Army Men for Game Boy Color is the first handheld entry in the series. It is an adaptation of the first entry for PCs, with several of the original's levels being adapted for simpler gameplay.
Players control green plastic soldier Sarge in combat against the tan army. The game consists of 27 missions spread out over 2 campaigns (Desert and Arctic, two out of the original game's three), each made up of three maps with four to five missions per map. While the maps are rough approximations of the original game's, all mission objectives are completely different. A boot camp mode that explains the controls is also available.
Mission objectives vary, but usually require Sarge to destroy a number of enemy soldiers or a specific target like a jeep, tank or building. The action is seen from a top-down perspective, with Sarge being able to crouch and roll to evade enemies, as well as use various weapons to destroy them, including rifles with unlimited ammunition and heavier ones like bazookas, grenades or flamethrowers, with limited ammo. It is also possible to enter vehicles like jeeps and tanks. The more complex elements of the original game like a squad to command or air strikes to call in have not made it to the GBC version.
Level progress is stored via passwords and the game has Sarge commenting on situations like weapon pickups through voice samples.