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This really might be the only game where you really can blow up every single thing in the gaming environment.

"Mercenaries", kind of a "Grand Theft Auto Lite" in terms of violence, language, and total side missions, does have this going for it--at some point during the course of the game, you will have to blow up every building, every statue, every enemy installation, every bridge, every aircraft and every bad guy that gets in your way.  And, if you have time on the side, you could even go out and blow up all of the innocent civilian buildings, too...depending on how your game is going, you just might use an air strike to blow up everything on the map.

"Mercenaries" (LucasArts) lets you play as one of three mercs, each with "individual" characteristics but really just a different voice to grunt, yell and react with during the course of the game.  Your mission--head to North Korea and take out the Deck of 52, the 52 leaders of the North Korean regime that have collected nuclear weaponry and plan on using it against the world.  Using money collected from side missions that must be completed in order to gain intel on where each member of the 52 is hiding, you can buy weapons, vehicles and air strikes that will be used to either capture or kill each bad guy.  There are also mini-missions where you can beat non-violent objectives to earn a little cash, which might be helpful in unlocking cheat codes or having a little more money to drop a gunship attack on a suspicious looking group of villagers.

The game features much death, but it's most bloodless and sometimes comical.  You can always pick up the weapons of dead bad guys, or use their equipment against them; you will find yourself hijacking enemy choppers, tanks and APCs often.  You make more money by capturing bad guys alive, so you are always interested in trying that first; if at first you don't succeed, just drop a fuel-air bomb on them, blowing up the entire facility, and take the dead guy's picture.  Mission accomplished.

It's this quality that makes the game good, but not great--it's basically lather, rinse, repeat about 52 times, as you go out, buy new weapons, kill a group of baddies, buy new weapons.  The mission variety is poor, but blowing shit up is really a ton of fun.  The game takes about 20 hours to get through, and you'll probably never play it again.  Overall, not bad, but for the real deal, you'll need to go get "GTA" games instead.

Rating:  eBay


Feedback?  Comments?  Salma Hayek's digits?


Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  Buy this game right away, and don't ask me any questions as to why that's a good move.  A game experience that will almost guarantee repeated controller abuse, lots of ManScreaming and high resale value, you will assuredly play this bad boy for months on end. 

"$40":  Usually after games have been out for a while, they drop in price slightly, or can be bought for slightly cheaper in combination with other new games.  Usually, that's about $40.  You'll feel good getting the game for this price, since it isn't quite run-out-and-get-it-right-now good, but it has enough game in the box for a few weeks' worth of enjoyment.

"eBay":  This game is not too bad, but you'd be better off buying it used from either or eBay.  You also might let a friend buy this game, let s/he beat it, and then try to buy it from them to make them feel better.  Yes, this does tend to feel like "Sloppy Seconds."

"Rental":  Like my cousin Ron, you should always rent games that you aren't sure about first, to make sure that your $50 is going towards something worthwhile.  For games in this category, this is the maximum amount of money ($5) and/or time (3-5 days) you'll need to either gain satisfaction from the game, or beat the game in its entirety.  Rental-rated games are also sometimes perfect for a weekend when you are going to be at home on your ass, with some time to kill.

"Dogshit":  Games like this should have never been released.  If you play this game for any reason, you will regret every second of the experience.  Further, if you can get this game for free, don't do it, because even for FREE, it will still be a negative experience for you!

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09