Crescent Hawk's Inception
In this first graphical game based in FASA's tantalizing Battletech future robot-combat universe, you play Jason Youngblood, cast adrift in a cruel world trying to find out what happened to your father. Along the way, you build a team, wander a map, assemble a posse of robots, and kick some butt exploring this planet.Matt McLaine's Wars in the Inner Sphere sourced a few of these graphics and text files, and will provide the intrepid searcher with information on finding the games for themselves.
Sumptuous 256 colour vga graphics, bright colours, simple gameplay.
Both street-level character and mech/robot combat is handled through a combat menu - pre-determine the actions of your actors, and watch the results. This turn-based style is more akin to adventure gaming, or RPGs, rather than some kind of robot combat simulator such as Mechwarrior, a much more immmersive experience. The combat here in Battletech is not without exciting moments - the monotony of "he shoots you, you shoot him" text readouts is punctuated by occasional combat animations: anime-type robots slug each other and fall apart in about 10 frames. Aside from these screens, which soon become repetative, battles can be tedious to arrange through the menus; fortunately the computer can take over for you.
Aside from these few moments of animation, most of the story is conveyed with text (much like Circuit's Edge - same company, similar game engine). You wander the map, meeting various agents of two warring sides; your character's heritage has selected your allegiance. You are Jason Youngblood, son of a famous high-ranking respected guy, who has recently disappeared. More of his trail appears before you as you explore the landscape. Ultimately, you take on his search for him, and the plot concerns primarily a linear series of objects and people to assemble and manipulate to find the golden nimrod - the super-uber robot.
Every once in a while, even after I'd finished it, I found myself playing through this game because it was fun to wander through the little world. The few opportunities for resource management and team building are engaging enough to be replayable, if you leave long enough to forget how generally linear and small the game is. 95% of your opponents are completely faceless - drones that hurl themselves at you in completely random fashion, with nothing to distinguish them from the last attackers.
Battletech was pretty and kinda cool. And there was no other software to role-play with giant robots. The plot wasn't totally stupid, and the graphics were neat.
I found a trick to make a ton of money - once you have left the first city, wher you train initially, go to the second city and invest some money in each of the stocks. Now stick Jason in a far flung, unvisited corner of the city, and go out to lunch, or dinner. Come back in three hours and inevitably your investments will have soared into the trillions - you'll have enough money to train and repair and purchase anything you want.
The FASA/MechWorld has yet to make a good integrated combat/role playing game.