Game:MercenariesPublisher:LucasArtsDeveloper:Pandemic StudiosGenre:ActionTested for:XboxAvailable for:XboxUSK:Released in:3 / 2005
Dream job mercenary: We are looking for young people with a military background who have experience in dealing with difficult people and have the stamina to explore rough terrain. Knowledge of weaponry, explosives and the handling of vehicles of all kinds is desirable. The task requires on-site deployment in crisis areas. We offer a good working atmosphere in a professionally trained team, flexible working hours and performance-related pay. Well, fit for the job as a mercenary? No? Then maybe it’s enough to become a virtual legionnaire in LucasArts’ military action Mercenaries. Similar to Rockstar’s gangster epic Grand Theft Auto you move freely (preferably on four wheels) through a large area.
$100,000,000 lures you to North Korea in the form of one of three ExOps (Executive Operations) soldiers. The proud sum is advertised as a bounty on the despotic General Song, who rules his people with a brutal hand. The country’s four political parties – the UN, South Korea, China and Russia – urgently need your help in eliminating Song’s brutal regime and are ready to reward your services handsomely. In order to get the bank balance in good shape, your mercenary must damage the enemy North Korea in every possible way: steal weapon stocks, kill off high-ranking officers, blow up army bases and defense positions or cripple tank brigades. In addition, the clients insist on the extradition of 52 North Korean regime supporters, symbolized by a deck of cards. But because capitalists (Russian mafia) don’t get along with communists (China), your potential for destruction is not limited to the class enemy North Korea. Theft, sabotage and even murder of an allied party are also part of your lucrative mercenary jobs. But no action without a reaction: If you damage a potential client, you lose sympathy points. If morale falls below a certain value and the nation is then neutral or even hostile to you, generous donations and good deeds will help improve reputation. Because morale decides whether allied soldiers will join you in the fight against North Koreans.
In addition to the UN, South Korea, China and the Russian mafia, you can also tap other sources of money: complete checkpoint races or take on time-limited challenges. These are not mandatory for the storyline, but passing those tasks will bring you small change for expensive military equipment or life-saving medical measures. You can access the ‘Merchant of Menace’ shop via PDA at any time and can choose from airstrikes, weapons, explosives, first-aid kits and, last but not least, numerous vehicles. Provided the coal is right, what you want will be delivered promptly. But why buy when the bulk of the equipment is actually available for stealing. At least as far as vehicles are concerned, there are no moral or legal limits. One push of a button is enough and you grab off-road vehicles, cars, tanks and attack helicopters. Even manned vehicles are no obstacle: stuff a grenade into the access hatch and the tank is yours – including burn marks. But not all that glitters is gold. Some vehicles have a disadvantage that is not without risk: If you take a tour of the demilitarized zone in a North Korean jeep, UN troops will rigorously fire at you until you give up your camouflage by honking your horn.
Presented graphically Mercenaries as a double-edged sword: while you enjoy the explosions that fill the screen, collapsing buildings and burning vehicles, the vision falls by the wayside or quickly disappears in the dense fog. In helicopter sequences, above a certain altitude, you can only vaguely perceive the landscape under a brown soup. With both feet on the virtual ground, on the other hand, you can enjoy the excellent physics model, which lets shot-down objects sail meters through the air.
Janina Wintermayr meint: The Joy of Destroying: Who is already with Grand Theft Auto days and weeks and only has a spark left for everything military feels at Mercenaries Immediately at home: assassination orders, bounty hunts, defense missions or sabotage operations – Pandemic’s action food offers a cornucopia of playful ideas paired with the freedom to do whatever you want. Devoid of any political correctness, you pursue your destructive rage, do dirty jobs for money or cruise through the countryside in one of the numerous vehicles. On the other hand, you have to accept compromises in terms of graphics. However, the washed-out textures and the low foresight can hardly diminish the fun of the game.
+ motivating game design…
+ …with pleasure in destruction
+ several different vehicles
+ successful control
– Bounty hunting monotonous in the long run
– partly bland textures and heavy fog
Uncompromising action with a generous fleet and huge potential for destruction.