32BitsOnline: Heavy Gear II for Linux [Review]

[ Thanks to Norman
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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