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Portal Runner (PS2)
Released under the Army Men moniker, 3D0 brings Portal Runner to the PS2 for some 3D gaming action.
By - Andrei Alupului

Army Men. Those two words alone are enough to excite the passions of gamers nationwide. It's a series known by many as the greatest one in gaming history, of which every installment manages to enter the elite pantheon of gaming greatness. 3DO is hailed everywhere as a rag-tag bunch of brilliant geniuses, masterminds who create some of the most original games available today. Every single episode in the series manages to completely innovate whatever genre they’re a part of and make developers worldwide completely rethink the way that they’re approaching their own projects. Hideo Kojima. Shigeru Miyamoto. Yu Suz... Okay, no. But seriously. Portal Runner is an Army Men game and it’s not too good.

To Portal Runner’s credit, it’s probably one of the best games yet released under the Army Men moniker. It’s also the biggest departure yet from the series’ core concept. Take that as you will. In it, you play as Vikki G, star reporter for the Green Army and girlfriend of Sarge. The evil Brigitte Bleu decides that she wants to be Sarge’s girlfriend and so undertakes the task of trying to get rid of Vikki and insert herself as Sarge’s main squeeze. Her approach is absolutely brilliant. She throws Vikki through a portal into a prehistoric world, and then tells Sarge that she’s done it. Apparently Miss Bleu thinks this makes her his only option for future dates.

Yeah, the story is dumb, but it should keep the young’uns entertained, and they’re the game’s target audience anyway, as evidenced by some of the “sharp” writing. A choice line comes early in the game, when Sarge upsets Vikki before she heads off to get thrown into the portal. After she storms off, he observes that he will most likely have to buy “plastic flowers for a week.” Oh ho ho ho. Sarge, you cut-up. Plastic flowers, because they’re plastic toys! Herf herf. Throw in some painful one-liners from Vikki G in-game and you’ve got yourself some unbearably sad lines. The voice acting isn’t too great, either. Vikki G sounds like a Paula Poundstone / Rosie O’ Donnell hybrid, only more annoying.

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