Monday, February 9, 2004

MechWarrior (SNES)

Rating: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great graphics, fun gameplay
Cons: Little replay value, lacking in the sound department

In Mechwarrior, you play a character named Herras. He is a mercenary, who has been training his mech skills for years to take revenge upon the people who killed his family. You find clues scattered throughout the game, and following these clues will ultimately lead you to you to your goal: vengeance.

There are basically two parts to the game. In the city menu, you can do things such as upgrade your mech, buy a new one, or sell an old one. You can also buy or sell weapons for your mech, increase or decrease the armor your mech carries, add heat-sinks, jump jets, or your mech's engine. You can also reload your mech's ammunition.

Also in the city menu, you can choose new missions to undertake. You can haggle over payment for these missions, or go to the club and try to find some information. The club is where you get the majority of hints as to the location of your family's killers. Each of these locations you will become very familiar with.

The graphics in Mechwarrior are really good. Considering the fact that this is a Super Nintendo game, that makes them all the better. The city menu screens used between missions are simple and flat, and very easy to use. The battle graphics are where the game shines though.

During each mission, you fly down to a planet's surface, and walk around in 3D style. Mechwarrior then takes on a first-person perspective, and you can rotate the screen in any direction, and even use your jump jets to fly into the air. Let loose a barrage of missiles towards an enemy mech and watch them do damage. Take out an enemy's leg, and watch him stand there unable to move. Take out an arm, and some of his weapons may become unavailable to him.

The sound effects are pretty average. Missiles sound like missiles, lasers sound like lasers, nothing to get excited over though. The background music playing in the city menu screen is also average. It's nothing I would care to listen to for a long period of time, but it also never really got on my nerves enough to complain about.

Gameplay is easy, there are only a few different types of missions. Garrison duty is the easiest mission, you only have to destroy all the enemy mechs to win. Offensive campaigns and security detail missions are both protect the base type of missions. Recon raid and Objective raid are more like capture the flag missions, each requiring you to seek out and collect a certain item.

Controls are pretty basic, being a SNES game. Directional pad moves around, A fires up your jump jets. B fires your selected weapon, while holding it down cycles through firing all of your weapons. Y brings up cross hairs, and X toggles your radar viewer. L and R buttons change which weapon is currently selected.

Replay value suffers though. While there are lots of missions available, once you have beaten Mechwarrior, there is little else to warrant playing through the whole thing again. It's plenty fun the first time, but boring after that.

For those of you who don't mind cheating, there is an invincibility code for Mechwarrior. Pause the game in the battle screen, and spell out "ALLY ALLY ALLY" to become invincible for one battle. If you want to become invincible for the whole game, you will find yourself doing this many, many times.

Mechwarrior is a nice addition to any collection, and if your SNES still works, I suggest you give it a try. If you like Mechwarrior, you may also enjoy Front Mission, Battletech, or any of the other Mechwarrior games.

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