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32BitsOnline: Heavy Gear II for Linux [Review]

May 28, 2000, 16:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Christopher Robato Yao)

[ Thanks to Norman Wong for this link. ]

"In a nutshell, the best Mecha/Robot game has finally come to Linux. If you are interested in Japanese anime, Gundam, Macross, Votoms, Heavy Gear 2 will surely appeal to you. Heavy Gear is a game franchise from Dream Pod 9 who have no qualms about showing their anime inspired roots. Like Battletech, it started as a board based role-playing game and universe, supported by a collection of book fiction and play figure merchandise. But what makes Heavy Gear different from Battletech is that it stays close to its anime-mecha inspired roots, based on faster, more humanoid robots called Gears instead of the hulking walkers Battletech is based on. As a matter of fact, Sony has already licensed Heavy Gear for a computer animated TV series probably to be shown next year, using the same CG studio that did Starship Troopers The Chronicles...."

"For Heavy Gear 2, Activision started out with a brand new D3D game engine called the Dark Engine. This is also the same engine used in its Battlezone games. The entire game play and narrative is structured faithfully to the Heavy Gear universe, and that means when a player selects a Gear, this is the Gear that's going to last him the entire game. Forget about the MechWarrior 2 style torso twisting and grouped weapons---Heavy Gear 2 is played more like a First Person Shooter, where you can jump and splatter an opponent with a rocket bazooka. The Gears are remarkably agile for large robots except for the massive assault class Gears. You can even crouch or go prone with your Gear and play sniper with your laser rifle and zoom. While the graphics lack the garishness of Quake III and the detail of Unreal Tournament, it seemed much more natural to the theme and story and did not distract from the game play. In short, it does not scream "SEE ME" but rather says, "LET'S GET ON WITH IT." The lighting has a very natural looking vertices based system and the shadows and highlights transition smoothly as a Gear moves toward or away from a light source. The graphics show a very high polygon count as well, possibly even higher than Quake III, given the soft curvatures of the terrain, the numerous trees with individual branches and twigs, and the smooth but complicated curves in the armor and design of the Gears themselves. For a game released in mid 1999, it is still spectacular looking even to the standards of games released nearly a year later. For more information, 32bitsonline has a review of the original Heavy Gear 2 for Windows."

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