Review by Tenshi No Shi

"Future warfare never looked so good!"

Mmmmm...'Mechs. There aren't many people alive who play games and don't like giant robots. I mean, who out there hasn't seen Robotech (aka Macross), Voltron, or any one of hundreds of animes (Japanese animation and thought, 'Hey, it'd be pretty damn cool to pilot a giant robot'? Well, a few game producers have apparently thought that very thing, and though there have been many attempts (mostly bad), one series has stood out above and beyond the rest. That series is MechWarrior.

The over-all story arc of the MechWarrior games is based on FASA (FASA kicks major RPG ass, btw) created BattleMech pen-and-paper RPGs. In this game, you are part of a strike team sent to the planet Tranquil to eliminate the last reminates of the Smoke Jaguar Clan. You are a Mech Warrior, a pilot of giant Battle Mechs. Your mission, to lead the assault on Tranquil.

I would tell you about how gourgeous the graphics in this game are, but I just can't seem to pick my jaw up from off the floor. Yes, they are that good. Large wepons produce craters in the ground, your 'Mech leaves footprints, and the enviorments are incredibley detailed. The best thing is, the graphics look good with or without a 3D accelerator.

If having mind-boggling graphics isn't enough for you, put your ears to the speakers for this one, 'cause MechWarrior 3 has sound to match. Of course, you can insert the ussual fair of rocket, laser, and gun sounds here. But why stop there? Add friend and foe radio chatter, thunderous footsteps, and distinctive warning noises into the mix. Oh yeah, this game has it all. Did I mention the music is great too?

As with any good simulator, you'll want to get yourself a nice joystick, preferabley one with a stick you can twist on the z-axis. Also, as with any simulator, you use the who keyboard. Sometimes playing a sim game can be confussing, but once you get the hang of the layout, you really feel like your piloting 'Mech. The control personalization interface is really nice and easy to use (though for the sake of sanity, its much easier to use the games presets if you have the right equipment).

The over-all design of MechWarrior 3 is excellent. This game really does a great job of bringing it all together. Never have I felt totally imerssed in a Mech simulation 'til now. In fact, this game has such a finished feel to it that you can almost see the polish on the box when you buy it. I do however, have one teeny-tiny complaint: WHY ARE THERE ONLY 20 MISSION?!? Oh well, something that a add-on will hopefully fix (like maybe playing the game again, but from the Smoke Jaguars point-of-view or even as one of the other strike teams).

There isn't a whole lot here in the way of bonuses. In fact, aside from the obligatory Multi-Player game, the only other thing here is an instant action mode which lets you designate the conditions of a battle and jump right into it. Cool, but I would have like to have ssen maybe a personalized decal option and maybe a hidden 'Mech or two. Who knows, MechWarrior 2 had a slew of add-ons, maybe 3 will get the same treatment.

If you are at all like piloting things, or are a fan of all things robotic, then get this game. If you were a fan of Mech Warrior 2, you absolutely must have this game. In fact, even if you just own a computer, you might to check this one out.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 07/05/02

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