MechWarrior 4: Vengeance
Windows - 2000
Description of MechWarrior 4: Vengeance
We live in a culture today that has become increasingly auto-centric (in the western world, at least) - while a token amount of money is invested in public transport, few cities appear to have made any real headway in stemming the traffic problems that arise from our reliance on automotive transport. We need a way to force car users off the road and onto buses and trams, and I believe I know how to do this: giant robots. How so? Well, imagine the following scenario: the names of all public transports users are put into a draw for the grand price of a specially developed, sixty ton, giant mech, complete with jumpjets and nuclear reactor. The benefits of this would be three fold. It would encourage traffic to keep off the streets lest they be crushed by a giant stomping robot; secondly, it would serve as a reward to the mech-owners for putting up with public transport; and finally, one condition of mech ownership would be that any mech driver who saw an ambulance with sirens blaring, on its way to hospital or an accident, would be obliged to pick the occupants of the vehicle up and speed them to their destination. Hey presto! The ideal solution to traffic congestion.
But tragically, largely due to the lack of the six trillion pounds that would be needed to develop the mechs and handle the inevitable lawsuits, the above vision will likely remain fantasy. Fortunately, thanks to Microsoft, PC owners can at least find out what it might be like to drive a heavy and heavily-armed robot around blowing up and crushing other vehicles and mechs. The reason is that Microsoft have just released Mechwarrior 4 which is, unsurprisingly, the fourth game in the Mechwarrior series and casts you as a budding Mechwarrior looking to kick some robot arse on the battlefield.
Whereas in previous Mechwarrior games you played a fairly anonymous mechwarrior with no real objective other than to make money or to serve your squadron, in Mechwarrior 4 your character has a history and a mission. The commonwealth of planets known as the Inner Sphere, who banded together over the course of previous games to fight the invading ex-colonists known as The Clans, have had a bit of a falling out and are now laying into each other with great gusto. And it just so happens that your father and your homeworld have fallen at the hands of an opposing faction, resulting in his and your mother's death, leaving only you and your missing sister as survivors. So you join up with your off-world allies in an attempt to take down the mechwarrior faction who killed your family. As the game begins, you've jumped into a mech and been dropped, along with a fellow mech-warrior, into the first of five combat arenas where you get up close and personal with your metal-clad foes - let the pagga begin.
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As you might expect, Mechwarrior 4 is pretty similar to its predecessor in that once again you have to pilot your mech around a range of landscapes, blowing up other mechs, destroying enemy targets, defending other targets and so on. The mission layout is fairly linear, with the campaign being split up into a group of five or so operations, each with several sub-missions, all of which must be completed in order to wreak vengeance upon your family-slaughtering foes. You may find yourself having to blow up enemy dropships, protect a convoy or just take out a bunch of enemy mechs.
However, Mechwarror 4 is not a an all-out arcade blaster - your enemies have access to the same technology you have and are quite capable of doing a great deal of damage to your mech if you get too cocky. Mech to mech combat is not a matter of ploughing into a lance of enemy mechs, chucking a couple of missiles at each of them and watching them blow up - the only way you're likely to get a quick victory over an opposing mechwarrior is if they're piloting a particularly small mech (as mechs come in various sizes) and you're stomping along in a hundred ton armed-to-the-teeth mech such as an Atlas. More likely you'll find yourself lobbing a few long range missiles at an enemy mech or mechs, then, as you close in on your foe, circle around them, launching short range missiles and firing lasers and other weapons.
Destroying a mech is a matter of toppling it, by blowing up one of its legs or by destroying the head or torso of the mech. By pointing your weapons at a particular part of a mech, you can decide which area you wish to deal damage to; if you're feeling particularly sadistic and want to humiliate a human or computer foe, you can even blow up the mech's arms, leaving them minus whatever weapons may have been strapped to those appendages. But you're also subject to the rigours of combat, so should you get blasted in the arms a good few times -- helpfully illustrated by the green-to-yellow-to-red damage display in your HUD -- you yourself will lose access to your arm mounted weapons putting you at something of a disadvantage against armed (pun intended) foes.
Strangely though, although the manual states that mechs with damaged legs move more slowly, I've been unable to reproduce the results in Mechwarrior 3 where damaged mechs limp, as well as get knocked from their feet and raise themselves up again. We've received reports that this feature is still in the game, however.
A variety of weapons are at your disposal, all of which fall into three basic categories - lasers, cannons, and ballistic weapons, each having their own pros and cons. The first group includes pulse lasers, beam lasers and high-powered, railgun style lasers called 'PPCs', available in varying strength. The advantage of lasers is that they don't need ammo and never run out - but the downside is that they take a few seconds to recharge and also generate a lot of heat. And excess heat is one of the problems that manifests itself in combat, whereby overheating causes shutdown or, if you choose to override, your whole mech can explode! Standing in water helps counter the effects.
Autocannons and machine guns are somewhat more forgiving when it comes to generating heat, plus they're usually faster firing than lasers and pack quite a punch. But on the downside, they run out of ammo and that's something you don't want to happen in the middle of a battle. Missiles, which come in long and short range flavours, are even more powerful than cannons but are quite heavy and your mech can only usually carry a few.
It's up to you to make sure your mech has the appropriate weaponry to take on your foes - I favour a mech-load of lasers along with an autocannon or two for close encounters. At least, I did in Mechwarrior 3. In Mechwarrior 4, you can still choose which weapons to place on your robot in the 'Mechlab', accessible before each mission, but you can't arrange them freely as in the previous game. Instead, and this is the second reason why Mech 4 isn't quite as good as Mech 3, you have several predefined 'hardpoints' on your mech - some of the colour coded points are missile points, some are cannon points, and some are laser points. So you can only put missiles on corresponding points and you don't have total control over how you can configure your mech's weaponry, which is a bit disappointing and simplifies the game just a little - and besides, it isn't the way weapons are allocated in 'Battletech', the board game and RPG upon from which the mechwarrior games are derived.
While you start off in a fairly basic mech, you're able to customise your weapons and also jump into other larger mechs as the game progresses. Extra ammo is added to your stockpile after each mission, but fancier weapons and bigger mechs are gathered through salvage. The theory is that if you can take out a mech while leaving it in a state that can be repaired, then you get that mech after the mission for your own use - although in practice, salvage in Mechwarrior 4 seems slightly random as on a fair few occasions I took down a mech with a barrage of missiles and lasers to the torso, blowing it up and still got that mech as salvage at the end of the mission.
All this tweaking is done in the aforementioned 'Mech Lab' which is basically a front-on view of your mech with the various weapon points illustrated. You can tweak both the mech's engine and armour too, giving it a faster but heavier engine, add extra heatsinks to help dissipate heat or change your armour from the standard armour type to laser reflective or ammo resistant.
As for the mechs themselves, there are about twenty mechs you can get your hands on, ranging from thirty to one hundred ton mechs, the tonnage referring not to the actual weight of the mechs but the total weight of the weapons and accessories they can carry - the catch being that bigger mechs move much slower so it's entirely possible for a giant mech to be taken out by a couple of smaller ones. Given that you will run into many big mechs in the game, it's rather handy that in most of the missions, you have up to three wingmen or 'lance-mates' to help you out. You can order them to lend you assistance in combat, attack a particular target or just fire at will. They do supposedly gain experience as the campaign progresses (though I didn't notice any major increase in skill), so it's in your own interests to keep them alive and not just let them do all the hard work.
They're fairly intelligent and can hold their own against most enemies - although your opponents are also reasonably intelligent too, doing their damndest to avoid your attacks when they're losing and closing in when they can see they've got you on the run. Besides which, aside from the enemy mechs you also have to deal with a number of small vehicles that attack you, such as APCs, tanks and the like - they're not very damaging but can prove annoying when you're trying to take down a larger mech and they're firing away at you. The good thing is that you can run over them in your mech, crushing them beneath your metallic feet Godzilla style, which is strangely satisfying.
One of the most noticeable differences between Mech 3 and Mech 4 is the graphics engine. Unfortunately, Mech 4 doesn't look as good as Mech 3, for a number of reasons. First of all is that the mech animation seems to not be as smooth as that of the previous game, even with the graphical detail turned down low. Secondly, while there are a number of fancy effects in the game, none of them appear quite 'right'. For example, when the mechs explode or are damaged... in Mechwarrior 3, little damage decals appeared on mechs, showing exposed wires and the like; missing arms are blown off and disappear leaving a sparking stump; and when destroyed, the mechs fall over, rocked with explosions, and lie on the ground burning for a short while, leaving a smoldering wreck when the fire goes out. But in Mech 4, while mechs do spark when damaged, 'destroyed' limbs are merely blackened as if charred, as are damaged spots on Mechs. And when mechs are destroyed and collapse to the ground, beams of blue light erupt from the mech, looking strangely unrealistic. Score so far - Mech3: three, Mech4: nil.
But while Mechwarrior 3 is largely a better game than Mechwarrior 4, it's not all bad news. One area in which Mechwarrior 4 excels is multiplayer. The game comes with its own built-in game browser, allowing you to seek out games across the internet. Games come in four flavours - Destruction (all out combat), Attrition (points awarded for actual damage as well as kills, can be played as a team), Capture the Flag, King of the Hill and Steal the Beacon, which is like CTF, except that there's no actual place the flag needs to be taken, just holding it earns you points.
All of these games are fun to play, although as always, team playing with people over the internet whom you've only just encountered can be somewhat chaotic, so I suspect organised Mech4 clans may have the edge there. But best of all, Mechwarrior 4 is, bar none, the smoothest lag-free game I've played in ages - using an ordinary 56K modem, I joined several games and each one was smooth as silk with no noticeable lag effects. And in single player mode, too, Mechwarrior 4 is in itself a playable and fairly entertaining game, making a pleasant change from the round of arcade shoot-em-ups - certainly anyone jumping into the mechwarrior series with this title won't be disappointed, although those who played and enjoyed the previous game might be a little put out.
Whether Mechwarrior 4 is worth buying or not depends upon what you want out of a game - if it's a great single-player game you're looking for, with superb animation and gameplay then, er, you're best off with Mechwarrior 3. However, if you're more interested in multiplayer mech action and a not quite as brilliant single player game, then you should give Mechwarrior 4 a look.
Review By GamesDomain
Comments and reviews
angryman 2021-01-19 -1 point
When I installed both mech packs on an xp laptop with a physical copy of vengeance installed, it didn't work because none of the mechs were present in the instant action mechlab. I tried reinstalling them but still nothing. PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DoomDestructer 2019-12-22 1 point
My uncle first introduced the whole Mechwarrior and battletech universes to me with this game. i absolutely love it.
ultraloser 2019-12-08 0 point
yeah i got it to start using the no disc patch, missing drivers and compatibility mode (pretty sure xp service pack 3), but like i said i cant modify any mech in mechlab,so i cant get past a mission. also cant get the black night expansion to start.
goldratte 2019-12-04 1 point
I also used Daemon tools Lite to install MW4 Vengeance successfully but can't get the program to start ;(
MW4 Mercenaries worked with no issues at all, so a bit disappointed that Vengeance doesn't, loved to play in its days...
New Canada's Gamer 2019-11-29 0 point
so the CD-ROM issue but not and i quote "requires direct x 8 or later, found 7.04.00.1792"
Namaan 2019-11-25 0 point
Ostego did an install vid
New Canada's Gamer 2019-11-23 -1 point
so i set up i windows 2000 virtual box and downloaded this game there all went perfect but now i need a cd-rom?
New Canada's Gamer 2019-11-21 1 point
ok so i managed to Get "Disk 2" Into the "D drive" and fully installed the game BUT i still wont run even on admin.
New Canada's gamer 2019-11-21 3 points
Hi so i downloaded this game to relive some old memory of mine, when it finished downloading i had to extract it that i did and run the set up, that i did on minimal. then when its done the game wont start
ultraloser 2019-10-26 1 point
is anyone else unable to use the mechlab or know why it keeps crashing for me? and what the error is keeps changing every time so...
Spyder001 2019-10-25 2 points
SMOOTH_HEXAGON, Badseed & Victorian.
There was also a NO-CD Patch made for it.
Which fixed the DRM of that time, so the Disk was not needed.
I used Daemon Tools - to make a Virtual Disk - as I Had the original. And I didn't like disk swapping. ( I also, tended to play alot when the MSN Game Zone was active).
And the virtual disk operated faster than the CDRom.
Also, Vengeance PR1 - might help it work also.
you may also need additional - DirectX files, or generic video drivers (compatible from that time) newer drivers, don't use the same ones.
Smooth_Hexagon 2019-09-22 2 points
Badseed & Victorian, I managed to install the game by using Daemontools Lite and mounting the first ISO file on BD-ROM Drive (G:). After it installed to 45% and asked that I insert disc 2, I dismounted the first ISO file and mounted the second file. Once I did that the installation completed itself. However, I do seem to be stuck at getting the game to launch.
Badseedx3 2019-08-11 2 points
I have the same issue as Victorion. Using Windows 10 (54 bit). I hit a wall when it asks for the 2nd disk. I can't seem to get the game to recognize anything else. Is there a step-by-step somebody could provide to get this working?
Victorion219 2019-08-10 2 points
hey guys, loved this as a kid.
i have an issue, when i install this on my laptop(windows 10) mid install, it stops itself and asks to have disk 2 inserted, not having a disk drive NOR the original hard copy it wont let further install, minimal install works, however. when i attempt to run the game. ( running as admin) nothing happens. plz help.
JF_Fox 2019-04-26 0 point
Come play this with us on Gameranger version 3, black knight coop, mercs 3.1
blahblahblacksheep 2019-04-26 1 point
If you have Windows use a DPI / Text Scaling setting other then 100%, you'll notice all the MW4 games having an offset screen that seems to be shifted to the lower-right, leaving a black bar on the top, regardless of game screen resolution. (The main menu will look fine, but once you start a mission, like training, the screen has a black bar on top, and hitting ESC has the menu shoved down in the lower right corner.. it's still centered on the game screen, but the game screen is offset from your monitor).
Reason... The MW4 games use fonts (eg: for menus) that are impacted by the Windows DPI / Text Scaling setting. You may have changed the DPI / Text Scaling in order to keep a high resolution (eg 1080) but to scale the fonts up in size so you could read them instead of them looking super small.
You can double-check your DPI / Text Scaling in Win 10 by...
1) right-click desktop
2) Display Settings
3) Change size of text, apps and other items
If it's set to anything higher then 100%, it can cause issues in MW4.
1) Right-click the MW4 shortcut on your desktop
3) (tab) Compatability
4) (button) Change High DPI Settings
5) (checkbox) Override high DPI Scaling
6) (dropdown .. Scaling Performed By) Application
This will let the Application use whatever DPI / Text Scaling it wants (basically make it use 100% w/o you having to manually set that in the Windows Display Settings.)
Do this to all the shortcuts for the MW4 games you've installed: Vengeance, Black Knight, Mercenaries
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