Promotional arcade flyer
|Developer(s)||Capcom, Sega (MD and MS ports)|
|Publisher(s)||Capcom, Sega (MD and MS ports)|
|Release date(s)||April 1990
|Genre(s)||Run and gun|
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
|Display||Raster, standard resolution
Mercs, originally released as Senjō no Ōkami II (戦場の狼Ⅱ), is a 1990 top-down run and gun arcade game developed and published by Capcom for the arcades. It is a followup to the 1985 Commando. It was followed by Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 in 2008, a downloadable game.
The arcade version of the game had up to three players available for play. The players are members of a covert mercenary team known as the "Wolf Force". The team is composed of Joseph Gibson (Player 1 in blue), Howard Powell (Player 2 in red), and Thomas Clarke (Player 3 in yellow). Their objective is to rescue a former President from rebels in the fictional African country of Zutula, which is administered by an apartheid government. The game has six levels, plus the final level where the objective is to rescue the president from the Hercules Transport.
The controls consist of an eight-directional joystick and two buttons: a Normal Attack and the Megacrush Attack. The player character has a vitality gauge which will gradually deplete as they take damage from enemies, however First-Aid Kits can be picked up that will restore part of the player's energy, as well as power-ups that increases their maximum vitality. The player can upgrade their default gun into an Assault Rifle, a Shotgun, a Grenade Launcher, or a Flamethrower. The Megacrush button will detonate a bomb that kills all on-screen enemies. However, the Megacrush Attack has limited uses which the player can only replenish by picking more Megacrush bombs. In certain stages, the player can pilot enemy vehicles.
A Mega Drive version of Mercs was produced by Sega, which was first released in Japan on September 27, 1991, with subsequent releases in North America and Europe. The Mega Drive version features two different game modes: an "Arcade Mode", which features the same plot and stages as the arcade version, as well as an "Original Mode" that introduces a new plot with all new stages. One notable aspect which distinguish the Original Mode from the Arcade Mode is the addition of Weapon Shops through the game in which the player can buy power-ups for their character using currency obtained from defeated enemy soldiers, as well as the option to switch between multiple playable characters, each characterized by the weapon they wield (with the starting character using the standard Assault Rifle). Unlike the arcade version, the Mega Drive version of Mercs only allows for a single player, a point which MegaTech magazine considered the game's only weakness.
Home computer ports of Mercs were also released for the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum in 1991 by U.S. Gold. These conversions of the game were handled by Tiertex. Tiertex also developed the Sega-published Master System version that was released in Europe and Brazil.
The original arcade version of Mercs, along with Commando and Gun.Smoke, are included in the fourth volume of the Capcom Generations compilations released for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in 1998. The same version of the game would later be included as part of Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 1, released for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in 2005, and Capcom Classics Collection: Reloaded for the PlayStation Portable in 2006. The Genesis version was released for the Wii Virtual Console in North America on February 9, 2009 and in Europe on February 20, 2009 at a cost of 800 Wii Points. This re-release is listed under the title of Mercs: Wolf of the Battlefield, to tie in with the earlier Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3.