SummaryA fun and absorbing giant robot game with lots of atmosphere
The GoodWhere to begin? Earthsiege did many things right. The graphics were amazing for its time, as was the sound on the CD-rom version. The HERCS you control in the game were nicely texture mapped, the weapons effects were colorful, and there was locational based damage. The location based damage was not only cool, but of great strategic importance. Because it was necessary to salvage as much as possible from your fallen giant robot enemies, the best strategy was to blast out their legs from under them, thus preserving the rest of the machine for salvage.
The atmosphere in this game was incredible, and in my opinion it outclassed Mechwarrior 2. The animations and graphics in the briefing room and garage were excellent and really gave you the feeling of being part of a HERC battle unit. In the CD-rom edition, you get nice, pseudo full motion video of your commander during the briefings, and this also helped immerse you in the experience.
The AI, while not brilliant, provided a nice challenge. This was the first game that challenged me based on the AI alone, instead of having to rely on puzzles or sheer numbers. The enemy robots try to get behind you and out of your line of fire, and they use appropriate weapons for specific situations.
The BadThe storyline to the game, while providing you with reasons to fight on all kinds of different planets, really kind of takes a backseat to everything else. They could have done a whole lot more with the idea of machines really oppressing mankind, but instead it just kind of provides a reason to fight an enemy. While their machines look different from yours, the story really doesn't flesh them out well enough, so you could pretty much be fighting any enemy and it would all be the same.
Also, the game was relatively complex for a game in 1994. It was almost necessary to have a joystick and keyboard combination to play. There were a plethora of keyboard commands, and the torso could move independently of the legs, so controlling the big HERC required some practice.
The Bottom LineMetaltech: Earthsiege is not only a game of giant-robot tank fighting ala Mechwarrior 2, but also a game of strategic thought and planning. Before each mission, you choose which HERC (giant robot) you want to take and then customize with a variety of high tech weaponry ranging from missiles to various energy and projectile weapons. Once you've chosen your HERC, you choose a wing-man or two and plot some waypoints on the mission map before embarking. During the mission, it is important to collect salvage to repair your HERCS and gain access to bigger and better robots. In this manner, it becomes vitally important to preserve as much of the enemy robots as possible. Shooting out their legs from under them will leave a lot more salvage than simply blasting them to pieces.
The storyline is pretty standard stuff: man creates computer, computer becomes too intelligent, computer tries to eliminate man. Your enemies have giant walking robots similar to your HERCS, but also employ tanks and smaller, infantry based robots. They provide interesting enough enemies. While the storyline of the game is standard, the atmosphere is superb. Throughout the mission briefings and prebattle planning, you actually feel as if you are locked in a difficult struggle against a superior enemy. The mission briefing room and garage where the HERCS are worked on are very detailed and, if you have the CD-rom version, come with very nice sounds and voices.
The graphics and sound during the battles were top of the line when this game came out in 1994. Not only this, but there is accurate locational based damage, so it really matters where you shoot your enemies. And it was oh so fun to shoot off all the weapons of an enemy robot and then watch him helplessly run around.
So bottom line: Good atmosphere, deep gameplay, average story, good graphics.