The sound of a rocking chair fills the room you’re sitting in. The creaks start getting louder, almost enveloping the area. Then…this song drops.
Now you’re sitting inside the cockpit of a Timber Wolf mech. You’re armed to the teeth with a bunch of LRM’s, a few Pulse Lasers, a PPC cannon or two, and a Gauss Rifle. Your teammates are telling you to flank your enemies. SRM’s start flying towards your mech as you activate your jump jets just in time to avoid the impact. Then, you skillfully land on top of the enemy Jenner mech that launched those missiles..because…FUCK JENNERS.
This was my life in the Mid-90’s. I borrowed MechWarrior 2 from my neighbor Nelson, and oh man, did that game kick my ass. MechWarrior 2 was my first exposure to the BattleTech Universe. I played through both of the game’s scenarios, Clan Wolf and Clan Jade Falcon, the two sides of the “Refusal War”. I barely knew just what the hell was going on, so I just followed what the missions told me to do. Basically it all boiled down to these objectives:
- Go to a Navigation point
- Blow shit up
- Protect this shit
- Blow that shit up
- Head to dustoff site for extraction.
The levels I played through varied very much, and the environments played a factor every single time. On planets with a very hot climate, you’d want to avoid overloading on energy weapons, naturally. Planets that were cold as fuck…well, load up the energy weapons and jump jets, ‘cuz you’d rarely overheat! You also had close urban combat scenarios, low visibility missions, missions with low gravity, lunar missions…I could go on, and on, and on….
Gameplay? If you had the proper joystick, the game felt like you were piloting a mech. The controls were complex, but once you got the hang of it, it felt natural. You had to control your walking speed, attack angles, and how your torso would move. Strafing was your friend.
Customizing your mech was the meat and potatoes of this game. You had a myriad of weapons, engines, heat sinks, armor choices, and mechs to choose from. I remember spending one hour trying to get the proper mech setup for a mission.
The music was awesome too. Too bad I lost my soundtrack. The soundtrack had all sorts of music, ranging from industrial techno to fully orchestrated tracks that conveyed the energy and fury of a battlefield.
Chibi, this one’s for you. Now get to work on your Japan trip pictures. Unless you’re playing MechWarrior Online.