Microprose / Zipper Interactive
MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS:
RECOMMENDED SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS:
Processor: Pentium 166mhz
OS: Windows 95+
Videocard: High color
graphics (640x480x16bit color - 2MB VRam)
Hard Drive: 240MB Free
Processor: Pentium 200mhz
VideoCard: High color
(1024x768x16bit color), Direct3D compatible, 8MB Vram
CD ROM: 4X
Hard Drive 390 MB Free
Modem: Windows compatible
28.8kbps or faster
- or - LAN network
with TCP/IP or IPX
True TCP/IP connection
for Internet play
Processor: Pentium II
Videocard: STB Velocity
128ZX (RIVA 128ZX chipset) with latest Nvidia reference drivers.
CD-ROM: Sony 24x
June '99, $44.99
DEMO : Available
game was one of the most waited-for in recent history, given the success
of the MechWarrior line and the number of changes made, including a switchover
to Microprose from Activision in the licensing. I looked forward to it,
having already reviewed the demo, but had my doubts as to whether it could
attack by the Clans on the Inner Sphere has stalled, thanks to the efforts
of the newly formed Star League. An elite strike force (that's you) has
landed on the world of Tranquility, to take down the 'Mech producing capabilities
of Clan Smoke Jaguar and end their Clan, proving that the Inner Sphere
is a foe to be reckoned with. As your pods come down, however, the
strike force's dropship is shot out of the sky, stranding you there...
unless you can complete the various missions, break through the enemy lines,
and get to the other dropship beore it is forced off the planet by the
Smoke Jaguars. Good luck!
gameplay was simply incredible -- Fluid moving, fast-paced, and definitely
tough to handle. The 'Mechs all cornered as they should, and moved
as they should handle, down to limping when the hip joint was damaged.
The jump jets, even in relaxed mode, are much more true to the game: no
more flying along at 240kph in a Daishi (Dire Wolf for the Mech2 players),
machine guns blazing. You want to get there? March, soldier, March.
Equally different was the ability to toss off a shot with the arm weapons,
directly sidewards -- that is, if said arm hasn't been blown off yet.
only points lost go to the tendency of the enemy to start plinking at you
before you can even tell they are there, and the once-again distressing
impossibility of getting one's wingmen to use grouped fire modes to do
Graphics (Eye Candy):
Graphics in the game are spectacular -- sparks, fire trails, smoke plumes,
they're all there -- even footprints and pits left by ammo explosions.
"Deformable Terrain" was fun, even if it didn't live up to the hype: you
can't actually dig yourself a hole with missiles, then duck down in it
to hide, but you can at least tell the missiles hit something.
best part of the graphics was the variable modes -- 3rd person camera now
incorporates the targeting reticle, making it a useful feature in
this game instead of just something fun to play with.
only gripe? It's impossible to see over 800 meters away... EVER. This means
you take a lot of blind potshots with the long-range weapons, while getting
picked apart by enemies at the same range. It also means that you'll occasionally
catch mountains or houses snapping out of nowhere if you happen to have
your zoom reticle turned on.
can I say? The menus were all incredibly intuitive, leaving no stone unturned
when it came to options. The campaign trail saved EVERY mission,
automatically, making it easy to go back and replay any one of them if
you feel the need. Why 9.5? Simple. The 'Mech customization screen,
while incredibly intuitive for selection of parts, made it extremely hard
to keep track of where they were all going. Worst of all, a menu
click was required to select an area to place things -- the ability to
click on the 'mech area itself would have been a much better choice.
controls were nice and fluid, with little left to chance. Everything
in the default configuration was easy to get to. The problems, however,
of all, plain and simple -- BUTTON OVERLOAD. At peak times in the
game, I felt I needed 4 hands: one on the mouse to aim, one to torso twist,
one to steer my 'mech, and one to toss off wingman orders. The fact that
torso twist didn't atuomatically occur when the mouse moved too far right
or left really hurt the gameplay, as did the lack of an adjustable slider
for mouse sensitivity.
the ability to double-bind keys was gone. Why is this important? Simple.
The best example is the right mouse key -- not only does it zoom, when
in zoom mode it acquires a target lock. But I could have used it
also with a "next weapon" or "next weapon group" command as well, and never
messed up a target lock or a zoom in doing so. Similarly, a bind
to select a PARTICULAR wingman at will would have been great -- especially
if the fire button were set to "kill my target" as well, leading to massive
weapon focus on the enemy.
plans an expansion for Mechwarrior 3, with production beginning soon. Watch
GU for more information as it becomes available, as well as for a review
of the expansion when it hits retail.
enemy AI was incredibly good, really. A few bugs, though, leave a
point gone. First off was the tendency of the computer to snipe from exreme
range, usually from off of the standard 1km radar distance. With visibility
at only 800 meters max, due to an aforementioned engine limit, this makes
the AI seem incredibly cheap at times. Also, the AI never uses one of the
prime options -- group fire mode and the "alpha strike". Wingmen
especially would be SO much more effective if they'd use this even occasionally.
other AI flaw is the tendency of enemy units to just sit and take long-range
shots, not bothering to power up to fire back or move in most of the time.
This leaves you quite capable of sneaking around the back way of some missions
and killing the enemy, having them literally never expend a shot.
multiplayer game was good -- the 'mechs seem very balanced, and the communication
is solid even on modem. While I didn't much like the use of MSN gaming
zone as the internet game finder, I will admit it got the job done pretty
well. The online game is betrayed, however, by the loss of a few key features.
there's no way to limit the weight of the 'Mechs chosen for a match. The
host doesn't control what can and can't be used, all he does is set the
locale and frag limits. This leads to a tendency of people to use the heavier
'mechs all the time -- and for good reason.
second problem is RANGE. The average map places people down about 1.2km
away from each other -- or in other words, just in the range of a Gauss
rifle. The smaller 'mechs are quickly overpowered, simply because by the
time they get close enough to fire they've taken several missile salvos
and long-range laser blasts. Random placement would have worked a lot
better than "farthest nav-point" dropins.
soundtrack... good killing music. Really good killing music. Extremely
typical of the Mechwarrior games. Why only an eight? Because
the music could have intruded a *little* more, and been welcome -- the
low and rumbling marches kind of get old after a while.
An excellent addition
to the Mechwarrior series and the BattleTech universe. With a few
fixes and tweaks, this game could easily go all the way to a 10/10 score.
captured using the Print Screen key, then converted from 24-bit bitmap
to Jpeg compression.
A Thor Menaces a FireFly
Cinematics Like These...
Briefings are Pretty In-Depth.
Wingmen will follow you around like puppy dogs...
close and you can see the reticle zoomer... as well as
2 Wingmen in their Annihilators.
footprints, and a water puddle left by missiles...
Wingmen goofed up, so here I lie, dead as a doornail.
doesn't even look that bad to pause the game.
volcanic pit, site of the final showdown... check our the rain effects,
and sparks, and most importantly note how far away I had to stay from all
this to live through it.