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MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries

DOS - 1996

Also available on: Windows

Alt names MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries (3Dfx Interactive Edition), MercNet
Year 1996
Platform DOS
Released in Germany, Singapore, United States
Genre Action, Simulation
Theme BattleMech, Licensed Title, Sci-Fi / Futuristic, Vehicular Combat Simulator, War
Publisher Activision, Inc.
Developer Activision, Inc.
Perspectives 1st-Person, Behind view
Dosbox support Supported on current version
4.53 / 5 - 83 votes

Description of MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries

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Mech Combat

Mercenaries is the semi-sequel to Activision's Mechwarrior 2, which was in turn based upon the role playing game BattleTech. And while I've never played BattleTech, it's fairly easy to catch up with the whole scenario. It's some time in the thirtieth century, and humanity has been ravaged by many years of war. Planets have been devastated, and the remainder of the universe is still in conflict. The main weapons in these conflict are the BattleMechs; huge robotic war machines, armed to the teeth with death-dealing weaponry, and piloted by specially trained mech pilots. And guess who's one of these pilots? Yep, you.

Mutant Womble

Strapped into one of these machines, you have to battle your way through a number of mecha-stomping missions. The actual missions vary; you may have to take down an enemy building, defend a base, or make a trip deep into enemy territory, to inspect a secret factory. One thing is for sure; you won't go far before you come into contact with the enemy, who aren't usually that delighted to see you. But you can handle them, can't you? Or can you?

You see, there isn't one single standard type of mech; there are a total of about thirty different mechs, each with different characteristics. And on top of that, there's a variety of different weapons that the mechs carry. You can bet that for the first few missions you'll be outgunned by the enemy; but it's up to you to use your superior piloting skill to even those odds out. In later missions, you'll be accompanied by friendly pilots, who will give you a helping hand, but don't leave all the work to them. As you advance through the game, you'll be equipped with better and better weaponry, and bigger and better mechs. But you've got to get through the earlier missions first. It's a vicious circle.


Thing is, that last paragraph could apply as equally to Mechwarrior 2 as it could Mercs, and if you've already got Mechwarrior 2, you'll know the general scenario anyway. Mercs adds a twist. In Mechwarrior 2, you were part of an honourable clan of mechwarriors, taking on mission after mission, with the aim of advancement through the clan. In Mercs, however, you are a mercenary, with the aim of making as much money as you can. Since the untimely demise of your commander, you have been left with a million creds, and a single unimpressive mech. And since money doesn't grow on trees (not that there are any left any more), you've got to earn it.

This is where the missions come in. From your office in Outreach starport, you have to scan the contracts posted upon the computer bulletin-board, and find one that is suitable. These are either single missions, or campaigns of about four or five missions, with various employers, each with a differing level of risk and financial reward. Complete a mission, and you collect your creds, which you can use to repair your mech, or buy new equipment. The latter option includes buying new weaponry, or a new mech; and with each mech only able to carry so much weight, you'll have to buy a new mech sooner or later. You can even hire other mechwarriors to pilot your new mechs. And with the missions getting harder and harder, you'll find things get quite nasty.

Battlestar Galactica

But there's a problem. Activision have attempted to add a Frontier style management side to the whole mech thing, yet it doesn't quite work for me. The thing is, management aspect is pretty flat; it's really nothing more than a collection of missions slung together. What did I expect, you might well ask? Well, quite a few things, which would have added a greater sense of atmosphere to the whole proceedings. For a start, you don't have any reputation to speak of. If you fail your first mission, you're told that your employers were disappointed as you came 'highly recommended'. How come ? Recommended by whom? That was the first mission!

Also, most of the contracts I took put me up against Draconis Combine, a particularly nasty clan. In fact, at one point, I was told a price had been put on my head by said clan. But they were quite happy to hire me, even when I had taken so much action against them. It's up to you to look for contracts; at no point does anyone come to you to offer you a mission, even if you've blown away half the mech units in the galaxy. Then there's salvage. As the box clearly states, you can 'salvage enemy kills from the field'. Except you can't. Any 'salvage' you get is pre-determined by the computer, and totally unrelated to what you do in the mission. You can destroy a mech, to the last part; destroy the legs, and the torso, arms, and all the weapons, and yet still have that mech given to you, complete, as salvage. EarthsiegeSierra's big stomping robot game allowed you to salvage parts; and therefore, you had to decide if you should just blow away the enemy robots, and lose any salvage you might get, or surgically blow the legs off, but risk exposing yourself to fire. Mercs ignores this, and along with the lack of a reputation, makes a sham of the whole mercenary aspect.

Cyber Hamster

Mercs does add a few extra graphical touches not found in MechWarrior 2. The graphics are now made up of texture mapped polygons, texture mapped floors, and light sourcing has been added. What the latter means is that when you fire a salvo, the resultant flash lights up the area round that projectile. It looks nice, but it isn't going to make a massive difference to how you playing. Hang on a minute, though. 'Texture mapped polygons' ? 'Light sourcing' ? Remember another game that has those? Begins with Q. Yes, Quake**. **And can anyone remember what the minimum spec for that game was? A Pentium. The same is true of Mercs; you'll need a P100 if you want to get all the graphical extras, and that's just running in standard VGA mode. I tried running in SVGA mode on my P133, and it was very jerky, both in DOS, and Windows 95 (the game runs in both). You can turn the various options off, to run on a lesser computer, which will be a relief to those with 486s.

Sonically, Mercs has similar speech effects to Mechwarrior 2; you are helpfully informed , by a disembodied female voice when you have destroyed an enemy mech, or when bits start falling off your mech. Or the heartlifting 'mission terminated'. Unfortunately, you're never told why your mission has been terminated. Even when you're returned to the briefing screen, it's impossible to tell quite what happened to end the mission; an irritating omission.

Talking to Tomatoes

From what I've said so far, you might thing that Mercs is complete rubbish. It's not. The actual mission parts of the game are a lot of fun. It can get quite frantic, weapons and limbs being blown off your mech, as you try to make it back to the pick-up point. And if you haven't got Mechwarrior 2, I suggest you pick up Mercs. However, in my opinion, Mercs is too flawed to make it a worthy purchase for owners of Mechwarrior 2; granted, it comes with a net-play option, but there's a add on option for the original Mechwarrior 2. Good, but Mercs doesn't quite hit the mark.

Review By GamesDomain

External links

How to play MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries

Thanks to Damon, you can now download a full ISO preinstalled. Warning, performances can be really bad in DOSBox.

This download of Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries is a pre-installed package for MS-DOS, fully patched to v1.06. Use MERCS.EXE to launch the title, and mount MERCENARIES_DOSWIN.CUE as an ISO using DOSBox’s IMGMOUNT command.



Do NOT burn the CUE file to a physical disc and run from your CD-ROM drive; there is a bug present only when running in DOSBox that prevents the game executables from detecting the disc, even after successfully using it to install.

You can find more information on these amazing games at the Mechwarrior 2 community forums at Just know that they will NOT provide technical support for anything other than legally obtained, official copies, but feel free to search existing threads to find answers to the more common questions, including advance controller mapping, and how to play online.

Thanks for downloading, and enjoy Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries!

The game is now available in its full state, thanks to the Mechwarrior subreddit.

Captures and Snapshots

Comments and reviews

Vostok568 2021-06-13 -2 points

It actually works all you have to do is hook it up to mech vm through power ISO and it works like a charm.

Ning3n 2020-03-10 3 points Windows version

Being the old backside gas release that I am. This and Doom 1&2 are favorites from my teen years.

Metroid is still #1 from childhood.

theRapist 2020-02-23 -2 points

addendum, after like 4 hours+...yes, i am persistent(I didnt even really want to play the game, but it'll be a cold day in hell b4 a computer program gets the best of me) I got the thing to bind or whatever, now it wont load...the "mercs.exe" pauses for a sec and then just poops out back to command prompt, tried setup...tells me i need to install, i downloaded the "preinstalled" version so i didnt have to do ANYTHING, man I wan superintelligent AI. It will just sit there and pleasure me and I can just wait to die...

theRapist 2020-02-23 -1 point

cannot get to work, do not understand why it will not detect it, says image file not found, tried all sorts of "solutions" and i want to blow up the know how you get when u just want to punch every person in the blals! So ya, can't find out why this will not stick on dosbox like it is supposed to with the 4 "simple" commands. I have the file in c\dosgames\mechwarriormercs thats it.

HeyItsMeAgain 2020-01-28 0 point DOS version

the Mech2 3D engine would be later on be (fantastically) used for Interstate '76, what a cool game... there's a new patch that fixes CPU timings on modern machines (locks the game to 25 FPS)

Dmechy 2019-11-14 1 point DOS version

Had a hard time getting this to run on Linux. I couldn't mount the .cue file. To fix it I opened the cue file in a text editor and edited the case on the reference of MERCENARIES_DOCSWIN.BIN to MERCENARIES_DOCSWIN.bin . Changing it to lower case to match the file name was all I needed to do.

CommanderHunter 2019-04-27 -1 point

Just to note, to play the 3DFX Interactive Edition on modern systems (you’ll have the most luck with Windows 7 and under), you must use a modern version of DGVooDoo2, as it actually uses an older version of Direct3D which newer versions of DGVooDoo2 can wrap. This version of the game is pretty much the 1.08 beta version of the game, which was a D3D patch for Mercs. It’s supposedly unstable, but I haven’t tested it enough to be sure and I don’t want to resort to patch 1.1 as it has problems.

MekBanditR 2019-04-25 3 points Windows version

here is link to mechwarrior 2 mercenaries 3dfx interactive edition and yes i give permission to make use of this iso as well:!STpW2KyI!Y_D1B-6nn05PwvnMVvl77cAYessK3Rhi85M17LsX0M0
this version runs best with mechvm. not nglide wrapper compatible.
here is link to battletech retro gaming league for more help:

Imperator 2018-11-04 4 points DOS version

DOS version works perfectly. Here are the steps for DOSBOX on Mac:

Rename unzipped folder in home directory; I called mine DOSMERCS. Then, go to the preferences text file and add the following after the line '# Lines in this section will be run at startup.':


Upon clicking on the app, it will load automatically. Mine had the sound working right away without needing to calibrate. You may have a little difficulty with the highest game resolution, but it can be mitigated by playing around with other settings in the preferences file.

Imperator 2018-11-04 1 point DOS version

DOS version works perfectly. Here are the steps for DOSBOX on Mac:

Create folder in home directory; I called mine DOSMERCS and placed the unzipped folder inside, renamed MERCENARIES. Then, go to the preferences text file and add the following after the line '# Lines in this section will be run at startup.':


Upon clicking on the app, it will load automatically. Mine had the sound working right away without needing to calibrate. You may have a little difficulty with the highest game resolution, but it can be mitigated by playing around with other settings in the preferences file.

Jack 2018-04-05 0 point Windows version

I can’t get this to work. Can you provide detailed instructions on how to install this without gerating missing file errors?

Mojoswagger1980 2018-01-06 -1 point

Titanium Edition runs better on my phone now than it did on the pc i originally played on (lived would also be fair). Thanks So much myabandonware ! Made my day.

omicron 2017-12-24 0 point

I have the 3dfx version (not the one available for download here) working on 1280x720. I followed the instructions on If you have any questions feel free to email me at

Mojoswagger1980 2017-10-26 1 point

Truly epic !! Still the greatest mech game ever made and one of the greatest games ever. 2017-09-06 0 point

Hrm why not have the Titanium Edition, that worked with a minimal patch on XP. Not sure what it would take to run on 10

sillyryuken 2017-01-09 5 points DOS version

To whom it may concern:

I managed to get this working on W10, here's how:

First, I "borrowed" a dosbox folder and config file from a release of dungeon keeper gold (any old dos game that comes packaged with dosbox from gog will do, or you can use a fresh instal of dosbox, and make your own config file, the benefit of copying one already made is that it has all the options already set, more or less).

In the config file, the two changes that I made was to set the cpu type to "pentium_slow" instead of "486_slow", and tghe cycles to 300000 (afaik, any value greater than 120000 will do for running the game at 640x480, but to use 1024x768 ersolution, you'd probably have to use 400000 or more to get a stable framerate, as dosbox does struggle with it a bit).

At the end of the config file, add the following lines:

mount c d:\mw2mercs\mercs
imgmount d d:\mw2mercs\mercenaries_doswin.cue -t iso

Obviously, the path d:\mw2mercs\mercs is wherever you put your game.

Next, for your convenience, make a shortcut to mercswin on your desktop (note, mercs is a dos program, and W10 will not let you make a shortcut to it, but it doesn't matter). Right-click the shortcut, and where it says path (for example "d:\mw2mercs\MERCS\mercswin.exe"), change mercswin.exe to the dosbox .exe, and add -conf -noconsole -exit. In the end, it should look something like this:
"d:\mw2mercs\MERCS\dosbox\dosbox.exe" -conf "d:\mw2mercs\MERCS\dosbox\dosbox.conf" -noconsole -exit

This will run dosbox, and load the prepared dosbox.conf file which will set your cpu type and cycles to the desired values, as well as enter commands for mounting the drives (otherwise you'd have to do that manually every time you want to play).

Game runs fine for me so far - no crashes and the only weird artifact is stuttering sound when another menu is open, but plays fine during missions/cutscenes.
As mentioned - using 1024x768 makes the framerate stutter a bit - increasing cpu cycles in the .conf file should solve the issue, 300k cycles is fine for running 640x480 in all high settings, and playing a game from 1996 i really don't care for full HD 1080p resolution.

Some guy 2016-03-19 2 points

Can anyone show steps to get it working on windows 10 please

Vitoria90 2016-03-02 1 point

Use MechVM to run this game's Windows version. Install the Titanium version from the CD using it and just play. It's safe and works like a charm (visual glitches might happen on Win7 because of Explorer.exe. To mitigate that, open the Task Manager with Ctrl+Shift+Esc and terminate explorer.exe after opening MechVM, play, and when you're done, go to the Task Manager, click on File, New Task (Run...) and type in explorer.exe and press the OK button. This also works, from my experience, with StarCraft 1 and Warcraft 2, if you have similar graphics issues with that).

sndwv 2016-03-01 0 point

The audio tracks in the .cue sheet are off by 2 seconds (for the DOS/WIN version at least). Subtract 2s from each track from TRACK 03 onwards to fix, so INDEX 01 27:33:70 becomes INDEX 01 27:31:70 etc.

Splyn 2016-01-10 -1 point DOS version

DOSBOX fails to mount the .cue file. Looks like the .cue file is corrupt.

Job 2016-01-07 0 point

There are both version (DOS & Windows 95) in the package.

yo 2015-08-05 -1 point Windows version

Anyone get this to work on Android yet?

roman117 2015-03-17 2 points Windows version

Can't even install it - after I mount it and choose the install directory, I get the message 'Installshield Engine has stopped working' followed by a black screen with the game's music playing forever until I close it.


Menslo 2015-02-21 2 points Windows version

Is this version patched to 1.1?

Tyler 2015-01-07 1 point DOS version

I'm trying to install this game but having trouble. Not that familar with dosbox. I'm using D-Fend Reloaded which has dosbox in it. Which commands do I need to type and in which order to make the game run. I've downloaded this 657 MB zip file and unzipped it to its' own folder on my desktop.

manicbassman 2014-12-21 1 point DOS version

I have both the original quick reference card and the Tri-M Mercenary Academy Book

mechtester 2014-12-07 1 point DOS version

My environment is Linux + DOSBOX. I noticed the image mounting command wasn't working for the cue file. I edited the cue file to read:
I just changed the case of the extension. I suppose you could also just change the bin file's extension case too.

After that the game loaded fine and I got to play, however after some missions the game would just crash. I was pretty happy about the performance on my laptop though!

smite2001 2014-11-23 0 point Windows version

i was just stupid... it is the windows version, i failed to recognise the image file in the second dir

smite2001 2014-11-23 0 point Windows version

looks like this is the MAC version of the game (i get 2 folders after unzipping, one is called "_MACOSX"... no exe)

Jacked 2014-09-26 1 point Windows version

This is the Windows version not the DOS version. dang it.

bill84 2014-07-25 1 point Windows version

no .exe file

Sherbert T Cat 2014-07-05 0 point Windows version

This was AWESOME!

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Download MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries

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DOS Version

DownloadRIP Version English version 56 MB DownloadComplete Game with DOSBox English version 770 MB DownloadPreinstalled ISO English version 657 MB ManualEnglish version 10 MB

Game Extras

Various files to help you run MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, apply patches, fixes, maps or miscellaneous utilities.

RefcardEnglish version 233 KB

Windows Version

Windows disk image version, contains optional patches in mw2mercs-patch folder. Mount on Windows using MagicDisc or another disk mount software.

DownloadEnglish version 469 MB Download3dfx ISO Version English version 550 MB DownloadTitanium ISO Version English version 468 MB ManualEnglish version 20 MB

Game Extras

Various files to help you run MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, apply patches, fixes, maps or miscellaneous utilities.

PatchKontza Patch for WinXP English version 865 KB

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