MobyGames Classic: MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat

MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat stomped onto the PC gaming scene in the mid-nineties, bringing complex first-person combat that was as much about deftly piloting the series' multi-ton walking tanks called mechs as it was about reflexes. Location-based damage and operational controls that let players rotate their mechs' torsos independently of their legs were just a couple of attributes that set MechWarrior apart from other combat sims. The game also saw several versions that helped bridge the gap between DOS and 3D accelerated video cards, including some versions made and bundled specifically for certain video cards by a variety of their manufacturers. It also eventually made its way onto the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and Mac.

Today we add 1995's classic first-person combat simulation, MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat, to our growing list of video game classics, presented by MobyGames.com.

For many gamers, MechWarrior 2 was the first in the series to really capture the imagination. MobyGames reviewer Paul Budd enthusiastically describes how the game made him a MechWarrior convert. "I was never a big fan of the original Mechwarrior game. That said, I really tried to go into this game with a clear head," he states. "This was one of the best gaming investments I ever made! This game is full of action, cool music and sounds--and you get to pilot enormous Mechs! The broad array of terrain-types and combat scenarios will give you many hours of slammin'-jammin' gaming goodness."

MobyGames Reviewer Ashley Pomeroy touts the game's presentational attributes, which continued to evolve with each subsequent expansion and sequel. "The impression of moving about in a giant robot was extremely well conveyed," Pomeroy states. "Your robot strode around the landscape exactly as if it was a hundred feet tall and made of iron. The sound design was effective as well, with a good range of clanks and robot noises that added greatly to the experience."

She also touches on MechWarrior 2's RPG-like customization options. "One of the best features was the way that you could customize your robot, indeed you could choose several different robot bodies. Each could store a certain weight of weapons and equipment in a certain set of locations, and if you overloaded your robot it moved slower, heated up quicker, and couldn't jump as far," she explains.

Tell Us Your Stories! We want to hear about your experiences with MechWarrior 2. Tell us your stories. Why did you love it? What drove you crazy? Remember it fondly with us in the comments below. We'll select some of your thoughts and memories and add it to a Weekend Update to this feature.

MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat on MobyGames.com

You are the genetically engineered Clan Mechwarrior. The Clans are invading the Inner Sphere. Join either the Wolf Clan or the Jade Falcon Clan as they pursue their own agenda against the Inner Sphere and other Clans. Take your advanced Omnimechs into battle against all comers. Win high warrior ratings (by using less mechs or smaller mechs than needed, completing secondary objectives, etc.) and you'll get chance at a promotion trial where you face superior odds in an arena. If you win, you advance in rank. If you are very successfully, you can make it all the way up to Khan, leader of the Clan!

Mechwarrior II was developed in-house by Activision as the successor to their original Mechwarrior. While this time there are no dynamic campaign and mercenary actions, the Clan culture is integrated into the two campaigns. Different clans have different mechs and different rules, even different weapons. You can customize your mechs in order to use less than the "par" force in order to get a higher rating. The full 3D environment wasn't pretty, as this was before the 3D accelerators made their debut, but it's still better than anything that came before. The addition of NetMech allowed users to fight each other online. When 3D cards came along, special versions were created to take advantage of 3D texturing. While not QUITE as replayable as Mechwarrior, it's nonetheless a classic.

MobyGames Classic is our chance to look back at the games that helped shape the video game industry with the help of our sister site MobyGames.com. It combines a short history lesson on the title and anecdotes from the Shacknews community.