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Mechwarrior Through the Ages

By bugmaster in Op-Ed
Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 09:35:59 AM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)

Mechwarrior (just Mechwarrior, no bloody 2, 3 or 4 *) was one of the first truly 3d games for the PC. It ran on my 286, in 320x240x16 video mode (that's 16 colors, not 16 color depth bits, in case you're wondering), and it taxed that system to its limit even without the sound. I followed the Mechwarrior franchise from its humble beginnings to its state-of-the art implementation of today... And I am wishing I didn't.

* Give yourself 10 Geek Points if you got the reference.

First of all, let me give you a rundown of the features of the original Mechwarrior. You'd better get some coffee or something, because this might take a while.

Mechwarrior: The Original

In Mechwarrior, the first thing you saw when you started the game was the system map. The map covered the entirety of the Inner Sphere, and consisted of more than a hundred star systems (represented as dots, naturally). The map was color-coded into the areas of influence of the Noble Houses: Liao, Kurita, Davion, Steiner, Marik, and some others, including (I think) a couple minor ones. You could pass your cursor over each star system, and read a short description of the local society, economy, political affiliation, etc. As you moved the cursor, you could see a line from your current star system to the target system; the line was marked with travel time and cost. That's right -- travel took time, and it cost money. In fact, lots of things cost money -- more about this in a minute.

When you landed on a system, you could take a look at the list of available 'Mech ammo and chassis for sale. The prices and selection varied from star system to star system, of course -- in fact, they varied by a sufficiently large margin, so you could make money simply by buying stuff at one system and selling it at another -- assuming you were smart about travel costs. Anyway, after buying and selling to your heart's content, you could visit the mission central and look at the list of missions available. The missions were classified by goal: sweep the area for enemies, capture enemy ammo, destroy enemy base (my personal favorite), etc. Each mission was accompanied by a rough intelligence report, that listed the approximate number and tonnage of enemy 'Mechs on the field. "Approximate" being the key word. Anyway, when you saw a mission you liked, you could haggle for the payment (in credits) and salvage rights (in percent) that you would receive upon completion. If you haggled too much, though, the bureaucrats would get pissed off and kick you out.

After you've finally confirmed your mission, you could head straight to the dropship. However, usually you would visit the bar and the 'Mech bay.

In the bar, you could check up on news and personal messages, and hire other mercenaries as lancemates. The mercs had individual skills in piloting and gunnery. These skills usually started out at some abysmally incompetent level, and increased gradually as the merc gained experience under your tender care. The mercenaries, of course, would work strictly for money -- which you had to pay them in the form of a monthly salary. This salary was one of the reasons that travel time between star systems was important: you wouldn't want to spend a whole month just flying around, because you'd still have to pay your mercs at the end of the trip, and credits don't grow on trees. Anyways, once you've hired some employees, you could head to the 'Mech bay to review your current assets. If you had good negotiating skills, you could even buy that upgraded chassis you always wanted, since a percentage of your payment was given to you in advance. Your margins were always razor-thin, however (well, at least, initially), and so you had to watch the cash flow.

The features I have described so far would probably be sufficient by themselves to make for an interesting game -- and I'm just getting started.

Once you have finished outfitting your 'Mechs, you could finally head to the dropship, which (after a hefty "Loading" screen) would drop you onto the planet. You ended up in the cockpit of your 'Mech, and that's when the real fun began. Your 'Mech really felt like a huge, lumbering fusion reactor on legs (which is what 'Mechs are, really). The ground shook when you walked; the torso would rotate slowly; and you could look sideways to see all the deadly weapons mounted on your arms. Heavy 'Mechs usually had more claustrophobic cockpits, with massive armor plating all around which reduced your field of view.

Naturally, your 'Mech was also equipped with all the standard HUD equipment -- radar, heading/Nav indicator, damage chart, weapon/ammo list, etc. In addition, you had access to a satellite map of the area. By pressing F3, you could maximize this map to the entire screen. In this mode, you could look at your objectives and give orders to your lancemates. The orders varied from simple, such as "attack this enemy contact over here", to complex, such as "patrol between these points, engaging any enemies nearby". If your 'Mech was disabled, it was possible to continue the mission by commanding your lancemates; and, in fact, I have been able to win missions this way. Not by choice, mind you.

Yes, I am still describing the original Mechwarrior, not Mech Commander or some other game like it. Fancy that.

Anyways, at some point you would be done with fiddling with the map view and walking around, and it would be time to walk through the nav points and engage the enemies. More often than not, there would be more enemies than you'd expect according to the mission briefing. They liked to pleasantly surprise you like that. You had to aim carefully, and fire with caution, lest you damage yourself with splash damage. And of course, each weapon behaved differently. Lasers hit instantly, PPCs and AC had to fly through the air (at different speeds), and missiles took time to acquire a lock. When the weapons hit, they did their damage, and also heated up the enemy 'Mech a bit. SSRMs delivered a respectable amount of heat but did little damage, ACs did massive damage with little heat, and lasers were somewhere in between. Naturally, each weapon generated heat as well, which dissipated quickly or slowly, depending on your engine size and the number of heatsinks you had installed. If your 'Mech overheated, it usually melted down (with you inside it), unless you managed to shut down in time, in which case, the enemies would take turns pounding at you with their ERPPCs until you blew up. Your lancemates would try and do their share of damage, of course -- but, unless their skills were decent, they would usually walk in circles and fire LRMs at their feet.

Speaking of taking a pounding: the 'Mech did not just look like a complex war machine, it also acted as one. Each 'Mech consisted of several components, and each component had a dedicated location: comm (head), sensors (head), life support (head), engine (torso), gyros (groin), heat sinks (all over), jump jets (legs, assuming you installed any), and, of course, weapons and ammo (wherever you chose to install them). Each location had a set amount of armor (torso had more, legs had less, etc.), which would protect the tender criticals inside. When the enemies broke through your armor (taking it from green to yellow to red), they would hit the components inside, damaging and eventually destroying them. Damaged components performed worse than healthy ones -- weapons would fire slower, sensors would go on the fritz, engine would only run at half-speed, etc. Your 'Mech was pretty resilient, however -- it had backups for most of the critical components, and it could function after a fashion even with some components totally destroyed. For example, if you lost a leg, you could still stand and rotate the torso. If you lost a couple of your gyros, you could walk but not jump or run. If you lost more than half, you couldn't walk but could still turn. With all gyros destroyed, you could only stand there, facing in one direction, waiting for the enemies to pass in front of you (and yes, I have managed to kill enemy 'Mechs like this). Without your sensors, you had no radar or satmap. Without the comm, you could not contact your lancemates (that one really hurt). Without the heatsinks, your 'Mechs would not cool down as fast -- or it would in fact heat up slowly, until you had the choice to shutdown or melt down. Without sufficient jump jets, you could not get off the ground. And, of course, when the enemies destroyed some of your weapons, you couldn't use those particular weapons to deliver a barrage of hot electric plasma death (just to use an example). You could press D at any time to pull up a list of all your systems and their status, from "Ok" to "Damaged" to "Scrap".

Not surprisingly, your enemies had the same systems that you did. This is why you learned early on to go for the cockpit or the legs. The cockpit was preferrable, of course -- even a 'Mech lying down on the ground with both legs out could be dangerous, if it had missiles and was facing sideways when it fell (and yes, I have... er... you knew I was going to say that, right ?). Of course, hitting the cockpit was a lot harder than hitting the legs or the massive (yet also massively armored) torso.

Which is why you also needed to learn how to use the terrain to your advantage. The enemy cockpit is a lot easier to hit if you're standing on high ground, sniping at it from above. Jump jets were especially nifty in this regard, but you had to be careful with them. It may be fun to fly through the air, but it's not nearly as fun to have your jump jets run out in the middle of your flight, in which case you would tumble to the ground and spend many precious seconds getting up -- unless you happened to blow out your legs in the process. The same thing could happen if you managed to stumble on a steep slope, or if you ran into an assault 'Mech while piloting a light one (such as the Jenner or the Locust), in which case the assault 'Mech would knock you over, step on you, take down your armor, and blow a hole through your chest (assuming you hadn't managed to get up in time). If you're lucky, you might damage its legs a bit with the splash damage from your reactor explosion. Of course, the light 'Mechs could run circles around assault 'Mechs with one leg tied behind their back, so in practice getting stepped on is not a primary concern.

When you have finished the mission (one way or another... assuming you survived), you would return to your dropship, which would lift you back to the safety of the base. You would finally get your pre-arranged share of credits, as well as the agreed upon percentage of the salvage -- including ammo and 'Mech chassis. After that, you'd probably hit the 'Mech bay again, where you'll pay the local mechanics to repair and rearm your 'Mechs. Repairs and ammo cost money, however, so you'd better hope you have enough cash, or else you're in for some tough choices. What is worth more to you -- fixing that right torso armor, or reloading the LRMs ? In addition, the repair shop would charge you for any spare parts that were completely destroyed; and sometimes, they didn't even have those parts in stock. This is yet another reason behind the "go for the legs" rule of combat -- it's cheaper to replace the legs on a salvaged 'Mech than the engine. To make matters worse, some missions consist of multiple parts, so that you cannot visit the shop between the mini-missions. And the space on your dropship is limited, and thus you can either store four Battlemasters or those massive crates of LRM ammo -- but not both (just to use an arbitrary example).

Once you complete a couple of missions, the noble Houses start noticing you. The House who hired you to do the mission starts liking you more, and their rival house (probably the ones whose assets you have... repurposed... with extreme prejudice) start liking you less. Friendly houses are nice to you: they give you more money (and the all-important salvage rights) for missions; they sell you parts for cheap; and they don't blow you out of the sky when you land on their core planets. All in all, that's a good deal.

What I have described so far is a great game already; however, I have saved the best for last. You could play the game "freestyle", so to speak -- travel the Inner Sphere, trade 'Mech parts for profit, run missions for cash and salvage, upgrade your 'Mech (you start out with a Jennner and enough cash for maybe a paint job, so there will be lots of upgrades ahead) -- whatever you like. However, there is also a plot for you to follow, and a mystery to unravel. If you visit the right places on the right planets, you'll get more of the backstory, meet some NPCs, make dialogue choices, and, of course, run special missions. The reward (besides the money and the salvage) usually takes the form of some kind of information, such as galactic coordinates of an informant's home planet, or the true nature of your enemies. And once you figure out who your real enemies are, you get to run missions directly against them, blowing up their factories and 'Mech hangars with a vengeance (quite literally). Unfortunately, the time you have to accomplish your tasks is limited (unlike in GTA3, which has a similar combination of freestyle missions and optional quests), and thus you'd have to be quite good at the game before you can attempt the main quest.

So, what kind of game is the original Mechwarrior ? It's a strategy game, a tactics game, a 'Mech simulator, an RPG and an adventure game all rolled into one. There is a good balance between all the parts of the game; none of them feel tacked on at the last moment. If you're a Mechwarrior who got kicked off his home planet and turned mercenary, of course you're going to fly around the Inner Sphere, trade stuff, and lead lancemates in battle. It's only natural.

Mechwarrior 2: The Sequel

Mechwarrior 2, which is (confusingly) known as "that first Mechwarrior game", brought to the Mechwarrior franchise something that the original game never could: graphics and music.

Let's face it, the 286 was not exactly a gamer's dream (well, it was back then, but I digress). 16-color pixels the size of bricks and PC speaker noises get old pretty quick (although Scream Tracker was very... er... I digress again). Mechwarrior 2 took advantage of hardware acceleration to render high-res (for its time) 3d graphics, complete with textures and background images. Suddenly, the 'Mechs had individual decals, the PPC shots looked like blue orbs of unholy fire (instead of rotating squares), and each LRM missile got its own little 3d object. The cockpit HUD also got revamped. The 'Mech UI now consisted of clean, translucent green outlines, which collapsed upon themselves when you were forced to shut down. The feeling you had was that you really were piloting a futuristic fighting machine with its own little AI -- as opposed to a bucket of pixels. Enemy targets were surrounded with glowing red targeting brackets, their statistics displayed in a side window... It felt like looking through the eyes of the Terminator, only without all that icky infrared.

This feeling was enhanced by the most memorable (for me, anyway) new feature of Mechwarrior 2: the computer voice. The computer called out all the important events in the game, such as enemy contacts, damage, sensor scans, etc. It sounded detached, precise, yet oddly alluring at the same time. If computers had a goddess, she would speak in this voice. Sometimes, when I start my car to go to the store, I can almost hear it say: "Reactor: ONline. Sensors: ONline. Weapons: ONline. All systems: functional". Ok, ok, so maybe I am a little obsessed, but my original point still stands. The Starship Enterprise computer voice had nothing on Mechwarrior 2.

If any feature of Mechwarrior 2 could measure up to the computer voice, it would have to be the music. The music on the game CD was so good that I would usually leave it in the drive and play it through the speakers as I was working -- in fact, I am listening to the music right now. It's still good, after all these years (tracks 03, 09 and 14 in particular... ah, heck, they're all good). The missions were worth playing just to hear the next music track, which usually matched the feel of the mission (quiet sneaky staccato music for stealth missions, grand vocals and crescendos for all-out assults). Once again, my opinion may be biased -- because I have always been a fan of electronic music -- but others have said the same things, so I know I'm not completely nuts.

The sequel also featured some very nice FMVs, which are always a plus. The clip that plays when you fail to eject (your neurohelmet falls to the ground next to your head, gets stepped on by a 'Mech foot, and the last thing you see is a laser cannon aimed directly between your eyes) is particularly sweet.

Unfortunately, the overall gameplay took a bit of a downturn with the sequel's release. Gone was the Inner Sphere map with the individually labeled planets. Gone was any kind of economy -- you work for the Clans, and the Clans pay for everything with their genetically-enhanced American Express card. Gone were the adventure game elements (though the plot was still good; more on this in a minute). And, perhaps most importantly, gone were the 'Mech simulation details. In Mechwarrior 2, your 'Mech had one gyro. When it got destroyed, your 'Mech blew up. Engine got hit ? Blow up. Comms got hit ? Er, I don't think there were any comms, actually. And you could not pull up the list of systems anymore -- things either worked, or they didn't, without any gray areas. Well, to be fair, this is not entirely true -- when your sensors got hit, there was this neat derezzing effect on the satmap -- but overall, the gameplay has been greatly simplified.

Which is not to say that the sequel did not improve on the original in several areas. First of all, the story was improved, even despite losing the adventure game capabilities. You could play the game as either Clan Wolf or Clan Jade Falcon -- bitter rivals to the end. Some of the missions you played as Clan Wolf actually mirrored the Clan Jade Falcon missions, and vice versa. For example, a "take out the Jade Falcon convoy" mission for Clan Wolf would (quite naturally) become a "defend our convoy from an attack, even though we don't expect any... la dee dah..." mission for Clan Jade Falcon. Later on, you can join with the Inner Sphere patriots, or find out first-hand how much pain those Battlemasters can deliver, depending on your choice of Clan.

Another great improvement over the original Mechwarrior was the level design. The missions in the original Mechwarrior were pretty much computer-generated (except the story-driving missions, of course). As the result, the levels were pretty bland and generic at times. By contrast, the Mechwarrior 2 levels have been painstakingly handcrafted polygon by polygon, and it really showed. For example, the goal of one of the first Clan Wolf missions was to destroy a sensor array in the middle of an ice field. Well, I have to hand it to Clan Jade Falcon: they really know how to build their sensor arrays. If I were designing an installation that should be able to spy on my enemies while still being protected from attack, I would do the same thing. Just like many other levels, the ice fields level simply made sense in this (admittedly strange) futuriristic way that is really hard to describe. And since the missions were now scripted, they often changed in the middle, as the enemy executed a sneak attack, got wind of your approaching forces, etc. You could take a fast medium 'Mech onto the battlefield, only to find yourself facing two Mad Cats and their big daddy the Masakari.

Ice fields weren't the only environment you'd encounter, however. Each planet had its own climate, vegetation, terrain features, etc. The computer voice would tell you about some of them as you touched down: "Planet: Wotan. Ambient temperature: 26.5 degrees. Localtime: 09:32:57 GST". The ambient temperature, and the presence of lakes and rivers, were especially important from the gameplay point of view, since they determined how efficient your heatsinks were. There were even differences in gravity between levels, including the extremes of virtually no gravity at all on the ice comet. Here's a hint: don't use jump jets when there's no gravity to pull you back down. It's a long flight back to Arcadia.

The most important improvement, however, was the ability to customize your 'Mech. No longer were you constrained to the default (and, let's face it, often inferior) loadout of machine guns, small lasers, and SRMs. Now, you could head on to the 'Mech Lab and swap in a bigger engine, add jump jets, redistribute armor, put in special features such as MASC or ECM, and, of course, allocate weapons and heat sinks. Naturally, each 'Mech had a set limit on the maximum tonnage and the number of criticals (i.e., free slots), so usually it took some thinking to optimize the loadout. Would you go for endo-steel over ferro-fibrous to save some weight ? Would you skimp on heat sinks and hope that the enemy doesn't have Inferno SRMs ? Those were not easy choices. The 'Mech Lab was one of my favorite areas of the game (besides the actual level maps, of course), and I spent countless hours there, trying out different weapon combinations. In fact, 'Mech customization has become so ingrained into my psyche that I assumed that Mechwarrior contained this feature all along, until fellow players corrected me.

Ultimately, Mechwarrior 2 was nearly as good as the original (and it was certainly better in the graphics and sound areas). However, it embarked on the slippery slope of simplification, and the Mechwarrior franchise has been sliding ever since.

Mechwarrior 2.5: Mercenaries

Mercenaries basically revamped the graphics engine of its predecessor, while cutting out even more features. For example, when you destroyed both legs on an enemy 'Mech, it would now blow up. Huh ? How many cars have you seen that explode in a blazing fireball when their tires blow out ? You, Mr. Hollywood producer in the back row: put your hand down. The levels actually managed to become uglier while simultaneously becoming more technologically advanced. The stark beauty of the ice fields gave way to some randomly jumbled buildings with a pixelated cityscape in the background. To make matters worse, the new soundtrack felt like a slap in the face: it was more techno-ish than the original, but also more repetitive and bland. Instead of the majestic soundscapes of the original, you now had some more thumps. Thumpity-thumpity-thump. Whee.

Another annoying un-innovation that Mercenaries inflicted on the player was the changed hit model. I am not sure if the code was broken, or if that was intentional; the bottom line, though, is that it became impossible to hit an enemy 'Mech in the head. For some reason, even when your laser beam hit the 'Mech directly between the eyes (so to speak), all that would happen is that one of its arms would turn yellow. This may sound like a petty concern, but I am sure anyone who has played Mechwarrior 2 will understand how important those headshots have been before.

Which is not to say that Mercenaries sucked -- far from it. It brought back some of the economic features (they call it Mercenaries for a reason), and it introduced the branching mission tree similar to one in Wing Commander: i.e., when you failed a mission, you did not have to repeat it. Instead, you went on to some other mission, which would probably be even harder, since that enemy supply convoy made it to its destination, or your base got wiped out, or the enemy pilot was able to report back to base, etc.

Overall, however, Mercenaries continued the trend in being not quite as good as its predecessor. By now, though, it wasn't just a trend -- it was a tradition.

Mech Commander

Both the Mech Commander games were basically a re-implementation of the satellite map feature of the original Mechwarrior, with some better graphics. Mech Commander was actually not too bad: there was a definite amount of strategy involved, and the game ran smoothly on my system.

Mech Commander 2, however, did not run well on any system in existence at the time. Well, ok, this is an exaggeration -- I am sure it ran just fine on the Cray. In any case, what's the point of playing a real-time tactical simulation if it drags through the frames like a slug through molasses in Janurary ? There is no point. And of course, the lack of any economy more advanced than "click the Buy button and the 'Mech is yours" hurt the game, as well. I am not even going to talk about the cheesy live-action FMVs -- Wing Commander 3 made them work somehow, but then, they had Riker on the team (though I must admit, the Jason Cho character was funny, and the "experts" very very familiar). The forgettable music and the linear missions (apparently Mercenaries was a fluke) didn't improve the situation one bit.

The Mechwarrior universe took a sharp downturn with Mech Commander 2, but, to be fair, it's not really the game developers' fault. Bad things happened to FASA during that time -- first Activision lost its license, which got passed around like a cheap ho. Then, FASA itself went out of business. There was no one left to market the game other than Microsoft Games.

Out of curiosity, am I the only one who does a double-take every time he hears "Microsoft" and "Games" in the same sentence ? Militarry intelligence, freezer burn, Microsoft Games... all are perfect examples of an oxymoron. Microsoft's touch became apparent as soon as the game interface would load up. Instead of the clean, functional UI of the earlier games, Mech Commander (and especially Mech Commander 2) used pull-down menus, radio buttons, and whatever other widgets the Microsoft Office team rejects were able to port over. Watching Microsoft implement games is like watching a hippopotamus dance: you know it can be done... but why ?

It's true that there were some redeeming features to the Mech Commander games: the levels weren't too bad (though not as good as the Mechwarrior 2 levels), and the PPCs got revamped from floating blue orbs into banshee-screeching, air-tearing blasts of searing electric lightning death. However, PPC effects alone could not compensate for all of the game's flaws.

Mechwarrior 3 and 4

I think there was a Mechwarrior 3; I mean, there must have been, right ? However, I don't quite recall playing it, though I am pretty sure I did at some point. Yes, it was that forgettable. Mechwarrior 4 continued the now established tradition of throwing out features, spicing up the graphics, and turning the UI into an Excel spreadsheet.

In Mechwarrior 4, your 'Mech is basically a Quake character. It has no internal systems at all except for the weapons. There are still various hit areas (center torso, left/right torso, legs, arms, etc.), but, in practice, anything but the center torso is extremely hard to hit (and the cockpit is virtually indestructible). This means that 'Mech combat is basically reduced to the "let's see who has more armor" game of 'Mech chicken. The chicken experience is further enhanced by the fact that missiles are nearly useless -- they take a lot of time to lock on and do little damage -- and thus, the crazy "dodge behind the hills and take LRM potshots at enemies" experience of the previous Mechwarrior games is gone.

Also gone is any semblance of a story. The original Mechwarrior, if you recall, actually contained an adventure game within it. Mechwarrior 2 simplified that away, but it least it offered something in return (a fixed story from two different perspectives). Even Mercenaries and, to a lesser extent, Mech Commander managed to hang on to some shreds of dignity in this regard. Mechwarrior 4 basically reduces the story to "click that [Skip] button... click it now !" All we get to see is live-action shots of forgettable characters yakking about pointless matters in a tiny video window on top of your mission briefing. The videos suffer from the "Hack//Sign Syndrome": they are neither in any way interesting nor well-drawn (photographed, whatever).

And speaking of that mission briefing window... The missions seem to have been thrown in as an afterthought. I can just see the marketing execs gathered around their $1000 sushi table:

"Well Bob, have we decided on the proactive marketing synergy for this exciting new solution, moving forward ?"
"Seems that way, Joe. Oh... wait... we forgot the missions !"
"Who cares, have some temp pull an all-nighter and throw something together. That's what interns are for. Now, about those full-page ads: is there a way we can emphasize the nudity content ?"
Basically, the mission briefings are useless. They tell you nothing, unless you consider "you'll be fighting some 'Mechs, and at some point you might have to go to Nav Alpha" to be valuable information. A mini-briefing is also relayed to you in game before each level. These are a bit more informative, and they make me wonder why Microsoft Games (Dance, hippo ! Dance !) bothered with the briefing screen at all. As an added insult, each mission briefing is preceded by a strategic map, where you can apparently select the next mission. Naturally, there is always (well, except for the very last mission) only one choice available. What is this ? The Soviet Union ? You have no choice but to vote for The Party, which somehow gets elected unanimously each year ?

And while I have to admit that the missions are not completely generic, the level design is still not nearly as thoughtful as in Mechwarrior 2. You have your generic-looking desert, generic-looking tundra, and even a generic-looking city. You even get to assault a generic-looking base. Anyone can draw some generic-looking rectangles on the map and call them "walls"; the trick is to make the level actually interesting or at least coherent. Microsoft Games, naturally, is unable to do that.

You would think that at least the art and the sound would be improved, since technology has evolved since the 486 days. The music is completely forgettable, the sounds are fairly generic (how many times have I used that word so far ?), except for the neat PPC noise, and the graphics are bland (and that's on the max detail level). They might have a high polygon count, but polygon count can't compensate for boredom. You just get higher-resolution boredom. And while the graphics are technically more detailed, artistically they are more homogeneous. For example, you now get some neat particle effects when you blow off a 'Mech's arm, but it would have been a lot more rewarding to watch that arm tumble through the air and shatter on the cold hard earth (as seen in Mechwarrior 2).

Even the controls are bland. You can no longer move the 'Mech's arms independently of the torso; you can't really control your jumps, and you can't land on top of an enemy's head for the trademark "stomp of death" maneuver from Mechwarrior 2. I suppose aiming is easier with the WASD/mouse combo, but then I might as well be playing Quake. At least the controls are customizable still.

It may be possible that Mechwarrior 4 offers some sort of an amazing multiplayer experience (which compensates for the lack of a story), but I can't really be bothered to find out. If I want to really dismember some humans in a 'Mech battle to the death, I'll fire up Mechwarrior 2. Nothing says "hello" like a dual salvo of LRM-20s from behind a hill.

The game does have some redeeming features, surprisingly enough. For example, instead of generic slots, each 'Mech now has weapon mount points of various sizes, which come in four flavors: energy, missile, ballistic and omni. This makes 'Mechs actually different from each other; in the previous titles, it sometimes seemed as though the only thing that mattered was the tonnage. Also, the way your HUD warps and distorts when you get hit by a PPC is cool. That's about it for interesting features though; needless to say, they can't possibly make up for the sacrifices the hipp.. I mean, Microsoft Games has made in favor of simplicity.

The Others, The Future

So, just to recap: we went from a low-res, low-color adventure/RPG/'Mech sim/RTS/trading game, to a high-tech 'Mech sim with good levels and story, to a lame RTS implementation, to 'Mech chicken in 1280x1024 resolution. As far as I can imagine, Mechwarrior 7 will just feature a big red button labeled "Kill". You press it, you win. Now, wasn't that fun ?

I suppose a case can be made that the original Mechwarrior was too complicated to learn. People who have never touched a computer game before would have difficulty understanding concepts such as "dialogue tree" or "press N to rotate the torso down". However, Mechwarrior has never been a game for beginners -- that's what Solitaire is for, after all.

Which is not to say that the 'Mech franchise is completely dead. The official branch is toast, of course -- with FASA out of commission, and the license in limbo, all we can look forward to is more dancing hippos. But there is still some hope for the spinoffs. For example, Earthsiege 2 was quite good, featuring some fresh ideas (slow production) and weapons (Electron Flux Cannon, baby !). There is also Steel Batallion, a modern game that comes with its own 'Mech Cockipit (steady... steady... breathe...), but the $200 price tag has kept me from trying it out so far.

Despite this glimmer of hope, though, lately I can't help but feel that true gaming is all in the past. Except for an occasional gem such as Syberia, Morrowind, or Starcraft, games show a strong tendency toward de-evolution nowadays. More graphics, more sound, less gameplay (to make room for more anti-aliased mip-mapped polygons...) Am I just being pessimistic as usual ? Or is the game programming talent completely exhausted by now ?

Well, enough talk. Thanks to everyone who posted links, I now have more important things to worry about. I need to go and find that pirate dropship with a winged skull logo...


If you're reading this, then the article probably seemed totally incomprehensible to you. Nonetheless, here are some terms:

'Mech: Short for "Battlemech". A gigantic bipedal tank powered by a fusion reactor and jam-packed with weaponry. Originally developed by the FASA corporation as part of their Battletech tabletop wargame.

SRM: Short Range Missile. Quick turning time but short range and relatively low damage. Comes in packs of 2 (SRM2), 4 (SRM4) or 6 (SRM6)

SSRM: Streak SRM. More rocket salvos than the regular SRM, and better lock-on time.

Inferno SRM: Napalm missiles. Similar to regular SRMs, but they heat up the enemy 'Mech by spraying it with liquid fire. Could be quite dangerous if you don't have enough heatsinks installed.

LRM: Long Range Missile. Slow turning time but good damage (due to the large salvos) and extremely long range, as the name implies. Come in packs of 5, 10, 15 or 20.

PPC: The ultimate energy weapon. Fires a relatively slow-moving orb of superheated plasma that does splash damage, heats up the enemy 'Mech, and makes the enemy cry. However, it generates a lot of heat and has a slow recharge time.

ERPPC: Extended Range PPC. Same as regular PPC but with more range.

NPC: Non Player Character. A term used in RPGs and adventure games which refers to scripted characters that the player needs to interact with.

Inner Sphere: The central area of colonized space in the Battletech universe.

Clans: A group of humans who fled the Inner Sphere, formed their own society based on cloning and genetic engineering, and then returned centuries later to kick Inner Sphere's ass.

FMV: Full Motion Video. A term which refers to full-screen video cutscenes that punctuate the action in most modern video and computer games.

RPG: Role Playing Game. A type of computer game where a character can be improved through repeated gameplay. Usually, these types of games also have a specific plot that the player needs to unravel.

RTS: Real Time Strategy. A type of computer game where the player controls multiple combat units in real time (as opposed to doing it turn by turn). Starcraft is a shining example of this type of game.


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Best 'Mech game ?
o Mechwarrior, the original 15%
o Mechwarrior 2, the clan wars 25%
o Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries 11%
o 'Mech Commander 9%
o Mechwarrior N+1... ooh, pretty 4%
o You are such a nerd 33%

Votes: 63
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o *
o Mechwarrio r
o Liao
o Kurita
o Davion
o Steiner
o Marik
o LRMs
o Mechwarrio r 2
o corrected
o Steel Batallion
o Also by bugmaster

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Mechwarrior Through the Ages | 225 comments (173 topical, 52 editorial, 0 hidden)
NCC-1701. (4.33 / 3) (#3)
by kitten on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 03:44:42 AM EST

No bloody A.. B.. C.. or D.

Did I get it? I bet that's it.

mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
Right-O (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by bugmaster on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 06:57:20 AM EST

+10 geek points for you. That's probably not a good thing...
[ Parent ]
Scotch (3.00 / 1) (#191)
by A Trickster Imp on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 09:33:51 PM EST

I bought a Trek calendar once just for the picture of a drunk Scotty hugging a bottle of booze.

I also feel much the same way about ancient Quake CTF.  No World, 2, 3, or Arena.

[ Parent ]

-1 "Inside Reference" (1.45 / 20) (#4)
by rmwise on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 03:45:27 AM EST

Stupid elitist geek. Buy a fucking ad.


Important point you have failed to mention... (3.40 / 5) (#5)
by bsimon on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 04:11:44 AM EST

...what is a mech?

you have read my sig

Good point, but... (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by bugmaster on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 06:42:44 AM EST

...I think this may be a topic of a whole new article. I know I could probably write one, but I want to see how this one does in voting, first.
[ Parent ]
No, really, what is a 'Mech? (4.00 / 1) (#28)
by bsimon on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 09:18:32 AM EST

Your article just suddenly starts with 'Mech this' and 'Mech that', without saying what the word means.

I was initally assuming it's some kind of spacecraft. But about halfway through the story I finally figured out that it's a big fighting robot thing. Am I right?

You could just give a general definition near the beginning. Like "A 'Mech is a tetramongously cool big fighting robot thing with lasers, neuronic jammers, proton pods and all"

That would help people get into the article, and give it a +1 vote, instead of giving up in confusion.

you have read my sig
[ Parent ]

The guy has a point, (4.00 / 2) (#35)
by Jetifi on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 10:29:32 AM EST

Something as simple as "A 'Mech (or Battlemech) is a large single-seater two-legged robot, traditionally armed to the gills with lasers, fusion cannons, missiles, etcetera.''. That should do it.

[ Parent ]
No he doesn't (5.00 / 4) (#137)
by max3000 on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 03:26:31 AM EST

Call me an elitist pig, but I like to think there are still geeky heavens on the net where everybody knows what a Mech is, and everyone who doesn't is EXTREMELY ashamed to ask.

Does K5 fit this definition? I suppose it is debatable, but I would tend to think so. When a community votes an article about the intricacies of C++ templates to the front page, I think it qualifies as geeky.

I could go on a lengthy discussion about how reducing discussions to the most common denominator (making sure everyone understands) can turn great forums (be they virtual or otherwise) into the most uninteresting platitudes. I will not, lazy as I am. However, let it be known that doing so, exempli gratia explaining what a Mech is so that my grandma may understand this atricle, can be the trigger to a chain reaction that will turn a perfectly geeky forum like K5 into a politically correct, common denominatoresque, boring chit-chat forum where the word computer will have to be explained. No, really. Geeks have a right to their jargon (sniff).

Bottom line: no need to explain what a Mech is on K5, IMNSHO.

bsimon: feel EXTREMELY ashamed!!!

[ Parent ]

Pfft. (4.50 / 2) (#141)
by Jetifi on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 05:59:33 AM EST

I like the article because it's a good overview of the MechWarrior series, and the guy is clearly passionate about the subject, which makes him a geek, which makes him the best guy to write the thing.

Fair enough there's always Google, and it's not rocket science. I too have an issue with LCDing a "perfectly geeky forum", believe me, but something like the glossary thing, which was probably the best solution, should not lead to grannyfication unless it becomes demanded as a de rigeur thing of all articles that touch anything vaguely techy.

If that happens as a result of this article, I will happily concede the point and join in the LARTing.

Oh, and: you're an elitst pig :-)

[ Parent ]
Two legged, fusion powered engines of death (5.00 / 2) (#127)
by kerinsky on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 09:35:59 PM EST

'Mech is short for BattleMech which is a fusion powered two (or mayhaps four) legged engine of death and destruction.

For more information see :

For visual aids see :






[ Parent ]

Two legged, fusion powered engines of death?!?!? (none / 0) (#223)
by A Trickster Imp on Sat Jul 19, 2003 at 07:43:33 PM EST

> Two legged, fusion powered engines of death

I prefer to think of them as sitting duck coffins that won't survive the first day of a war vs. the current United States military, never mind a futuristic one.

Anything those can launch, much faster, cheaper, more plentiful jets can launch.

One daisy cutter or MOAB per, no problem.  One of those 4500 lb reinforced concrete penetrating bombs that can go through forty feet of steel-reinforced concrete, no problem.

Look in the dictionary under Duck, Sitting.  Or maybe Patsy.

[ Parent ]

Cool! (4.50 / 2) (#7)
by megid on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 04:45:11 AM EST

Despite the authors insecurity about the "does it belong to FP" thing, I think this article is way cool. This is the kind of long-term game experience that one cannot get by playing a game for a week. Insightful.

On a side note, I have no idea what those weapons acronyms are. Could be explained.

"think first, write second, speak third."

Weapons... (4.00 / 1) (#14)
by bugmaster on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 06:41:32 AM EST

I linked to a couple sites that list the weapons (specifically, I turned "ERPPC" and "LRM" into links). However, these would be pretty inadequate for someone who's new to the game... Do you have any suggestions ? I could write the descriptions inline, but this article is already 500 pages long, and I don't want to make it even larger if I can avoid it.
[ Parent ]
Thankyou. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. (5.00 / 1) (#9)
by daniels on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 06:15:25 AM EST


See, I first had a Microbee. I played Zork. Then I got a Mac, and played Shadowgate. Sometimes. I was quite young.

But then, I got a PC. A copy of MechWarrior 2: Pentium Processor Edition (I had a real-deal Pentium! A P100 ... man, that thing was da bomb) also came to me, via Dad. No more boots into DOS, I could play this thing within Windows; and man, was it ever good.

I've never played MechWarrior, but Mech2 was my first real game (played with my brand-spanking-new SideWinder 3D Pro, which was a pretty good joystick, come to think of it), and I still have massively fond memories of it. Jumps of death, your first mission with teammates (get them to flank you!), watching those round blue pulses of joy, smacking down a Timberwolf with some LRMs, despite the fact you were in some piece of crap, and the Mad Cat ... oh, the Mad Cat.

Looking at your crits and swearing as you have to decide what to strip out ... yeah, Mech 2 was da bomb. I still have fond memories of it, and still play it, very occasionally. It's a beautiful game, and it sounds like it could only get better; someone needs to take it, give it the original MechWarrior style, update the graphics, give those missions some lovin (the desert missions were particular genius - required reading for any up-and-coming game designer), and re-release it. I'd hit it. The GBC maps were actually pretty good (I'm pretty sure destroying the airfield was a GBC map - either way, it rocked), but Mercs was shit, as was MW4.

Thankyou, bugmaster, for reviving the best part of my childhood.
somewhere in space, this may all be happening right now

Whoops, forgot some stuff (4.00 / 1) (#11)
by daniels on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 06:22:32 AM EST

Tracks 3 and 9 of the Mech2 CD. I used to sit listening to them; they were musical brilliance; not listening, as in whacking that little rectangular button to select my PPCs, listening as in, putting it in the drive, sitting back, and listening. Nothing but.

"All systems nominal."
somewhere in space, this may all be happening right now
[ Parent ]

nit... (5.00 / 3) (#38)
by Danse on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 12:18:57 PM EST

Mad Cat == Timberwolf. Which one you use just depends on which side of the Tukayyid Line you're standing on :) But gotta agree with the rest. I've been wanting to see a REAL Battletech game for a long time now. They just keep making the games lamer and lamer. I bought MW4 with expansions from a friend for 10 bucks because I wanted some mech action. What a disappointment. It was just like he said, mech chicken. Why won't game developers listen?

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
*waves to blizzard* (none / 0) (#152)
by eudas on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 03:11:41 PM EST

because game developers get paid by game developer managers, who only care about the $.

or was your question rhetorical?

"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

I remember Mech2, (4.50 / 2) (#13)
by Jetifi on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 06:41:03 AM EST

On my 486. The absolute best thing about it was touching the throttle and hearing the whirr-thump as the first leg raises and moves forward, and the viewpoint actually moving forward exactly as it should, as if it were mounted on some big-ass steel legs.

Thus began my ''thing'' for giant walking robots. Sounds like it's a good thing I didn't get to play the sequels.

Of course, I played MW because (5.00 / 5) (#18)
by AtADeadRun on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 07:22:50 AM EST

it was a translation of my favorite tabletop wargame. There's no experience like taking a forty-ton Tsunami into the Davion arena on Solaris VII and singlehandedly beating a Battlemaster by charging it and knocking it into a sixty-meter-deep chasm, then jumping on it with the classic Death from Above maneuver.

The reason MW was so much more detailed than its successors was that it was an attempt by Activision to translate tabletop Battletech directly into a 3D sim. They were quite successful in that respect, but it was so tough to get the hang of it for folks who hadn't the tabletop background and significant videogame experience (for the first couple days we had it, my brother and friends and I would play it two-man: one person to control movement and weapons fire, and a "backseater" who kept everything else flowing smoothly) that they decided to simplify the interface and gameplay for MW2.

I won't even mention the various console iterations of BattleTech (yes, there was a Super Nintendo MechWarrior), which were really shoot-'em-ups, not simulations of 'Mech combat.

Pain heals. Glory is forever. Keep running.

We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
Battletech (5.00 / 2) (#19)
by bugmaster on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 07:26:23 AM EST

Actually, my Battletech experience started with Mechwarrior. This is probably why I never really got into the tabletop as much: it seemed too annoying to deal with rules which the computer would automate for me. Still, no computer game can compare with playing a human-driven game as far as flexibility is concerned. Not to mention all the trash-talk :-)
[ Parent ]
aw yeah. (4.00 / 1) (#103)
by Work on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 12:39:30 PM EST

the trash talk is the fun part. That and doing crazy shit. One time I had a puny medium mech lying on the ground that got lucky headshots on 2 relatively untouched assaults.

[ Parent ]
Oh, yeah (4.00 / 1) (#169)
by roystgnr on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 01:21:19 PM EST

I remember one (tabletop) game where my Warhammer, under assault by an overwhelmingly superior force, turned the tides as soon as they got into range with two lucky PPC blasts, one doing lethal damage to each head.  You can imagine the opponents (the now-underwhelming survivors, that is) reactions.

One game I GM'ed for (using Battletech the board game as a component of Mechwarrior the tabletop RPG) had a similar chain of luck: a Mech that had a leg blown off, managed to remain standing (albeit unable to even turn) and destroy its' foe, had it's arm blown off, managed to remain standing and win, had it's other arm blown off, managed to survive with whatever weapons were left on it's chest...  We called him "Stumpy", but said it with pride!

Wow, geek nostalgia...

[ Parent ]

God you are such a fucking geek (5.00 / 8) (#20)
by morkeleb on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 07:52:53 AM EST

Get this out of the edit queue so I can +1FP this. You are like the geekiest geek that ever did geek.

"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry." - Emily Dickinson
Not played it, but... (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by onealone on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 08:06:21 AM EST

I had an Amiga back then and never played Mechwarrior, but a lot of the features mentioned and the comments on how they dissappeared in later versions remind me of Wing Commander Privateer.
Earning money by trading, realistic component systems that could be damaged individually, optional plot missions interweaved with the normal day-to-day stuff, and comms all played important parts in WC-P and no other game since has managed to recreate it. Freelancer being the most recent failure.

ahh... (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by Danse on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 12:12:55 PM EST

You seek X2: The Threat. That game looks like it will be the be-all-end-all of Elite/Privateer-ish games. I can't wait for it to be released. Only a few more months to go...

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
You might want to take a look at... (4.00 / 2) (#39)
by Yosho on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 12:29:48 PM EST

Escape Velocity Nova. It's currently only available for Mac, but a Windows version is coming very soon.

Mind you, it's an overhead 2D game rather than first-person 3D, but aside from that, it has everything I could want from a Privateer-like game. It's the first piece of shareware I've thought was good enough to register in years.

[ Parent ]
Cool... (3.00 / 1) (#164)
by Danse on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 02:09:14 AM EST

Windows version is out now too. I'm a happy person :)

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
What? (4.00 / 1) (#157)
by ksandstr on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 08:23:05 PM EST

You had an Amiga and didn't run into Mechforce?  That was a simulation type game (played on the wonderfully painful interlaced 640x512 resolution, six-sided map cells and all) and it completely rocked where sims were concerned.

Sure, it was a little on the slower side (walking across the map took a couple of hours, if there weren't any enemy 'mechs around) but boy was it fun knocking holes into the backs of a convoy's light mechs with those plasma cannons...  Think I'll load UAE up right now to check if the magic is still there :-)

[ Parent ]

Kids today! (5.00 / 12) (#26)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 08:47:00 AM EST

In MY day we called it "BattleTech" and we played it with little cardboard miniatures and hex-graph paper!

And we LIKED it!

As for MW... I used to play MW2 with the joystick in my left hand and the mouse in my right - I was unbeatable! Unbeatable I tell you!

His men will follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiousity.

Wow (5.00 / 3) (#33)
by Anatta on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 09:41:59 AM EST

I wasn't expecting to see this screed! I thought the glory of the original Mechwarrior had faded into night. I played Mechwarrior on my kickass 286 16Mhz, and it still ranks for me as one of the best games (along with System Shock) ever made. I never did win the RPG part of it, though. The clans and interaction and trading were really original, and the sheer scope of the game was astounding.

Way back when, I got a shiny new Pentium 100 and picked up Mechwarrior 2, and was quite disappointed. Yeah, it was a cool game, and the sound/music was amazing, but it couldn't touch the first one. I can recall having many conversations with friends, asking why on earth they didn't just keep all the stuff from the first one, and improve the graphics and sound. I was always confused by that one.

I never bothered to play the others, since none of them seemed to be what I wanted, and I didn't want to taint my memories of the majesty of the first one any more.

I still think Activision has an incredibly good multiplayer game, that would make them many millions of dollars, sitting in their lap if they just updated the original, put all the clans and trading and coolness back into it, and let the game loose. They don't seem to be inclined to do that, though.

Oh well. Thanks for the reminiscing! Great article.

My Music

You'll Notice The Decline... (4.33 / 3) (#49)
by thelizman on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 04:19:32 PM EST

...of the Mechwarrior franchise coincided the move from Activision to Microsoft.

Now, if only somone would make a Robotech game according to Mechwarrior 2 for the PC. (Yes, I know there is a Robotech RDF for X-Box. Yes, I know there is Gunmetal, but theres no Guardian/Gerwalk mode, nor is there a first person camera. Yes, I know that too, now SHUT UP.)

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
I'm going to do a rare thing... (5.00 / 2) (#133)
by gr3y on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 10:15:35 PM EST

which is rate a comment I'm replying to.

You get a five. You seem to be the only person other than myself that associates the decline of the Mechwarrior franchise with Microsoft's marketing strategy - making the game so dumb that anyone can play it. Gone was the amazing realism of the very first Mechwarrior. In my opinion, Microsoft's marketing department is the real reason the Mechwarrior franchise failed to capture the spirit of Battletech after such a hopeful beginning.

Oh, and I still have my pieces, and maps, and record sheets, including the lead models of my panther (night camouflage), archer (sky), and rifleman (hinterlands) with simulated battle damage. I have a whole box of record sheets for every 'mech in the book. I have Mechwarrior 1, 2, 3, and 4, and both the Crescent Hawks' games. I enjoyed Battletech and Mechwarrior. Then Microsoft acquired it, FASA went out of business, and it hasn't been the same since. It is a shame.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

great article (4.00 / 1) (#50)
by anonymous pancake on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 04:56:25 PM EST

here's a little tidbit...

There was a version of the original mechwarrior for SNES. I believe it was simplified somewhat but it had all the buying and selling aspects in it.

I wish more games had this, one of my other favorite computer games when I was younger was Syndicate, which also had buying/selling and research.

. <---- This is not a period, it is actually a very small drawing of the prophet mohhamed.

that game sucked (3.00 / 1) (#59)
by techwolf on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 05:53:59 PM EST

it was all about the god-like missle launchers.

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

oh man (3.00 / 1) (#69)
by anonymous pancake on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 10:34:53 PM EST

yes the "Gauss gun", instant death to yourself, your enemies, and the civilian population!

. <---- This is not a period, it is actually a very small drawing of the prophet mohhamed.
[ Parent ]
Gauss Gun (3.00 / 1) (#84)
by bugmaster on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 04:31:30 AM EST

I don't think it was even possible to finish the final mission without the Gauss gun. At least, I couldn't do it.

Gauss Gun: when you absolutely have to take out those bastards on high platforms.
[ Parent ]

Other variants (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by TheWake on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 04:58:18 PM EST

But of course you forgot the Online Battletech that was available to be played co-operatively over GEnie. It was esentially the original mechwarrior turned into a multiplayer online game. It was a blast until that particular billing cycle ended and I understood how much it really cost.

Then of course there was the BattleTech Center in Chicago, where you could play a very interactive and detailed version while sitting in a cramped mock up of the cockpit complete with functional buttons everywhere and foot pedals for steering the 'mech.

Mech Commander 1 was damn good. (5.00 / 2) (#52)
by Laiquendi on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 05:01:53 PM EST

It seems to me that your criticism of the Mech Commander series is based entirely on MC2.

those(these?) games did not run well on any system in existence at the time.

Neither I nor anyone I know had problems with MC; on the other hand I don't know anyone who didn't have problems with MC2.

the lack of any economy more advanced than "click the Buy button and the 'Mech is yours" hurt the game

Almost everything you said you liked about Mechwarrior was in MC1. Purchase availability varied; you could buy not just mechs, but guns, vehicles, equipment and pilots. The heat and equipment allocation systems were simplified because of the scale of the game; full Battletech-rules customization options for 15 or so mechs would have created too much work; I didn't miss it. The salvage system was excellent.

[Microsoft Games rant]

MC1 was produced by FASA games and published by microprose. Microsoft was not involved.

Something that you didn't mention was the fact that Mech Commander was awesome online. I have never found another RTS-style game with the same level of tactical play. Player skill mattered a lot more than equipment choice, and battles were a lot more than rush/counter-rush, you had to actually think about things to win.

Yes, it was (4.50 / 2) (#54)
by Hymen Restoration Surgery on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 05:12:04 PM EST

I have rarely had so much fun as I had playing MC 1 online. A truly wonderful multiplayer strategy/tactics game. Remember racing to the resource crates? Remember timing airstrikes just so? Remember finishing the objective with the last Mech standing, and that only barely?

Gawd, that shit was fun.

[ Parent ]
rampant nostalgia (4.50 / 2) (#62)
by Laiquendi on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 07:20:20 PM EST

Remember finishing the objective with the last Mech standing, and that only barely?

hell, I remember getting whupped on breach only to have my teammate cap the final objective with his refit truck.

good times...

[ Parent ]

Location of original (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by kphrak on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 05:16:08 PM EST

I played the original Mechwarrior years later, and wasn't that impressed as I was used to more sophisticated graphics (and a lot of WaReZ floating through my machines made it hard to play every single old game as it came along), but I'm tempted to give it a try again. +1FP for the in-depth coverage.

If the author was serious about wanting Mechwarrior found, or others of you would like to give it a try, some quick Googling yields this link as a source.

Describe yourself in your sig!
American computer programmer, living in Portland, OR.

Awesome Game (5.00 / 3) (#57)
by JahToasted on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 05:46:01 PM EST

brings me back. Me and a friend used to play that game eveyday fo an entire summer. One person piloted while the other was the gunner. We used to set up missions to see how many battlemasters we could take out with locusts. If you approacheed at full speed on an angle the battlemasters couldn't hit you. You un around to the back of them and machine gun them point blank to the back of the head. end of the mission you'd have a bunch of decapitated battlemasters standing around. I think I still have that game tucked away somewhere, although the last time I tried to play (on a 486) it was way too fast. You could walk accross the entire field in 5 seconds. I guess there shoudl be a way to slow it down if I looked. I'm not reall sure if those old floppy will still work though.

Mechwarrior 2 was pretty good too. The music was indeed awesome. I used as a soundtrack for many otherr games as well. Some very cool levels. The first clan wolf level you can go to the top of the hills, zoom in on enemy mechs, lock on with your LRM and then aim above them. The missiles will go up and then come straight down on their heads. And one of the last Wolf levels where you had to escort the limo to the opera house. At first everything is cool, following the limo through the streets, and then you see a road block. Enemy mechs around every corner, in every alleyway (at least it seemed that way). Fighting street to treet, trying to find where the hell the limo went to. Oh shit there it is, and its under attack. Fight off the mechs. I was pretty relieved when that little car finally got to the opera house.

You never mentioned the ghost bear expansion to mech 2. It wasn't too bad, some interesting maps. One had a pretty cool base in a cave behind a waterrfall, and therre were a few underwater missions too.

Netmech was the multiplayer version of mech2. I wasn't really impressed, as it didn't seem very polished, and there wasn't very many maps available for it.

The sad thing is my Mechwarrior 2 CD got scratched and it won't install anymore. Maybe I should see if I can find on p2p.
"I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames" -- Jim Morrison

Scripted Missions (4.50 / 2) (#67)
by cam on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 10:05:58 PM EST

Mechwarrior 2 was pretty good too.

I disliked the scripted missions in which you had to do everything in a precise order. In the end I gave up in frustration over the scripted missions.

Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

x-wing, old-school style (5.00 / 1) (#146)
by eudas on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 01:21:19 PM EST

x-wing scripted missions too.. i could only get halfway through act 2, and then it got too hard to do. at one point, it turned into the x-wing slide show on my old 386 sx-16.

"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

X Wing (5.00 / 1) (#151)
by cam on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 03:03:27 PM EST

I dont think I got out of the training section with X-Wing. Command and Conquer was another that I gave up on in disgust. If modern games didnt have god mode, I probably wouldnt play them either. Allied Assault Spearhead drives me nuts with the mission where you cant let them break the line, I can have them in my sight and ready to shoot, but because they are a millimeter over, the mission ends.

I also hate games where you have to keep people alive, yet they kill one of your group in a scripted location where you can do nothing about it. Even if you kill all the attackers, a magic bullet comes from nowhere. If I have to interact in their environment then I have to be omnipotent in it too.

Wolfensteign-Doom-Quake, Red Baron I and II, Battle of Britain, GTAI-III have all been excellent games for their open play structure.

Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

god mode (4.50 / 2) (#153)
by eudas on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 03:20:00 PM EST

god mode drives me nuts. i remember playing wolf3d in god mode; it ruined the game for me. for some reason i was unable to resist using it, yet at the same time it completely ruined the game play for me. after that point, i despise god mode in any game. i no longer feel tempted to use it, or any other cheats for that matter, in games, but it still disgusts me; the crowd that thinks god-mode is a must isn't really looking to play a game, they just want to sit around and (essentially) eat popcorn while they watch tv. (call me a purist. ..shrug..)

that's not a personal attack on you, but just my opinion on a stereotype/group. some of the older games, though, were literally impossible to complete unless you were a god at the game (through repetition and skill or through a cheat). games nowadays, with advanced scripting and non-linear game pathing, are much more fun. most still use linear storyline scripting, though, with some non-linear pathing to allow you the illusion of being able to do whatever you want.

anyway, i've gone tangential.
cheers to you,

"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

Playing the Game (4.00 / 1) (#159)
by cam on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 10:45:20 PM EST

god mode drives me nuts

I havent time to play games anymore the way the game designer and publisher want me to. When I play a shoot 'em up, my goal is to run around and shoot a couple of hundred polygons dead before going to bed. I dont want to be hassled about things like watching my health drop to 0 from two hits. Or having to hide near an edge, I usually stand in the middle of the street or room with my favourtie weapon and blast away.

My favourite genre is flight simulators, I play them seriously when they have a dynamic campaign engine. Every other genre though I play in god and wuss mode with all the weapons. One of my favourite games to relax to is Allied Assault. I basically run around in god mode with a Lee Enfield or Garand and shoot a bunch of stuff. Another is GTAIII, there I drive round, nick cop cars, crash cars, shoot some stuff and when get bored ask for a tank and really do some carnage :)

Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

good enough (5.00 / 1) (#197)
by eudas on Mon Jul 14, 2003 at 10:15:58 AM EST

to each his own i suppose..

"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

Xwing (4.00 / 1) (#213)
by JahToasted on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 03:29:55 PM EST

You missed out man. Yeah there were the scripted missions, but after you completed them, you could just hang around blowing up tie fighters. Once you're good enough you could attempt to take on star destroyers with just your one fighter. I did find that the ion cannons made it a little too easy... just take down the sheilds (not really hard) and then disable it with a few hits. Then just stop and sit there blasting away for 5 minutes until it blows up.

The trench run at the end was pretty cool too... stay on target...
"I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames" -- Jim Morrison
[ Parent ]

me to comment (3.00 / 2) (#64)
by auraslip on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 09:02:55 PM EST

except that their was a mod for MW2: merc that allowed you to have any mech you wanted. That is people could design mechs. Or cars, or planes.

Also "jump of death" is actually "death from above".

NAIS Shell (4.00 / 1) (#189)
by mmq on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 05:49:14 PM EST

Ah, I'd almost forgotten about that! It was called NAIS Shell, and I was so amazed when I found it. It did let you play as a variety of mechs and vehicles, even including LAMs (Land-Air Mechs). It wasn't perfect, but cool nonetheless. The original website doesn't seem to exist any more, but you can still get it from the file archive at sarna.net here

[ Parent ]
This story rawks! (4.00 / 1) (#65)
by waxmop on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 09:29:09 PM EST

These games were part of our heritage, people.
We are a monoculture of horsecock. Liar

The classic argument is that (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by JChen on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 10:45:36 PM EST

the "good old days" of completely custom chassis design are gone is falce IMHO- it was a bad idea, since you could boat, boat, BOAT on anything. Nowadays, the different weaponry hardpoints (ballistic/missile/beam) forces you to be creative and configure 'Mechs to their specialties (you don't load up a Longbow with 50 PPC ((slight exaggeration))).

Let us do as we say.
I think the reason (5.00 / 1) (#72)
by iasius on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 11:36:47 PM EST

why they changed what weapons you are allowed to place where in a 'mech in recent games is that while it can be fun to have 6 different weapon systems when playing the tabletop, it's just no fun in a Realtime setting. So, to keep players from using always the same weapons they now have weapon hardpoints.
Sure, I'd like an AC, different lasers, particle and gauss cannons and LRMs on my mech, but for combat in realtime games I have always stuck to usually one or two, at most three weapon groups. Cycling through 6 different weapon groups with their different recharge rates, range and time to target is nothing I consider fun.
'Mechs games are hard enough to handle already.
With the different weapon hardpoints I still have only a few weapon groups, but it isn't possible anymore to make a missile mech out of an Awesome which is a good thing IMO.
OTOH I think omnimech weapon hardpoints should be freely configurable, that's what they are all about anyway.

the internet troll is the pinnacle of human evolution - circletimessquare
[ Parent ]
It depends on the mission (5.00 / 1) (#132)
by Lord of Caustic Soda on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 10:05:00 PM EST

Usually I just go for the 6-7 medium pulse lasers and as many double heat sinks as possible.

Twin AC/20 is kinda fun as well.

[ Parent ]

Giant mechs vs. Quake (4.00 / 1) (#73)
by ZorbaTHut on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 11:38:08 PM EST

You're entirely right - the recent Mechwarrior games have basically ended up getting closer and closer to Quake. If you want to look at the logical extension of these, pick up Mech Commander for the XBox, which will have you dodging, jumping, and using powerups. Plus every single weapon in the game is homing (yes, even the lasers) and you have unlimited ammo, though you can find "weapon powerups" that increase your weapon power and have ammo restrictions.

Plus you can get mechs that can cloak. And there's a mech near the end with a forcefield.

Go Quake!

On the other hand, if you want to really know what a giant mech feels like, and you've got a spare $200, pick up a copy of Steel Battalion. This game has singlehandedly revived my love of giant mechs - you feel like you're in a multi-thousand-ton armor-plated killing machine. It's fantastically well done. (You can even fall over if you turn too quickly.) And you can see the controller on that page (although they don't have a picture of the foot pedal unit) - yes, that's what you use to play it. It's ludicrously complex, quite difficult, and extremely fun.

Mechwarrior has just turned into another Quake - but there are people who still want to get the Real Mech Experience. You just gotta find 'em :)

I believe you mean MechAssault (4.50 / 2) (#121)
by manekineko on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 06:18:07 PM EST

It's MechAssault on the Xbox, not Mech Commander.

[ Parent ]
Bah! (3.00 / 1) (#126)
by ZorbaTHut on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 09:05:16 PM EST

I even went and looked up the name, then mistyped it when I wrote this.

My bad.

[ Parent ]

Great soundtrack (2.75 / 4) (#74)
by etherdeath on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 11:59:11 PM EST

I didn't like the game that much, but I liked the soundtrack.  So much so that I even bought a used copy after I broke the original.  I thought the game didn't have much depth.

One of my favorite games of all time (5.00 / 2) (#80)
by demi on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 02:22:42 AM EST

Back in the day I always wished that Mechwarrior could somehow have been integrated with Microprose's F-19 Stealth Fighter, where you could fly air support for mech battles, but that's another story...

What I liked about Mechwarrior was that there were fun, open-ended ways of making money like mech running. You'd load up a ship with a couple heavy mechs and parts in one of the capitols and sell them in the outer reaches at giant profit margins. Now keep in mind that there were no provisions for this in the user manuals, and there were not gamers forums and FAQs one google search away. Unless you knew a bunch of people all playing the same game (and since copying was so trivial this was usually the case), you had to find most of the cool stuff completely on your own. For instance, I developed a strategy using the Jenner that resulted in a devastating death from above attack. You would use the jump jets and fly the mech as high as it could go and then drop straight down on the head of your enemy (or the base/depot/target), firing machine guns all the way down using the radar as guidance. A unlucky hard landing would sometimes destroy the legs of the Jenner but you could usually have destroyed the cockpit of any heavy mech. Another was to land on top of one of the polygonal mountains and just snipe away with the laser until the enemy's head was destroyed. It was fun because the computer could be outwitted so easily and the game designers hadn't counted on exploits the way they do today.

If I forgot the passwords for the copy protection, I'd fire up the hex editor to browse for text strings in the main executable file. It was a different world of gaming at that time - scrappy, more work and less rewards, if you didn't have the right hardware you had to hack it yourself or you simply couldn't play. But when you finally got to the end of the game, when you beat Jaffar on Prince of Persia, destroyed the Sa-Matra on Star Control 2, or won the multi-part battle at the end of Mechwarrior, it felt pretty damned good.

Don't forget locusts (5.00 / 1) (#96)
by RyoCokey on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 09:34:58 AM EST

The larger mechs couldn't actually hit them at point blank. Run up to them and machine gun until they're dead.

"During election times, we tend to lose our grandmothers, grandfathers and young children. They just disappear. But I want to warn you all that you should
[ Parent ]
Damn you Sa-Matra... (4.00 / 1) (#117)
by bugmaster on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 05:29:33 PM EST

...Damn you to hell ! It took me quite some time to beat before I finally remembered that I had a Pkunk. After that, it was relatively easy... just fly in circles, screaming insults, and take potshots at those targets. Too bad there was never a Star Control 3... Yes, yes I know, but still.
[ Parent ]
There was a star control 3 (none / 0) (#199)
by Ward57 on Mon Jul 14, 2003 at 10:33:54 AM EST

We got star controls one and two on the cd for free.

[ Parent ]
No there wasn't... (none / 0) (#219)
by cathexis on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 06:08:12 PM EST

Everyone who grew up with the Star Control games pretends that there wasn't a SC3. Nope, none... no SC3

[ Parent ]
F-19 (3.00 / 1) (#192)
by duffbeer703 on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 11:29:23 PM EST

Was a great game! I used to have alot of fun turning on cheat mode and bombing the entire Warsaw Pact into the stone age.

[ Parent ]
einstein on war (2.66 / 6) (#81)
by turmeric on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 02:28:58 AM EST

"He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder."

point counterpoint with turmeric and cxs! (3.25 / 4) (#85)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 04:58:10 AM EST

see how long a man remains a pacifist when forced to witness the rape of his wife

pacifism is a noble goal for humanity

emphasis on the word "goal" as opposed to "reality"

we are in the dark ages of mankind

in the future they will write about the time einstein and us live in, and shudder to contemplate how the world ever survived our time

the truth is, world peace is something that is fought for and earned and secured, not something that congeals out of the ether in a massive display of denial about the evil side of human nature... read: the modern definition of "pacifism"

blind nationalism is moronic, blind pacifism is eqwually moronic

simple as that really

you need to defend noble ideals like freedom and equality until the world is mature enough to support them without the sword

we don't live in that time yet, we are not that mature

denial about that fact does not make any reality except the reality of a fool

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

You're not in the same league as turmeric. [nt] (3.75 / 4) (#98)
by waxmop on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 09:58:00 AM EST

We are a monoculture of horsecock. Liar
[ Parent ]
i'm really not (2.33 / 3) (#139)
by circletimessquare on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 05:25:01 AM EST

but i'm trying hard! lol ;-P

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
you are simple justifying your own lifestyle (2.50 / 6) (#109)
by turmeric on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 01:49:25 PM EST

you as a military person feel a need to justify what you are doing. so you make up all this garbage and bullshit. well, sorry. logic is not a weapon to justify your own lifestyle but it can be a helpful tool to make decisions. try it some time.

[ Parent ]

turmeric (3.00 / 3) (#140)
by circletimessquare on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 05:30:08 AM EST

if 4,999 people in a line call themselves pacifists

and 1 person calls himself an asshole

and proceeds to walk down the line of pacifists, robbing and killing and raping them one by one

at what point does one of the pacifist say "this is bullshit, fuck this asshole, i'm going to knock him over the head"

is this me justifying my demented militaristic adventurism? or is it a simple psychological exercise to demonstrate the foolishness of "blind pacifism" to you?

open your mind turmeric, it is as closed as the stereotypical ideological constructs you rail against in your mind, to which i don't bear any resemblance

the world would be nice if i fit into the stereotypical ideological roles you peg me into

but i don't

you are the one with the closed mind turmeric, you are the one who has stopped thinking in a massive display of denial about the reality of human nature

wake the fuck up, seriously, you idiot

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

well, if you ever stopped a rape or a murder (2.75 / 4) (#162)
by turmeric on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 12:52:55 AM EST

please tell us about it in your diary. too bad that is what cops do, not military. i doubt there has ever been a single military mission in history whose objective was to 1. stop a murder from happening or 2. stop someone from getting raped.

[ Parent ]
dude, you're utterly, pathetically, hopeless (2.33 / 3) (#165)
by circletimessquare on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 02:19:54 AM EST

you remind me of this guy


you gotta believe in this world dude, you gotta have some faith in humanity, this is all there is

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

i have a lot of faith in humanity (2.00 / 3) (#167)
by turmeric on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 10:51:17 AM EST

thats why i dont kill people for a living

[ Parent ]
noeither do i (2.33 / 3) (#170)
by circletimessquare on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 02:38:52 PM EST

but if someone threatens me, i will


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

no iraqis ever called me geek (3.00 / 4) (#179)
by turmeric on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 01:05:10 AM EST

to paraphrase muhammad ali

[ Parent ]
you don't know anything about muhammad ali (2.33 / 3) (#182)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 05:37:14 AM EST

you're a tired windbag, operating on an ideology which fails to consider new threats in our world. your mind is closed, and you cover your eyes and ears, and refuse to hear the winds of change blowing around you. you adapt your way of thinking my friend to new events, or your way of thinking dies. simple as that, really.

Under religious decrees issued by the Taliban, women were banned from the workplace and girls forbidden from attending lessons.

"Muhammad Ali was chosen by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as a messenger of peace so he felt an obligation to come and help the children here, especially the young women, who now have an opportunity to seek education and better their lives," Ali's spokesperson Ali Hassas said.

"So he thought it was necessary to have his presence felt in Afghanistan so the world would know the positive movement that is underway here."

Ali, who held the world heavyweight title between 1964 and 1967 and again in 1974, once enjoyed enormous popularity in Afghanistan, particularly following his conversion to Islam at the height of his fame.

Boxing has resurfaced as one of the most popular activities for young Afghan men after the fall of the Taliban, who banned virtually all sports.


Lonnie Ali spoke for her husband, who has Parkinson's disease and limited his remarks to a brief joke when he was presented with a flower (''Is this all I get?'' he asked). There was no mention of the war in their comments to students -- surprising and disappointing those who wanted to hear from their idol.

''I think he should've said something,'' said Ashley Shacklett, a 16year-old Western sophomore.

Sergio Morales, 16, said he agreed: ''I don't think there should be a war. I wish (Ali) would've said something, tried to stop it.''


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

uhm, what did i miss (2.33 / 3) (#184)
by turmeric on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 12:50:45 PM EST

the 'winds of change', children, think war is bad. ali is so doped up he probably doesnt know there was a war. or even if he disagreed with it, he was there to be uplifting to afghanistan kids, not to prove how great george bush is.

as for women in afghanistan, the taliban were invited by oil companies to the US to hang out and party and talk about building pipelines. the only reason anyone cared about women in afghanistan is because of rawa.org and some feminists alerting madeline allbright to the problems with the taliban, and then she threw a fit and all the straight dudes in armani suits in the DoD/State/Unocal/Texaco had to start pretending like they had never heard of the taliban.

in other words, everything good that the military claims it does was actually started by other people and is done better by non-military organizations like police forces, fire departments, hospitals, etc. the only thing a military does is follow orders, and those orders are 99% of the time to destroy things and then to 'keep order' which they always fail to do.

[ Parent ]

you lied (2.33 / 3) (#185)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 01:23:33 PM EST

you don't have a very good understanding of parkinson's. by your understanding of it stephen hawking's amylotrophic lateral sclerosis is being "doped up"

to paraphrase such a great man once, and then shit on him with a crude dullard's lack of understanding the next, is just stupefying

you really are a stupid pud

above i wrote:

you gotta believe in this world dude, you gotta have some faith in humanity, this is all there is

and then you wrote:

i have a lot of faith in humanity
thats why i dont kill people for a living

tell me why i might think that your giant fart of dull common cynicism above reveals your statement "i have a lot of faith in humanity" as a total lie

cynicism, my wayward friend, is a teenager's replacement for wisdom

you have a teenager's understanding of the world, and the moral understanding of one as well

teenagers: righteously indignant, not knowing what to fix in the world, but knowing something is very wrong and needs fixing, and very angry about it all, and having nowhere to put that anger, having no real understanding of how the world really works

adults: come to grips with the real complexity of the problems in the world, realize that the status quo represents nothing better than any one else could have done considering the immensity and complexity of the tasks, stops blaming nebulous "bad guys", realizes we're all human beings, with the same wants and need and problems

you don't have a very nuanced understanding of things. you have the subtlty of a ball pein hammer

you are a child

grow up

you live in a world that exists only in your head, populated by bogeymen whose existence is predicated on your cynicism and sarcasm and irony: read teenager watching too many movies

we're all human beings turmeric, believe it or not, but some people actually believe replacing the taliban is good for the world, good for afghanis, good for you

try to understand what amazingly incredible insanity would move such utter dolts as myself to think this completely amoral depraved thought

and maybe then, you're taking your baby steps to have some faith in human nature

until then you are just a crank, playing an old, tired game

and you really don't need me to tell you that, you have all of kuro5hin screaming it at you on a regular basis

wake up

grow up

you are a fool, playing a fool's tune, in a fool's world

open your eyes

try thinking again my completely lost friend, your mind is as closed and snapped shut as my junior prom date's legs

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

blah bla (2.33 / 3) (#186)
by turmeric on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 03:27:44 PM EST

could you condense that down to about 3 sentences please, i dont feel like wading through that garbge to try to extract some kind of meaningful message you were trying to convey

[ Parent ]
heh, turmeric hypocrisy (2.33 / 3) (#193)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 11:32:13 PM EST

the rest of kuro5hin regularly goes through reams of your
mindless spew

you seem to think this place is your private mental ejaculation grounds

so obviously, i am so, so sorry my hypocritical friend that i haven't given you the cliff notes versions of my thoughts

your indignation on my wordiness is so well placed, lol

here, try this website, it's more in fitting with your mode of reasoning and argument:


lol ;-P

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

i learned it by watching you (5.00 / 1) (#202)
by turmeric on Mon Jul 14, 2003 at 08:13:44 PM EST

i used to try to be coherent. but everyone here is like you, ranting meaningless nonsense. so why bother?

[ Parent ]
"ranting meaningless nonsense" (none / 0) (#207)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jul 14, 2003 at 11:50:18 PM EST

i guess it is true, beauty really is in the mind of the beholder

or at least shit?

lol ;-P

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

if only turmeric would spew more... (5.00 / 1) (#204)
by rmg on Mon Jul 14, 2003 at 10:31:23 PM EST

i gladly go through reams of turmeric-spew. hell, it's why i started reading this site. you're pretty good too though. of course, i don't go too far out of my way to read your stuff... you should start writing diaries like turmeric. that might be interesting.

by the way -- best thread evar. well, i don't know. it was alright anyway... i've seen both of you do better...

also, in the future, please don't discourage turmeric from mentally ejaculating all over k5. turmeric's mental seed is the only thing that makes this site worth reading.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

battle of the trolls (none / 0) (#205)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jul 14, 2003 at 11:49:23 PM EST

maybe we can start staging diatribes between trolls on kuro5hin... and charge admission via paypal?

turmeric? will don king be representing you? ;-P

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

circletimessquare -- (5.00 / 1) (#212)
by rmg on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 02:59:19 PM EST

i think this is a capital idea. our very own Hymen Restoration Surgery/Foreskin Restoration Surgery has already done some pioneering work in this connection. i suggest we continue where he left off.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

But fighting is so damn fun (4.00 / 3) (#86)
by rmwise on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 05:11:25 AM EST

But guns take a lot of the skill out of it. Nothing more fun than a good fight (some of course lose, and figure this is not fun)


[ Parent ]
guns (none / 0) (#148)
by eudas on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 02:02:51 PM EST

they just change the default skill set required to stay alive.

"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

to borrow a quote from unamerican.com (2.00 / 1) (#105)
by RevLoveJoy on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 12:59:14 PM EST

'fuck art, let's kill'

Every political force in the U.S. that seeks to get past the Constitution by sophistry or technicality is little more than a wannabe king. -- pyro9
[ Parent ]

+1 (2.00 / 2) (#92)
by President Saddam on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 08:25:19 AM EST

I found the MechWarrior series highly inspirational. I'm just glad Bush never found my hidden arsenal of giant robots.

Allah Akbar

So... (3.50 / 2) (#119)
by cburke on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 05:38:44 PM EST

What you're saying is that this scenario isn't so far-fetched after all?  Have no fear, we will stop your robots using our advanced technology of wires held taughtly between two objects at robot-ankle level.

[ Parent ]
Beam me up, Scotty! (4.00 / 1) (#93)
by UltraNurd on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 08:33:28 AM EST

Ah, "Relics". 10 geek points for me! :o)

"Your Mint Mountain Dew idea is hideous and wrong."
-Hide The Hamster

Mechwarrior had one major flaw ('feature'). (5.00 / 1) (#99)
by Wulfius on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 10:31:43 AM EST

The game was as good as you describe.

However, it had one major flaw.
It allowed targetted fire.

My favourite tactic was riding in the lightest mech (The locust) equipped with 2 machine guns.
I would run at flank speed behind a massive 100t Battlemaster (at this speed he could not hit me).
Then I would calmly walk behind the massive mech which could not turn around quickly enough and would
chew its leg off with the MGs until it stopped moving.

One other feature that the game had is that the Mech stopped moving but would not fall if it lost the leg, presumably because of the gyros still working (!).

"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!

don't forget the head shots! (5.00 / 1) (#101)
by clover_kicker on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 12:29:02 PM EST

I loved fighting Battlemasters, with their (relatively) easily targetted heads.

If I was fighting a defensive mission I piloted the second-toughest mech, the only mech with 2 PPCs, the longest-range weapon in the game.

I'd charge out to meet the oncoming Battlemasters, and stop just outside of PPC range. Zoom in, and aim very carefully at the leading BM's head. Once the PPCs lit up to indicate the target was in range, ZAP! ZAP! and full speed reverse. The BM only had 1 PPC, and he was moving, which made it much harder to hit me. Once my PPCs recharged, dead stop, ZAP! ZAP! and one dead Battlemaster.

The enemy would usually spread out a bit, so you could engage them 1 or 2 at a time.

The resale value of a headless (but otherwise completely undamaged) Battlemaster was pretty freaking high.

Damn, I loved that game.
I am the very model of a K5 personality.
I intersperse obscenity with tedious banality.

[ Parent ]

There were 2 mechs in original MW with twin PPCs (5.00 / 1) (#130)
by Lord of Caustic Soda on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 09:59:08 PM EST

The Marauder and the Warhammer, I'd pick the later since it's got a more versatile choice of weapons (more medium lasers and SRM-6 instead of the AC/5)

One problem with the game was missles were represented as a single projectile that could be shot down (usually by your own weapons), making them rather ineffective.

[ Parent ]

Oops. (4.00 / 1) (#142)
by clover_kicker on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 07:48:53 AM EST

You're right, it's been a few years.  If I saw the mechs on a screen today, I could still identify their capabilities, but the names have gotten fuzzy :)

The Marauder also had better armour, IIRC.

And yes, missiles were useless. When I first loaded up the game, I wanted to play Robotech style "I'm in trouble, shoot off the entire fucking pod of missiles at this guy" tactics. The extremely low rate of fire was quite disappointing.
I am the very model of a K5 personality.
I intersperse obscenity with tedious banality.

[ Parent ]

Missiles (5.00 / 1) (#143)
by bugmaster on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 07:55:51 AM EST

Yeah, the "single projectile that's easy to shoot down" thing really made the missiles useless (for my ENEMIES ! Mwa ha ha !) in MW1. In MW2, however, LRMs were pretty dangerous. They could take all your armor down to yellow in one hit, to red in two or three hits, and then someone would just put an ERMLAS through your face.

Which is why dodging became really important in MW2. In fact, I once built an all-dodging 'Mech: a Firefly with MASC, jump jets (I think) and some sort of small laser. That thing couldn't fight worth crap, but it could outrun missiles. That was fun.
[ Parent ]

Haha MASC... (4.00 / 1) (#145)
by Lord of Caustic Soda on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 09:17:36 AM EST

I never got to find out whether MW2 implements the chance of MASC breaking down when being used. If that happens you're truly screwed.

[ Parent ]
MW was a true battletech game. (5.00 / 1) (#102)
by Work on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 12:35:51 PM EST

All the features you describe match the way things worked in the battletech tabletop game. With 1 leg out, mechs still stood because of the gyros. Similarly, targeted firing was also allowed on the tabletop game. Though as I recall it was more difficult to do.

Its unfortunate they removed those detail rules from later games. I guess it does simplify it, but putting those rules to use is what made tabletop battletech battles so much more interesting than simply "I'm going to shoot you now with my ER PPC".

[ Parent ]

Locusts++ (none / 0) (#221)
by beppu on Fri Jul 18, 2003 at 02:31:30 PM EST

I loved Locust vs. Battlemaster match-ups. I (ab)used that tactic all the time. Haha.

[ Parent ]
You left me with one question. (4.00 / 1) (#100)
by gilrain on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 12:06:59 PM EST

Mechwarrior 2 was one of the first computer games I played really heavily. That was a fantastic game. Inspired by your article, I've downloaded Mechwarrior 1 from an abandonware site (don't ask, just do a Google search) -- I'm having some trouble slowing my processor down enough to make it playable, but so far it looks great! I'm looking forward to playing that.

Your article has left me chomping at the bit to play a Mechwarrior game, again! I'm going to avoid MW4 on your recommendation. What about MW3, though? Okay, so you don't remember anything about it -- maybe it was fantastic, but you were distracted at the time, or something. I can't take that risk. Can anybody tell me how MW3 stacks up against MW1 and MW2?

On a related note, has anyone here played Steel Battalion? I love the concept, but the game is sold out now and it's selling on eBay for more than $300. Ugh.

I wasn't so hot for MW3... (4.00 / 1) (#107)
by skyknight on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 01:30:39 PM EST

It had really flashy graphics, great sound effects, and really moronic game play. It tended to favor stupid, simplistic tactics and weapons configurations which made for a boring time. They kept on patching it to reconfigure how the weapons worked in an attempt to fix various exploits, such as the "laser boat" configuration, auto cannons being way to powerful, etc, but every time they fixed something, they broke something else. All in all it was a very disappointing experience.

I was sufficiently disgusted with MW3 that I didn't even bother with MW4, which is sad since I had so much fun playing MW2, a game with inferior graphics, but much more engaging game play.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Thanks. (3.00 / 1) (#108)
by gilrain on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 01:43:56 PM EST

I'll just reinstall MW2, then. I've still got that CD around here somewhere. Unfortunately, the only copy I still own is some funky "Made for ATI" edition that came from a graphics card.

[ Parent ]
I have a similar problem (4.00 / 1) (#110)
by iasius on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 02:29:30 PM EST

Only working CD of MW2 I have left is a 3dfx version which looked nice once, but my Voodoo 1 is just a faint memory now.

the internet troll is the pinnacle of human evolution - circletimessquare
[ Parent ]
I have Steel Battalion. (4.00 / 1) (#120)
by SPYvSPY on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 05:56:11 PM EST

Steel Battalion is strictly for hardcore mech fans. I love that game, and think it's genius. I suspect that anyone that was really into mechwarrior will appreciate it. It is truly a labor of love, and is worth every penny I paid for it. It's nice to know that it has appreciated in value, too.

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

Unavoidable dumbing down... (5.00 / 1) (#104)
by skyknight on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 12:44:47 PM EST

The transition from the earlier MWs to the later ones is the inexorable progression you get as things go from being designed by real artists for hobbyist/enthusiast types to being designed by advertising execs for the mainstream market. It is analogous to the difference between Bach and Britney.

BTW, I totally concur with you on the matter of MW2 music. I don't really have a thing for electronic music in general, but I absolutely love MW2's music, and still to this day I listen to it. In fact, I even have it in my pocket right now, loaded onto one of my SD memory cards. I was listening to it on the subway.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
Soundtrack (4.00 / 1) (#128)
by kerinsky on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 09:56:44 PM EST

Hey, do you mind if I ask what you used to get the music off the disk and into a listenable format on my hard drive?  I spent a few hours trying manage this a few years and gave up in frustration unable to rip, or even get any software I had to acknowledge that there might be some music on the disk...

[ Parent ]
Ok, that makes no sense (3.00 / 1) (#129)
by kerinsky on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 09:58:39 PM EST

Err, that first sentence could be rewritten a couple ways to actually make sense, how about "Do you know what software I could use to get the music off the disk and into a listenable format on my hard drive?"  You can use your imagination and come up with others..

[ Parent ]
I use AudioGrabber for all my disc ripping... (4.50 / 2) (#131)
by skyknight on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 10:00:08 PM EST

and it doesn't have any problem detecting audio tracks on the disc. I'm even some kind of freak and paid for AudioGrabber.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
You forgot some games ... (4.50 / 2) (#106)
by dougmc on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 01:09:13 PM EST

You forgot some Mech games ...

BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception and BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk's Revenge

Though I'm not sure if this was deliberate or not.

Both were excellent games, and the latter was one of the first RTS/tactical games I remember playing. It even came out before Dune 2 ...

Not MechWarrior (4.00 / 1) (#113)
by mdxi on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 04:34:07 PM EST

Those are BattleTech games, not MechWarrior. All the MW games are in-cockpit style sim/arcadey things. The Crescent Hawk games were adventure/rpgish/rtsish. I agree they rocked, though.

[ Parent ]
Ok, but ... (4.00 / 1) (#115)
by dougmc on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 04:52:31 PM EST

Yeah, I considered that. But Mech Commander wasn't `in-cockpit style sim/arcadey' either, but it was listed like the others.

And he should have also mentioned the `Tesla Pods' Battle Tech game, and while I haven't played it myself (for the Xbox), I would imagine that Mech Assault deserves some attention as well.

[ Parent ]

Sorry... (4.00 / 1) (#116)
by bugmaster on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 05:24:13 PM EST

I've never actually played these games, so I had no reason to comment on them. Maybe now's a good time to check them out, though.
[ Parent ]
why oh why (3.00 / 1) (#111)
by idea poet on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 04:07:36 PM EST

Mechwarrior (just Mechwarrior, no bloody 2, 3 or 4 *) was one of the first truly 3d games for the PC. It ran on my 286, in 320x240x16 video mode (that's 16 colors, not 16 color depth bits, in case you're wondering)

Why do we perceive everything that is older and crappier as better than anything we've got now? We always remember the good old days, don't we?

Why of why... (5.00 / 2) (#123)
by gilrain on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 07:30:09 PM EST

Why must we assume that every time somebody likes the older iteration of something better, they must be doing so just because it's older?

In this case, the author gave a whole bunch of very detailed reasons why the older game was and is better.

[ Parent ]

i realise that (3.00 / 1) (#135)
by idea poet on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 12:46:07 AM EST

I merely referred to the line quoted in my comment, which was written in the Well-in-my-day-we-walked-to-school-16-miles-barefoot-in-the-snow type of style and then extracted a general question on human nature from that.

I certainly realise that the author goes on to a detailed explanation of why he thinks that subsequent versions failed to recapture the glory of the original. I just made an observation.

[ Parent ]

It's simple (3.00 / 1) (#174)
by epepke on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 09:20:39 PM EST

There are four possibilities:

  • Old and crappy: Nobody remembers it
  • Old and good: People remember it fondly
  • New and crappy: Nobody buys it
  • New and good: People don't have to remember it because it's just there

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

[ Parent ]
MechAssault, anyone? (4.00 / 2) (#112)
by acestus on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 04:28:52 PM EST

I'm surprised you didn't mention MechAssault, which takes MS BattleMech to the next level: it's 3D, you can rotate your torso infinitely, there's no localized damage, and you have infinite ammo. Oh, and one 'mech has a shield. You can read my own rantings on it elsewhere. It's really fun, but it filled me with rage because it called itself a Mech game. I suggest Steel Batallion. Now that's a sim!

This is not an exit.
geeky correction (4.66 / 3) (#114)
by superchampion on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 04:40:14 PM EST

Reactor: ONline. Sensors: ONline. Weapons: ONline. All systems: nominal not 'functional'
---- psst. memes suck, pass it on.
Does heaven have MW? (2.00 / 2) (#118)
by Lenny on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 05:37:02 PM EST

If I thought for a second that one could play MW in heaven, I'd quit jerking off to my sister. I swear.

"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
Battletech games were some of my first (5.00 / 1) (#122)
by curien on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 07:27:56 PM EST

The very first computer game that I got to pick for myself (rather than having my parents pick for me) was Battletech: The Crescent Hawks' Revenge. Man, that game was cool! It supported my SoundBlaster compatible when I got one... nothing was like hearing that voice at the start saying, "Infocom presents... The Crescent Hawks' Revenge!" (That's right... Infocom. And no, it wasn't a text-adventure.) It was a fairly linear story (fail a mission and you have to replay it), but it had an awfully engaging storyline. This was an RTS game, just like the ones of the present day. The only difference is that there was no resource gathering... you started each mission with some mechs and that was all you got. OTOH, the missions came in waves, and any damage you took in a previous mission would carry over to the next wave. Also, you could disable (as opposed to destroy) enemy mechs, allowing you to have a new mech in the next mission. This game is the grand-daddy of all RTS games. Oh, did I mention it was made by Westwood Studios before Dune 2? I almost called the linear-story-with-engaging-storyline of this game as "Blizzard-esque", and it certainly is. Blizzard et al owe their current RTS paradigm to this game. It took me a while to beat it. When I was younger, I wasn't good enough. After a couple years, I went back to it and beat it. After the mission I was stuck on, I had to take lances of Inner Sphere mechs and take on the Clans! Not pretty... but it didn't take me long to beat, once I passed my "block" (which was the mission where you rescue your father).

Later, My Dad bought me The Crescent Hawks' Inception (of which Revenge is a sequel) and Mechwarrior. I liked Inception better than MW at first. It was an RPG game, plain and simple. Do some tasks, meet some NPCs, do battle with enemies, gather a party, and eventually reach the climax of the overlying storyline. I never finished this one. I was too young and unskilled a gamer. I still remember where I was stuck: the guy in the hidden cache of mech parts wouldn't open the door for me... he'd turn a robotic machine-gun on me and we'd have to flee.

Mechwarrior... now there's a game that took me a while to even understand. When I first started playing, it was incredibly frustrating. I wasn't very good at the missions, and it was just boring getting slammed on over and over again. But then, something strange happened... I started winning. I played, and I kicked ass. Eventually, I got a lance of four Battlemasters! I was unBEATable! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!11 Um, sorry, got carried away. But wait... what's that aborted storyline they mentioned at the beginning? I'd played plenty of games that started with a storyline and promptly forgot about it, and this game was already plenty of fun with maybe average depth. I thought I'd investigate it a bit more anyway, and what did I find but a "hidden" adventure game! It was unreal, like there was two games in one. Sadly, I stopped playing before I was good enough to be able to complete the adventure game. I just couldn't get enough money fast enough (the adventure game is time-sensitive, you see). So I never did find out who those bastards with the skull with wings were. Oh well.

All doctors do is support weak genes. Might as well be communists. -- sigwinch

Mech 2 Music (3.00 / 1) (#124)
by Silh on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 07:51:03 PM EST

I've only seen some of the first game, and played a bit of the 2nd, but being a game music collector, I listened to the soundtrack quite extensively when I had borred the game from a friend. Years down the road, I decided to purchase a copy of my own just for the music. It was 'updated' to include Windows/Acceleration support and all ... and to my absolute disappointment, the music was GONE. No CD audio tracks, nor music of any type on the CD. Still keeping my eye out these days for any sign of an old packaging of Mech2 in any discount bins...

probably owned by the music's author (4.00 / 1) (#160)
by Work on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 11:06:17 PM EST

back in the early days of PC gaming companies hired outside musicians to compose the music (back when games actually had good music..or music at all). Usually these guys retained the rights to it.

For example, the guy who made the music for doom (Robert Prince?) a few years ago came out with a CD with updated instrumental versions of the songs. They kicked ass.

[ Parent ]

An excellent article. (4.00 / 1) (#134)
by gr3y on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 10:20:12 PM EST

But I don't think you're going to find any ERPPCs in the first Mechwarrior. I think the first Mechwarrior was strictly 3025 Inner Sphere hardware, which means no Clan hardware. It was published before the 3050 (and later and earlier) expansions. I don't think FASA had even released anything about the Clans at that point. I could be mistaken.

I would have voted +1 FP in any case.

I am a disruptive technology.

You are right (none / 0) (#216)
by kostya on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 10:42:53 PM EST

Original Mechwarrior was pre-clan. I was actually a bit confused reading this story--I kept wondering if I was forgetting the original MW!

Personally, I hated the clan expansions. Original Battletech was the best. Period.

Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Yup, when I play tabletop BT (none / 0) (#217)
by iasius on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 12:06:47 AM EST

with my buddies it's usually level 1 tech. That was the best. Especially level 3 is bad. They tried to put everything and more in to the game and in the end it just got too complex and random.

the internet troll is the pinnacle of human evolution - circletimessquare
[ Parent ]
Steel Battallion: Line of Contact (2.66 / 3) (#136)
by Greyjack on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 02:11:22 AM EST

Had a bit of a windfall earlier this year, and decided to splurge on a used Xbox and a copy of Steel Battalion on Ebay.  All told, set me back 'bout $375 or so for the game, xbox, and connector cables.  End result:  I am now playing the best mech sim EVER in full 5.1 surround sound in my living room.

If you're an old-school mechwarrior geek, do whatever you have to, you MUST play this (For that matter, if you live anywhere near Grand Rapids, MI, and want to check it out, shoot me an email).  Watching the control lights flash in sequence as you run through the ignition procedure will make you cackle with glee.

Or.... the followup, which they're saying should be out by the end of the year -- Steel Battalion: Line of Contact.  Watch the trailer, and drool.

If you're a mech enthusiast, it really is worth the $200 (assuming you already have the xbox -- and if you don't, hey, it's a decent console, 'specially if you like sports titles).

If they'd take the core Steel Battalion game and use it to build a spiritual successor to the original Mechwarrior (which I played the HELL out of on my 386SX-16), oh my.

Here is my philosophy: Everything changes (the word "everything" has just changed as the word "change" has: it now means "no change") --Ron Padgett

Mechwarrior is hard to beat. (5.00 / 1) (#138)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 04:30:14 AM EST

I remember trying to beat the game. I managed to get to the end of the story, but the last fight was really nasty.

Back then, I was a bit of a game cracker, and so I got out the old hex editor and started playing around. I managed to, by pure chance, tweak it so that pressing 'D' (to show your damage, etc.) would cause the win condition. (Believe it or not, it requires a 1-byte change only. If I could remember the change I made, I'd post it... maybe I'll dig up an abandonware copy and try to figure it out again.)

This is one of the most happy-go-lucky hacks of all time, I think. I didn't really know what I was doing (but that never stopped me from getting results - corrupting datafiles in games will do amazing things) but I managed to break the game with a single changed byte so that there's a "win" button on your keyboard - but only if you're in a Shadowhawk (which is what I corrupted the data for.)

Nuts, eh?

And yeah, it was certainly the best in the, erm, series.

farq will not be coming back

...and the Clans shall rise again... (5.00 / 1) (#144)
by WWWWolf on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 08:43:32 AM EST

Great article. =)

I never played MW, but MW2 is definitely the best simulator game I have ever played (I got a budget release that has a Windows version too). That game definitely felt right. It was fun. And it was epic. And the music, oh yeah, the music. Great stuff - one of the greatest computer game soundtracks ever.

I also got MW3 and 4, which arguably had better graphics and stuff, but always left me cold - both plots involve the Inner Sphere and I have always been a Clanner myself. Besides, the MW2 was set in the Clan Invasion, which is definitely my favorite period in BattleTech history - MW3 and 4 were set in later, more boring period of time.

Okay, maybe this is just a stupid little detail of my preference. In any case, no matter what part of the history the game is set, you get to shoot things to pieces. =)

Mech Commander was the first Battletech game I had on computer, and it was a very nice game, yes, one of the most fun RTSes I have ever played. Never bothered trying MC2, though.

<canned rant>

MW4 was a huge disappointment because of the way my own favorite 'mech was handled. My favorite, of course, being Timber Wolf.

To all of you newbies out there, Timber Wolf (which the Spheroids call Mad Cat) is essentially a long-range fighter, relying heavily on its twin LRM20 launchers to blow away most of the enemy 'mech before it gets too close - Timber Wolf is not very good on close fights. In previous parts of the series, I needed to pick the enemy target from the targeting computer, select LRMs, move my targeting reticule inside the huge square in the HUD, wait until the missiles get lock, hit button, and watch the enemy fall in pieces. In MW4, it was not enough to move targeting reticule inside the box in the HUD, but to actually keep it pointed at the enemy itself, which, of course, also involved visual contact. The locking took several seconds, which sometimes took much effort... It's 3060s or something and acquiring the missile lock is still freaking painful. And by the way, by the time the enemy 'mech is large enough that I can keep the reticule pointed at it for several seconds, it is Too Damn Close - remember what I said about the close combat ability of Timber Wolf.

</canned rant>

I just wish there would be a remake of MW2 with modern-day graphics... but who cares if it still runs. =) I have heard of Steel Battalion but regrettably it is way past my budget. Would be really cool, though.

By the way, anyone who thinks this "real-time" stuff is a waste of time should check MegaMek. You can taste the rubber bands. Hrrrm yum. (Too bad that at least in 0.28 the bot player sucked big time. I hope it has improved in this last release...)

-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...

Agree 100% (5.00 / 1) (#147)
by rmn on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 01:42:50 PM EST

I'm a big fan of the original MW game too. I think its major strength is the "open-endedness". The fact that you can sort of "live" there without having to simply follow pre-determined steps.

Other games that I think manage that are the original Privateer and Ultima 7. But, as usual, Privateer 2 and Ultima 8 did a good job of prettying up and dumbing down. The producers apparently thought people were scared by the freedom of choice (and, looking at the real world, maybe they're right; most people just prefer to be told what to do next).

Nowadays, the only games with even vaguely dynamic worlds are online RPGs, and that's thanks to the players, not the designers.

I read an interview where Gabe Newell (from Valve Software) said that, before making Half-Life, they were planning on making an RPG "world simulator" sort of thing. I hope they go back to that. Valve is one of the few game companies that doesn't work in "sausage factory" style.


What got me interested in Mechwarrior.. (4.00 / 1) (#149)
by loteck on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 02:24:27 PM EST

Was the 1989 movie Robot Jox and the 1993 follow up (sequel?) Robot Wars.

I haven't seen them in years, but while im sure they might suck now they were *awesome* back then, when i was all of like, 8 years old.

"You're in tune to the musical sound of loteck hi-fi, the musical sound that moves right round. Keep on moving ya'll." -Mylakovich

the bad old days :) (none / 0) (#154)
by eudas on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 03:23:14 PM EST

i've seen that movie at hollywood video; it looks god-awful, but i've never watched it. childhood nostalgia is a thing best not revisited, though; just go watch Flash Gordon again for a taste of why you should leave it in the past. :)

Transformers, the movie, is another one like that.

"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

oddly enough (4.00 / 1) (#155)
by loteck on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 03:59:24 PM EST

Robot Jox was done by the same guy who did The Reanimator, which was actually really fun.

Seems like all his movies after that kind of took a dive. But honestly i'd still recommend Robot Jox and Robot Wars to any mech fans out there.

You're so 100% right about the transformers movie, though.
"You're in tune to the musical sound of loteck hi-fi, the musical sound that moves right round. Keep on moving ya'll." -Mylakovich

[ Parent ]

Lively universe at the background is The thing (4.00 / 1) (#150)
by slaida1 on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 03:03:05 PM EST

..which make some games unforgettable. All the best games had it. Elite, MW, Ultima, Star Control, Fallout,...

Tribbles on your screen and thargoids after you; Yeah it says "1000m" but in reality it's more like 1500 meters, just stand in that lake and fire away all you like.. they can't even touch you; There's something really wrong with this town, where is everybody? hello?; I just *know* this game won't show me anything but gotta try anyway: "um, is that dagger only for decoration?"; Shows lot of finesse when bb makes hole the size of a football...

Just another episode of "You had to be there!"

Yeah, but (3.00 / 1) (#158)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 08:38:59 PM EST

when a thargoid sucks you out of hyperspace and you don't have enough fuel to make it to the next star system? That really sucks.

His men will follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiousity.

[ Parent ]
yeah for mw2, and reasoning for decline (5.00 / 1) (#156)
by gps on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 07:36:39 PM EST

games have always been an entertainment industry business.  Now that they are so popular and cheap to access that they sell much more if the average game moron who buys one can play it.  Gone are the days when the best games require a $2000 computer to enjoy, you just need a $150 GameSlave 2 and a TV.

Its difficult to make a game so complicated that the enthusiast who's been with its predecessor board game / role playing game likes it yet still have it sell well to the masses.

its much easier to follow the generic hollywood game formulas of shoot whatever moves and let the player hit it often enough to enjoy the game even though they have no skill.

Why did they ever can it.... (none / 0) (#206)
by Fuzzwah on Mon Jul 14, 2003 at 11:49:57 PM EST

Lemony fresh victory is mine!

The best a human can do is to pick a delusion that helps him get through the day. - God's Debris
[ Parent ]

Help: Now I want to play it. Which MW2 to get ? (3.00 / 1) (#161)
by tmoertel on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 11:12:06 PM EST

O GameMasters, hear my plea and give me guidance.

I'm sufficiently impressed by the author's description of MW2 to see if I can pick up a copy. The question is, Which MW2 should I buy? There are many choices, and I don't want to get the wrong game.

According to the "MechWarrior 2: 31st Centry Combat" review on MobyGames I should "get the Titanium Edition, which is 3D accelerated." Is this good advice?

The other issue: Can I play this under Win2K? How about under Wine on Linux?

Please advise me, Gamers of Wisdom.

My blog | LectroTest

[ Disagree? Reply. ]

Titanium (3.00 / 1) (#177)
by bugmaster on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 10:47:17 PM EST

I think I vaguely recall picking up a Titanium edition, but I don't remember if it was any different. One major problem I recall with MW2 on modern computers is that the CD-Audio wouldn't play. That's right: the one feature of the game that gets recognized even by people who hate the game becomes unavailable. Bah I say !

Of course, there might be a possibility that I simply had it configured incorrectly. Still, for best results, you might want to get a DOS emulator, or a bona-fide 486, and then have a crack at it. The 486 will open all kinds of doors for you, too -- Another World, Star Control 2, Wizardry: Crusaders of the Dark Savant... Might be worth checking out.
[ Parent ]

Starcon2 is open source now (4.00 / 1) (#200)
by roystgnr on Mon Jul 14, 2003 at 12:52:59 PM EST

Or a reimplementation of the code is, at least.  You can find it at sc2.sourceforge.net.  I had lots of retro fun playing through it (with my girlfriend, who had never seen it before) about a month ago, and except for the opening and ending slideshows (which aren't implemented yet unless you want to flip through the images in some other image viewer without music) it all worked beautifully.

[ Parent ]
Do *NOT* buy the Titaniums (none / 0) (#225)
by supermariobros on Fri Jul 25, 2003 at 04:56:46 PM EST

While the Titanium editions are cool because they include an updated Direct3D compatible version of the game, that does not make them any more compatible than any of the of win95 versions in Windows 2000/XP where there is no direct hardware access. Anyways, the 3D accelerated versions of the games are somewhat cooler. Textures and shading are improved. But since you're playing a 1995 game, the "improvements" are laughable by today's standards. One thing I didn't like with respect to the visuals in every re-release of MW2 from the original DOS version is the HUD. They changed the HUD to mirror how it looked in MW2: Mercenaries. It's not a big deal, however I liked the more technical readout of the original DOS version. Also in the DOS version, the "light amplification" actually tries to mimic really Light-Amp by turning everything green. In subsequent re-releases, it just turns the horizon this weird shade of orange. Again this is personal preference. Another cool tidbit about the DOS versions...I know, I know I keep harping on about DOS...is that it's the only version of MW2 I've seen that supports resolutions up to 1027x768. All the versions after are limited to 640x480. Playing an old DOS game in 1024 is sweet.

But all these issues are petty, and I can get past all of them rather easily, (which I have since I own the Titanium Trilogy.) The biggest issue I have with the Ti-Tri is that in order to fit both the 8-bit and 16-bit versions of the game on one disc, they were forced to truncate songs. And I don't mean remove some tracks, I mean like track 2, which is about 2:15 long, only lasts about 1:00 on the Ti-Tri. The song fades out just as it gets going. This is so frustrating for me like me where the music is essential to the environment of the game.

If I were you and looking for a go at the game(s) try your darnedest to find the Old DOS versions. MW2: Mercs was released without a DOS version I believe, but the Win95 disc I have has the complete soundtrack. Getting them to run isn't fun, especially in my case, as I don't have an analog joystick, only a sidewinder precision pro that requires windows. But if you can find them and get them setup, these games are a joy.

As for running in 2k, forget it. Even if you get the .exe to run, you'll miss out on the CD audio, as the game needs direct hardware access to play it. As for the Penguin and WINE, I have no experience.

Whoo-Hope that Nerd-Tastic Blathering helps.

[ Parent ]
Thanks and / or damn you bugmaster (3.00 / 1) (#163)
by Meatbomb on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 01:24:13 AM EST

You reminded me how much I love Mechwarrior, and I rushed out to buy MW4:Black Night. Yes, you warned me it sucks, but I just had to have a little fix of running around in a monster robot.

And it both rocks and sucks. I want MW2...


Good News for Liberal Democracy!

Possibly the worst cry baby post I ever seen (2.50 / 2) (#166)
by Modocc on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 03:16:50 AM EST

I realize he posted his opinion but good god. Times change and so do video games. Granted I would like to see a little more control left to the user on todays MechWarrior series, but they are not that bad. If he bothered to play MW4 or Mercs he would realize that the control and finesse it takes to be an accomplished pilot has increased just as much as the CPU speeds the game needs to play on. He also describes the missles as being a slow lock on. Ever seen a missle lock on in real life? Didnt think so. Some are slow as hell. Most dont even lock on. But to make a long rant short, the author of this post is too bitter that the MW series was changed a little and he got either owned by the game or owned in multiplayer. The ONLY reason possible for that was that the game was at fault. Flame away

Hmm (3.50 / 2) (#168)
by iasius on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 11:06:16 AM EST

"If he bothered to play MW4 or Mercs he would realize that the control and finesse it takes to be an accomplished pilot has increased just as much as the CPU speeds the game needs to play on." Nope, not true. Definately not.

the internet troll is the pinnacle of human evolution - circletimessquare
[ Parent ]
The decline began with the first video game... (5.00 / 1) (#171)
by Back Spaced on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 02:55:21 PM EST

...you forget that the original BattleTech game was played with pen, paper and miniatures.

Bluto: My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.
Otter: Better listen to him, Flounder. He's pre-med.

Things that should not be forgotten... (5.00 / 1) (#172)
by ghideon on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 07:06:04 PM EST

Battletech: Crescent Hawk's Inception
This was my very, very first computer game.  I don't have the box anymore, but I can vivdly remember the Locust on the front cover trying to take down some infantry.

Battletech: Crescent Hawk's Revenge
I remember it being very hard.  A few months ago I gave it another go and managed to find out that it is indeed, very hard.

The GENIE Battletech
Fun, but expensive.  Me and a friend racked up over $100 charge, in one night.  These were the days before Internet ISPs were common, so this was much different than dialing into my local BBS to play Tradewars or something.  As someone said before, basically the original MW networked.

Electronic Art's Multiplayer Battletech Online
This wasn't hasn't been mentioned yet.  I participated in the beta about a year/year and a half ago.  It was kinda fun.  It was set during the 3025 era, with all the players divided between the houses.  You'd fight over planets, and the winner would gain more influence on the planet (at >50% it was yours).  When EA had their cutbacks and layoffs, this game was on the chopping block.  I think it lacked long term ability, but then again it was beta.  

MegaMek and MegaMekNET
MegaMek is a java battletech board game client, that will allow you to host a game and have friends join.  MegaMekNET is their persistent Campaign server, hosted by the author himself.  I play this currently, and it's worth checking out (http://megamek.com).  The main server is 3025 tech, there is another that runs 3050 tech.

The Battletech Online MUXes
These are real time MUXes (aka MUDs) of the battletech board game.  The rules are precise, with some adjustments made due to the real time nature of the game.  I mean, you can dump ammo, set your frequencies inside your mech, realtime ECM, etc.  You name they've done it.  Try here for more info:
The maintainer of that site is head Wizard at the Battletech 3030 site (Tony).  If you get serious about the MUXes, you might wanna try the java HUD client listed on the above site (THUD).  Instead of just having a telnet window, you get a nice window of your contacts, plus a kick arse tactical map, so you can determine range, terrain, LOS, etc.  Currently this is known to work with 3030 and 3049 MUXes.

EA's Multiplayer Battletech (4.00 / 1) (#173)
by iasius on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 08:21:37 PM EST

Had some great ideas, for example a map of the Inner Sphere with the various Houses. You could join a House and when you win a battle in a sector that sector would gradually change over to your house. I was playing when we glorious Kurita took New Avalon. The project was stopped while in public betatesting though and I also don't think there was enough incentive in the game at the time to have people pay a monthly fee or anything to play.

the internet troll is the pinnacle of human evolution - circletimessquare
[ Parent ]
And there used to be a BTech 3056 (none / 0) (#218)
by froindlaven on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 10:00:42 PM EST

I too loved the BattleTech board game back in the day. Some other post here mentions the sheer joy in creating the mechs versus ever actually playing the game.

Then I discovered gopher one day on my slow modem (gohper was, roughly, a text based www). From there I found BTech 3056 MUSE -- an online multiplayer mech sim game within a roleplaying game. It also had a scripting language where you could code objects and rooms, etc. You joined factions and used a text based hex-map to find and fire upon your enemies. I loved it. I remember the tear in my eye the day I resigned from the game. Ah, that was a good way to waste my after school time.

[ Parent ]

The pen is mightier than the mech... (4.00 / 1) (#175)
by Psycho Dave on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 09:43:40 PM EST

My experience with Battletech was primarily with the pen and paper version of it (and a bootleg copy of Crescent Hawk's Inception on my old 486.) Designing mechs was my seventh grade passion. I only designed heavy mechs--100 ton behemoths that were slow as hell, but could rip a pussy ass Locust apart in one salvo and could take a beating like none other.

I had an entire army designed, from my heavy mechs for defense, medium mechs for assault, made a grip of infantry, mechanized and jump jet, artillery, APC's, Aeromechs etc. I read the rulebooks obsessively, but I don't think I ever once actually *played* Battletech. My army would probably be 0wnz0r3d by any force with manuverability(sp?) but I never found out.

That said, does anybody still play regular pen and paper RPGs anymore? I had a girlfriend that did live-action Vampire (a goth chick, go figure) but it didn't sound like anything I was used to, with rolling stats and buying weapons etc.

If pen and paper RPGs are gone, then I lament the loss of one more social activity for the pimply, awkward, teenage male geek masses.

Mage ! (3.00 / 1) (#176)
by bugmaster on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 10:42:16 PM EST

Lots of people play Vampire and Werewolf, but I always had a special spot reserved in my heart for Mage: The Ascension. The rules are very elegant, and the story is so mindbending, it's great. Of course, I think that Mage 3rd Edition ruins a lot of things that made Mage interesting... Still, it's a great game, and I still play it from time to time... Mostly on IRC, though, as it's difficult to get people together in meatspace on a regular basis.
[ Parent ]
White Wolf (3.00 / 1) (#178)
by Psycho Dave on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 11:45:18 PM EST

I like their system of using only ten sided dice. I'm assuming that its the same for Mage as it is for Vampire and Werewolf. Keeping track of all your four, five, six, eight, ten, twenty sided dice can be a pain, and requires a huge bag of dice.

How do you keep people honest on their rolls over IRC?

[ Parent ]

Honest rolls (3.00 / 1) (#183)
by hardburn on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 11:10:34 AM EST

How do you keep people honest on their rolls over IRC?

You can have an IRC bot armed with an PRNG do it for you. Of course, you have to trust the PRNG not to be weighted somehow. You could have a bot run by a trusted third-party.

while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }

[ Parent ]
Basically, yeah (3.00 / 1) (#194)
by bugmaster on Mon Jul 14, 2003 at 08:00:34 AM EST

I have a simple bot that rolls d10s, and echoes results to the channel. In this case, the trusted third part party is myself, since I am the GM. Seeing as I have all these godlike powers anyway, I don't need to cheat on dice :-)
[ Parent ]
Re: White Wolf (3.00 / 1) (#195)
by bugmaster on Mon Jul 14, 2003 at 08:07:07 AM EST

I like their system of using only ten sided dice. I'm assuming that its the same for Mage as it is for Vampire and Werewolf.
Yes, exactly. I also like the fact that all (or nearly all) rolls are simply attribute + ability at some difficulty -- none of those weird 3-page math formulae and hashtable lookups that other RPGs like to use.

The other reason I like Mage is because of its magic system. Unlike every other RPG, Mage does not rely on spell lists. Instead, your character can gain proficiency in some (or all) of the nine Spheres, where each Sphere governs an aspect of reality. When you want to accomplish an effect, you declare which Spheres you are using (you will almost always need more than one for major effects), and the difficulty is determined by the level of the highest Sphere required. Of course, there is also Paradox...

Anyway, this style of magic is a lot more creative, since the players can come up with inventive ways to combine Spheres. A Magic Missile, on the other hand, does just one thing regardless of how you apply it.
[ Parent ]

But that takes away the whole point... (none / 0) (#214)
by thejeff on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 05:46:00 PM EST

RPGs are really just an excuse to collect dice.

[ Parent ]
ars magica (none / 0) (#198)
by eudas on Mon Jul 14, 2003 at 10:33:34 AM EST

Mage is apparently largely based on Ars Magica.

"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

Depends on the fight (5.00 / 1) (#196)
by roystgnr on Mon Jul 14, 2003 at 09:15:20 AM EST

My army would probably be 0wnz0r3d by any force with manuverability(sp?) but I never found out.

Much of the value of maneuverability only becomes apparant at a strategic level (what was that game, Battleforce?)  where the objectives aren't just "your Mechs slug it out with their Mechs in one place".  If you're defending many targets against a more maneuverable force, they get to attack your forces one at a time, and if you try to bring in reinforcements then they attack the now-undefended place your reinforcements left before you can return.  Even when attacking one target, you can sometimes pull off "draw away a player's assault Mechs with half your force, then sweep in and wreck stuff with the other half" before they notice.

I don't think I got to do this in an actual game more than once or twice, though.  My Battletech days were mostly GMing the Mechwarrior RPG, with more little individual stories than mammoth battles.

[ Parent ]

Battleforce (3.00 / 1) (#203)
by prolixity on Mon Jul 14, 2003 at 08:33:51 PM EST

Jesus Christ, I didn't know anyone else had ever even heard of that game.

Strategic level battles were cool.. One of my friends figured out a way to use the normal battletech maps to resolve the conflicts tactically.  

Those games took weeks.
[ Parent ]

Heard of it, but rarely played it. (none / 0) (#211)
by roystgnr on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 09:59:03 AM EST

I think I got sick of some of its' deficiencies (don't ask me to tell you what they were; it's been a while) after a dozen games, and so I made my own rules for strategic-level combat, which seemed to work much better when we played using them.  Somewhere in a box in my parents' garage they've probably still got a copy of those rules, a few homemade maps, and a hard drive with a partially-finished QBasic implementation (to simplify playing the game).  Ah, those were the days!

[ Parent ]
I remember . . . (4.00 / 1) (#180)
by pkesel on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 01:29:40 AM EST

I was one of the original mechwarrior crowd, and I too miss the fasination I had with the original game. I think the audience changed, so the game had to as well. We early players were engaged, spent time mastering the games when we had to. Players today have such a network of support online, lists of hints and cheats. They expect to be the game's master in a matter of hours, if not minutes. They don't want a game they have to learn. They'd get bored with that and find something that fit their attention level more accurately.

Loved MW (4.00 / 1) (#181)
by dzimmerm on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 01:37:31 AM EST

I played MW all the way through. It was a great game. I thought I was the only one who even knew it had a story line.

Starsiege was a pretty good game with more current graphics. I enjoyed Starsiege much later after trying a couple of other MW games. I had Mercs Titanium and I later picked up MW2 at a bargin bin. They were not the same as MW, as you mentioned.

Another neat game was Battlezone. Battlezone 2 was not bad either. I also played Privateer, which let you have various ships and loadouts. I got the sequel to Privateer which had FMV which was OK. I really missed having that alien weapon on my ship after the transistion from Privateer to the Privateer sequel.

Bioforge was a kinda neat game but I am not sure it would run on a W2K OS.

So many of those games ran on DOS or required it. I could boot to a dos diskette but with the new motherboards and their more complex interupt sharing I am pretty sure it would not be a pretty sight.

I may have to break down and put together an old machine just for playing DOS based games.

Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.


MW, what a waste (5.00 / 1) (#187)
by chewd on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 04:17:47 PM EST

Ive had every incarnation of the MW games from cresent hawks inception up. I even had the ones they released for sega genesis every single one of them has been a letdown when compared to Mechwarrior 1. except of course the crescent hawks games which to me were more of an RPG than a mech game, im sure they follow the pen&paper MW game a bit better, but ive never been big on sci-fi RPGs It seems we've never gotten past the whole "quake deathmatch" gameplay with the MW series. Sure its fun to blow up your buddies, or talk smack about the losers you run into on the web, but (to me at least) that type of gameplay gets old quick. i played multiplayer MW twice, once with MW2 "netmech" ($40 addon just for network play, what a rip) and again on either MW3 or 4 i dont remember which, theyre basically the same thing. it was no different that any deathmatch quake game. theres no feeling of being in a mech, theres no strategy involved, just randomly running around throwing missles at eachother boring. It used to be that i didnt consider a game to be a good game unless i got several months of play out of it (read 6 months or more) before moving on. Nowadays im lucky if a new game can keep me entertained for longer than a week before it goes in the closet. whether this is about me having a shorter attention span or about games just not having much depth these days is open to interpretation, altho, i do still go back to old faves like MW1, TTD, pirates and such. I have a theory about this, & if youve read this far into my post maybe youll read it as well. In the past there were 2 types of gamers. Console types with their "twitch" games (think sonic the hedgehog, or any game containing mario) It was rare to see a console game which made you think, or strategize back then. the other type was the pc crowd. In those days PCs were capable of much more than consoles, polygon 3d graphics, complexity of storyline & such. I remember thinking how great it will be when consoles catch up. All of a sudden the console crowd will see what they were missing all this time. well the consoles did catch up, but instead of their games becoming more pc like, the PC games became more console-like. nowadays if you go to the PC gaming section in your local bestbuy youll only see 3 types of games, FPS's (twitch games), sim-games (port-a-potty tycoon & such) or MMORPGs. I guess its a sign of the makers just giving their largest market what it wants. 14-year olds love FPSs and MMORPGS, and the rest of us are supposed to play wallpaper tycoon i guess. of course there are exceptions. Rockstar games has done wonderful things combining genres with the GTA series (equal parts FPS, driving game, adventure game, pure genius) the morrowind series seems to have an excellent combination of pretty graphics and depth of gameplay. perhaps there is hope yet. That being said, ive been waiting for years for someone to come up with a fanmade rework of MW1 like whats been done with some of the ultima series, its a bit trickier with a 3d engine im sure, and so it probably will not happen. These days tho, i feel lucky if a new game even *runs* as-is straight out of the box. Its become too common to ship a broken game with a link to download the patch. Id be happy to give up much of the graphical complexity in return for stability or depth. Most of my favorite games run in 640x480 or lower anyway. guess im old-fashioned. many games these days are built almost entirely around multiplayer. Every release of MW since MW2 has felt this way to me. That the game is basically there for the mulitplayer, but if you really *want* to play single player, theres a campaign thrown in as an afterthought, dont expect much from it tho. am i the only one who got tired of the chaotic deathmatch games? cant we have depth of gameplay AND multiplayer? if not, then ditch the multiplayer, its overrated anyway.

so much for my paragraphs (3.00 / 1) (#188)
by chewd on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 04:19:40 PM EST

well i didnt write that out as one huge runon paragraph, but it sure came out that way. sorry

[ Parent ]
You have to manually add the carriage returns... (none / 0) (#222)
by irrevenant on Fri Jul 18, 2003 at 11:18:44 PM EST

Awkward as it is, you have to manually include the carriage returns if you're using an HTML formatted message (the default).  To do this you have to type <br> (including the pointy brackets).

If you want a blank line between your paragraphs, you'll need to end a paragraph with two of them in.

If that's too much hassle, you can just toggle the message from HTML formatted to Plain Text instead, in which case it'll work normally (but you won't have access to bold, etc.).

[ Parent ]

MW2 Music (4.00 / 2) (#190)
by superchampion on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 09:13:41 PM EST

Ahh. the music was fantastic. Load it in to CD, skip track one (the game) and listen to music to shoot mechanized walking tanks to. I worked at a coffee shop, playing the CD from time to time and got many comments from customers about it. Asking what it was and where they could buy it. Puzzled looks from them all, as I explained it was the sound track to a game and it would cost them $45 bucks to buy it. The composer of the score, Gregory Alper also did Warcraft and Dark Seed.
---- psst. memes suck, pass it on.
Yes! (4.00 / 1) (#201)
by seebs on Mon Jul 14, 2003 at 01:05:28 PM EST

I played MW2 for a while, then I got MW3 and found it to be graphically more interesting, but much less playable.

I would love to have a game more like the original Mechwarrior you describe, built on one of the more recent engines.

It is probably not a coincidence that the franchise is now owned by Microsoft.  I didn't even bother looking at MW4.

Back in the day (none / 0) (#208)
by Cannonfodder on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 12:22:09 AM EST

I remember playing and watching/helping my friend play Mechwarrior 2 on his brand new Pentium 200 with 48MBs of RAM! (this was 1994 or 95)

This game easily makes it to my top10 favourite games of alle time. From loading up the intro (fantastic intro) to the moment in which you think "lets blow off his legs" or "I've made the fastest light mech in the world, it MUST be able to run in past the guarding mechs and destroy nuclear plant and then get the hell out of there before the meltdown catches you"...

I have the 3DFX uptimised version of it somewhere. I'll try and find it and see if I can get a glidewrapper working with my Geforce 4.

Mercenaries was alright, at times I enjoyed it as much Mechwarrior 2. Mechwarrior 3 was a great disappointment. It was just mediocre. I haven't tried my luck with Mechwarrior 4 and I doubt I ever will.

Oh and track 13 is my favourite. It makes me think that I'm death strolling around in a 100 ton machine of destruction.

The is NO original... (3.50 / 2) (#209)
by Fen on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 04:52:53 AM EST

Ideas exist outside of time. There are infinite mechwarriors in the past and there will be infinite in the future. You idiot.
Mechwarrior 2 co-op (none / 0) (#210)
by batkiwi on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 08:32:25 AM EST

Before there even was real "co-op," my brother and I would play mechwarrior2 in our own co-op mode.  One of us would use the keyboard and be the "pilot," controlling all walking/running/jumping/aux systems/navigation.  Ther other would be the gunner.  The gunner would use the joystick to control the upper part of the mech and controlled all weapons systems too.

It was awesome fun, even though there was only 1 monitor and it wasn't made to be played like this.  It really gave the feeling of a 2 man mech, and if we cooperated, we were did better together than either could do alone.  

Highly advised way of playing!

MANTIS (none / 0) (#220)
by ckaminski on Thu Jul 17, 2003 at 07:24:50 PM EST

I used to do this with a space combat sim called MANTIS, circa... 1993, 1994.  A buddy and I would swap flight controls and weapons controls.  Back before the days when there were mouse inputs in most games.  Having 10 extra fingers really made the difference.

[ Parent ]
Favorite Mechwarrior Classic tactic (none / 0) (#215)
by kostya on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 09:35:24 PM EST

Unlike in the dice/board game, you could actually aim. Yes, yes, I know you could try in Battletech, but it was often too hard and accomplished little.

So in Mechwarrior, I'd negotiate for little cash and massive salvage. I'd get a nice mech with energy weapons (I believe I used a Marauder sometimes, or some other mid-weight I can't remember). I'd close distance real fast, put the cursor on the head, and hit space bar (which could be mapped to fire everything--or in my case, all energy weapons).

Sooooo effective. Kill the pilot instantly, get a mech that was mostly undamaged. Salvage was awesome. I built up some serious cash that way.

The manuever would put you into the red-line on heat, but if you did it right, it usually didn't matter. You scored your head-shot and then crawled away until the heat disipated. Then you went for the next guy :-)

Veritas otium parit. --Terence
Mechwarrior Through the Ages | 225 comments (173 topical, 52 editorial, 0 hidden)
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