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Roughnecks: The Starship Trooper Chronicles

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 97 mins . PG . PAL


Following the success of Paul Verhoeven's big budget Starship Troopers came the computer animated series following the exploits of Johnny Rico and the Roughnecks, a crack unit of Mobile Infantry. This DVD presents five of the early episodes of the series, although not simply the first five. Instead we have episodes 1, 2, 3, 5 and 8, strung together with opening and closing credits only at the beginning and end of the entire feature, presenting the show as a single unit.

Freefall: A standard first episode, introduceing the characters and setting the scene - a mission to mop up the bugs remaining on Pluto.

Plasma Bugs of Navarone: The Roughnecks pickup a distress call from two downed pilots, and move in for a rescue attempt.

Handle with Care: Working under orders from an officer of the Intelligence arm, the squad penetrates enemy lines to capture a live plasma bug, to take back for scientific study.

Basic Training: After endangering himself and the squad, media reporter Higgins is subjected to intensive combat training in order to stay on Pluto.

Deep Trouble: Central Command believes that the bug forces have a hidden base somewhere on Pluto, providing them with their near-unlimited reinforcements. The Roughnecks have been assigned an area of the planet to search out this "bug city" so that it may be destroyed and thus turn the tide of the war on the bugs.

"They're doing their part. Are you doing yours?"


I've said it before, and I'll say it again - DVD is a great medium for animation - these bugs may want to destroy all of humanity, but they're still pretty to look at.

Colours are strong, with a heavy reliance on browns, blacks and greens, contrasting with the bright blues of the bug plasma, and the yellows and oranges of MI explosives. The only issue you may have with the image is the aliasing apparent in some shots - but seeing as this entire product is computer animated, some degree of aliasing should be expected, and will be a result of the source, and not the transfer.


Originally presented in Dolby Surround, the DVD edition has been re-mixed up to Dolby 5.1. Being an animated feature, dialogue lip-synching is not always high on the list of priorities, but Roughnecks does a very good job, helping you to slip into forgetting that this is only a computerised cartoon. Spatial positioning of effects is quite good, especially during some of the aerial sequences, where your rear speakers will have the opportunity to make a little noise. Fortunately, they've taken the sensible route of using the sub-woofer to enhance the sound of explosions, rather than attempt to recreate the explosion in your living room.


Included on the disc is a series of final concept art, although most of the pages are too small to make out all of the detail on the drawings. These would have been better included as a DVD-ROM feature, with an ability to zoom and scroll around the artwork.


Roughnecks is able to do what Starship Troopers was not - provide an interesting storyline and characters that develop and present a deeper level of interaction. Just like the film, there is plenty of violence, although because this essentially a "cartoon", and thus aimed at a younger audience, there are no human casualties shown, and even bug gore is minimal.

The fact that the disc skips some of the early episodes bugs me, as I believe television shows, especially those that present an episodic story, should be presented in the intended order - to give viewers the complete story, and also showing respect to the creators. Now, if C-T decide to release more of Roughnecks fans who purchase this disc will be doubling up episodes.

Join the Mobile Infantry now - service guarantees citizenship!

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      And I quote...
    "These bugs may want to destroy all of humanity, but they're still pretty to look at."
    - Andrew MacLennan
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-515
    • TV:
          Philips 29PT6361
    • Receiver:
          Denon AVR-2700
    • Speakers:
          Aaron ATS-5
    • Centre Speaker:
          Aaron CC-240
    • Surrounds:
          Aaron SS-120
    • Subwoofer:
          Aaron SUB-240
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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