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 The Final Word game review

MechWarrior 2 -- Quantum Factory, Inc./Activision

Way back in 1997 the Sega Saturn was on its last legs and things looked pretty bleak. But, in its dying last breaths, the Saturn become host to an outstanding number of titles. MechWarrior 2 was one of the titles released during this period and at the time it was carefully watched and anticipated. What actually appeared on the shelves gave people mixed feelings.

The story is simple and straight forward. Go out and accomplish your mission by destroying enemy mechs or protecting what you are told to protect. This is where the problems with MechWarrior 2 start. It comes across as cold and impersonal, using the story as just a framework to state your mission objectives. There is no drama or cut scenes or anything to bring you into what the world is supposed to be. Even the different campaigns to choose from are too much alike and bland. Add to the mix that there is no linear order to any of the campaigns, makes the game difficult to follow. The result is a slew of missions that are held together by a marginal thread. To make the game fun for yourself, try to make your own story up and post it on Usenet. It'll be better than what is in this game.

The graphics here are way too ambitious for the Saturn. While going up against one or two mechs, things can be okay. Graphics stay clean and, for the most part, everything is fine. However, when you are running for your life with half a dozen enemy mechs bearing down on you, there is some significant slow down. When things like this happen at exactly the moment you need to act the quickest, the game can become unpalatable very quickly. But this is really the only major graphics problem. Power-ups could be a little more unique so you can tell what they are before you are on top of them, but as you gain experience with the game you can eyeball them a little faster and from further out.

The audio here is basically what you need but nothing else. The sound of your guns and missiles are good and the thunder of your footsteps as you run around are fine. But it seems no one really tried to push any boundaries when the sound for MechWarrior 2 was being built. Furthermore, the slow down mentioned before also affects the sound as well. It's almost surreal when you launch your missiles (to a ridiculously slow frame rate) and then, seconds later, you get to hear them launch. Very strange.

The most noteworthy and important item is controls. There is always an issue when PC games, designed to have an entire keyboard for controls, is ported to a platform. You shouldn't be surprised by this. It'll remain a problem until a game controller has 26 buttons on it (X-Box looks like it could have the room...) I've played this game with the standard game controller and the analog game controller that came with Nights. If you are going to play the game, get the analog controller (using the analog controller changes my control score from a 3.0 to a 4.5). The control of the Mech's torso is made so much simpler with this controller. Unfortunately, the standard controller isn't nearly forgiving in combat situations. If you can master torso control with the standard controller, you are spending way too much time playing an average game on a dead console. Go play Scrabble and learn something. And don't call me "Dad".

All in all, if you can find it, and you're on the fence about buying it, get it. It's fun. It's one of the first of the Mech games to go platform. It's also not too bad. It's just not what we're used to getting these days. Me? I'm partial to Gundams, so these walking Pintos really don't impress me. However, the game is fun and worth a check.

>>>>> 15.5/25 <<<<< Zubalove
Graphics 3.5
Sound 2.5
Gameplay/Control 3.0
Longevity/Playability 3.0
Overall 3.5
Total 15.5