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Title: MechAssault
Developer: Day 1 Productions
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Date Published: November 2001
Platforms: Only on Xbox
ESRB Rating: T: Teen

MechAssault is the popular third-person killing machine shooter available on the Xbox. Within the game you pilot a BattleMech (Mech) - "the most powerful weapon of the 31st century, a 40-foot tall walking tank", taking inspiration from the desktop RPG/miniatures game/board game BattleTech.

Storyline

You are an elite Mech pilot in the Wolf's Dragoons - a mercenary clan paid to investigate a pirate report on an outlying planet. Dropping in within the vanguard, you and Bravo Lance are attacked by orbital guns that were not revealed in the intelligence. Your drop ship, the Icarus is damaged, and you and the remaining Alpha Lance "hot drop" out of danger. After all, flight crew are expendable, but Mechs aren't...

Gameplay

MechAssault is NOT like any other x'Mech game before it. It is pure action - missions are blast, run, blast... or run, blast, run. You start the game with a limited choice of Mechs - "...let me get this straight - you used parts from the heavy mech to repair the LIGHT Mech?!?" and pre-defined weapons. From this dead easy start, you are quickly embroiled in a firefight that leads to deeper plot twists...

Storyline (...Continued)

Upon landing, you find that you are the only Mech remnant of the ill-fated Bravo Lance. With no contact from Alpha Lance either, it is up to you and the remaining flight crew of the Dropship Icarus to investigate the hordes of troops that come to attack - "...wait, they are sending infantry against a Mech?!? These guys must be fanatics!" With this strange twist, you find that a wired cult, the Word of Blake is asserting its authority on an unwilling populac, lead by the annoyingly talkative Adept Strader, who constantly threatens with the unknown, mythological "Ragnorak"...

How it plays

The Mech of choice is remarkably easy to control. One thumbstick to control leg movement, one to control torso direction - you can look and run in totally different directions, regardless of Mech. Unlike previous x'Mech games, there are no "fixed perspective" Mechs, with cockpit views being fixed to direction of movement. Firing and cycling of weapons systems is handled by the triggers, and weapon groups by the A, B, X and Y buttons. The movement thumbstick button (traditionally the left one) triggers Jump Jets if equipped, and the visual thumbstick button triggers Mech-board defences such as AMS "chaff", Null signature (rendering you "invisible" for a time) or radar jamming.

Salvage

Salvage represent the "power ups" of MechAssault - kill and enemy Mech or tactically important building (supply depot etc...) and you leave one of four power ups: Armor, ballistic weapon, laser weapons or missile weapons systems. Each Mech has a maximum "undamaged" armor level, and three grades of weapon - the lowest being unlimited with normal damage, and each power up replenishing the damage, recharge time, heatsink efficiency and of course, a limited ammo supply. Once this ammo level is exhausted, you drop to the next lower level (if any, otherwise you remain on the lowest "unlimited" level). A cool feature that can backfire is that armor upgrades repair less and less the heavier the Mech - you can get complacent repairing your Cougar and then jump in to an Atlas and only repair a fraction of your damage!

Mechs

Sadly, some of the more memorable Mechs are lacking in MechAssault. Jenners - one of my personal favourites, is notably absent.

Light Mechs / Variants


Medium Mechs / Variants

Heavy Mechs / Variants

So what's it like?

This game plays hard, fast and with lots of action. Most missions are blast-fests, with a only handful of variants like infiltration by Elemental thrown in for good measure. Multiplayer is great fun, but can be one-sided if pitted against each other in un-equal Mechs. Team play is really only good with 4 people, but System Link or a network makes that a snap. Due to my abode in th Land Down Under, I have yet to try the Xbox Live "experience", but I can imagine it would be even better - huge fields, massive coordination by headset mic's...

Recommended!


Random interesting other stuff

MechAssault is "developed" by Microsoft Game Studios, produced by the paid-for-code team who actually DO the work, Day:1:Studios. Also, it is noted that there is a big credit for WizKids LLC could this be the first true collaboration between M$ and the OTHER half of people who bought out FASA, their design team FASA Studios, their games team FASA Interactive and associates? No. Probably the real story is purely inspired by the almighty dollar - money making, big legal fees, huge teams of lawyers and NOBODY SUES...

Information gleaned from:
http://www.xbox.com/mechassault
http://faqs.ign.com/articles/378/378845p1.html
My own lovingly played Australian version of MechAssault


2003.01.07@06:07 amib says Re: MechAssault - Got some major and minor issues with this w/u, which is otherwise quite good.
2003.01.07@06:10 amib says You're missing some basic information, like release dates. Try taking a look at E2 FAQ: video games and going down the checklist; it's mostly minor omissions.
2003.01.07@06:14 amib says The last paragraph is utter nonsense. When FASA went under, Microsoft bought the rights to make electronic games from any of FASA's properties, and Wiz Kids bought the rest. It's the first game for Wiz Kids to get major billing because >>
2003.01.07@06:17 amib says >> Mechwarrior: Dark Age, Wiz Kids' miniatures game, wasn't out yet. Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries had major billing for WK for the same reason. Kalon's Aside: Yeah, caught me out - stuck in the arse end of the world, I missed all the goings-on that I would have been engrossed in had I still lived where I was born. Adjusted.
2003.01.07 at 06:18 amib says Additionally, Microsoft Game Studios published MechAssault, and Day 1 Studios (the proper spelling) developed it. This is a common arrangement, and Day 1 is, IIRC, part of MS Game Studios.
2003.01.07 at 06:18 amib says Timber Wolf is two words, bTW.
2003.01.07 at 06:20 amib says Sucks to get someone who is a pedant, a Battletech geek, and a video game geek to latch onto and microanalyze your w/u. ^^;
2003.01.07 at 06:33 lj says re mechassault, you can't have jenners anymore, because harmony gold own the rights to the image. (Technically they don't own the rights exclusively, but they kept harassing FASA with frivolous lawsuits until they relented.)
2003.01.07 at 09:55 saturnine says re MechAssault: Hmm. BattleMechs have always had the torso twist option - what games have had fixed-view mechs?
This write-up complies with the E2 FAQ: Video Games standards.

Multiplayer is probably the best mode of the game, as the single player mode story is a bit too short for most gamers. Multiplayer can be played on one Xbox via split screen (referred to as local), two or more Xboxes connected via System Link, or via Xbox Live. I can't speak for system link play since I have not tried it, but going online with this game is great.

Multiplayer Game Modes

Grinder
Modes: Local or singleplayer
This mode consist of the player versus a stream of mech attacks. The object is to see how many mechs you can take down before you get taken down. The first round consists of one mech attacking you. The round progresses until you've killed a number of different mechs. Round two consists of two mechs attacking at one time. Each round gets increasingly harder.

Destruction
Modes: Local and Xbox Live
This is your typical deathmatch mode. Pick a mech, then attack others and see how many kills you can get in the time alotted.

Team Destruction
Modes: Local and Xbox Live
Same idea as Destruction, except you are working as a team. Killing a teammate results in a -1 kill penalty.

Last Man Standing
Modes: Local and Xbox Live
This is a variant of Destruction. The goal is to kill all the other mechs before they kill you. The twist is that once you are dead, you respawn as a human and cannot make any more kills. You can only watch the rest of the battle.

Team Last Man Standing
Modes: Local and Xbox Live
Same idea as Last Man Standing, only in a team setting

Not It!
Modes: Local and XBox Live
Think of tag in a mech. One player starts out as "it". The "it" player is identified by the yellow arrow above his or her mech, and the yellow triangle on the radar. Score points by killing "it", and then killing others when you are "it". You may kill other players who aren't "it", but you'll only score a kill, no points. Points are what matters in this game mode.


If you have experience with the system link mode of play, please let me know!

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