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Portal Runner

Portal Runner is a video game produced by 3DO and Handheld Game and distributed by 3DO for PlayStation 2 game console and Game Boy Color handheld on September 10, 2001 in the US and one month later on October 19 in the UK. The game serves as a spinoff of the Army Men series.


Portal Runner is technically the third game in the Army Men: Sarge's Heroes timeline. Following the events of Army Men: Sarge's Heroes 2, General Plastro, the general of the Tan army, is locked away by the Green Army, with Brigitte Bleu observing this through a magic mirror. Feeling lonesome, and in need a king worthy of her magnificence, she makes a sinister plan to marry Sarge and get rid of Vikki Grimm, Colonel Grimm's daughter and Sarge's girlfriend, with Brigitte deciding that Vikki is a treasure waiting to be buried.

As Vikki follows Sarge to his mission, she ends up in a giant outer space chessboard and then a candy store. Then Vikki has to fight off gingerbread men to continue her mission for a better story, as if the fact that gingerbread men were attacking her isn't good enough. Then, Vikki finds Sarge trapped in a castle by the gingerbread men and has to save him by using her arrow techniques to shoot down a plastic pig. After Vikki saves Sarge, he gets her into trouble by telling her father, Colonel Grimm, that she followed him on his mission. Vikki gets into an argument with her dad. He tells her that he doesn't want her in any danger and that she's grounded "Until further notice." She tries to say something else, but her father tells her to go home. She replies,"Some home - I live on an army base." As she walks back, a Green Army soldier gives her a package from an unknown person. Inside was a dinosaur egg and a letter. The letter said, "The story of your career awaits you. Follow the map and seek out the one called Rage. Tell no one, leave now." Sarge walks up to Vikki and tells her that her father's right about her being too adventurous for her own good. Vikki walks off in disgust, with Sarge commenting about how that was a good start and how he'll be buying plastic flowers for a week.

Vikki uses a camera to take all of her pictures on her trip. During her trip, in the Lost Caves, she was ambushed by Rage, Brigitte's Shock Trooper friend who will do whatever she says, and was forced to the prehistoric jungle toy world. That was also when she met a lion, who was also forced to the same world as Rage destroys the portal. Vikki decides to be friends with the lion, which she calls Leo and they both help each other on their great adventure.

After enduring magic pillars, a pyramid, and air lifts, they come upon a volcano with another portal. Once they step through, they end up in a medieval world. Vikki rescues a wizard named Merlin from death in a chessboard. Merlin explains that he made a magic mirror that could see anywhere for Brigitte, thinking she would appreciate his mind. He directs Vikki to another portal, guarded by a ghosty barrier, an evil tree, and a moat dragon. When they reach the portal, they're captured by Rage and Tan Soldiers who appear to be minions of Brigitte.

Brigitte had lured Sarge into the dollhouse where she lived and wanted to marry him. She and her henchmen found an space-alien themed toy set, which acted as a portal to an Outer Space World. Brigitte acquired a love gun from some Martians, who lived in the Space World in exchange for the secret of the portals; she used the gun on Sarge, and he instantly fell in love with her, murmuring,"I... wuv... you...". Brigitte visited Vikki, who was being held in a dungeon in Brigitte's Medieval Castle, and told her that Sarge and she are going to get married, and that Leo was going to be burned alive. Brigitte leaves her mirror for Vikki to let her watch "This magical occasion." As Vikki cries to herself, she contacted by Merlin. He informs her that he left a few secrets in the mirror before handing it over. When Vikki asks about Sarge's situation, the wizard tells her only the kiss of his true love can apparently break the inducement somehow. Vikki asks him if he's kidding and he says that he's not. Meanwhile, in a toy store, Leo is being transported in a circus carriage, and is about to be burned in a microwave when he notices the bars are melting. He breaks out and travels to a portal that takes him back to the Medieval Castle.

After fighting off some ghosts, he and Vikki head to the Space World to stop the wedding. Once they acquire a stolen key from a Martian saucer, Vikki breaks into the room and kisses Sarge, breaking the trance on him. A voice tells all Martians to report for battle. Vikki tells Brigitte to call off the attack. She tries, but some monitors show they expanded the attack into all the other worlds. Brigitte yells at them to stop but a robotic voice says that they "Come in peace." Sarge says that they don't look too peaceful to him, and goes with Leo to stop most of the aliens. Vikki heads to the Alien Brain room, where the Brain, a cyborgic-style creature resembling a Martian head on a robotic spider body, refuses to call off the attack.

After Vikki destroys the Brain, the attack stops. Sarge and Leo head on, with Leo holding Rage's third leg in his mouth. They meet up, as Merlin congratulates Vikki for stopping the attack, and they head back to the Plastic World. At the Lost Caves, three lion cubs run up to Leo. Sarge mutters, "Oh great, we've walked right into the lion's den." Showing that he wasn't guarding the Portals, but protecting his family, he stays. Vikki hugs him and Sarge pats him on the head. Back at the Green Army Base, Vikki apologizes to Colonel Grimm and says that her home is wherever he is, with her father thanking her.

The game ends with Brigitte sharing a cell with General Plastro, who says that before she gets any funny ideas, the top bunk is his and blows a raspberry, leading to Bridgette yelling out in horror and dismay.

Weapons (in order of Apperance)[]

  • Basic Arrow (5 arrows for each single arrow you pick up)
  • Trident Arrow
  • Fire Arrow
  • Explosive Arrow
  • Water Arrow
  • Lightning Arrow
  • Golden Arrow
  • Piercing Arrow

Each arrow has a different purpose. Basic arrows are the very first arrows you pick up, and are vital for Vikki to defend herself with when her special arrows are gone. Trident Arrows are next, appearing in the tutorial mission. Then comes Fire arrows, which Vikki uses primarily to set things on fire or destroy things. Explosive arrows are great for destroying weak walls and structures, and makes quick work of the Dinosaur nests and dinosaurs themselves in the Lost Caves Portal. Water and Lightinging arrows are found further inside the Lost Caves portal. Water, Fire, and Lightning Arrows are called Elemental arrows, and are vital for the elemental crystals found on the last level of the Lost Caves Portal. Golden arrows are found in every level after the Medieval Portal and are used primarily for unlocking objects and destroying Brigitte's Magic Barriers. Piercing Arrows are the most powerful arrows of all.


The game gained notoriety when it was panned by GamePro Magazine, with a rating of 2.3 out of 5. GamePro was the first to review the game. Trip Hawkins, then-president of 3DO and publisher of Portal Runner, sent an angry email to John Rousseau, who was president of GamePro. The email was published on the internet in its entirety. In the email, Hawkins told Rousseau that Rousseau's customers were the advertisers, not the readers, and implied that the reviews should be written to keep the advertisers happy. Wrote Hawkins, "...there is something wrong with (the reviewer), not with Portal Runner. If you disagree with me, you do so at your own peril.... I should mention in passing that 3DO has been one of your largest advertisers. Effective immediately, we are going to have to cut that back."

Fan Reception[]

The game is widely regarded as one of the worst games in the series, by both fans and critics alike, not only for being perceived as a low quality Tomb Raider cash in, but also seen as the moment the Army Men series-and by extension 3DO's-death rows were laid out leading to the companies bankruptcy little under 2 years later. The aforementioned controversy with GamePro Magazine also made gamers distrustful of Trip Hawkins and 3DO's business practices and damaged their already deteriorating reputation.

Army Men Games:

Army MenArmy Men IIArmy Men 3DArmy Men: Sarge's HeroesArmy Men: Air CombatArmy Men: World WarArmy Men: Air TacticsArmy Men: World War - Land, Sea, AirArmy Men: Sarge's Heroes 2Army Men: Air Combat - The Elite MissionsArmy Men: World War - Final FrontArmy Men: Green RogueArmy Men AdvancePortal RunnerArmy Men: World War - Team AssaultArmy Men: Operation GreenArmy Men: RTSArmy Men: Turf Wars


Army Men: Sarge's WarArmy Men: Major MalfunctionArmy Men: Soldiers of MisfortuneArmy Men: Mobile OpsArmy Men Strike