Monday, September 10, 2007

Do The Chicken Walk

J: I got Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries!
G: ? You got the RM 25 one?
J: Yeah!
G: I have that too!
J: Game needs a frigging numpad! I don't have one!
G: Huh, you mean you are playing it with your laptop?
J: Ya....

OK folks. Welcome to Mech Week. What's a Mech you ask? A Mech is one of those lumbering metal contraptions with two legs that you read about in BattleTech novels; some of you might even fancy yourself as a MechWarrior (someone who pilots Mech, for those who don't understand Mech talk), having played Mech simulators such as Mechwarrior, Mechwarrior 2, Mechwarrior 3... you get the whole Mech-ing idea.

What do Mechs have to do with this blog? To put it simply, I love BattleTech and it's my blog anyway and I'll decide what week it is over here. Lol.

In anycase, I won't be featuring Mechwarrior 4 Mercenaries, because as you can see, my machine lacks a num pad to play the game with. But if someone would be kind enough to loan me a joystick, I'll be a happy camper.

The game that I'll be talking about, is Mechcommander. In a nutshell, Mechcommander is probably one of the toughest games I've ever played. Combining Mechs from the BattleTech universe with an RTS feel from games such as Command and Conquer minus the elements of Gathering (maybe not, read on) and Building, Mechcommander was unique.

Before each mission, you select a number of mechs for the mission and you are limited by your total drop weight. This is interesting as it would mean deciding whether to leave the radar-jamming Raven at home for some extra firepower from a Catapult. Mechs are also customiseable, and with weapons obtained during missions (see below), interesting weapons payloads are possible for each Mech.

Mission objectives vary, ranging from destroying enemy mechs (which are salvageable provided they don't explode), protecting bases, capturing bases, etc. Standard RTS fare..with Mechs. Some maps are littered with supply depots and containers which you can capture and in return get additional weapons and sensor which can be outfitted to your Mechs in the pre-mission screens.

Terrain plays an important role in the game. Mechs firing from higher terrain have an advantage and standing on higher terrain opens up more of the fog of war (which doesn't come back once opened up).

Did I mention that the game was difficult? One of the early missions pitted your motly gang of light Mechs against, of all thing, a Mad Cat (Timber Wolf for Clan purists). The best way out of that mess was to blow up/soften up the Mad Cat with air strikes before moving in for the kill. It was imperative that the Mad Cat should be left in a salvageable state; the Mech comes in really handy in subsequent missions.

So am I playing Mechcommander now? Not really. I'm playing its expansion, Mechcommander: Desperate Measures. It's a walk in the park compared to the original Mechcommander, but I'm still having a blast playing it.

Since this is Mech week, what's your favourite Mech game?