game released by FASA Interactive
The game is a real-time strategy game, based on the Battletech universe. Of course, the idea itself is a pretty blasphemous one according to some purists, after all, BattleTech itself is a turn-based strategy game. But, if the MechWarrior series worked as real-time game, why wouldn't MechCommander work?
The game itself is set in 3059. The First Davion Guard is attacking planet Port Arthur in Clan Smoke Jaguar territory.
On superficial side, MechCommander is pretty nice. Graphics and sound are very nice (considering the age, they still are pretty amazing...) The commanding interface is simple enough; 'Mechs can be assigned to groups or selected individually, they can walk, run and use jump jets, can fire from appropriate range by clicking on target or fire at specified range (short, medium or long - you don't want to nuke a fuel depot from short range, believe me, I tried. =)
Aside of controlling Battlemechs and vehicles, you can also control artillery and send out probes with cameras or sensors. A well-aimed artillery strike can easily wipe out a few 'mechs. (One of my greatest funs to fool the computer was to go to a hill - a perfect fire command location - see two 'mechs standing just outside the range, and order a large artillery strike to the spot between them. Both MechWarriors used ejection seats at the same time. That was a beautiful feat of synchronization, a real work of art.)
Apart of actual playing, you can buy new 'mechs, repair them, hire new MechWarriors and assign them to different 'mechs. And, of course, listen to briefings, look at the map, and plan the drop to the surface (there's nothing interesting about it - if your tonnage is way less than your maximum drop weight, you get bonus points to buy stuff with).
The game really isn't that tactical - but then again, RTS games rarely are. Click 'em and watch your 'mechs blow other 'mechs up - or die. While I personally I've only got about halfway through the game, I've been told the last missions are infuriatingly hard...
The game has THE coolest loading screen I've ever seen in a computer game (if not by looks, at least by idea). When the game loads the battle screen, the screen displays only static, with text "Connecting to the Battlefield" in the center... =)
The game features 18 BattleMechs, basically all legendary 'mechs of the era!
The 'mechs and other parts you stumble upon are salvageable!
(Regrettably, there's no customization, and every 'mech is available in "Armour", "Weapon" and "Jump" configurations. Bah!)
(The game advertising mistakenly calls this the "first MechWarrior game of tactical command"; What happened to, um, that Amiga game thing?)
MechCommander Gold was released later, even though in Finland it was never released as full-price game and the budget release came much later. This game adds even more stuff that makes the game somewhat better; The map editor is a good addition, and the fact that waypoints can be set and there's an order to conserve ammunition are good things...
Followed up by MechCommander 2.