Mercenary (Novagen Software Ltd) Review | Atari User - Everygamegoing

Atari User

By Novagen Software Ltd
Atari ST

Published in Atari User #9


If like me you've been waiting patiently for Mercenary to arrive from Novagen, let me tell you right away that your waiting wasn't in vain.

A soldier of fortune, you've crash-landed on the planet Targ. It's the 21st century so such crashes are not fatal. However, all is not peace and quiet on Targ. Quite the opposite - there is a bitter conflict between the Palyars and the Mechanoids.

Your ultimate goal is to escape from the planet... but how? Should you join one side and fight the other? Which side should you join?

Should you join neither side and try to stay friends with both? Or play both sides off against each other? Or mabye just steal a ship and blast everything in sight?

The choice is yours, and there's more than one way to achieve success. But first, you start the game on the surface of Targ. There are two kinds of vehicle if you can get them - one is ground-based and the other allows flight. There are also underground complexes accessible from the surface, so there's plenty to explore.

Your interaction with Targ takes place via Benson, "an almost human PC", and it's on Benson's screen, that all the action takes place.

Benson is constantly monitoring the situation and reporting, even asking the occasional question. As the instruction leaflet says, your contribution to the partnership is flair and endeavour.

Benson must be quite strong, judging by the size of the box of provisions which I managed to Take. It's a pity he can't draw a map for you - you'll have to do that yourself.

I'm not going to tell you any more about the content of the game because I don't want to spoil it for you.

What I will say is that the quality is high and the cost represents good value for money. The tape is £9.95 and the disc £12.95.

Both contain two versions, a 48K version for expanded 400 and 800 machines and a 64K version for 800XL and 130XE machines.

Graphics and animation are good, there is scope for different styles of play and it should be big enough to last you quite a while.

In fact, given that you never get killed, you could literally play forever. Fortunately, then, there's a Save option so you can get some sleep occasionally.

Also if you find yourself in an undesirable situation, like stuck in the desert with days of walking ahead of you, there's a Quit option. The price you pay for this is that your possessions get scattered around.

When you do manage to achieve escape status, make sure you save the game because this will give you beneficial entry into Mercenary II.

You mean there's more? As far as I'm concerned, Paul Woakes can take his time writing the sequel - I think I'll be spending quite some time on Targ.

Dave Russell