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Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries

by Paingod556

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Original Thread: They don't pay me enough to DIE! Let's Play MW4:Mercenaries instead!

If you liked this LP, you might also like Pokemon Crystal by Chorocojo, Resident Evil 1 by The Dark Id and Banjo-Kazooie by Rooreelooo

Introduction

"This is Duncan Fisher, Medium Circuit champion 5 years running, Solaris Commentator Celebrity and all-around sex panther. And today I'm bringing you the latest a long line of hard-hitting Battlemech simulators, which is a shame since this game was released almost a decade ago. And I'm not counting those light weight 'MechAssault' games, or the fine work done by the Living Legends mod team. And technically, MechWarrior Online hasn't been released. It's still 'Beta' after all. No, we're talking about..."



Intro video


What is MechWarrior?

The short answer is a series of robot driving simulators that aims to simulate 'tank on leg' combat, as opposed to Japanese Mecha style combat like Armoured Core. The warmachines are Battlemechs, and the pilots are Mechwarriors.

The long answer I will get to in a minute. If you want to get started, you can hit up the Battletech wiki at Sarna for everything. There's also PoptartsNinja and his traditional LP here, but since they've altered the game history pretty dramatically it's not all relevant (makes it no less fun, though) First, lets talk about the game in the thread title-

MechWarrior 4 Mercenaries, a stand alone expansion by Microsoft and the last game FASA was involved in before they shut down. At it's heart, it is a game about a mercenary taking jobs that involve driving robots into combat, and getting paid very well for the service. You pick jobs, buy and sell hardware, configure your ride and then go and kick arse for the highest bidder. It does have plot and backstory as shown below, and there are occasions where you can make choices. Some of them even have repercussions. But for the most part, you're in it for the explosions, and it does it quite well.

The best part is that the game itself is now free. Back in 2009, MekTek was given the all-clear to distribute the full game plus their mod, the MekTek Pack. These guys updated the game engine, made it look a little bit prettier, and added a load of new rides and weapons. The BattleMech count is over 100 not including infantry Battle Armour.



Now sadly, while MekTek did distribute it way back when this LP began in 2011/12, they have since moved on to a new project. And with the licence now belonging to PGI and their MechWarrior: Online game, it has since been taken down rather than deal with an legal issues. So getting the full game plus mod is no longer an option that I can recommend. Even finding one for the CD version is tough, but once I find it, expect it to be here.

And the High-Def pack, which has an annoying process to acquire- go to the link, register, post in the 'join pilot group' thread (link in the OP of the download thread) and then download. They've requested that people do it this way instead of getting direct links-
http://www.mechstorm.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=801


Ok, Battletech... hit me.

There was a boardgame from the '80s called Battletech, that involved using small armies of infantry, tanks, choppers (VTOLs) and Battlemechs (walking tanks) to beat down the other guy. Over the decades, the setting was refined and added to, with the timeline moving forward to introduce new factions and conflicts. Several of these were expanded on in supplemental material, mostly books and expanded rulesets but also a videogame series.

A couple of goons have a drunk explanation of the entire series, but I'll try and give a cliff-notes run down of the backstory and how the MW series works into it...

The in-universe history goes thus- blah blah blah space travel, blah blah feudal governments, blah blah Great Houses, blah blah Star League established, civil war, SL Defence Force tableflips and leaves, everyone kills each other in the Succession Wars. There were 4 of them, spanning the entire Inner Sphere, as the collected territories were known, and brought about untold destruction and loss. The First and Second wars were so destructive that huge parts of the IS regressed back to Industrial Revolution era tech, due to flagrant use of orbital bombardment and nuclear strikes. The Ares Convention was established in time for the Third, helping reduce the technological losses from the conflict. It was not until the 31st Century, the end of the Fourth Succession War and the discovery of the Helm Memory Core by the Gray Death Legion mercenaries that much of the advanced technology was relearned.



This is the time period for the original MechWarrior, shown here with boxart for a 'Mech that doesn't exist. More on why later. I only played this once years and years ago, well past the games prime, so I have no opinions on it.

Then in 3050, the SLDF returned from their Exodus, in the form of the Clans- a heavily controlled martial society that relied on eugenics, advanced tech and an inflexible set of rules for combat and life in general. At first their powerful weaponry in the form of 'Omnitech' Battlemechs (OmniMechs) allowed them to roll over the Inner Sphere forces in one massive galactic blitzkrieg. However, it was soon apparent that the Clans had trouble understand things such as 'logistics', 'tactical flexibility', and 'focus fire'. Essentially, they were WW2 Japan with super cool weapons and insanely skilled warriors... who then started to get defeated by enemies who could think laterally, maintain their supply lines and work as a team.

Ultimately, it came down to ComStar, the current Terran rulers and controllers of the FTL communication system (Hyper-Pulse Generators) to stop the Clans entirely- using their own rules against them, and a cache of super-secret weaponry they had been hiding, the forces under ComStar issued a Trial of Possession, in the form of a full-scale Clan invasion on the planet Tukayyid against Inner Sphere defenders. If the Clans win, they get Terra. If they lose, their invasion stops for the next 10 years. Thanks to a lack of understanding of what a long-term campaign against IS regular forces was like, only Clan Wolf was victorious in it's operations, netting a total victory for the Inner Sphere and halting the invasion.



This is when MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries takes place, with the final 'campaign' taking place on Tukayyid. Commonly referred to as the best of all the MW games, Mercs gave you complete control of a freelance unit, taking jobs, buying and repairing rides, and of course, taking home salvage from your defeated enemies. "Kill the meat, save the metal". Sadly, I have yet to play this one, due to not getting a copy until recently and not having time to make it run on a modern computer. Because Win95 game.

Following the Trial, the Great Houses rallied under a new Star League, with the goal of learning from the Clan 'bondsmen' they had taken (defeated warriors who would then swear allegiance to their captors... it's a Clan thing) and ultimately recapturing the territory that had been lost. While this was going on, the Clans themselves began fighting each other over their loss. It eventually came down to the largest 'Crusader' Clans, Wolf and Jade Falcon, engaging in a Trial of Refusal. Falcon wanted to ignore the restrictions and launch a new invasion anyway. Wolf wanted to respect the terms and spend the time learning and rebuilding. The resulting war between them ended with a Wolf victory, but gutted both Clans, even with their heavily restricted and orchestrated rules of battle.



This is when MechWarrior 2 takes place, with a campaign for both Wolf and Jade Falcon. The Wolf victory is canon, while the Jade Falcon campaign follows a 'what-if'. What if the Falcons weren't shallow moronic Neutral Evil dicks and could actually think strategically, and thus win? Then the player becomes the ilKhan of the Falcons and it's implied they launch another invasion. For more details, see SundayPunches top-quality LP right here.

Next up came the Inner Sphere counter-attack. VSD had a simple plan- get as many heavy assault units are he can, form them into Task Force Serpent, and start hammering at the worlds taken by Clan Smoke Jaguar (chaotic evil space furries of evilness) The initial invasion is covered under MechCommander, where the RTS command interface is explained as the latest real-time tactical communication device. The game follows the First Davion Guards attacking Port Arthur, which of course goes tits-up and leaves the Commander struggling to hit strategic targets and support the rest of the invasion force. Honestly, this is my favourite real-time tactical/strategic game of all time. For more details, see berryjons in-depth look into the original and the expansion right here.

After a year of combat, the new SLDF had pushed all the way to the Jaguar homeworld of Huntress, wiping out all traces of the Clans lineage in the process- eugenic labs were burnt, genetic information wiped clean, and warriors killed off in combat, mostly because the Jaguars rarely allowed themselves to survive to become Bondsmen. With the Smoke Jaguars removed from the picture aside from the ilKhan Lincoln Osis, the next stage was to find Strana Mechty, the capital world of the Clans. There, Victor challenged the Grand Council to a Grand Refusal. If the Inner Sphere won, the invasion would officially be over and the war would end. Unlike Tukayyid, this time it was a much more even fight with the Clans better prepared, and it came down to the wire. Ultimately, VSD and Serpent won, with Victor himself killing Osis with a katana. Not in battle, it was more an execution combined with 'suicide-by-MarySue'.



At the same time, Operation Damocles was undertaken- a force from the Eridani Light Horse raided a former Jaguar planet called Tranquil, where Galaxy Commander Corbitt was attempting to rally wayward Smoke Jaguar units to be rearmed for a counter-attack. Damocles was to destroy the factories, gut the Clan forces currently on planet, then bug out. It went badly when one of their two dropships was shot down, then worse when the survivors realised Corbitt had a much larger force than expected. MechWarrior 3 covers this operation, and is, in my opinion, the best of the entire series, hands down. If you can find a copy, get it and play it.

Coming not long after the end of the war with the Clans was the first two games that Microsoft took the helm for- MechCommander 2 dealt with a war between Liao, Steiner and Davion forces over a contested planet which also wanted to be independant. The player is a mercenary, switching sides as the plot demands. It's an ok game, not as good as the original but capable.



MechWarrior 4 on the other hand... this game deals with a Steiner noble who has had his family killed and their planet claimed. Now he wants revenge. Pretty basic stuff that comes off as 'meh', it's simply a forgettable game especially now we have the stand-alone Mercenaries to carry the new generation. As I said in the original OP-

quote:

MW4 Vengeance is... something that I can't talk about without ranting. It's a bad bad game. It took what was great with the previous games and pissed all over it. The graphics are more shiny and yet somehow look worse than MW3. Most of the 'Mechs have been redesigned, in ways that are just confusing (looking at you, 'Mad Dog') The campaign is boring and uninspired, the concept, the execution, the missions, and especially the cutscenes and briefings. While I did have some fun with the 'stomping enemies into dust' aspect, I could get that from the previous titles and enjoy it oh so much more.


Ok, so what of the above is actually relevant to this game?

I'm getting to that...



MW4:Mercs takes place in AD3066, 6 years after end of the Clan Invasion. During that time, Katrina Steiner successfully handled a coup and took control of the Federated Commonwealth (one of the most powerful Successor States, a combination of the Lyran Commonwealth and Federated Suns) from Prince Victor Steiner-Davion, who was too busy kicking Clanner hide from Terra to Strana Mechty to do anything. Katrina had the support of those who saw the Prince as bloody-thirsty from his years of fighting. Those loyal to Victor saw the move as the ultimate betrayal, especially as rumours that Katrina assassinated Arthur Steiner-Davion for control of the Commonwealth, as well as a very obvious Lyran bias by the Archon. It didn't take long for infighting between Lyran and Federated forces to devolve into a full scale civil war.


Around 3067, the FedCom split back into the FedSun and Lyran states, as they were before the Fourth Succession War of 3027

As the game begins, the fighting is still mostly from small skirmishes between the two factions, or planets using the confusion to try and declare their independence from both Great Houses. As we continue, however, the fighting will reach a boiling point, with Davion assaults on Steiner held planets. The choice becomes to join Davion to try and usurp the usurper, or join Steiner to help maintain their control of the Commonwealth.

And so we play as a mercenary, the eponymous INSERTNAMEHERE, callsign 'Spectre', of the INSERTSPONSORHERE's mercenary company INSERTCOMPANYNAMEHERE. And you get to pick the battles depending on who pays you the most. It might not seem much, but it can be a game saver if done well. And Mercs does it well.

See, both of this game and Vengeance have little plot, and what there is can be seen as irrelevant to most players. In Vengeance, the only thing driving the player was the plot, which as said is woeful. In Mercs, the player mainly chases the money, like a mercenary. So the plot being secondary actually works in character. The gameplay isn't much different, although again being a gun-for-hire means it can give you a nice variety of missions, mostly defence and assault but also escort, recon and quick-reaction support.

Finally, there's the inventory management. MW3 and 4 both relied heavily on captured enemy equipment. MW3 worked because you got a lot of salvage, but had very limited room for it. MW4 didn't because the salvaging system was borderline schizophrenic, randomly picking what you could claim at times. Mercs retains the MW4 salvage system, but simply because you are now able to buy and sell from an open marketplace gives a player so many more options. It's still better to get salvage because of how much cash you need to lay down, but if you need a replacement 'Mech in a hurry, or really want to try an AC-20, you're gold.

So, in summary- I like Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries. It's good fun to go stomping through the campaign, which has a nice difficulty curve, and has a wide variety of killing options available.

And now, on to our feature presentation-

'Spectre' Ramirez, 'Lady Killer' Martin and the Thessalonica Guardians in: The Search for More Money

Videos


Part 1- Getting Started- Blip Youtube 1/2 Youtube 2/2
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission - WLF-2 Wolfhound

Part 2- Merchants of Death- Blip Youtube 1/2 Youtube 2/2
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission - OW-1 Owens

Part 3- Once more, same as before- Blip Youtube
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- HSN-7D Hellspawn

Part 4- Keep them doggies rolling- Blip Youtube
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- Conjurer 'Hellhound' (aka Wolverine IIC)

Part 5- Hit and Fade- Blip Youtube
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- BSW-X1 Bushwacker

Part 6- Third Times the Charm- Blip Youtube
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- UZL-2S Uziel

Part 7- Weaponry is a Universal Commodity- Blip Youtube 1 Youtube 2
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- AGS-4D Argus

Part 8- Saw That One Coming- Blip Youtube
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- CPLT-C1 Catapult

Part 9- Night Strike- Blip Youtube 1 Youtube 2
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- Adder 'Puma'

Part 10- Turkey Shoot- Blip Youtube
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- FLE-17 Flea

Part 11- Chokepoint- Blip Youtube
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- AWS-8Q Awesome

Part 12- The Cavalry Never Arrives Early- Blip Youtube 1 Youtube 2
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- BL-6-KNT Black Knight

Part 13- Lyran Style Covert Ops- Blip Youtube
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- DRG-1N Dragon

Part 14- Honour Guard- Blip Youtube
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- TNS-4S Thanatos

Part 15- Honour Guard 2: Electric Boogaloo- Blip Youtube
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- MAL-1R Mauler

Part 16- Solaris Special #1, Light Circuit- Blip Youtube 1 Youtube 2
Download- Source SD LD
Montage music- Riding High, Ace Combat 5 OST

Part 17- Solaris Special #2, Medium Circuit- Blip Youtube 1 Youtube 2
Download- Source SD LD
Montage music- Mayhem, Ace Combat Zero OST

Part 18- Welcome to the Jungle- Blip Youtube
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- Stormcrow 'Ryoken'

Part 19- We Got Fun and Games- Blip Youtube
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- MAD-3R Marauder

Part 20- If You Got the Money, Honey...- Blip Youtube
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- Hellbringer 'Loki'

Part 21- ... We Got Your Disease- Blip/Polsy Youtube
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- Mad Dog 'Vulture'

Part 22- Quantity has a Quality of it's own- Blip/Polsy Youtube
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- Kit Fox 'Uller'

Part 23- The Problem with Steiner?- Blip/Polsy Youtube Youtube/Polsy
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- RVN-3L Raven

Part 24- Overpayed, Overweight and Over Here- Blip/Polsy Youtube 1 Youtube 2
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- TLR1-O Templar

Part 25- Solaris Special #3, Heavy Circuit- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy 1 Youtube 2
Download- Source SD LD
Montage music- Freedom Fight, MechWarrior 2 Mercenaries

Part 26- Jammin' then Slammin'- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- ANH-2A Annihilator

Part 27- Solaris Special #4, Assault Circuit- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy 1 Youtube/Polsy 2
Download- Source SD LD
Montage music- White Devil, Ace Combat Assault Horizon OST

Part 28- High Speed Low Drag- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- CP-10-Z Cyclops

Part 29- Solaris Special #5, Championship Circuit- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy 1 Youtube/Polsy 2
Download- Source SD LD

Part 30- Lyran Industrial Espionage- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- Cougar

Part 31- Solaris Special #6, Grand Championship- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy 1 Youtube/Polsy 2
Download- Source SD LD
Montage music- The Entertainer, Scott Joplin

Part 32- River City Raidin'- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- Timber Wolf "Mad Cat"

Part 33- A Bridge Too Cliche- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- Shadow Cat

Part 34- Follow that Paycheck- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- VTR-9D Victor

Part 35- 65 ton Sneak n' Peak- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- Ebon Jaguar 'Cauldron Born'

Part 36- Destructive Saviours- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- Summoner 'Thor'

Part 37- 600M Murder Machines- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- FNR-5 Fafnir
As presented by George Ledoux

Part 38- Operation Torch- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- Dire Wolf 'Daishi'

Part 39- Rescue Mission- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy 1 Youtube/Polsy 2
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- AS7-D Atlas

Part 40- Operation REFORGER- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- SD1-O Sunder

Part 41- Leave no man behind?- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy 1 Youtube/Polsy 2
Download- Source SD LD
'Mech of the Mission- Tracktoads, chopperjocks and zoomies

Part 42 *ENDING #1*- Operation Grand Slam- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy 1 Youtube/Polsy 2
Download- Source SD LD

Part 43 *ENDING #2*- Trial of the Duke- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy
Download- Source SD LD

Part 44 *ENDING #3*- Finding Serenity- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy 1 Youtube/Polsy 2 (Credits)
Download- Source SD LD


Bonus Videos


Part 4A- Long Toms cannot into survival- Blip Youtube
Download- Source SD LD

Part 17A- Danger Close- Blip Youtube
Download- Source SD LD

Part 22A- Investigations into pilot skills- Blip/Polsy Youtube
Download- Source SD LD

Part 41a- 'Mech of the Mission Rap-up #1- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy
Download- Source SD LD

Part 41b- 'Mech of the Mission Wrap-up #2- Blip/Polsy Youtube/Polsy
Download- Source SD LD

Other relevant stuff
List of 'Mech names, as suggested by goons.

Solaris Specials


Bonus picture!
The Atlas Shrug, by Spaceking (of Space)
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