Capcom's programming prowess has already resulted in some outstanding 16-bit hits, including Ghouls n' Ghosts, Strider, and Forgotten Worlds. Now there's Mercs. One of last year's hottest arcade quarter-suckers, Mercs is ready to churn up some turf on the Genesis.
Crisis in the White House
The radio report spelled out potential disaster for the free world. An ex-president was abducted during a peace mission in darkest Africa. A massive military strike would back the terrorists into a corner - forcing them to strike out like caged rattlesnakes. The only possible course of action is to send in mercenaries, in this case heroes-for-hire called "Mercs!".
Ikari Warrior die-hards will fall turret-over-tank for Mercs -- an overhead-view warfare extravaganza with one teeny problem. Although the coin-op version enabled a duo of death-dealers to have at it, this version is for one player only. Aside from this minor shortcoming, Mercs is a solid shoot-to-thrill title with above average graphics, which should bring back glorious memories for Ikari Warriors, Commando, and Rambo III fanatics alike. The pix and the colors make you feel like you're really running and gunning through a jungle setting.
Although the Arcade mode is a replica of its coin-op cousin, in the Original mode, Sega made full use of its creative license to produce new terrain to explore and explode. Also, in Original you can increase your lives by hooking up with soldiers of fortune. Arcade mode is your basic one-man-versus-the-universe scenario.
ProTip: In Original look for tents where you can obtain life-stuff (meat and medicine), secret documents, and power- ups by trading your accumulated medals of valor.
The multi-scrolling levels (seven in Arcade and 10 in Original) are overrun with more infantry, bunkers, and tanks than you can shake a bazooka at. Although your regular Rifle can easily take care of the lesser opponents, you need mega supplies of bombs to blast the toughest bad guys -- stock up! You can commandeer some vehicles, including jeeps and speedboats, by dispatching their occupants. If your blood starts running thin, pop open one of the many chests you find scattered along the trail and scarf a chicken leg.
- Watch which weapon-icons you pick up -- sometimes you can accidentally power-down to a weaker weapon.
- When you secure any vehicle, use its soldier-stomping abilities to the max and simply run over ground troopers.
- Always save grenades for level bosses. When their energy meters appear, start hurling grenades in a slow rhythm, and you'll send them to the scrap yard in the sky in no time.
- Throughout the journey travel near the center of the screen and you can avoid the huge mechanized tanks that can trap you at the bottom of the battlefield. Move quickly and you can avoid them altogether.
A Big Bang for Your Buck
Mercs won't go down as the biggest and baddest blow 'em-up adventure of them all, though it's good to the last annihilation for sure. For many gamers it'll be tough to deal the final satisfying death blow, because you get limited continues in Arcade mode and none at all in Original mode. If that doesn't faze you, however, your orders are to lock-and-load Mercs and save the prez'l
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Based on the great Capcom coin-op, you must battle through long stages with a variety of enemies and huge end bosses. Phenomenal firepower!
One of the most action intensive shooters in the Sega booth. Lots of weapons and power-ups. Extremely huge bosses to blow away, if you survive to the end of the level!