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Review by: Brian Clair
Mechwarrior 2 continues the epic saga of a galaxy entangled in war, where battles are fought with huge robots called, battlemechs. Based on the popular strategy miniature game by FASA Corporation, Mechwarrior 2 brings the 3D interface used in the original Mechwarrior up another notch. This game features SVGA graphics, even during combat, stunning movie sequences, awesome sound fx and more.
When the game begins you are given a choice between two Clans (yup, this time you fight for the ferocious enemy of the Inner Sphere). Each clan will give you different missions and you may switch during the game, although your honour may be hurt by this action. Once you choose a clan, you will see a stunning movie of that clan’s homeworld, complete with storyline describing that clan’s ideals and goals. Once you enter the clan’s main chamber, you may do several things: access the library computer to read very detailed information about your clan and the Mechwarrior universe, train by completing a mech-piloting and combat course (which I recommend to get used to the new interface), or go on a mission for glory and honour in the name of your clan.
As I mentioned above, you gain status and rank in the game by successfully completing missions (which you have to do because the game won’t advance until you win the mission). You start off as a simple mechwarrior but can advance as high as ranks such as Star Commander. Throughout the game you will be given opportunities to Trials by Combat which, if you are successful, will increase or potentially decrease your rank. These trials pit you against one other mech which you must destroy to gain one advancement in rank, you may opt to try for another by attacking another inactive mech or destroying one of the hovering spheres. Should you fail to destroy even one mech, you may be demoted for your lack of vigil.
Mech combat has improved greatly since the original Mechwarrior game. As I noted above, all graphics are in stunning SVGA and you can change the resolution from a low of 320×280 to a high of 1024×780. I found that a resolution of 800×600 works best as the higher 1024×768 brought the game to a stuttering crawl, even on my rather powerful system (some of you with faster Pentiums may not have any trouble though). Mechs are very detailed with full gourand shading, insignia, weapons which you can watch fire from an external camera, and more. When your mech takes damage you can see it’s arm or leg fly off your body as your battle computer warns of massive damage to your weapons and armour. You also have infra-red, computer aided enhancement, jump-jets, and more to help you during combat.
There are over 12 different types of mechs in Mechwarrior 2, each of which has several configurations to choose from or you may design your own. There are also dozens of super-lethal weapons to choose from, as well as special armours and equipment. Some of the weapons included are: long range laser, machine guns, extra-long range laser cannon, long range missile packs, PPC’s, and autocannon. There is a whole lot more to this game but you’ll have to play it or try the demo to find them all!
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