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on May 27, 2002
OK, I'm going to attempt to write a brief review on each of the Roughnecks campaign DVDs.
First of all the Pluto Campaign sets the mood and establishes the characters. You have the some of the same characters from the live-action film: Johnny Rico, Carmen Ibanez, Zander, Dizzy Florez, Carl Jenkins (the psychic), and Razak. Plus several other characters that are quite good: Doc, Gossard (the squad's mechanic), Brunno, and Higgins (combat photographer).
In the Pluto Campaign, we see the MI (Mobile Infantry) troops fighting what they think is just an infestation on Pluto. However they learn at the very end that it's a full scale invasion. On Pluto we see roughly four different types of bugs. The basic bug arachnid warrior, a flying bug later to be known as Ripplers, Plasma Bugs which are the mobile artillery pieces of the bugs, and the Flamethrower bugs. Basically all the types seen in the movie. The action is pretty much non-stop and true, there's no visibile MI casualties, but that's mainly due to the armored life suits that the MI's now wear. These armored suit protect the troopers from the disembowling that the troops saw in the movie.
The one thing I noticed in this series is how "smart" the military aspect of the show is. For example, there's a chain of command in the squad and the leader barks orders just like a real
CO and they use real squad tactics through-out. ie Flanking maneuvers, diversions, etc.
The computer animation is good, but not great. You will see a lot of digital motion blur when the bugs move. The troopers when not in their armored suits look extremely fake and hookey. If they would have given the same amount of detail to the people as Square did for the Final Fantasy movie, then this truely would have been a great series.
But all in all, if you enjoyed the movie and want to see the on-going adventures of the MI troopers along with some really cool weapon systems and ships, get into the Roughnecks series. I give this campaign 3.5 stars, mainly for the rough animation at this time.
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on October 3, 2017
Animation ain't just for the kids anymore! The language is clean and only the bugs get killed. But this series can be viewed as a valid continuation of the film franchise. I have 'em all and am delighted with them.
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on March 21, 2002
As someone who's read and reread Heinlein's novel many times in the last 25 years, and thought the film was fantastic, learning of the existence of this animated series was a revelation. Who knew that for all intents and purposes, another six or eight 90+ minute films existed? When I first stumbled across references to some "Roughnecks" TV series I was intrigued. As I checked out the fan sites on the web, I was fascinated. By the time I finished watching "Pluto" last night, I was amazed! This is the real deal, folks! If you were thrilled by the ST universe, and yearned for more when the film was over, here it is.
Don't let this series' kid TV origins fool you. This is quality adult level sci-fi entertainment. Toned down gore? Yes. You won't see bloody torsos and separated limbs here, but there's no shortage of dead bugs. This is well thought out science fiction, with convincing military hardware, clever weapons, and intricate vehicles. Amazing visuals, thematic music, intelligent scripts, and splendid voice acting combine to create a top-notch experience. The characters are lifelike, their movement almost always fluid, and sometimes their faces are so realistic that for a moment you forget you're watching animation. The next best thing to another Verhoeven flick. Or eight! This 5-segment "camapign" could truly stand on it's own as a theatrical release. As with anything, there are a couple of small nits to pick, such as how are giant insects with flapping wings flying around (or for that matter even breathing) on airless Pluto? And whats that big beautiful planet/moon overhead? But these are easily forgiven.
I purchased the first four disks at once, and have started from the beginning with "Pluto". If the others are this good, and I bet they are, this is gonna be a great ride. I'm already looking forward to the next two DVDs in the series, "Homefront" ("Asteroid" on TV?) and "Klendathu", which should be available in May. Let's hope Sony will be pleased enough with sales to complete the series' last three unaired episodes, which are sitting in limbo. Many of us would jump at the chance to buy disks seven and eight too. Hear that, Sony?
If you're trying to decide which of the four disks to buy, I can't help you with that choice yet. What i CAN tell you is that you won't be disappointed.
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on August 28, 2015
I didn't realize when I ordered the ROUGHNECKS DVDs that they are in animation format whereas the STARSHIP TROOPER DVDs are "live action" utilizing live actors. I gave the DVDs to my son who doesn't mind.
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on December 5, 2005
I bought this used since the movie didn't deserve the Starship Troopers title/tie-in to the book based purely on technical merit alone (politics aside). So I was leary of anything Verhoeven produced. The cartoon is better than the movie and beautifully animated, but still has differences from the book that are irritating/puzzling.

First is the portrayal of the bugs as...bugs. Bug warriors in the book carried a beam weapon that would slice through the powered armor and the description made them sound more human-sized than either the movie or the cartoon portray them. No beam weapon is apparent. The dangerous but hard-to-kill "tanker bug" also appears in the cartoon but never appeared in the book. I'm not sure why these changes were made but they seem unnecessary and "dumb down" the bugs.

Second is the conversion of the "Marauder" suit from the standard armor that most of the grunts in the book wear (recon and command suits were the other two types) to a suit from Heavy Gear. Why add 'em? OTOH, having some heavy support weapons makes sense for the infantry units.

Third is the wooden voice overs and lines and changes to characters. Think "Sands of Iwo Jima" depth at best. Rico, who in the book always got the "shakes" before a drop is a SGT Rock kind of guy in his first action. LT Razak (vice Raczak in the book) is dual-hatted as the Mr. Dubois character from the book--again, why, and seems less "fatherly" than was portrayed in the book.

O.k., so it's a purists review from a purist that's still waiting (perhaps the Sci Fi channel will come through someday with a mini-series). Despite the criticisms I find the animation and artwork first class with the exception of the faces--first place still belongs to Final Fantasy The Spirits Within. My kids find it entertaining and it's not a complete zero. A big step up from the movie.
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on December 15, 2002
Being a Robetert Heinline fan from Childhood I had read Starship Troopers as a kid. Actually reread it many times as a kid and had all kinds of fantasys about the battle sequences and the hardware and equipment involved.
BUT with Verhoevens vision coming to CGI and this story being his target, My fantasys have come very close to life. Having seen the entire set of six DVD's I must admit this first episode Pluto was a bit slow compared to the following DVD stories. I wont recap it because that has been done before.
BUt I will say that if your a hard SciFi Fan and love to see alien species come to life and the combat scenarios that would go with that experience then this first movie is for you.
Less gory than the movie Starship Troopers, little blood and few severed limbs, but heck the action is non-stop, the bullets and weaponry rattle endlessly and you will be out of breath by halfway through the first half hour.
The only thumb down would be the sense of repetition that occurs about 3/4 of the way into the DVD. All that action can't possibly be sustained for that long without some kind of R&R for these poor troopers. But it does happen and it all seems to happen in the short space of a few days on Pluto. It does wear on a guys nerves a bit, just gimme a break and say something more than "Hey Rico", "Watch your back" or "Bugs!"
It is long and that has some disadvantages to guys like me. As I tend to stay glued to the screen when I sit down to watch something like this. I can get myopia after a while and can't see anything around me for a few moments after the show ends.
YES this gets 4 big tentacles up for GREAT CGI Animation, story line, character building (though it was a bit slow), staying so close to the novels original hardware vision, and the characters and one wiggly tentacle down for repetitive scenarios.
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on June 26, 2001
When Roughnecks was on television, I was completely hooked. BKN showed the episodes out of order, at 7:30 in the morning, and preempted them every Friday, but I still watched! Following Rico, Diz and Lt. Razak (changed from "Ratjack" -- who knows why?) as they defended themselves against armies of giant bugs was completely addicting!
I remain amazed at the quality of the computer generated images in these stories. One scene that always sticks in my mind is that of a reflection of fire on one troopers faceplate. It was a secondary detail, but added completely to the overall effect of the scene.
The details of the animated "Roughnecks" story lines more closely follow the original Heinlein book than the live action movie did -- something Heinlein fans will appreciate. Another plus: the fact that the story is told episodically allows the creators more time to "flesh out" the lead characters -- something that couldn't be done in a 2 hour movie.
All in all, a terrific series that deserves to be on DVD, and a great buy. Enjoy!
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on January 23, 2015
I was not expecting what I got in this movie. I was thinking that this was another part of the starship troops movies. Which is live action this one is was animated. I didn't want to to give it any stars but it would not post with out one.
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on October 16, 2016
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on September 7, 2001
Some sci-fi shows are ahead of their time. Like "Captain Power And The Soldiers From The Future" the series "Roughnecks - The Starship Trooper Chronicles" is a tour de force of thought-provoking sci-fi that didn't deserve its fate. With emotional subplots and character development, this series has the look and feel of the original Heinlein novel that is a must to a sci-fi readers' bookshelf. But the show was doomed to run at 7:30 AM: If it had been run during prime-time, it certainly would've been a runaway hit. I hope that additional episodes are made available and that, someday, this series will be returned to the air to continue its arc.
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