This second PC incarnation from Activision, based on Dream Pod 9's pen-and-paper/tabletop gaming Heavy Gear universe, takes place after a hasty cease-fire in the Interpolar War between the Confederated Northern City-States and the Allied Southern Territories following the antimatter bombing of the Badlands arms manufacturing city-state of Peace River.
A squad of elite Gear pilots gathered from across Terra Nova and designated as the 1st Black Talons is assigned the task to go behind enemy lines along a mission path leading to Caprice in the Loki star system, hopefully discovering and/or thwarting the New Earth Commonwealth's plans for a second invasion.
Outfitted with top-of-the-line Gear equipment, and the ability to command a squad of four additional warriors, gameplay emphasizes small unit actions and subterfuge rather than being able to bull through each mission as the Talons tend to be rather outnumbered.
Play is essentially linear, although a cheat is available to bypass rather than keep failing certain long missions where a number of opponents can cripple a Gear into a mission kill state rather easily. And given the emphasis on stealth, the correct path to follow towards successfully completing a scenario may not always be readily apparent.
Gears can be customized by the addition of weapons, ammunition, and other equipment, applied to a 'threat value' formula that varies for each mission as either a total or per model.
One serious drawback to HG 2 play is that while you can assign selected pilots to a particular Gear model, and subsequent variation, they are associated with the base configuration of those Gears cannot be altered which sometimes leads to fielding high cost models with capabilities not currently required.
Passive vs Active sensors, needed for guided weapons such as missiles, is another area where the squadmate AI tends to break-down and rarely utilize to full effectiveness.
Likewise, as with the HG 1 PC game squadmates do not always follow their battle commands in the best manner, but are significantly different here in that each has been assigned a 'personality' which needs to be allowed for depending on how a mission needs to be approached.
Pilots may also be killed or wounded, making the few replacements encountered during the game somewhat more versatile than expected.
Free-play is allowed by leading a solo Gear, or squad, against a chosen number and type of AI controlled hostile models. Significant numbers of enemies will appear as waves.
Multi-player is possible over LAN or the internet, using some of the free-play map locales combined with a few restricted arenas not available in solo matches. Typical FPS enhancements such as capture the flag, bases with repair/reload facilities, and the like are found here.
Although sites supporting online play such as GameSpy no longer exist, something to be wary of during play with strangers is that the host can disallow certain classes of weapons during match set-up and, like with HG 1, hacking to gain advantages is possible.
Minimum System Requirements
- Windows 95/98*
- Pentium 166MHz
- DirectX 6 compliant 3D accelerator card
- 64MB RAM
- 450MB hard drive space
- 4X CD-ROM
Box includes 1x CD-ROM and 120-page manual.
- Unlike the first Heavy Gear PC game, HG 2 will rarely start on any Windows OS past 98 without near continuous crashes, even using 'Run As' options for XP & following systems.
There is also a Linux-platform version, released by Loki Software.