The introduction of the five
inch action figure has deprived generations of little boys the opportunity of playing
dress up with their dolls. I blame George Lucas [Again! ed]. His Star Wars
figures revolutionized the toy biz and, in one fell swoop, made dolls something for girls.
I got in just under the wire. Although most of my childhood playtime was spent with the
5" G.I. Joe figures, I did have a big guy with scuba gear and army fatigues. I
honestly think that Im a more well adjusted person for the whole experience. I
cant tell you how happy I am to see the bigger toys coming back into vogue. On the
forefront of the retro toy revolution is Action Man.
You may be wondering what my
musings on mini-fashions have to do with the game. Well, it turns out that fashion is just
as important to Action Man as it is to Mary-Kate and Ashley. Before you start any level
you must decide which outfit would be best suited to your adventure. You have scuba gear
(ya gotta love scuba gear), jungle fatigues, a snowsuit, and eventually a space suit. You
can accessorize your adventure attire by choosing from a healthy selection of
weaponsunfortunately your choice of outfit has no effect on the gameplay. It would
have been great to see Action Man shiver in the arctic in his fatigues.
only does he look good, but he can kick some serious butt. The game has a simple
run/jump/fire set up that works quite nicely. The levels are varied enough that you
dont feel like your playing the same level again and again, unless, of course, you
are playing the same level. Each area has multiple missions to accomplish which gets a lot
of mileage out of each level without seeming too repetitive. The graphics are more than
serviceable with a few nice surprises along the way. It really feels like some time was
put into the design of this game.
Action Man has a fair number of weapons and gadgets to choose from (all non-lethal).
You get to pick two to use for a particular level. Your inventory will increase as you
progress through the game.
Man is James Bond without the babes or the license to kill. He technically doesnt
carry a gun and he wont hurt anything organic. I got a kick out of the manual.
Action Man is so environmentally friendly that he doesnt even hurt the insects that
he shoots. In fact, by shooting them, he actually frees them from the shackles of a mind
control device. It still looks like youre killing the poor suckers though.
I have to admit that I prefer a faster paced side scrolling shooter. I measure every
game like this against the perfection that was Contra. Usually, most games come up far
short, but Action Man managed to deliver a lot of the things that I look for in this kind
of game. Happily, its not a game that youll finish in one sitting. It takes a
little time to learn the layouts of the level and figure out which weapons would be best
for the job. Generic archetype or incredibly self-aware cartoonI still havent
decided what the character of Action Man is. But as a game, Action Man: Search For Base X
is a solid piece of handheld fun anyway you look at it, and you get to fight evil in