Your typical BattleTech garden gnome.
Activision’s MechWarrior 2 has set a standard with its graphics and 3D game engine. 7th Level’s contribution to the genre, G-NOME, isn’t quite as impressive. While it isn’t the best of this type of game, G-NOME isn’t terrible either. The game’s SVGA graphics are crisp; the textures of the sky, mountain, landscape, and HAWC (Heavy Armor Weapons Chassis; in other words, your mechs) are all detailed. The music runs straight off the CD and does a good job of building excitement and tension during each mission. The sound effects, however, are a bit boring.
One of G-NOME’s bright spots is its diverse gameplay. Sure, most of the time you maneuver your HAWC around the battlefield while firing missiles or lasers at enemies, gun turrets, or bases, so nothing really new here. However, G-NOME lets you catapult out of your machine and walk around. Sometimes you need to do stuff on foot in order to progress, like flipping switches. It’s only unfortunate the soldier mode doesn’t have standard FPS controls, but instead uses a simplified control scheme of your war machine. It’s as awkward as it sounds.
One of the more creative touches in the game is the ability to steal enemy HAWCs. When your own machine is destroyed, you get ejected, but can use the GASHR device at an enemy vehicle in an attempt to commandeer it.
Besides the campaign missions there is also a set of tutorials. Most missions include several objectives, and – as in most mission action games – you must complete certain objectives to move on to the next mission. If you fail in a mission, you must do it over and over again until you complete it. G-NOME is difficult; even on easy mode, you will find yourself getting quite frustrated at having to complete the same objectives just to get to that really hard part that you can’t get past. The game only gets more annoying when you have to babysit friendly NPCs.
There’s also multiplayer thrown in there, including Deathmatch and Co-op via IPX. On the surface, G-NOME is your standard MechWarrior clone with a few rough edges balanced out by some interesting ideas. On a deeper level you might find what the designers were aiming for, but it’s a rough trip. If you don’t like this sort of game, you probably won’t enjoy G-NOME, and if you’re a rabid MW fan then this game won’t offer much innovation to keep you excited.
System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, DOS
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