Back to main Mercenary reviews page

Novagen, 5.95 cass, 9.95 disk


Zzap! Issue 17, September 1986

Being a 21st century mercenary is a tough job, especially when things go wrong. Take yourself, for example - returning from a bloody conflict in the M2 star system your onboard computer, Benson, suddenly tells you that things are wrong with the navigation system and you're heading straight towards the planet of Targ. Unable to correct your course you're forced to crash land...

The planet is one unfamiliar to you, but you know that it has been a scene of a long conflict between the planet's inhabitants, the Palyars, and their robotic neighbours, the Mechanoids. Your interstellar ship was destroyed in the crash, so to escape the planet you have to earn enough money - this shouldn't prove too difficult for a soldier of fortune, such as yourself.

While you are on the planet you decide to seek a change, so you visit Targ's Second City on the other side of the planet. The climatic difference between the two conurbations is quite apparent when you arrive there - the eerie red dusk of the Southern hemisphere and the darkened sky are a far cry from the green grass and bright skies of the Central City.

The landscape is very similar, though, and the city's buildings have also been designed by Targ's great vector architect, Walton. The other thing, or rather person, who is familiar is the Palyar Cammander's brother-in-law. Afte you stole his plane, wrecked his buildings, brought down his new spaceship, and rearranged his furniture he thought he'd try and escape your antagonism. Using his brother-in-law's influence he gained the position of Prison Governor in Targ's second city. Imagine his surprise - and annoyance -when the bane of his life suddenly arrives in HIS city! He's determined to avenge the troubles you caused him, and the he knows the opportunity for revenge will arise many times - after all, he does run the city!

The object of the game is still the same - escape the planet. But this time it is so much harder - you have no records and no equipment...and no clues, either!



Very well thought out and presented. There are no instructions as such, but then that's how it should be.

Fast and effective 3D vector graphics.

Good sound effects, but most of the game is played in silence.

As soon as you start playing all the original thrills and exhileration return.

The Palyar commander's brother-in-law is determined to make your life hell - and he does!

Six quid for the latest installment in the Mercenary saga is a steal.

A classic...and a half.

Reviewers' comments:

Richard Eddy
The realism of the original program really impressed me, although I felt that it was a little easy to excape.

The new version, however, is much more difficult and very, very devious indeed. Many a time I was led into a false sense of security and I innocently trudged through a harmless looking door, only to find that I had to start the game from scratch!

This a brilliant program, miles better than the first. I'm still playing it now, so I've got to work my legs off because I'm hours behind my work schedule!

Julian Rignall
Magnificent! Using all the original aspects of Mercenary Paul Woakes has come up with one of the most devious and addictive programs I've played in a long time. In the original game, escaping was relatively simple. This one is completely different - just about every trick in the book has been used to hinder your excape, and that includes some of the most evil and underhand tactics I've encountered in a computer program. The vector graphics are still outstanding, although there could have been a little more sound. As for buying it - well, if you have the original program then purchasing the Second City is as essential as living and breathing.
Gary Penn
First there was the classic Mercenary, followed by the neat Targ Survival Kit. Now we have the Second City - and what a city! It's mean, it's evil - Paul Woakes is a genius, and a sadist (but I must be a masochist for playing it, so that's OK). There's the prison (no, not the prsion!) and then there's THAT room (gibber, gibber)...basically, Mr Woakes has fiddled around with the original city and added several new twists to make the Second City different enough to be classed as an essential purchase. If you own a copy of Mercenary and love the game, don't miss this!

Gary Penn mentions the Targ Survival Kit which was released between Mercenary and The Second City. I didn't own this, but I think it contained saved games, maps and information about Mercenary.

In the same issue were reviewed the C64 conversions of Ghosts `n' Goblins (which gained a Gold Medal) and Dragon's Lair. Jeff Minter finished off the diary of his creation of (the rather excellent) Iridis Alpha.

Transcribed by Peter Young, 19-Nov-98
Back to main Mercenary reviews page