MERCS – Genesis
Platform: Sega Genesis
Release Date (NA): 1991
Genre: Run and Gun, Action
Nerd Rating: 6.5 out of 10
So my first experience with this game lasted all of 2 minutes.
MERCS is a run and gun kind of game from a sort of top-down view of a badass mercenary named Zutura. Zutura runs around shooting people and avoiding being shot. In original mode, I got shot 3 times which killed me and then the game slapped me in the face with a giant GAME OVER and some lowly music.
MERCS offers 2 different game modes: Arcade and Original. Both have a different storyline and completely different levels to play. I believe that the ARCADE version is the superior version due to its classic layout and ability for continues almost immediately by putting $0.25 into the side of your Sega Genesis every time you die (although continues are finite). I was only slightly disappointed with the ORIGINAL mode because that’s likely one thing people were really looking forward to by purchasing the home version of this game. If you love playing it in an arcade, wouldn’t you be excited to play it at home and enjoy the added features? This is not to say that the original mode is awful, not fun, or unenjoyable. It’s just a little inferior to the arcade mode, in my opinion. One added benefit of the original mode is that players can buy power-ups using money picked up from dead enemies.
The game play is quite chaotic and extremely difficult, even on the easiest of settings. Zutura has a huge gun, and it fires some pretty wide bullets, which is very useful. But trying to run and shoot is a complete mess as Zutura can only shoot in the direction he is facing / moving. So when attempting to move forward and enemies are approaching to my 3 o’clock, my 6, and my 9, I have to stop moving forward and shoot my gun in all directions. But by pressing left to shoot left, my character starts to move in that direction. The only solution to this madness is to stand in one place and fire in a circle (which would be easier if I had a joystick). But then I would get hit with the bullets coming at me, so that’s not an option. The ONLY option is to run around like a chicken with his head cut off firing in any random direction. This is not an ideal style of gameplay for the 2010’s, but I’m still trying to accept this game for what it was in 1991.
The bullet path is also very limited as one can only shoot in 8 directions (north, northeast, east, south east, etc… you get the picture). This may be due to the limitations and primitive nature of video games altogether at this date, but it sure as hell makes it tough right now in 2013.
The animation in this game is pretty standard for early Genesis games of its kind. The enemies are clearly defined, the ground and texture is very easy to read and understandable in exactly where I need to go, and the overall look of the game isn’t all that bad. The music is also very standard, but it’s pretty good I must say, and it is very appropriate for the purposes of a military run and gun game. It gives me that warm feeling of nostalgia and brings up great memories of late ‘80s and early ‘90s video gaming fun. The sound effects aren’t too bad either.
When you play MERCS at first, you’ll certainly struggle mightily. But a few times through, and you’ll have the controls figured out almost instinctively. The main struggle is just figuring out how to shoot without walking into a bullet. The gun power-ups in this game are an extreme help and you will absolutely love the gun that shoots green bullets into a sort of “spray” pattern.
A few words of advice for all novice players: STAY AWAY FROM THE TANKS! THEY SHOOT HUGE ROUNDS AT INSANE SPEEDS THAT ARE VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO AVOID! Also, use your missiles very often when you get in a bind. The missiles destroy everything on the screen (except big bosses and tanks, but it does a great deal of damage on those). Very useful on large turrets, tanks, and bosses.
At first I was a little dissatisfied with MERCS, but the more I played it, the more I really started to enjoy it. It is very fun and the challenges of dodging bullets while killing enemies with my flamethrower really had me smiling ear-to-ear. And after all, isn’t having fun what video games is all about?
Nerd Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Submitted by NerdBerry
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