenades.
- Darker and Edgier: The World War sub-series, and Sarge's War, to a large extent. The latter sometimes borders on parody of the gritty war hero type film.
- Lighter and Softer: Sarge's Heroes and Soldiers of Misfortune.
- Downer Ending: Sarge's War was pretty much this for the whole series.
- Dumb Muscle: Thick.
- Escort Mission: Plenty of 'em in the first game (and 3D).
- Follow the Leader: Portal Runner pretty much only exists because people still cared about Lara Croft way back when.
- I Lied: Plastro, on occasion.
Plastro: Burn it all, starting with her blasted Blue homeland.
- Kill It with Fire: Not surprisingly, the most damaging non-heavy weapon in every game is the flamethrower.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: Sarge.
- Ludicrous Gibs: A bloodless example occurs in some of the games.
- Man On Fire: Each game allows you to melt your enemies with the flamethrower.
- Melee à Trois: The penultimate level of the first game (and 3D) pits you against both Gray and Tan forces, both of whom are also trying to kill each other.
- Nintendo Hard: Some of the games.
- One-Man Army: Especially in any one of the games where you're not controlling a squad.
- Pyromaniac: Scorch, from Sarge's Heroes. In his flavor text, it say he sleeps in a box of matches.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Bravo Company in Sarge's Heroes.
- The Red Stapler: This game is based on generic one-colored army men plastic toys.
- Rule of Funny: Hard to avoid when the whole game is about miniature toys trying to kill each other.
- Air Attack, for example, has a level where one of your bases is being torn apart... by ants. And to dispatch them, you have to drop cherry bombs on their anthills. And to unlock the final chopper, you need to gather its construction pieces, which come in plamo-like packaging.
- Schizo-Tech: The World War sub-series (not counting the PC game), despite being set in a WWII-esque setting, has helicopters being used by Tan forces. Not only that, all of the nations are using Vietnam War-era M16 rifles and M48 Patton tanks, just like the rest of the series. Interestingly enough some of the cover arts shows a Green soldier carrying what appears to be a M1 Garand rifle, and the cutscenes for the PC game shows the Tan using Panther tanks... though the ingame tank model still resembles a M48 Patton.
- Shout-Out - Pretty much a staple of the series later in it's run, both in level names and even villains.
- It was doing it as far back as the second game, where one two part mission was just one big shout out to Apocalypse Now.
- Solar-Powered Magnifying Glass: This appears as a super weapon in some games. Due to the fact that all units are either little plastic men or (rarely) bugs, it works fairly well.
- Speaking Simlish: In Major Malfunction, everyone speaks by grunting or mumbling gibberish.
- Spin-Off: Portal Runner, which starred Sarge's girlfriend Vikki as a bow-shooting Action Girl.
- Stock Footage: The intro for World War: Final Front reuses some footage from previous games.
- Tagline: Real combat. Plastic men.
- Tank Goodness: Of course. You can even drive them in some of the games.
- Those Wacky Nazis: The Tan Nation is often portrayed as a heavily Flanderized version of Nazi Germany.
- Unexpected Shmup Level: The PS1 version of the first World War game has plenty of moments where you get inside vehicles. However unlike the rest of the series you can only control its turret(s), while said vehicle drives on a predetermined path.
- Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: Completely averted. What do you think happens to little plastic army men who're exposed to flame? The answer: awesome happens.
- Video Game Remake: 3D, which is basically the first game as a, well, 3D third-person shooter.
- Why Am I Ticking?: The M-60 firecrackers in Army Men II.