No recent wiki edits to this page.
The first of the games that allowed you to take control of a giant robot, and that acted as true simulation of the experience rather than as an abstraction. The game focused around managing a team of Mechwarriors and outfitting a lance (group of 4) mechs to take into paid mercenary missions. Not only did you have to manage the economic aspects of the fighting in order to earn enough money to cover repairs and purchase newer and better equipment, but you also had to pilot the lead mech.
The highlight of the game was the mech design, allowing you to customize a chassis to install various types of weapons (lasers, particl canon, auto-cannon, etc), to choose an appropriately sized engine, heat sinks, and the layout of the armor. During the design phase the critical factors where what you could affort, the ammunition you could carry and the weight that your mech could support. Once you went out into the field you had to balance your use of ammunition with the amount of heat that you could dissipate after firing your weapons, making for constant tension during fights.
The game was based on the older Battletech role playing and tactical combat system by FASA, and implemented their rules extremely accurately. The major advantage the player had was the ability to target their weapons to a reticule with a high level of accuracy while the AI fired their weapons in a random distribution (the one used in the miniatures game). This allowed the player to much more efficiently defeat foes and to increase the salvaged components they would receive at the end of each mission.
The series continues in the tradition very faithfully with the exception of Mechwarrior 3 which was more arcade focused and featured a 3rd person perspective.