26 January 2010

Mercenaries – Xbox, PS2

Known best for its go anywhere, commandeer anything gameplay, the original Mercenaries was a standout sandbox game at a time when everyone was jumping into the sandbox genre. It managed to be political and (contextually) realistic while not taking itself too seriously.
And it featured voice work by Carl Weathers.
That’s right. Apollo Creed himself.
Is there anyone cooler than Carl Weathers? In the Rocky movies he was always the coolest guy. He had style, he had charisma, and he could act. (Sorry, Sly.) Then he starred in a movie called “Action Jackson.”
That’s almost as cool as being named Max Power.
He followed that goofy - but still cool - action flick with a great performance in Predator and then a surprisingly hilarious turn in Happy Gilmore. They don’t make them any cooler than Carl Weathers. If there was any justice in the world, the Chick Norris phenomenon would belong to Carl Weathers.
Oh, and the game is a blast. You choose from three mercenaries - the chick, the black dude and the white guy with the ‘extreme’ haircut – and proceed to tear through a warzone while taking missions from a variety of political and underworld factions. Your mission is to kill or capture each of the bad guys on the notorious Deck of 52. In between there are enough side missions to keep you busy for months. You’ll drive tanks, fly choppers, unleash air strikes and plant C4 all over the place. It’s a little like playing GTA without feeling bad about accidentally running over pedestrians and cops.
Mercenaries was unfortunately followed up by a lackluster sequel. However, the original is one of the better games of the last generation. Considering a used Xbox is about $20 and you can get the game for $5, it’s well worth it. (Side note: I know the 360 is backwards compatible with most Xbox games, but I prefer the big black box whenever I have an excuse to fire it up.)
By Victor Paul Alvarez

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