MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries

aka: MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries (3Dfx Interactive Edition), MercNet
Windows Specs [ all ]

Description official descriptions

The stand-alone follow-up to Mechwarrior 2, Mercenaries puts you in command of a small company of 'mechs whose only loyalty is to money. As there is a brutal war between 2 tribes underway, your goal is to cash in by doing tough jobs for both sides.

Buy and equip your mechs, hire pilots, and fight in a wide array of campaigns against rebels, pirates, the Clans, and even other houses of the Inner Sphere. In the Merc mode you will have to keep an eye on stocks of salvageable material, and use this to designate which Mercs are built next, while Story Mode plays like a straight-ahead action game. Internet options include play with up to 15 others around the world.

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Credits (DOS version)

143 People (95 developers, 48 thanks) · View all

Lead Programmer/3D Programmer
Lead Designer/Writer
FASA BattleMech Designs
3D Art/Animation Director, 'Mech Builder
2D Art/Animation Director
Audio Director
Original Music
Associate Producer
Additional Programming
Additional Design
Additional Writing
Intro Movie Script
[ full credits ]



Average score: 84% (based on 22 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 51 ratings with 3 reviews)

Mechwarrior 2... only better.

The Good
Mercenaries is simply a great game. It's very faithful to the FASA Battletech tabletop wargame and plays wonderfully. It takes every great thing about Mechwarrior 2, adds many more 'Mechs, weapons, more customisability, updated graphics, a semi-non-linear campaign and the ability to pilot an Atlas.

The first time i played Mercenaries I was astounded at the sheer number of 'Mechs available for piloting. Many of the original 3050 'Mech designs are here, and this variety greatly adds to the enjoyment of the game. In Mechwarrior 2, there were only one or two 'Mechs in each weight class, meaning you generally fought similar 'Mechs again and again. In Mercenaries, there can be five, six or even more 'Mechs in each class, so you never know if you'll be up against the long range firepower of a Naga's Arrow IV's, or the deadly accurate fire of a lance of Crabs.

The advantage of being a mercenary is in hiring your lancemates, buying and re-equipping your 'Mechs, and in deciding which missions to accept. Which brings me to the missions... they're great! Bored with attacking firebases or ambushing convoys? How about defending a giant chunk of ice floating through deep space from assault forces of 'Mechs Dropships (which can now move) and Aerospace fighters? Or taking part in the infamous Solaris VII gladitorial games? There are some great surprises waiting in the later missions as well.

As well as the new and exciting stuff, the core mechanics of Mechwarrior 2 have been carried across. This provides a very solid foundation to build on, and is probably the key factor that makes Mercenaries such a classic game.

The Bad
Now the nasty, bad bits. Although the campaign is purportedly non-linear, usually you'll have to finish a certain mission before you can proceed to the next "story" mission. The generic missions on offer aren't particularly interesting, consisting of simple tasks such as Attack, Defend or Recon.

Some of the story campaigns are really difficult, as you can't return to base to replace damaged or lost 'Mechs, pilots, equipment or ammunition. Ammunition is a particularly annoying point of the game. It is only available in small amounts, and it is only restocked at the shop after a mission is played. This means you have to buy ammunition constantly, whenever it is available, and often I find myself strolling into battle two or three missions into a campaign with less than one salvo of missiles or hopper of bullets at my disposal. You have only what you brought with you. If you buy the wrong 'Mech or suffer some ill fortune, you may be in a difficult position to continue the game. At times you will be totally outclassed, outgunned and outnumbered by the enemy forces, making some missions almost impossible to win without incredible luck or skill.

The Bottom Line
Mercenaries is simply a terrific game. It takes the best bits of Mechwarrior 2 and adds in some really cool new features (there's nothing like taking your personal, heavily customised Atlas (or even salvaged Clan machine...) out for a jaunt with your trusty lancemates). Mercenaries is a rock solid game and should appeal to fans of Battle tech and anyone who likes a tough shooter. The best is now even better!

Windows · by Evan Kerr (9) · 2004

Giant robots have never been cooler.

The Good
Hot on the heels of the mega-blockbuster Mechwarrior 2, which redefined sci-fi simulations, Activision developed Mech2: Mercenaries. A sequel/spin-off which incorporates a more open-ended gameplay in which you, as the head of a Mercenary Mech unit, select the campaigns you wish to take and handle equipment, repairs, loadout, etc. with your own hard-earned money. Essentially, you could say that this is to Mechwarrior 2 what Privateer was to Wing Commander.

If you have a basic idea of the games I've mentioned then the above phrase should be enough to sell you on the idea of Mercenaries. If you are new to the genre then just imagine a sci-fi tank simulation in which the tanks are gigantic bi-pedal robots armed with giant lasers, particle cannons, missiles, etc. And when I say simulation I really mean simulation! Each aspect of the Mech piloting is accurately modeled, you can tilt and independently aim with your weapons, zoom in and out for precise aim, group weapons, etc. there are even a series of cool details like manual shutdown-overrides that only add to the realism. And Mercenaries adds a series of features like extended HUD customization, giving you the ability to handle the millions of status displays as you see fit as well as giving you even more viewing space.

Considering the campaign progress Mercs doesn't take you on a pre-set series of missions that weave a larger plot like on the original Mech2. Instead, the game bases it's "plot" of sorts in a series of key mini-campaigns that eventually develop on the Inner's Sphere first encounter with the Clans (placing Mercs prior to Mechwarrior 2 and placing you on the other side of the conflict). As the leader of a buddying Mercenary unit, you'll be taking the campaigns as you see fit, and alternating them with randomly generated missions. The excitement is of course in the campaigns as they pack the most variety in their challenges. From taking control of enemy vehicles and escaping a POW camp, to taking part in an arena tournament, to fighting in deep space over the surface of a ship made of ice!!

The graphics department has been significantly upgraded, and getting the Direct3D patch turns the game detail level to the stratosphere, with only the blocky models and the poor texture detail to remind you that it's a 1996 game.

The other big game feature is the ability to handle the equipment, salvage, unit and lancemate upkeep and weapondry yourself. That puts an extra challenge to the game as you have to take more seriously into account your proficiency with the Mechs. No longer is it acceptable for you to come back home with half a Mech and all lancemates dead... Not unless you plan on staying on the bussiness and get enough dough to retire to a fancy pleasure yacht...

But hey, if you don't like any of that, you can play the game in a "lite" mode which removes the economy model and has you touring the campaigns Mechwarrior 2-style. Plus there's the requisite instant action mode, as well as off-the-box multiplayer support without the need of buying an extra "Net-Mech" package!

The Bad
The random missions are usually rather dull, being either recon, assault or protect missions with only new, harder Mechs to defeat. Also I would have preferred a more open-ended aproach to the game progress. The campaigns often present themselves as the ONLY available choice you have, putting that "non-linearity" thing in serious doubt. It's very easy thus to get stuck if you don't catch on with the game from the start. Otherwise you may find out that you are under-staffed and under-equipped to tackle a heavy-duty campaign, which just so happens to be the only choice you have left!!

The Bottom Line
Not exactly the "Mechwarrior's Privateer" it's made out to be, but really close enough. A true feast for sci-fi simmers with even deeper gameplay than it's predecessor. Activision now sells all the original Mechwarrior products under a neat little box, so there's no excuse to miss out on it anymore.

Take the missions, get the cash and salvage, upgrade your Mechs, maybe hire a new pilot... Mechwarrior 2 only got cooler.

Windows · by Zovni (10504) · 2003

MW2 was a great game, Mercenaries just made it better

The Good
Mech Warrior 2 and Mercenaries defined what a good mech game really is. Newer Mech games may have better graphic but they can not touch the gameplay that was created woth this series. The Graphics were the best for 1996, not many games could top it. This was a game that would run really well on a P166, and it had full windows support, if thats a good thing. This is a game that truely made Mechs exciteing and made Activision a player in the video game market again.

The Bad
Maybe that only problem I have with this game is the control system. The keyboard isnt fast enough, so you really need a good joystick. With out that the difficulty level is great.

The Bottom Line
If you like MW2, than this game is for you. If you don't like MW2 then this game could still be for you.

DOS · by NotTwoQuick (18) · 2000



In the readme, the recommended detail settings for each class of processors (P1, PII, ...) are listed. At the end of the list, there are the specs for a Cray supercomputer. The recommended settings for it are high detail on everything and a 1024x768 resolution (which the game does not support).


  • Computer Gaming World
    • May 1997 (Issue #154) – Space Simulation Game of the Year
    • May 1997 (Issue #154) – Space Simulation Game of the Year (Readers' Choice)

3D OEM versions

"Mercenaries" was one of the games that used to be shipped with early 3D accelerator cards. That's probably because with its open 3D environments and detailed mech designs it was a great title to showcase the cards' capabilities. At least these specific versions are known to exist:

  • 3Dfx Voodoo Graphics Edition

  • ATI 3D Rage Edition

  • PowerVR PCX2 Edition

  • S3 Virge Edition

  • Matrox Mystique Edition

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by brickbat.

Additional contributors: Zovni, tarmo888, Cantillon, Patrick Bregger, Plok, Simon Carless.

Game added June 20th, 2000. Last modified September 21st, 2023.