MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries

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MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries
MechWarrior 2 Merc cover.jpg
Developer(s) Activision
Publisher(s) Activision
Platform(s) DOS, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh
Release date(s) 1996
Genre(s) Vehicle simulation game
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Distribution CD-ROM

MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries was released in September 1996 as a stand-alone expansion to MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat and the last BattleTech game made by Activision. In this game, the player takes control of an Inner Sphere mercenary squad, with control over finances and free choice of missions.

Gameplay[edit]

Far more BattleMechs are available than in MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat, as well as other vehicles (including a single mission where the player could use a hovertank). The player can hire an aerospace fighter to provide air cover.

Plot[edit]

Mercenaries covers the years of 3044 to 3052, ending with the Battle of Luthien. As such, it is a prequel to the other MechWarrior 2 games and includes missions pertaining to the Clan invasion.

The player can take contracts from one of four factions, the Draconis Combine (DC), the Federated Commonwealth (FC), ComStar (CS), or the Free Rasalhague Republic (FRR). Generally, the background plot is of the Draconis Combine and Federated Commonwealth making initial moves towards yet another war between the two great powers, with the FRR and CS trying to play both off against the middle. The backdrop for this is the aftermath of the War of 3039 between the two great powers (which was effectively a stalemate) and buildup by both sides towards the next war. The player can take contracts by both sides without censure from either, though doing so will cause time-limited contract openings to close if the player is already "booked".

Missions include helping (and crushing) uprisings, generally on behalf of the FC and DC respectively, deep recon and raids, anti-pirate campaigns, and even fights against other merc units. The player can also attempt to win the crown of Champion of Solaris in the Battlemech Games, inside massive enclosed arenas. These missions proved so popular that they were brought back in MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries.

The buildup to a war between the two Great Powers suddenly comes to a dramatic twist with the invasion of the Clans. The player is thrust into the battles against the "unknown mechs" of the Clans (though if the player has played Mechwarrior 2, he or she will no doubt recognise most of the mechs and their capabilities). For a time captured by Clan Wolf, the player returns to the Inner Sphere and fights some of the major battles of the invasion such as the Battle of Wolcott (which is represented inaccurately as a multi-day campaign rather than a multi-minute ambush) as well as the climatic Invasion of Luthien.

The game ends with a cutscene of the Battle of Tukayyid with a lance from the Com Guards, led by Comstar's Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht, destroying a Clan Star.

Development[edit]

The MechWarrior 2 engine was still used but with upgraded graphics with terrain texture mapping and enhanced lighting effects and higher resolutions. A completely new musical score was devised for the game as well as an updated version of NetMech, called MercNet, which included native Internet-playing ability.

Reception[edit]

Computer Gaming World gave it the Space Simulation of the Year award, as chosen by staff and readers.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ CGW 154 (May 1997)