Mercenaries is a prequel to Activision's 1995 blockbuster hit, MechWarrior 2, which pumped out outrageous first-person cock-pit-view mech fighting. The story starts 18 years prior to MechWarrior 2 as the Mech soldiers of the Inner Sphere begin their wars. You fight to acquire C-bills which you use to build a mercenary squad of mechs for an epic war. Mercenaries features 30 new mechs and missions, based on FASA's BattleTech universe. A nonlinear gameplay feature makes it possible for each mission to have a variety of outcomes depending on a player's performance. Moreover, Mercenaries will feature dynamic progression so that damage sustained in one battle will carry over into subsequent missions. A built-in multiplayer component, MercNet, will enable head-to-head competition via modem or up to eight-player battles over a local-area network. If you're into mechanical mayhem, this game may Mech your day.
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Mech mayhem is about to get an upgrade. PC players will climb into 14 polygon-based Mechs (based on the FASA Battletech designs) to take on 50 combat missions. For added realism, pyrotechnics were applied to miniature 3D models to create explosive video footage that was digitized for the game.
After a humiliating defeat, the Clans retreated to their world. Now you seek to become Khan and lead the next attack on Ter-ran space. To gain control, you must strap yourself into one of 15 battlemechs, each with unique lethal armaments. The 50-plus missions take place across urban landscapes and deserts. You fight from within a virtual 3D cockpit that rocks and rolls with the action and gives you a first-person 360-degree perspective. A network package enables up to eight players to battle cooperatively or competitively.
Mechwarrior 2 is a game where the player pilots a large robot with lots of weapons against other large robots with lots of weapons. The game is played in first-person view, which means you will need a really powerful computer to get the best frame rate and effects. The designers of the game did a good job of creating a storyline and world to do battle in; this game captivated me from start to finish. If you enjoy fast, furious action, this game is for you. MechWarrior 2 can run in various resolutions, so you can decide based on your screen size and the type of equipment you use.
I really like having this kind of control over the game environment because it makes me feel that I am in command; just because my equipment is not as fast as the latest and greatest, I can still get enjoyment out of the game. Like Doom or or any mission-based game, the MechWarrior struggles through progressively more difficult missions to reach the end of the game and ultimate victory. The story is well-developed and is built on between each new mission, so the player feels like he/she is an important part of a much larger overall galactic campaign. Of course, like most games of this genre, the player must win the current mission in order to move on to the next one. This is one of the game's drawbacks for me. If I had it my way, the player would go an alternate route in the game if a mission was lost, and the story would change accordingly. This way the story would be more seamless and it would make the game more intense, because you wouldn't want your clan to lose. There is just more on the line when you have control over the outcome of the whole game.
You can choose to play Clan Wolf or Clan Falcon. Unlike Command & Conquer or , neither side is good or evil; they just have their own set of goals for their empire. I liked this because I felt like I could play either side and not be doomed to the bad guy role. A nice touch are the introduction videos for each side; they are very well-done and effectively get you into the MechWarrior world. Another great feature is the practice simulator where new (or seasoned) MechWarriors can go to sharpen their skills. This area is really detailed and nicely done, and it offers a challenge to any player level. It's one of the only practice sections in any game that is really worthwhile (LucasArts' also has a great practice simulator). Fire up your HERC and I'll finish this thing up with some details.
I purchased the Microsoft SideWinder 3D edition of MechWarrior 2. This is a great combo and the digital joystick helps with precision immensely. I would recommend you use the SideWinder Pro with this game. The SideWinder's configuration file is already written in the game, so all you have to do is select it from the list of control options and you're off. I found it very easy to control my HERC and I never had problems with badly-positioned buttons or odd controls. I am biased, however, because I only played the game with the SideWinder joystick.
Since the most important thing to me in a game is graphics, I'll have to say MechWarrior 2 is adequate. I like the way you can change resolutions and I like how fine you can go (1024x768 for you speed demons). I know it's hard to push the performance envelope any more, but I would like to see more textures and details in the super hi-res world. This may be asking too much, but as technology presses onward I'm sure there will be a game that satisfies even me. Overall, MechWarrior 2 does a good job with graphics and most gamers will appreciate that.
I used a standard SoundBlaster 16 with MechWarrior 2 and it was great. Activision did an outstanding job with audio in this game! The sounds of explosions and machine gun fire were awesome, right down to the metallic crunch of your huge HERC struggling up a hill. My favorite sound was the nice calm woman in the background saying "shutdown procedure initialized ... ammo explosion detected ... ejecting." No matter what happened, she never raised her voice or got upset! I wish the pilot could say the same.
I had no problems whatsoever setting up and configuring MechWarrior 2. The on-screen instructions are very straightforward and easy to understand, and on a fast machine it should take about 5 minutes to install. The setup program allows you to pick and choose your hardware settings, but it does not leave you out in the cold if you don't know all that technical stuff. Not only can you let the computer auto-configure each hardware setting, but you can test it right there after it's done and make any appropriate changes. Nice work in this area!
486 DX-66 (Pentium preferred), 8 MB RAM, sound card, VGA video, 14.4 modem (for NetMech)
Reviewed on: Pentium 133, 16 MB RAM
Overall, MechWarrior 2 is an engaging first-person action game on the cutting edge of gaming technology. I got stuck on a couple of missions for a while, but soon mastered them and completed the game, and unless you set the difficulty to hard the average gamer should be able to finish this game. I liked the graphics, but they weren't quite interesting enough to be my ultimate pick. However, the gameplay and audio took up the slack to make for a really engaging experience. I give MechWarrior 2 a score of 87 out of 100 and would recommend it to any hardcore action/sim fan. Enjoy this one and be sure to pick up the expansion pack, Ghost Bear's Legacy; it's just as good if not better than the original game. 'Til next time.