|Release date(s)||July 1, 1994|
Metaltech: Earthsiege is a mecha-style simulation game developed by Dynamix and FASA Corporation and released in 1994. Earthsiege is the first in a long line of games in the Earthsiege universe, which contains Earthsiege 2 (1995) and Metaltech: Battledrome (1995), as well as action game Hunter Hunted (1996), strategy games MissionForce: CyberStorm (1997) and Cyberstorm 2: Corporate Wars (1998), direct sequel mecha-simulation Starsiege (1999), and first-person shooters Starsiege: Tribes (1999), Tribes 2 (2001), Tribes: Vengeance (2004) and Tribes: Ascend (2012).
In Earthsiege, players are placed in the cockpit of various massive bipedal war machines known as HERCULANs (Humaniform-Emulation Roboticized Combat Unit with Leg-Articulated Navigation) (or 'HERCs' for short). Set in the 25th or 26th century, Earthsiege is a technologically advanced setting with many futuristic weapons and vehicles. Earthsiege takes place across North America, South America, Antarctica, and Asia.
On November 29, 2471, the race for true artificial intelligence ended when Sentinel Cybertronix activated Project: Prometheus. Prometheus was a prototype, the first cybernetic-hybrid machine, or Cybrid. It was incredibly intelligent, and its success quickly paved the way for mass-production of Cybrids. These new machines, free of human needs and exceedingly intelligent and efficient, proved invaluable in countless fields, including mining and space exploration.
Military minds saw another usage for Cybrids: incredibly fast-thinking pilots for the recently developed HERCULAN war machines, pilots that could not die. Militaries quickly took control of Cybrid production, and factories around the globe began churning out Hercs adapted for Cybrid use, at enormous expense. Those who didn't have the resources to build Cybrids began to wage small wars on those who did.
As these conflicts went on, more and more Cybrids entered combat, and their effectiveness became increasingly obvious. Whoever controlled the Cybrids would control the world. Conflict rose as desire for total control of Cybrid production grew, eventually escalating into a full-scale global war. Nuclear weapons were used, and in hours the population was devastated.
While the humans fought themselves for control of the Cybrids, the AI machines watched and calculated. Apparently they concluded that humans were not fit to control Cybrid destiny, for the Cybrid armies all rose up against humanity in a strike known as the Overthrow. Unprepared for this blow in the ashes of nuclear war, humanity was helpless as the Cybrids seized control of every military base, space port, and city.
The Cybrid siege was not complete. A single concealed military base was left unscathed. Hidden in the base, a number of survivors began to refit the obsolete pre-Cybrid Hercs in preparation for fighting.
Twenty years have passed since the Cybrid Overthrow. Humanity still lingers, and the Resistance is growing in strength. Using hit-and-run tactics against the machines, the survivors have managed to survive and even capture Cybrid weapons and equipment.
The whole game has at minimum of 5 campaigns of about 7 missions each. Success and failure of the missions might trigger secondary missions and campaigns to rectify previous failures, all in all resulting in 45 missions in 8 campaigns.
Gameplay in Earthsiege consists of piloting the mecha-style Hercs in combat against opposing Hercs. The Herc can be steered with a keyboard or joystick, though some controls are only found on the keyboard. The mouse can be used to interact with the various buttons in the cockpit.
Hercs battle with various ranged and projectile weapons, including lasers, missiles, and autocannons. They offer rechargeable shields and armor plating for defense. When the shields are depleted, armor begins taking damage; when armor is low, internal components can take damage, and weapons and even limbs can be destroyed. A Herc that has lost a leg is immediately incapacitated, leaving more salvage (in the form of scrap metal and weapons) for the player.
Outside of battle, the player manages his squad's Hercs and resources. The player selects the weapons mounted on each Herc, and can repair existing Hercs and weapons, as well as build new ones, with scrap metal. Additionally, the player can bring up to three squad mates along on missions. Squad mates can be assigned Hercs before the mission beings, and during a mission they can be issued basic orders. As squad mates complete more missions, their skills and rank rise.
In 1995, an expansion pack for Earthsiege was released featuring a full-motion video introduction. The expansion pits humanity against a second wave of Cybrid attackers 3 months after the end of the original game. The expansion pack featured new content such as new vehicles and weapons.