Heavy Gear 2, Predator

July 21st, 2006 by Potato

Wow, do I feel like a dickhead. After blasting AreaMan & Baum for not updating, I went over a week on autopilot without an update myself.

After thinking that what I really wanted was a mech game, I went and got a copy of Heavy Gear 2 to play. It’s an old game, but this is my first time playing it. Back in the day, I was a big Heavy Gear fanatic, and actually got into some pretty heated arguments with one of the guys working on this project (the early screenshots were all distorted like viewing through a fish-eye lens), and Craptivision had really dropped the ball on supporting the original Heavy Gear and MW2: Mercs (they made a patch, they beta tested it, but as far as I know never actually released it).

There were a lot of other reasons why I didn’t end up buying the game at the time: I knew from the description that they were taking the story off Terra Nova to focus on a group of pilots attacking Caprice, striking into the heart of the NEC. To me, that sounded really dumb. Here we had fallen in love with Terra Nova, a fairly well-fleshed out world with a large cast of interesting characters, an unstable geopolitical situation with a simmering cold war, as well as a rich past to mine for historical campaigns… and they chose to take all the action off-planet within the first few missions. It was, simply, a betrayal.

In the intervening years, I’ve pretty much given up Heavy Gear. I’ve forgotten the characters, story arcs, and game system. My books are gathering dust somewhere back at my parents’ house. (I still have my minis on display, but that’s because they look independently cool.) So now I can accept the zany plot without an emotional response.

The other big reason I never played the game was because it was buggy and required rather steep hardware requirements for the time (by which I mean, my computer wouldn’t run it). The bugginess has actually gotten worse, as the game simply won’t run for long under Windows XP. I can play one mission to the end, and it will usually crash before the debrief screen, and always when trying to launch the next mission. I don’t know why I’ve been torturing myself with that sort of nonsense for the last few days, but there you have it.

So, with all that negativity around the game, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The Gears did handle fairly well, and as contrived and dumb as it was, the space scenes were fun (as people said at the time “a gear would be decent in space, but a star fury would be better”). I was severely disappointed by the range of the weapons (a grenade can be thrown something like 25 m, but a mortar only goes 250), and at the lack of combined-arms or terrain use (it seems like a throwback to mechwarrior, where anything over a 30° slope can’t be climbed). I doubt anyone will ever bother to try it now, given the severe bugs, but it was more fun than I had thought it would be.

Of course, it just serves to make me want another, more modern game that much more. X-wing, Mech, Gear, I’m not too picky. Just some sort of shooter that isn’t quite the twitch-fest many FPS’s are.

Moving away from the dead horse, I saw Predator on the weekend with some friends. It’s still a very good movie (for what it is). Like Netbug before me, I really yearn for a decent Aliens vs. Predator movie. As we were talking about on the weekend, it really shouldn’t be that much to ask for: just set it anywhere other than Earth, put in some marines, and some acid blood. How they managed to screw that movie up so badly I will never know.

Finally, I read through the archives at XKCD. I don’t know how to describe it, but I liked it.

2 Responses to “Heavy Gear 2, Predator”

  1. Ben Says:

    Screw up Aliens vs. Predator? I thought that was a pretty good movie. It’s all about going in with ZERO expectations!

  2. Rez Says:

    Check out http://freeallegiance.org.