Heavy Gear II

aka: Heavy Gear II: Mission Caprice
Moby ID: 1042
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

As the leader of the special ops group Dark Talons, lead your squad mates on a series of dangerous missions as you discover the NEC plot against your homeland, Terra Nova. Operate behind enemy lines as you gather data, attack enemy camps, capture enemy leaders, take over space stations, and more. Combat happens on land, underground (huge caverns), and even in space. There are plenty of weapons to outfit your gear, even some hand-to-hand weapons. You can also add perks and flaws to further customize your gear. Stealth is a major concern in some missions. The game play feel is very different from the Mechwarrior series.

Set in Dream Pod 9's Heavy Gear universe (it actually rivals the Battletech universe in complexity, though not nearly as famous), this game requires 3D accelerator with its "Dark" 3D engine. The gears are capable of very human-like movements, such as kneeling, crawling, and jumping.

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Credits (Windows version)

262 People (244 developers, 18 thanks) · View all

Lead Programming
Lead Designer
Art Director
AI Programmer
Network Programmer
Shell/Tool Programmer
Special Effects Programming
Network Shell Programmer
Physics/Special Effects Programming
Installer Programmer
Darkside Engine
Associate Producer
Executive Producer
Additional Production
Game Designers
[ full credits ]



Average score: 84% (based on 26 ratings)


Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 24 ratings with 2 reviews)

Interesting alternative to Mechwarrior, but still relies on overwhelming numbers...

The Good
Lots of stealth missions, alternative travel modes (try the "skates!"), lots of weapons (even mortars and grenades) and even hand-to-hand weapons, Zero-G missions, ability to kneel and even crawl, decent AI that actually hides when under attack and takes cover (sometimes), nice terrain effects with the 3D engine (even decent trees) with lighting effects

The Bad
Hard to remap the controls, as you can't "double-map" some of the functions. No mid-mission save some some missions require a lot of trial-and-error, the AI occasionally is just too stupid despite occasional brilliance. The missions rely on threat value limits (which makes no sense tactically, as you want to go in best equipped!) and plenty of enemies to be challenging.

The Bottom Line
Heavy Gear 2, with the new 3D Dark Engine, is almost a match for Mechwarrior 3. The scenarios are challenging (except that impossible training mission). The graphics are good (though not QUITE as detailed as MW3). The mission designs are quite good, as there are a lot of "stealth" missions (instead of just smashing in MW3) mixed in with the good "brawl" missions. The weapons mix and the ability to add both perks and flaws are interesting, though it needs to be better implemented. On the other hand, as always you're fighting against "overwhelming odds" where the enemy outnumber you greatly. And the "threat value limit" placed in each mission feels very artificial. Overall, this game is worth trying if you like this genre.

Windows · by Kasey Chang (4591) · 2000

Impressive visuals, but lacking in gameplay.

The Good
Heavy Gear 2's best quality is definitely its visuals. When maxed out in details and set at a high resolution, the terrain, vehicles, and gears are amazing in this Dark Side engine-powered game. Missile trails, explosions, dust clouds and rain enhance the experience greatly.

Music is also produced well, as are the voice-overs during the mission briefings and in-game cutscenes. Additionally, your squadmates are act fairly intelligent and all exhibit different behavior depending on their personality.

The story - about a small team of special forces gear pilots sent behind enemy lines to uncover a terrorist plot - pans out nicely. The missions vary from search and rescue to a stealthy infiltration to the standard "kill all the enemies". Some even take place in space, where the game models an interesting zero-G simulation with inertia physics.

The Bad
Unfortunately, some little design decisions manage to spoil the overall enjoyment of the game. I call these design decisions because they do not appear to be bugs nor due to limitations of the Dark Side engine.

The biggest disappointment is the agility of the gears. The premise of the Heavy Gear robots has always been that they are basically giant suits of armor which allow for human-like movements and dexterity. Thus, this game, as well as its prequel, have been marketed as a mix of Mechwarrior and Quake action.

While it is true that the gears can jump, crouch, crawl, and sidestep/strafe, they do it so slowly those movement options are useless (unless crawling to snipe or avoid detection). For example, it takes somewhere between 1 to 2 seconds to crouch or stand up! Similarly, sidestepping while moving forward is impossible, and the transition from forward movement to strafing takes about as long as crouching. And once you are sidestepping, it is useless in combat since it is also very slow. So in reality, it is not possible at all to move quickly like in a first-person-shooter. This system truly breaks down during the space missions -- your gear moves fast, but maneuvering is sluggish.

Weapons also seem weak, at least in terms of visual and sound representations. For example, the most powerful energy weapon looks like a little pistol and sounds like a watergun squirting.

The gear configuration options are also poorly executed. Instead of feeding you new weapons and gadgets as you progress, you have access to all the equipment starting with mission 1. Each mission imposes a 'threat limit' rating on how much armor, weapons, speed, etc. can be added to your gear, with the explanation that you might be short on supplies for that moment. This seems justified since you are an elite unit with access to all technologies, and you might have to make some strategic assessment on what to take into battle.

However, in practice, you can essentially give your gear the best weapons on the first mission by stripping some of the armor and sensor options off. Another inconsistency is the fact that some scenarios have you alone and cut off from your supply ship for 2 or 3 missions, yet you still have the ability to reconfigure your gear with all of the options between each mission. Also, since you cannot ever change your gear type once you start a campaign, coupled with the fact that there are no salvage options, the positive feedback associated with gaining new weapons and equipment is gone and advancing in the campaign is not that exciting.

Lastly, it was a disappointment that most of the missions took place at night or on dark moons. The engine does a wonderful job of modeling vivid terrain in daylight, but is not impressive in dark environments.

The Bottom Line
t is sad that once again Activision again failed to capture the feel of the Heavy Gear universe. Visually, Heavy Gear 2 is spectacular. Missions are diverse, but a little too difficult and frustrating.

Gameplay is lacking, especially since the gears are not as nimble as they should be. Multiplayer battles are decent, but one would be better off playing one of the Mechwarrior/Battletech offshoots or sticking to tradition shooters Tribes2.

Only recommended for those who enjoy the Dream Pod 9's pen-and-paper Heavy Gear RPG.

Windows · by grimbergen (433) · 2001



If you play a netgame around Christmas, the gears will be wearing Santa hats.


Before the game was released, Activision actually had three different HUD designs for the cockpit displays: demo (from the demo version), graphical, and military. By popular vote, military was chosen for the game.


Heavy Gear II was selected as one of the showcase games for the "Intel Inside" advertising campaign that year.

Linux version

Heavy Gear II is Loki's first major port attempt that features 3D acceleration. As the original was Direct3D only, Loki has to port the game to OpenGL, as well as rewrite all the soundcard code to OSS/OpenAL standards, but the end result is virtually identical to the Windows version.


The Linux version can actually play with the Windows version on the network. There are no difference between the clients once you're connected.


  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 03/2000 - Most Bugs in 1999


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Derrick 'Knight' Steele.

Additional contributors: Kasey Chang, formercontrib, Patrick Bregger.

Game added March 12, 2000. Last modified April 8, 2024.