DOS - 1996
Also available on: SEGA 32X
Description of T-Mek
No one knows for certain what the future holds; whether the world of tomorrow will bea utopian paradise, a sprawling gothic metropolis, or a charred, post-apocalyptic wasteland. But there's one thing that sci-fi writers and the like seem to be in agreement on - nothing in the future will have wheels; wheeled transport will be a thing of the past. Instead, we'll all travel around in hovercars, powered by somehyper-complex technology.
But why? Why is hover-propulsion necessarily any better than bog-standard wheels. For a start, think of the amount of power you'd need to keepa hover-car off the ground.. you'd need a battery the size of a small caravan everytime you wanted to go anywhere. And what happens when you run out of power? Can youpush it to the nearest garage? No, you can't. You're left with a lump of metal with all the manoeuvrability of a beached whale. And you don't even want to think aboutwhat would happen to any small fluffy animals that happened to get under the car.As if hedgehogs don't have it bad enough today..
But that hasn't fazed the designers of T-Mek, who are quite happy tohave folks careening around in huge floating tanks, no less. In T-Mek you play a lone MEK pilot in a tournament of galactic proportions. A MEK is not,as you might think, a giant Mechwarrior style robot, but is in fact one of the previously mentioned flying tanks. Strapped into your vehicle, without any airbags, you're dropped into a number of arenas, whereupon you have to blow seven shades ofscrap metal out of three other MEK pilots.
Depending upon which game type you choose,victory is ensured by scoring the most kills within a time limit, or just killingeveryone before they kill you. A strong survival instinct would be useful. You can choose your mek from a selection of six, each with their own characteristics, suchas extra armour, faster engines, electric windows, and other features. It's a fairlysimple idea, but the best games often are. What could go wrong?
Well, quite a bit. You see, there's just one problem with T-MEK. Yes,here it comes... the problem is, that T-MEK has no redeeming featureswhatsoever. None. You may think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. I haven't seen sucha poorly executed game since, well, since the last one. In fact, I'm not going to write anything else about the game. It's that bad. Don't buy it. That is all. Go on. Go home.
What? You want an explanation? Oh, all right then. Where shall I start? Well, let'stake the MEKS. Or tanks, as they're known to normal people. Your MEK is your means ofsurvival. You can't get out and start lobbing grenades, you're stuck with it. Whichwould be fine, except that it's damn near impossible to control accurately. I'm not talking about the kind of dodgy handling you get on a heavy rally car. The controls are unresponsiveat best, you can't move at a set speed, and you frequently end up smashing into a wall, miles from your intended destination, or heading off in the wrong direction altogether. And the dodgy collision detection just adds to the frustration factor; each arena is usually littered with obstacles, such as tall pillars in the first arena. What do you do? You drive past them. Except that's what you thinkyou've done. You've got plenty of space, even allowing for the width of your tank. Pity that no-one's told the program that, as you now find the pillar blocking yourprogress from several feet away. Blocking a tank. Oh dear.
Your objective, whatever mode you're playing in, is to blow away the other MEKs.Which is about as much fun as watching Bill Gates's bank balance expand. On a scaleof 1 to 10, the intelligence of the enemy pilots is about -50. Even with the dodgy controls on your tank, it's easy to blow them away, even on the higher difficulty levels. At any one time, you'll probably only find one tank actuallymoving around the arena; the other two will be stuck against the wall, impotentlytrying to drive through it. And even the one who's borrowed the collective brain-cellcan be dispatched with the minimum of fuss. Lob a few special weapons, and he's toast.. or you can stand there blasting him while he occasionally fires past you.'SMASH ARCADE HIT!' boasts the game's cover. Excuse me? Where was this exactly? Perhaps there's a single T-MEK machine in a kebab shop somewhere, played a few timesby the slightly boozed-up patrons of the shop. Because I sure as hell haven't seen T-MEK in any arcade I've ever been to, and even if I had played it,there's no way I'd have come back to it.
The graphics are perfectly suit to the game; they're utterly appalling. Even in 'high detail' Mode-X, they're blocky and frequently unrecognisable. What's that blobin the distance? Is it a MEK? Is it a bush? You just can't tell. Rather than useproper 3D sprites, Atari , for it is they who are responsible for this, have decided to plump for jerky poorly animated sprites, which in this case means that you can't see a MEK properly till you're almost bumper to bumper with it. By which case, even the unintelligent enemy MEKS have managed to chuck one or two missilesthrough your tank's windscreen. It's not that there's anything wrong with sprites themselves; many 3D games, such as Duke Nukem 3D put them to good use.But something has gone horribly wrong in T-MEK, and you're left with something that looks like a Spectrum game. And sounds like one too. The SFX are just as bad, with a crap-sounding announcer, and tinny spot effects.
I tried to find something good about this game, but there is nothing at all to recommend T-MEK. The arenas are boring, the enemy tanks are stupid, and the graphics are poor. And with no rewards in the form of new vehicles, or weapons,for complete the levels, there's no real incentive to keep going. As it stands,there is no way this pile of cack should have been released onto an unsuspecting public. So I'm warning you. This isn't worth buying, even to use the CD as a novelty mug-rest. Look elsewhere, and if someone tries to sell, or even give you this game, run away. Quickly.
Review By GamesDomain
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