EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW...
Need a bit of help waging war against the Clan? If you do you're in luck, as
Andrew Wright explains how to get the most out of your Mechs
REVIEWED PCZ #66 SCORE 85%
MechCommander is a blistering real-time combat game in which you have to
complete five operations, each one of which has six separate missions. You
should find that them simple to start off with, but be warned - they
gradually get harder. A run-through of the 30 missions would leave us little
space for anything else, so instead here are the finer points of Mech
combat - after that you're on your own!
To wage a successful campaign against the Clan you'll have to plan your
missions carefully, and that includes picking the right Mech for the job.
You start the game with two Commandos, which are cheap scout Mechs. They're
best with an LRM pack or two so they can stand off and snipe at turrets or
join in firefights from a safe distance. Add lightweight SRMs or lasers for
close defence. Replace them as soon as you can.
Firestarters are better armoured, better equipped and just as fast as
Commandos. You automatically start off with an extra weapons version that
has a handy PPC.
Ravens are the best light Mechs - it's possible to recover one, a Raven-W,
in Op 1 mission 3. Its sensors are well worth having but the default weapon
load needs beefing up with an extra laser or two in place of the SRMs and
perhaps an LRM pack.
You can salvage a Hollander II in mission 2 if you're slow to get to the
exit point. It's basically a one-weapon platform and that's one thing you
can't afford to have, especially when it takes up 45 tons of dropship space.
When the Gauss rifle runs out it's all but useless, so replace it with a PPC
or large laser and extra short-range weapons.
Slow and well-armoured, the Hunchback also relies on one weapon, the heavy
autocannon. Rip it out, pack it with short-range weapons and treat it as a
close-combat Mech, perhaps adding a medium- or long-range weapon for good
The Centurion is usually available for purchase after the first mission and
it's well worth having all the way through the campaign. Consider removing
the ammo-hungry autocannon, though, and add an energy weapon or two so it
remains effective throughout each mission.
Of the remaining Inner Sphere Mechs, the Catapult, Jagermech and Awesome are
more flexible and can be used in any role, with good armour, adequate speed
and lots of firepower. A Catapult makes a good fire-support platform and it
can slug it out in the front line if needed, but only the Awesome is really
worth buying. Its massive 50-odd tons of weapon space and default load -
three PPCs - can reduce almost any Mech to ruin in no time. You can't use
the Atlas on some missions because it takes up too much dropship space -
only consider buying one if you have spare cash or you haven't salvaged any
heavy Clan Mechs.
Each mission has two distinct phases - planning and execution - but the two
are inextricably linked. What you choose to deploy before you land will
affect the way you fight any battles on the ground...
1. Look at the maximum drop weight and decide which Mechs to take along and
how much extra space to leave unused for your low-ball bonus.
2. Remember that low-balling, taking up 10 or 20 less dropship points than
the maximum, is a risk. If you end up slugging it out, the extra damage to
your Mechs may negate any bonus due to the extra repair costs.
3. Never low-ball by much if you expect some good salvage. As early as Op1
in mission 3 you can hang around the extraction point and fight a difficult
battle with a Hollander II. If you can salvage that, you'll have some nice
firepower and a 45-ton Mech.
4. If you're expecting a slugfest - or you expect to face bigger Clan
Mechs - then break out the heavy weapons and big Mechs. Remember that in a
slugging match, two 50-ton Mechs will usually get the better of four
25-tonners. You could buy a Centurion-A by the third or fourth mission if
you've obtained lots of salvage and done well in the missions.
5. Never dismiss a MechWarrior to get cash. They cost nothing to maintain
and you will eventually need them all to pilot additional Mechs.
6. Always put your best MechWarriors in your best Mechs.
7. Remember that one of your MechWarriors will need to gain veteran status
before you can deploy heavy Mechs, so try and keep the same pilot as point
man in each mission as they will earn more experience there.
8. The Guardian ECM suite is useful to take along because it almost
guarantees you'll see enemy Mechs before they see you.
9. Consider some special help. Minelayers are invaluable, especially in
defence. You can effectively block off several lines of approach as long as
you work them from the outside in.
10. Refit trucks are worth having on high load missions because you can
recharge weapons that are low on ammunition.
**Choosing weapon loads
There are no hard and fast rules for weapons. You might prefer to fight more
battles from long range, or to get in close and slug it out quickly. You
could also mix and match with both long- and short-range weapons, or give
some Mechs a stand-off role and others an up-front one.
1. There are no bonus points for under-equipping Mechs, so fit them all out
as best you can.
2. If a good Inner Sphere weapon appears in the purchase menu, try and buy
it even if you can't use it straight away - another 'unit' may well buy it
in the meantime and it will disappear from the purchase menu.
3. Never sell Clan weapons unless you're absolutely forced to. You can never
buy them back. Only a fool would sell a Clan ER PPC or a heavy ultra
4. Projectile weapons can run out of ammo unless you take steps to conserve
it. This usually involves having the Mech hang back in minor skirmishes so
it can't use a particular weapon.
5. Facing fixed defences and turrets? Consider equipping a scout Mech with
long-range weapons. You can stand off and destroy the emplacements without
taking fire in return.
6. Always give a Mech at least one or two short-range non-projectile weapons
(lasers) for dealing with swarms of elementals or vehicles.
7. Use Clan weapons wherever possible - they're better all-round.
8. Cluster your weapons by range so that most can be fired simultaneously. A
good close-combat mix would be a heavy autocannon plus four lasers. At short
range, it'll do some serious damage to any Clan Mech. Don't forget that a
Mech equipped with both medium- and long-range weapons can fire both at
9. Remember the minimum ranges. A Gauss rifle can't fire inside 50 metres,
so it's no use putting it on a Mech you intend to use at short range.
10. The main objective is to kill enemy Mechs and to do that you need to
pierce their armour and inflict some damage. One heavy-damage weapon is more
effective than lots of smaller ones because the latter hit different parts
of the body, spreading the damage out. One devastating hit will remove the
armour on the hit location and deliver the rest of the damage to vital
Try not to waste heavy ammo on swarms of puny vehicles.
Our heroes, take on a 100-ton Atlas at multiplayer - hope they've got the
Multiplayer MechCommander requires the same tactics but against much
cleverer opponents - usually.
***How to kick Clan ass
1. Aiming at a specific part of an enemy Mech (using the numeric keypad)
will reduce the overall number of hits. It's a tactic that's best used at
short range with very potent weapons to ensure rapid destruction - a head
shot, for example. Don't bother aiming at the head of a running Commando or
other light Mech - you'll be there for weeks.
2. Keep Mechs that rely on projectile weapons out of the skirmishes with
small vehicles and turrets. Use them only against other Mechs or more
threatening vehicles such as the Shrek.
3. You don't need to fight everything. In Op1 mission 3, you can escape
safely without fighting the Clan's Madcat, for example. The only reason to
take it on is to try and salvage it. If you do, it's a big bonus and will
make the next few missions much easier.
4. Concentrate your forces and firepower and destroy one enemy Mech or other
threat at a time.
5. The Clan will do the same, so make sure you keep the targeted Mech
running (hold down the spacebar and click). Always attack with your heavy
Mechs first so that the Clan picks one of them to fire at first.
6. Keep all your Mechs moving when they fight. They will still target their
weapons but will be harder to hit.
7. Watch your sensors. Try and avoid areas with big clusters of enemy units.
Over time you can work out Clan patrol patterns and use that information to
8. Use the high ground - you can see much further.
9. When you're up against fortified positions, pick off the turrets from
long range, then back off. Hopefully you can lure defenders out into the
10. Don't charge into forts through gates - select a point in the wall and
break in. Try to capture the turret control towers if you need to defend the
base or want to turn their guns on the enemy.
Play your cards right and you could salvage a Madcat. It's bloody hard
Those yellow dots indicate plenty of Clan activity.
The lads march through, harrassed by a Clan Commando.
Now that's what I call an entrance.
Small artillery strikes are ideal for taking out groups of annoying
This red-lime Hollander II is moved to the rear out of the way of possible
Raven despatches another vehicle.
Now it's turn for the next wave. Behind this come the super-fast Savannah
Masters and it's all over because I forgot to put out a minefield...
Remember the full power command 'cos it's a lifesaver. Running Mechs are
hard to hit and don't get knackered like you and me.
Bringing home the goods - salvage
The best way to salvage a Mech is to 'only just' destroy it. Luck plays a
part here - sometimes you won't be able to salvage a Mech, no matter how
hard you try. If the engine explodes, that's it. It's gone forever.
One trick is to take its legs out, disabling it in a way that won't ruin it
completely. However, that can take much longer and will almost certainly
mean you take more damage from it.
To improve your chances, bring the enemy quickly down until its status is
red and then back off. Send only one or two Mechs with light weapons to
finish it off. By this time, few of the enemy Mech's weapons will be firing
anyway so it is much less dangerous.
If you use a Gauss rifle to give the 'coupe de grace' to a red-line Clan
Mech, there won't be much to pick up afterwards. The humble laser causes low
damage and is perfect for finishing off Clan Mechs for salvage.
MechCommander's weapons are listed in order of decreasing range and
'power' - a number equal to the number of damage points it can deliver in 30
seconds of firing that gives you a good guide to the effectiveness of a
weapon. However, you should always take the load value into account -
there's no point in having one weapon taking up all your tonnage because if
it runs out or gets knocked out by a random shot, the Mech will be useless.
A good spread of weapons is always better than a single heavy-damage weapon.
The same table also shows availability - the mission in which you can first
purchase the weapon. In some cases Clan equivalents can be captured much
˙ Best short range weapons: the heavy flamer deals out concentrated damage
and can be used to give light Mechs some teeth. Captured Clan versions
weight less and fires faster. Streak SRMs are space efficient and
devastating, another good short range option.
˙ Best medium range weapons: the large laser concentrates damage and never
runs out of ammo. Its low weight just gives it the edge over the PPC and
˙ Best long range weapon: the Gauss rifle is one of the real heavy hitters
but its limited ammo makes it a dodgy choice on long missions. Don't dismiss
the light and effective LRM packs. And if you happen to 'liberate' a Clan ER
PPC, guard it with your life! It's probably the best of the lot.
˙ Worst weapon: the light autocannon lacks punch, can run out of projectiles
and is relatively heavy.
Weapon comparison Power Range Load Availability
Clan gauss rifle 45 L 13.5 -
Clan ER PPC 45 L 13.5 -
Gauss rifle 45 L 16.5 Op1 M6
Clan large ER laser 30 L 10 -
ER PPC 30 L 14.5 Op2 M5
Large ER laser 24 L 11 Op2 M1
Clan light ultra AC 22.5 L 8.5 -
Light ultra AC 22.5 L 11 Op3 M4
Light AC 15 L 9.5 Start
Clan LRM pack 9 L 3 -
LRM pack 9 L 4 Start
Clan ultra AC 45 M 13.5 -
Clan large pulse laser 37.5 M 11 -
AC 36 M 15.5 Start
Large pulse laser 30 M 12 Op2 M5
PPC 30 M 12 Op2 M1
Large laser 24 M 9.5 Op1 M4
Clan ER laser 12 M 3.5 -
Clan heavy AC 90 S 21 -
Heavy AC 60 S 19.5 Op2 M3
Clan heavy flamer 25 S 7 -
Clan streak SRM pack 20 S 5 -
Heavy flamer 20 S 8 Start
Clan pulse laser 17 S 4 -
Pulse laser 17 S 6 Op1 M4
Streak SRM pack 15 S 5 Op2 M6
Laser 12 S 4 Start
Clan SRM pack 10 S 3 -
SRM pack 7.5 S 3 Start
Notes: AC = autocannon. ER = extra range. PPC = particle projector cannon.
S/M/L = short/medium/long range. A dash (-) means it can never be purchased.
Start means it's usually available from the start and Op1 M4, for example,
means Operation 1 mission 4.
And if you can't do it that way...
You can always cheat. Look inside the folder where you've installed
MechCommander for a file called WINDOWS.FIT and rename it in Explorer to
BUYMECHCOMMANDER.2. Ignore Windows' protests (if there are any). Now try the
following cheats typed in on the battlefield:
OSMIU - Invulnerable Mechs and vehicles
LORRIE - Repair all damage/replenishes ammo
DEADEYE - Turn your MechWarriors into crackshots