No recent wiki edits to this page.

Overview

Heavy Gear's Main Menu

Released for Windows 95 by developer and publisher Activision in late 1997, Heavy Gear is an action-heavy first-person mech simulation game that takes place within the Heavy Gear universe published by Dream Pod 9. While Activision had, prior to Heavy Gear, spent a significant amount of resources producing mech piloting games within the BattleTech universe, including MechWarrior, MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat, MechWarrior 2: Ghost Bear's Legacy, and MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, FASA Corporation, the proprietor of the BattleTech name at the time, chose not to renew their licensing agreement with Activision due in large part to the lengthy development cycle of MechWarrior 2, in turn leading Activision to acquire the rights to another giant robot property, namely Heavy Gear. Though Heavy Gear represents a clean break from Activision's previous mech simulation games on a fictional level, its gameplay is fairly similar to that of the MechWarrior franchise, and its game engine is in fact an adaptation of the one used in MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries. Like the MechWarrior games, players are able to customize their bipedal war machines, known here as Gears, in various ways before piloting them personally during a variety of combat scenarios. Heavy Gear includes a story-based 32-mission campaign mode, in which completing missions progresses the story and gains the player access to better Gears and equipment over time, a Tour of Duty mode where players can fight through non-narrative campaigns consisting of randomly generated scenarios, and an online multiplayer component which was supported at the time of its release by MPlayer.

Plot

Senior Ranger Edward Scott, the hero and player character of Heavy Gear, talks to a superior officer.

The campaign mode of Heavy Gear is set on the world of Terra Nova, and follows the actions of Senior Ranger Edward Scott, a Gear pilot in the armies of the Confederated Northern City-States (CNCS) and the Duelist of the Landship Vigilance. Though as Duelist Scott is recognized as the most capable Gear pilot on the Vigilance, his fortunes soon take a turn for the worse when he and his subordinate Henry Janus are taken by surprise during a mission and subsequently captured by soldiers of the Allied Southern Territories (AST). While Scott is able to escape captivity and return to the Vigilance, his charge, believing that he will be treated fairly as a prisoner of war, chooses to remain behind, and is ultimately killed. Having lost his son, Colonel Arthur Janus of the Vigilance becomes antagonistic toward Scott, stripping him of his title as Duelist and making several transparent attempts to get him killed in the line of duty. In spite of Janus' best efforts, Ranger Scott continues to complete his missions successfully, though Janus continually tries to paint Scott as nothing more than a liability to the CNCS. Eventually, Scott is no longer able to tolerate his commanding officer's thinly-veiled antipathy toward him, and informs Janus that his own son, when offered an opportunity to escape with him, had refused, mistakenly believing that his captors would treat him with civility. Enraged by Scott's words, Colonel Janus challenges him to a one-on-one duel. When the dust settles, Colonel Janus is dead.

The latter missions of Heavy Gear's campaign are mostly concerned with a battle for supremacy between the Vigilance and the Draco, a landship of the AST. The two ships make several attempts to prevail over the other, and in the end both are grounded. After the grounding, Commandant Robert Murène of the Draco contacts the Vigilance directly, proposing a duel to decide the fate of the two crippled ships that would pit its recently reinstated Duelist, Ranger Scott, against his duplicitous former superior officer Lieutenant Jennifer Brockton, who was revealed earlier to be the one who shot and killed the captive Henry Janus. The final mission of Heavy Gear takes place in the shadow of the two downed landships as Lieutentant Brockton and Ranger Scott fight a duel to the death, with the victor gaining control of both ships.

Gameplay

Mission objectives can run the gamut. Seen here, Scott infiltrates the Draco in an enemy Gear.

Gameplay in Heavy Gear takes after MechWarrior in many respects. During missions, players control a single Gear from a first-person perspective, and are required to use it as effectively as possible in order to defeat enemy Gears and vehicles while also completing mission objectives. All Gears have torsos that can move independently of their lower bodies, so it is possible, and often crucial, for the player to fire in one direction while moving in another, thus simultaneously attacking and avoiding incoming fire. Gears take location-specific damage based on where they are hit, which is displayed as a wire-frame overlay when an enemy is targeted. Using this system, players can strategically disable their opponents' Gears in a variety of ways. While targeting center mass may be, in general, the easiest and most reliable way to defeat a foe, it is also possible to render a Gear motionless by taking out one of its legs, deprive it of weaponry by destroying its arms, or even take it out quickly by aiming for its cockpit. Gears may have a number of additional ancillary functions that can be called upon in specific situations, such as infrared sensors, wire-frame image enhancement, zoom functionality, and the ability to crouch. Players also have access to a detailed HUD when piloting a Gear, which elucidates, among other things, the facing of the Gear's torso, current mission objectives, current movement speed, enemy locations relative to the player, and ammunition counts for all equipped weapons.

A.I. squad mates can be issued a variety of orders, like flanking maneuvers.

Before a scenario begins and, to an extent, during the mission itself, Heavy Gear allows the player to customize several aspects of the Gear they pilot. Progressing through the campaign unlocks new Gears and hardware for use in later missions, giving players the ability to chose the best vehicle for the job at hand. In addition to preset Gears, the player may also create their own by adding and removing weapons as well as swapping out legs, torsos, arms, and other components. If the player is afforded any squad mates for the coming mission, they may also customize and designate Gears for the other pilots in their unit in addition to choosing which pilots will accompany them. While Gear customization is allowed before most missions, from time to time during Heavy Gear's story mode the player may become separated from the Vigilance, and in these instances the player will not be able to change Gears or customize their current one until they return. Once the mission starts, weapons can be bound together into firing groups in order to fire multiple weapons simultaneously, and the player also has influence over the actions of their squad mates, being able to order them to attack an enemy, flank a target, scout, defend, or even find cover. The player also receives commendations and awards for completing missions, and while many of these accolades are cosmetic in nature, it is also possible to unlock concrete benefits this way that transfer across Gears, like speed and targeting boosts.

A Gear travelling in wheeled mode.

While many of the aforementioned gameplay mechanics were noted hallmarks of Activision's earlier MechWarrior titles, Heavy Gear does add a few mechanics of its own. Perhaps the most noticeable change is the inclusion of a secondary form of movement. Almost all Gears, in addition to ambulation, can move about via wheels or tracks built into their feet. Players can switch between bipedal and wheeled locomotion at any time; the main advantage of the latter movement type is a significant increase in speed, though this is also accompanied by a dramatic reduction in turning radius, especially when used at maximum throttle settings. Another significant difference between Heavy Gear and MechWarrior is the ability to pick up and drop weapons. Certain weapons can be held in a Gear's hands rather than being affixed to the chassis, and these weapons can be discarded at any time in favor of a new weapon, most likely one that has been dropped by a destroyed enemy or allied Gear. Since Heavy Gear does not feature a wide array of rechargeable beam weaponry à la MechWarrior, utilizing this ability can be very important in prolonged combat situations or for certain Gears that may have a limited store of weapons and ammunition.

Gears

Heavy Gear features sixteen basic Gears: eight from the Northern Guard, and eight from the Southern MILICIA. These gears are generally divided into one of four types depending on their size and overall combat role. Scouts are the lightest class, consisting of fast reconnaissance Gears with a minimum of weaponry, while Battle Gears are a step above Scouts, with a larger array of weaponry and only a modest sacrifice in speed and maneuverability. Support Gears are somewhat slower than most Heavy Gears, but with an even larger allocation of deadly weaponry, while Striders are slower still, though they typically have the ability to pummel foes even from long range. In addition to Gears, both factions have an array of more traditional units such as infantry, tanks, and aircraft that frequently come into play during missions, though none of the game's other vehicles are pilotable. The main story mode of Heavy Gear limits the player almost exclusively to Northern Guard Gears, however in Tour of Duty, players can choose to align themselves with either faction.

Northern Guard

AppearanceSide ViewStatistics & Description
Cheetah
Cheetah Side View

Cheetah

  • Type: Scout
  • Height: 4.3 m
  • Armor: 20 mm
  • Max. Running Speed: 65 kph
  • Max. Rolling Speed: 91.6 kph

Default Weapons

  • 1 Light Autocannon (200 rounds)
  • 2 RP-109 Pepperbox (24 rounds)
  • 6 M-2A Hand Grenades
The Cheetah is a pared down version of the well-known Hunter Heavy Gear, featuring less armor and weaponry than its more sizable forebear. What it gains in return is a surprising amount of speed and maneuverability, making it an excellent reconnaissance and guerrilla assault Gear. It can't hold up to very many hits, but a skilled pilot can make getting even one a difficult proposition.
Cheetah MK2
Cheetah MK2 Side View

Cheetah MK2

  • Type: Scout
  • Height: 4.1 m
  • Armor: 30 mm
  • Max. Running Speed: 72 kph
  • Max. Rolling Speed: 92 kph

Default Weapons

  • 1 Light Autocannon (240 rounds)
  • 1 Light Rocket Pack (24 rounds)
  • 1 AP Grenade Launcher (6 rounds)
  • 3 Heavy Hand Grenades
A further advancement of the Cheetah design, the Cheetah MK2 offers more firepower and more armor without sacrificing the original Cheetah's signature speed and agility. What it doesn't offer is anything revolutionary, as the MK2 is still very much a Gear in the same vein as its namesake. While the improvements are incremental to say the least, they are improvements nonetheless.
Hunter
Hunter Side View

Hunter

  • Type: Battle Gear
  • Height: 4.3 m
  • Armor: 45 mm
  • Max. Running Speed: 41 kph
  • Max. Rolling Speed: 73.8 kph

Default Weapons

  • 1 M222 Autocannon Rifle (240 rounds)
  • 1 RP-109 Pepperbox (24 rounds)
  • 1 MK IV Grenade Launcher (6 rounds)
  • 3 M-2A Hand Grenades
The stalwart Hunter is one of the Northern Guard's earliest and most ubiquitous Gear designs, and many of their later Gears are in fact offshoots of this wide-spread and popular chassis. Versatility is the watchword when it comes to the Hunter, as it has enough armor, enough speed, enough weaponry, and enough maneuverability to deal with a large number of situations and threats effectively.
Hunter XMG
Hunter XMG Side View

Hunter XMG

  • Type: Battle Gear
  • Height: 4.3 m
  • Armor: 51 mm
  • Max. Running Speed: 43 kph
  • Max. Rolling Speed: 72 kph

Default Weapons

  • 1 AR-25 Autocannon (200 rounds)
  • 1 RP-209 Rocket Pod (18 rounds)
  • 1 MK III AP Launcher (6 rounds)
  • 6 Heavy Hand Grenades
The Hunter XMG is an attempt to modernize the successful and long-lived Hunter model, adding newer technology while retaining the reliability of the original. In the end, the XMG can stand in for the Hunter quite admirably, which is to say that it can fill a wide variety of roles. Like its predecessor, it is able to contribute effectively in almost any situation thanks to its well-rounded design.
Jaguar
Jaguar Side View

Jaguar

  • Type: Battle Gear
  • Height: 4.6 m
  • Armor: 51 mm
  • Max. Running Speed: 53.1 kph
  • Max. Rolling Speed: 81 kph

Default Weapons

  • 1 MR25 Machinecannon Rifle (200 rounds)
  • 1 RP-111 Pepperbox II (32 rounds)
  • 1 MK IV Grenade Launcher (6 rounds)
  • 6 M-2A Hand Grenades
Unlike the Hunter XMG, which was intended, at best, to replicate the performance of the venerable Hunter, the Jaguar was built from the ground up to succeed it, as evidenced by its higher maximum speed, heavier armor, and more lethal weapon loadout. While it was arguably successful in reaching this goal, the general expense of the Jaguar makes them somewhat scarce on the battlefield.
Grizzly
Grizzly Side View

Grizzly

  • Type: Support Gear
  • Height: 5.1 m
  • Armor: 70 mm
  • Max. Running Speed: 40 kph
  • Max. Rolling Speed: 65 kph

Default Weapons

  • 1 M225 Heavy Autocannon (120 rounds)
  • 2 GH-8 Rocket Pods (18 rounds)
  • 1 GU-10 Gatling Gun (200 rounds)
  • 1 TD-76 Mortar Unit (6 rounds)
Being both taller and tougher than most Northern Guard Heavy Gears, the Grizzly is massive enough that it is often used outside of combat to tow heavy equipment. It is nothing to trifle with when in the field either, as the Grizzly has weaponry enough to tear through smaller Gears without much trouble. As with many Gears of its size, though, the Grizzly is sometimes hampered by its speed.
Kodiak
Kodiak Side View

Kodiak

  • Type: Support Gear
  • Height: 5.2 m
  • Armor: 80 mm
  • Max. Running Speed: 37 kph
  • Max. Rolling Speed: 65 kph

Default Weapons

  • 1 XPA-001 Accelerator (12 rounds)
  • 1 GH-16 Rocket Pod (36 rounds)
  • 1 Guided Missile Launcher (12 rounds)
  • 2 GU-10 Gatling Guns (200 rounds)
  • 1 MK IV Grenade Launcher (6 rounds)
  • 6 Hand Grenades
A relatively recent Northern Guard design, the Kodiak is above all else a weapons platform, boasting a larger variety of armaments than any other Gear within its faction. It is also clad to the hilt with as much armor as its frame can manage, making it far less susceptible to attack than other Gears. Support from other Gears may be necessary, though, as it is quite slow on its feet.
Mammoth
Mammoth Side View

Mammoth

  • Type: Strider
  • Height: 6.8 m
  • Armor: 145 mm
  • Max. Running Speed: 31 kph
  • Max. Rolling Speed: N/A

Default Weapons

  • 1 GU-20 Autocannon (400 rounds)
  • 2 KJ-16 Miniguns (1,200 rounds)
  • 1 Fireball II Luancher (8 rounds)
  • 1 SB-90 Assault Gun (20 rounds)
A true beast of a machine, the Mammoth is a full one and a half meters taller than than any other Northern Gear. It is an assault Gear in the truest sense, having enough firepower to lay waste to a small city and sufficient armor to withstand attack from several Gears at once. It is ponderously slow to move, however, and it is the only Gear in the game with neither wheels nor treads.

Southern MILICIA

AppearanceSide ViewStatistics & Description
Iguana
Iguana Side View

Iguana

  • Type: Scout
  • Height: 4.1 m
  • Armor: 40 mm
  • Max. Running Speed: 52 kph
  • Max. Rolling Speed: 84.2 kph

Default Weapons

  • 1 Light Autocannon (240 rounds)
  • 1 Vogel-7 Rocket Pod (24 rounds)
The Iguana is a reconnaissance Gear composed of metal alloy and armoplast plating, making it one of the lightest Gears in its class. While its speed doesn't quite match that of the Cheetah, the Iguana is more than serviceable as a scout, and is a good candidate for hit-and-run operations, as it has enough weaponry to make its presence known before quickly falling back to safety.
Gila
Gila Side View

Gila

  • Type: Scout
  • Height: 3.9 m
  • Armor: 50 mm
  • Max. Running Speed: 52 kph
  • Max. Rolling Speed: 100 kph

Default Weapons

  • 1 AK-86 Heavy Autocannon (120 rounds)
  • 1 Hargon-C Rocket Launcher (9 rounds)
  • 3 Heavy Hand Grenades
While the deadly Gila is built upon the foundation set by the Iguana Scout Gear, the two have in truth as many differences as similarities. While the Iguana is more or less a traditional recon craft, the Gila was designed as a rapid assault Gear, and to this end carries as much weaponry as a Gear of its class can carry. It is meant to close in fast before wreaking havoc with its guns.
Jäger
Jäger Side View

Jäger

  • Type: Battle Gear
  • Height: 4.3 m
  • Armor: 45 mm
  • Max. Running Speed: 35 kph
  • Max. Rolling Speed: 73 kph

Default Weapons

  • 1 PR-25 Autocannon (240 rounds)
  • 1 Vogel-6 Rocket Pod (24 rounds)
  • 1 HLB-16 AP Launcher (6 rounds)
  • 6 HG-2 Hand Grenades
Proving that the Hunter's popularity extends event to the Allied Southern Territories, the Jäger is a Southern design based on the long-running Hunter model. While its exterior shares the same rounded aesthetic that all other Southern Gears do, its internal structure is all but indistinguishable from the Hunter's. Like its Northern cousin, the Jäger is well-suited to almost all tasks.
Black Mamba
Black Mamba Side View

Black Mamba

  • Type: Battle Gear
  • Height: 4.6 m
  • Armor: 56 mm
  • Max. Running Speed: 55.4 kph
  • Max. Rolling Speed: 84 kph

Default Weapons

  • 1 PR-55 Autocannon (200 rounds)
  • 1 Vogel-8 Rocket Pod (32 rounds)
  • 2 GL-01 Grenade Launchers (6 rounds)
  • 3 HG-C4 Hand Grenades
If the Jäger can be compared to CNCS's Hunter, than the Black Mamba is more in line with the North's Jaguar. Having been designed and produced more recently than the Jäger, the Black Mamba is a more advanced Gear in terms of speed, armor, and potential payload. With very little in the way of weaknesses, the Black Mamba is one of the deadliest Gears in its weight class.
Gold Mamba
Gold Mamba Side View

Gold Mamba

  • Type: Battle Gear
  • Height: 4.6 mm
  • Armor: 58 mm
  • Max. Running Speed: 54 kph
  • Max. Rolling Speed: 82 kph

Default Weapons

  • 1 Medium Autocannon (200 rounds)
  • 2 Anti-Gear Missile Launchers (2 rounds)
  • 6 Heavy Hand Grenades
The Gold Mamba is comparable to the Black Mamba in most respects, including it size, durability, speed, and weapon capacity. Unlike the Black Mamba, however, it was designed specifically with rough terrain in mind, and takes advantage of stabilization features that improve its off-road performance. In addition, it employs a stealth system that helps it mask its radar presence.
Spitting Cobra
Spitting Cobra Side View

Spitting Cobra

  • Type: Support Gear
  • Height: 5.0 m
  • Armor: 90 mm
  • Max. Running Speed: 35 kph
  • Max. Rolling Speed: 62.8 kph

Default Weapons

  • 1 MR60 Autocannon (120 rounds)
  • 1 FSRP-36 Rocket Pod (18 rounds)
  • 1 SCRP-98 Rocket Pod (48 rounds)
  • 1 MGU-77 Minigun (400 rounds)
  • 6 HG-2 Hand Grenades
The Spitting Cobra is one of the AST's largest and heaviest Gears, incorporating copious amounts of armor and a generous number of weapons. It is often geared toward the role of fire support, with armaments that bombard enemies from afar where their superior speed will not avail them. It is no slouch in close quarters, though, with a few notable weapons that can cause serious damage.
King Cobra
King Cobra Side View

King Cobra

  • Type: Support Gear
  • Height: 5.2 m
  • Armor: 92 mm
  • Max. Running Speed: 36 kph
  • Max. Rolling Speed: 67 kph

Default Weapons

  • 1 SRWI PA-2X Accelerator (12 rounds)
  • 1 Vogel H-27 Rocket Pod (36 rounds)
  • 1 FLRP-74 Rocket Pod (24 rounds)
  • 1 SRWI G-11 Gatling Gun (120 rounds)
  • 1 TA-12 Guided Mortar (10 rounds)
  • 1 HLB-16 Grenade Launcher (6 rounds)
  • 6 Hand Grenades
Weighing in with a total of seven different armaments, the King Cobra narrowly beats out the CNCS's Kodiak when it comes to the sheer number of weapons wielded in its default configuration. Not surprisingly given this fact, the King Cobra has a weapon to suit pretty much any combat situation, and when taken into consideration with its armor, it can level most any foe it encounters.
Naga
Naga Side View

Naga

  • Type: Strider
  • Height: 7.1 m
  • Armor: 106 mm
  • Max. Running Speed: 42 kph
  • Max. Rolling Speed: 72 kph

Default Weapons

  • 1 MT-30 Autocannon (200 rounds)
  • 2 Pilum-VI Missile Launchers (4 rounds)
Though lightly armored when compared to its Northern equivalent, the Mammoth, the Naga is more than twice as fast, allowing it to be deployed more quickly and, as a result, used in a wider variety of scenarios. The weapon of choice for the Naga is usually a pair of shoulder-mounted Pilum-VI Missile Launchers, which can lock on to and obliterate enemies from extreme range.

Reception

Heavy Gear was received positively overall upon its release, however a number of common criticisms were leveled against the game. It was observed by many reviewers that Heavy Gear was extremely similar to MechWarrior 2 in many respects, which was seen both as an advantage and a disadvantage; GameSpot's Greg Kasavin expressed disappointment with the game's similarity to MechWarrior, feeling that Activision had been too conservative in their design. Furthermore, the MechWarrior 2 engine used to power Heavy Gear was, according to many reviewers, starting to show its age (PC Gamer's T. Liam McDonald compared the game's dust particle effects unfavorably to confetti), and several publications complained of a number of bugs, glitches, and A.I. deficiencies that hampered the overall experience. In spite of these issues, Heavy Gear still scored fairly well, and critics often pointed out that in particular fans of MechWarrior would most likely enjoy the game.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.