VrE Online
Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries
from Activision
Have you seen my mech keys?

Rating: graphics 86, sound 83, interface 82, fun factor 91, overall 86

[ Patch ]

Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries Ok, so I may be a little biased, but I thought the original Mechwarrior 2 was more important to the computer industry than the 1.4 meg floppy. Fortunately for Activision, even with Mercenaries exceptional ancestor, they managed to add enough to the Mercenaries to create a great game in it's own right.

In Mercenaries you start out as an average guy, trying to earn a living with a 60 ton weapon of destruction. You ply your trade as a master mech pilot across the galaxy in the service of anybody with the credits to afford your more than fair rates. In Mercenaries you take charge of your own career, you pick your contracts, hire pilots, customize your mechs, and pay your own bills. If you succeed, you are treated to an early retirement, instead of a fiery death.

Mercenaries makes several improvements over it's Mechwarrior 2 predecessor. Most notable is the slightly improved enemy AI. While they can still be suckered into an easy ambush, overall the enemy mechs have much better pilots than in Mechwarrior 2. Relying on superior armor, and just going into a firefight without a good plan will get you dead quick. Sometimes even with a good plan you get dead quick, but that's the life of a Merc.

Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries One of the new features of Mercenaries is that chance to salvage mechs that you have destroyed, while this is a great new idea, it really needs to be reworked. Even the best marksmen will be left scratching their heads wondering why there was no salvage after a clean head shot that left the mech standing upright, while killing the pilot. You also have to completely destroy the mech to end a mission. If you take out a leg and let the mech lay there, it's not considered destroyed, even though it can't do anything at all. A nice database that tracks the damage that a mech takes and then hands out salvage based on that would have been real nice.

You also get to customize all of your mechs. After buying a mech, or picking one up as salvage, you can hit the arms dealer for the latest in death dealing hardware and trick out your ride. Being able to fire a volley of eight lasers at the back of an unsuspecting mech can really brighten your day. Just be sure to have a lot of cash on hand before heading into the local speed shop. Every customization has it's price and it all appears to be a pretty flat rate fee schedule. 25,000 credits for heat sinks and small weapons, 50,000 credits for larger weapons, that's to take them off too. So replacing a medium laser with a large laser will cost you 75,000 credits, just for labor, and the laser only cost 44,000 to begin with. If you could open up a 1 credit install arms shop like the car radio dealer down the road, you'd make a fortune.

Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries My only other real complaint is that the game is over way to soon. You spend all of this time and effort building a crack team of mercs, only to have it all yanked out from under you by a forced retirement. I'm in charge of this unit, and I'll decide when I want to retire, thank you very much. You can always go back and play again, with new contracts and mechs, but after all the work that went into making yourself the most sought after merc unit, it's a real shame to have to go to the old folks home after a few short years.

As mech games go, Mercenaries is the top of the heap right now. Even with it's small problems (there is a patch out for it already) I really like playing this game. The idea of smashing through downtown streets blasting away with autocannons and lasers really appeals to me. And when you add a programmable joystick and throttle, you can easily become the master of all that you can see. Even in network play. Now, if we could only take our Merc unit up against another Merc unit online..............

-- Steve Gerencser
-- krell@psyber.com

System requirements: 486dx66, 8MB Ram, 62MB Hard Drive, 2x Cd-Rom, VLB or PCI Video, Mouse, Sound card, Joystick
Recommended: Pentium, 16MB Ram, 4x Cd-Rom

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