Originally created 10/17/01

'Runner' is latest in bad series



3DO is at it again.

The company that took the brilliant Green Army Men idea and turned it into mush is back with another GAM-based game. It's almost as bad as the series it's based on.

This time, the star is Vikki Grimm, the camouflage-bikini-top-wearing, green-pony-tailed ace reporter for the Green Army News. She comes to us in Portal Runner, a title designed for the PlayStation 2.

Vikki's nemesis, Blue spy Brigitte Bleu, has found a new type of travel portal and is eyeing Vicki's boyfriend, Sarge, to help her rule the worlds she found on the other side. Over Vikki's melted plastic body, Brigitte.

Vikki sets out to investigate the portals and soon finds herself trapped in the new worlds with no way home. Luckily, Vikki hooks up with Leo the lion. The beast helps her wade through the puzzles and enemies she must defeat to return and protect Sarge from Brigitte's predations.

As with previous GAM titles, there's little to impress even the novice gamer. The game looks dated and plays worse.

Vikki uses a bow and a variety of arrows to defeat her foes, break through barriers, extinguish fires and perform other important tasks. Vikki also collects gems as she proceeds, with different colors worth different point totals. Every 10,000 points adds a line to Vikki's life bar. A two-player option is available.

Graphics get a C+. They look out of place on the PS2 and are weak even for a PlayStation title. The colors are nice, but details are sorely lacking. It makes you wonder why the folks drawing the game aren't in their second-grade classrooms, practicing filling in the lines with crayons.

Control gets a C. It's just too much work to get the camera to look at what you want to see, and getting Vikki to do what she's told is a chore.

Another C for the sound, which features clinky music and boring chat from our heroine.

3DO gets a C for this one, but only because the game is a bit better than most of the Green Army Men titles. This series needs an overhaul or a decent burial.

Portal Runner is rated E, for ages 6 and up.



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