ST Format


BattleTech
By Infocom
Atari ST

 
Published in ST Format #4

BattleTech

Is this the most significant Infocom release ever? After all, it does finally show that despite all the rumours Infocom has not given up the ST as a bad job.

The game, subtitled The Crescent Hawk's Inception, lets you control the huge, futuristic, Mech Warriors made famous by the Japanamation cartoons and toys of FASA's invention. As Jason, son of Jeremiah Youngblood, who vanished while taking part in a secret mission, you join Mech school at the beginning of your training.

Acclimatisation to the Mech environment is eased by a variety of missions within the compound. Gradually, you learn how to control your Mech and how to handle him in battle. In between missions you acquire armour, weapons and a range of skills, all of which improve as time goes by and your experience grows.

Battletech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception

Money arrives as an allowance which you can invest on the stock market for greater profit. And provided you invest wisely you are then able to afford a better class of weapon, armour and so on.

A surprise attack on the citadel where you are based, however, forces you to flee for Starport and safety. At Starport you can fight for hard cash in the Arena against other Mechs. Starport is also the place where you can recruit up to six other members to your party. All the crew can be sent to school to learn new skills which strengthen the whole team.

BattleTech is rather linear in its storyline, freedom of action being confined principally to the combat scenes. Combat sequences are well done, allowing reasonable levels of tactics.

Battletech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception

The graphics are excellent, with nice touches such as close-up cameo portraits adding to the atmosphere.

BattleTech is really aimed more at newcomers to the field of RPGs. Younger players should enjoy the combat, which tends to dominate the game anyway.

Infocom has all the ingredients of an excellent system here. If it continues to be developed, with added complexity, greater storyline and more refined combat areas, BattleTech could be heading for a big success.

Verdict

Poor interaction lets BattleTech down. However, the overall system shows a great deal of potential.