Mech Commander

Moby ID: 334
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Description official descriptions

It's time to drive the hated Smoke Jaguar Clan from Port Arthur once and for all! You take on the role of the commander of a lance of the First Davion Guards. Through a series of missions you must carefully plan your attacks, spend Resource Points wisely, and keep your people alive.

Mech Commander is a real-time strategy game that introduces eighteen different types of mechs, several types of vehicles, repair bays, artillery barrages, mine fields, forests that you can burn down, highly explosive containers, mechs that limp when their legs are damaged, missile and autocannon turrets, and other features.

During each mission, you can capture buildings to get weapons. You can also salvage enemy mechs if they aren't too badly damaged. You are awarded Resource Points which you can use to repair mechs and buy new mechs, weapons, and Mechwarriors. Your Mechwarriors will advance in different skills (gunnery, piloting, jumping, and sensors) as they use them in battle. They can also be injured or killed.

The opening movie features live-action acting.


  • MechCommander - Alternate spelling
  • 机甲指挥官 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

136 People (131 developers, 5 thanks) · View all

Clan Material
  • FASA Corporation
Special Thanks To
Executive Producer
Product Technical Director
Associate Producer
Lead Programming
Lead Animator
Sound and Music
Game Design
Software Engineering
[ full credits ]



Average score: 77% (based on 27 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 27 ratings with 4 reviews)

An excellent isometric Mech experience

The Good
What Mech Commander essentially does is take turn-based BattleTech and transpose it into a simplified real-time form.

The 'Mech customization is the most positive aspect of this game. Any 'Mech can be used in a long-range support role or as a close-range heavy hitter. You can re-define your platoon's strategy between missions, or mix-and-match for cross-mission tactical feasibility. You will find that planning out a mission is just as essential as how the mission is actually played.

And this is one of few games for which I can say that replaying a mission is fun. In fact, you will replay missions multiple times to reduce damage done to your 'Mechs, to maximize your salvage, and to find efficient ways to do what the obvious path would turn into an arduous and closely-matched battle. It's not just about strategy; it's about re-defining your strategy after your first strategy either failed or narrowly succeeded.

For an isometric 2.5-D game, the graphics are surprisingly good; 'Mech limbs can be blown off; 'Mech and vehicle explosions are sufficiently gratifying; though the weapon graphics more or less fall into three categories (the 'missile' shared by SRMs and LRMs, the 'bolt' shared by Autocannons and lasers, and the PPC animation), the speed and color of these individual weapons are sufficient that you'll see a wide variety of fire being exchanged during battles, keeping them original and entertaining.

The landscapes are also beautifully produced and meticulously designed in spite of a very simple template of terrain. The missions interact almost seamlessly with the terrain in which they are presented; you are frequently presented with a choice to burn through a forest or take the paved road, and sometimes burning through exposes a path you didn't know existed, but other times, it's just a forest. As a result, there's a lot of experimentation involved with each mission.

The Bad
As a result, the game is also a lot less spontaneous. Since the success of every mission has some bearing upon how well you did on the mission before it, you will usually end up making a 'dry run' of a mission in which you expose all the ambushes and terrain surprises, then replay the mission so the surprises are either evaded entirely or met with blunt force.

The game also inadvertently encourages loading out your 'Mechs with all Long and Medium range weaponry. Since the enemy force typically comes at you one little piece at a time, you get into the habit of packing all of your 'Mechs with the weapons necessary to break apart individual enemies before they can make a first or second shot. Even if the enemy gets into close range with one of your 'Mechs, this only forces your other 'Mechs to move back and surround the enemy with continued long and medium range barrages.

The necessity to salvage Heavy Clan 'Mechs early in the game, especially the Mad Cat in the third mission, means that you'll be replaying certain missions over and over again just to make the salvage. It feels arbitrary to kill something in the same way ten times just so that on the eleventh try you will be able to use it in the next mission. Don't even get me started on trying to salvage something with its valuable weapons intact.

If you're a die-hard BattleTech geek, you'll notice that the customization rules are hardly up to CBT (Classic BattleTech) standards. Though you can come up with 'Mech payloads which would be horribly illegal in CBT, you still can't customize ammo, and since your AI pilots don't understand why Gauss ammo should be saved for 'Mechs and not wasted on Savannah Masters, you will find yourself replacing those heavy, ammo-light weapons with energy weapons. It's too frustrating to deal with ammo when the pilots don't know how to conserve it, which is one of the biggest failings of a game built on directing AI.

There's one particularly frustrating bug in this game: Enemy gates will open for the enemies crowding around them, allowing your 'Mechs to enter. But once you've killed the enemies, the gate closes - sometimes on one of your 'Mechs, which kills it instantly.

The Bottom Line
This game is great for BattleTech fans, refreshing for MechWarrior fans, and very fun for RTS fans. For anybody else, it doesn't exactly have the pace of an FPS and not enough open-ended potential to count as an RPG. But I had a lot of fun with this title, and enjoyed it all the way up to the end credits.

Windows · by Jackson Schwipp (18) · 2010

Impressive war game.

The Good
Mech Commander was a lot of fun and a great RTS. This is a strategy game, except most of the strategizing comes prior to gameplay. Purchasing warriors and mechs, arming mechs and conserving funds make for a complex game.

I found that most levels could be solved in various ways, usually one route was easier than another. This game also took terrain into effect which is refreshing. Interesting combo of mechs and standard battle units- loved them minelayers.

I also found that the mech warrior actors did a great job. I was bothered when I lost one and would often replay a level if I sustained casualties.

The Bad
Fog of War- doesn't work in a tech heavy game- sorry.

Linear design- branching levels would have been incredible. Hope MC2 features this.

The Bottom Line
Awesome addition to RTS world. Great Mech game featuring challenging gameplay.

Windows · by Terrence Bosky (5397) · 2001

A new way of mech gaming

The Good
The game is a fresh new way of gaming in the BattleTech universe. Instead of piloting a single mech, you are now commanding a lance (sometimes more) of mechs...

Mech Commander works like any RTS game out there, select some units, tell it to explore under the fog of war, or tell it to attack...However, there is no building in the game, nor is there mineral harvesting...You get resources from completing set objectives, and receive reinforcements from salvaging them, picking them up mid-mission and buying them...

The game has a huge variety of things to customize from, from choosing what mechs and vehicles to buy, to choosing the weapons to fit the mech with, to deciding which MechWarrior should pilot which mech...

The effects of each mission carry over to the next and your mech warriors can gain exprience and improve in rank and skill...Ranks are required to pilot mechs, and if a mechwarrior doesn't have a high enough rank, then the mech suffers a penalty...

The visual effects of the game are stunning...explosions look so beautiful that you might find yourself drooling, and the effects of weapons are realistic...your mechs limp when they are shot in the leg, and they leave foot prints when travelling...

The detail of this game is amazing...almost everything can be blown up...when your mechs lose an arm, it flies off, and you can see it lying on the ground...each mechwarrior has its own voice, and it makes the game more alive, as you feel like the warriors have a personality...

The commands that you give to you units are also very detailed...From the range to the attack to the location (ie head, leg, cockpit), you can specify it all...

The Bad
The linearness of the game is one huge flaw...even the missions themselves are extremely linear...You have to finish a mission before you go on to the next. The missions are very restrictive...there is one mission where if you do not use a mine layer, there is no way you can beat it...this saps the creativity out of being able to plan your mech battle tactics...

Also, your mechwarriors level up way too slowly...there are only so many missions in the game, and sometimes if the warrior is injured, you can't put him/her the rate of them leveling up their skills, you become very hard pressed to find an ace pilot for that Atlas assualt mech that you have, but have a swarm of new green recruits that can pilot the only light mech in your inventory...

The Bottom Line
Very fun, but sometime you can't help but get frustrated at the linearness of the game

Windows · by MadCat (53) · 2000

[ View all 4 player reviews ]


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Raphael.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Cantillon, Catalin Patilea.

Game added October 29, 1999. Last modified March 28, 2024.