History: A long time ago there was a game called Mechwarrior which came out in simulator form in 1989. Someone got the idea to put a multi-player version of the game up on one of the commercial services like Delphi or Genie. The game became an instant hit with gamers with thousands of players spending at least a little time on the computer for a short period of time. Many players would spend $3 to $6 an hour extra for connect time for as much as 3 to 6 hours every day. Genie and Kesmai were doing very well with the title. In steps the internet making it simple to do all the connectivity. Kesmai opens up their own internet gaming site.
Plot: For the time being only the Solaris site is open for the new high resolution 16-bit game engine. This means that the game is primarily a game of eight players who either play free for all (FFA) or teams. There is rank to be gained from the duels, but no planets or territories to conquer, military command, salvage of parts, or military organization seen in the prior game.
Game play: The rich panoply of different cultural and social duties and actions is not fleshed out in this version. Many believe the most entertaining part of the older first generation game was the social and military protocol. One can only hope that the wait from Solaris to fully blown world will be a short one.
Death may also be a new factor. In the past Kesmai felt that killing off the player character was a price to high to pay, especially when one considered the exorbitant online charges. I remember running into one young man who had a fortune left to him, who was the only one I met online that did not have problems with plastic.
Multiplayer is the only way to play this new game and as with the original game, teamwork is the only way to win the day. Coordinated attacks of concentrated firepower on preselected body parts brings down the opposition quickly. Backing while firing with long range weapons has its advantages, although I would love to get a better reverse gear for doing this.
You pilot over 80 Mechs that range from the swift and agile Jenner to the hulking Atlas, with devastating weaponry. With the increased speed of this game and its responsiveness I was able to use the Atlas’ devastating firepower to quickly dispatch some light mechs trying to out maneuver my hulk.
Interface: Keyboard and joystick controls are similar to those in the original game which many preferred keyboard controls to the more elaborate joysticks.
Graphics: Finally Kesmai has a high resolution 640 x 480 pixel game with 256-colors after years of beta testing the original game.
Animation is smooth without a hitch. Not as nice as EarthSiege or Mechwarrior 2 but this one holds its own.
Human voices: No voice connections are yet supported.
Music tracks are appropriately techno.
Sound effects are still the weapons, but with Windows 95 they really rock.
John Patterson, Computer Player, volume 3, number 4, September, 1996, pg. 14-15.
Al Giovetti, Genie’s Muliplayer Battletech, Personal Computer Combat Simulations, volume 2, number 3, July-August, 1994, pg. 54-56, 59-61,70.
Al Giovetti, Preview: Multiplayer BattleTech, QuestBusters, volume 10, number 1, January, 1993, pg. 7.