Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries

Review

posted 12/8/2002 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
It’s been six years since Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries came out from Activision. Back in 1996, I was a beta tester for this game and found it to be a great follow up to Mechwarrior 2. Now, Microsoft has released their take on the Mercenaries and it’s come a long way from when the game required a 486DX66 with 12MB of RAM and 45MB of hard drive space.

You start out creating a mercenary unit complete with a corporate sponsor. After selecting one of the three sponsors and naming yourself and your unit, you are given some pilots, cash and jobs to perform. You can jump from one planet to another looking for work. In between jobs you can outfit your mech as you would like, hire and fire crew, and purchase new equipment.

Each mission can earn you money along with some salvaging possibilities. And you’ll need that money as everything incurs a cost. Your lancemates have a salary, dropship fees, and repairs are some of the costs associated with being a mercenary. Now that you need to earn money to keep your mechs in tiptop shape, you tend to be more careful. Many times I cursed at how much it’s going to cost for me to repair one of my mechs or have one go down and think this is going to put a big dent in my budget. And with more lancemates and mechs, the more expensive your pre-missions costs are.

Instead of having a linear progression of missions, you actually have a choice. I really enjoyed the freedom of choosing which one I want to do when I want to. If I wasn’t happy with the offerings of the planet, I did a jump to another and check out the offerings on that one. Some missions offer bonus money for certain objectives completed. But most missions are pretty standard affairs such as escorts, search and destroy, and protection. Missions are your lifeblood as money is what rules in this game. You do it for the all mighty dollar and nothing else is motivation in Mercenaries.

Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries utilizes the same engine from Mechwarrior 4: Vengeance with some tweaks and improvements. So the graphics for the game will be familiar for those who played Mechwarrior 4. That’s not bad, as the game still looks good for the series. But with the recent releases of games like Unreal Tournament 2003 where the next generation of graphics is starting to take shape, Mercenaries is looking a little behind the times. The mechs themselves do look good and are modeled nicely when compared to the pen and paper renditions. Their movements are still very nicely done and you can’t say this game doesn’t have great animations when it comes to walking mechs. You get a good variety of textures on the mechs also.
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