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Videogame: Mech Assault

MechAssault was a Third-Person Shooter Mecha Game developed by Day 1 Studios and published by Microsoft for the Xbox in November of 2002. MechAssault was initiated when Denny Thorley of Day 1 Studios approached Jon Kimmich of Microsoft about developing an original BattleTech game built from the ground up to support console play.

The game is set in the late 31st Century of the BattleTech universe, sometime after the Word of Blake occupation of Earth in 3058. The Player Character is an unnamed Mechwarrior of the elite Wolf's Dragoons mercenary company. Together with Major Natalia Kerensky and Lieutenant Foster, the Mechwarrior has been sent to investigate the cessation of communication on the Periphery world of Helios. When they get there, their Drop Ship is shot down and they discover that the planet has been occupied by the militant fanatics of the Word of Blake jihad. The team must salvage new gear, fight off the Blakeists and find out why they're on Helios in the first place.

A sequel, MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf, was released on December 28, 2004.It picks up right where the first game left off, with the heroes recuperating on the planet Dante. The Blakeists soon make a return, in search of the MacGuffin that the team found in the first game. They soon meet up with a Pirate Girl whose Jump Ship can take them to other planets, so they can pursue the Blakeists and find more MacGuffins. This installment added the ability to get out of your 'Mech and into other 'Mechs, as well as battle tanks, VTOLs, and Powered Armor.

Both games featured online multiplayer over Xbox Live in the form of modes like Deathmatch and Capture the Flag. The second game also had a persistent "Conquest" mode in which players battled for control of territories over the course of many matches.

There was also an installment on the Nintendo DS, MechAssault: Phantom War. It is unrelated story-wise to the Xbox games, instead set many years later after the collapse of the HPG Network and staring a named protagonist, Mechwarrior Vallen Price. It was less well-received then the Xbox games, due to a lack of multiplayer and issues with the controls.

This game provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Major Natalia Kerensky, your commanding officer, at least, she's supposed to be. She ends up being more of a Badass in Distress. She's a competent VTOL pilot if nothing else.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Your weapons have unlimited shots unless you've upgraded them with a Power-Up. When that runs out, the weapon will revert to this state.
  • Canon Discontinuity: "Considered apocryphal", to quote the BattleTech wiki. This is in line with the policy of BattleTech canon in general, wherein any inconsistencies are considered to be Com Star deliberately screwing with the records.
  • Charged Attack: PPCs work this way as opposed to a cool-down as seen in the MechWarrior series. The heavy missile weapons used by certain mechs, possibly Arrow IVs, also work like this.
  • Cool Plane: The second game has player-usable VTOL aircraft, armed with missiles and able to pick up and carry a variety of objects. This comes into play more so in the multiplayer, where they can carry bombs.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: One mission in MechAssault has the player pilot a captured enemy Thor into a Word of Blake base to download some intel from their computers. The disguise almost works, until one of the Blake officers asks you to transmit your ID code or be fired upon. Fortunately, they wait just long enough for Foster to download the intel.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The Data Core found at the end of the first game proves to be one of a set of five, created by Jerome Blake, the founder of the Com Star company. Exactly what they contain is unclear, but they are used several times to supercharge current technology.
  • The Engineer: Lieutenant Foster. He's a bit of The Ditz, but like many technicians in The Verse, he can turn a pile of molten slag into a working Battle Mech in time to save your bacon.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The protagonist is almost always just called "Mechwarrior."
  • Featureless Protagonist: The main character of the original game. Averted in the sequel, which has him as a male Heroic Mime. His eyes are hidden by a visor, though you can see them in the cover art.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Pulse laser shots travel like your average "laser" projectile, while lasers shoot visibly-moving beams. Both types are, at least, as fast as bullets.
  • Giant Equals Invincible: Harmless infantry enemies are excused in that they're members a fanatical cult who aren't afraid to die.
  • Hold the Line: The level "Holding the Line" in the second game. You use a Sentry Gun to hold off incoming tanks and light mechs, but eventually things get hairy and you have to fall back to your Drop Ship- where foster has prepped the Star Adder you recently salvaged.
  • Humongous Mecha
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The second game's levels all have names.
  • Lost Technology: The Data Cores likely contain Star League-era tech, given the fact they were created by the founder of Com Star.
  • The Nicknamer: Natalia, who has names for the Mechwarrior and Foster. "Tiger" for the former.
  • Overheating: As in MechWarrior, weapons generate heat when fired, with Energy Weapons generating much more then ballistics or missiles. Unlike in Mechwarrior, however, overheating your 'Mech will not force a shutdown or blow it up- you will simply be unable to fire until the heat meter drops out of the red.
  • Powered Armor: Seen in both games, but pilotable in the second. Clan-type Elementals appear, as well as an experimental suit created by Foster with the help of a Data Core. In addition to a nasty mortar attack that can one-shot tanks, it has a "Neuro Jack" feature that facilitates the hijacking of enemy 'Mechs.
  • Power-Up: The most visible indication of this game's arcade-style nature, in contrast to MechWarrior. Green health pickups abound, as well as blue, red and yellow ammunition pickups, which power up your energy, missile and ballistic weapons, respectively.
  • Press X to Die: In the multiplayer Grinder mode if you play with a friend you are able to walk around as a regular human. Press a certain button? Ludicrous Gibs!
  • Press X to Not Die: The hijack mechanic has you do this to eject the enemy pilot. It's also use to operate consoles while on foot.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: MechAssault 2 has "Getting Away with Murder" by Papa Roach.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Invoked by Foster when trying to figure out where the last two Data Cores. He discovers that the star systems where each of the five were hidden form a constellation of the Com Star logo.
  • Shout-Out: There's a bunch in the level names in the second game.
  • Skele Bot 9000: The Final Boss of the second game is what looks to be an unholy fusion of an Atlas and the human reaper embryo from Mass Effect 2, and it's supercharged with all five Data Cores. It looks scarier then it is, though- the strategy to defeat it involves Attack Its Weak Point and the aforementioned hijack mechanic.
    • Then again, it is only about 1/3 finished, with no pelvis or legs. Presumably if it had been finished, it would have been an absolute unmitigated terror on the battlefield.
  • Tanks for Nothing: Enemy tanks are really only a threat in large groups, though the Rommel tanks you can drive are more effective. They sometimes come equipped with "Null Sig" tech and have a zoom feature on their cannons.
  • Too Dumb to Live: It's a really, really bad idea to get out of your 'Mech or other vehicle if there are any enemies around. Naturally, you HAVE to in certain areas. You have demolition charges, and enemies cannot see you unless you're literally right in front of them, so it's not as bad as it sounds.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Both Kerensky and Foster.

Maximum ChaseCreator/Microsoft StudiosMech Commander
Master of the Monster LairUsefulNotes/Nintendo DSMedabots
BattleTechMecha GameMech Commander

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