As the former President of the United States of America toured central Africa on a quest for world peace, he was taken hostage by a group of revolutionaries. What jolly bad luck! Of course, the US can’t just send the troops in to rescue him, as it could prompt World War Ill, so instead they send an elite corps known as the MERCS — professional soldiers trained in anti-terrorist tactics. And you’re one of them (gulp). Your objective: to rescue the President and stop the rebels taking over the country of Zutula!
It’s dead easy to describe MERCS — eight levels of non-stop arcade shoot-’em-up action. That’s it! Well, there’s a little bit more. Two players can take part simultaneously and each can build up their weaponry from a simple gun to a three-way blaster or flame thrower.
You’re going to need that weaponry to attack the many, many, many enemies you encounter on your mission and they come in all shapes and sizes. Rebels run around firing in all directions, megatanks attempt to run you down and, at the end of each level, there are such things as enemy supply trains, battleships and monster Hercules planes that’ll make mincemeat out of you if you’re not quick enough on the trigger.
You couldn’t ask for much more colour in the graphics of MERCS. All the sprites and backgrounds use the block colour method, so some look a bit blocky but it allows loads of colour with very little clash.
Landscapes scroll in all eight directions and the terrain you run over changes from time to time. One minute you’re sprinting along a concrete path, the next you could be up to your neck in quick sand or gasping for breath in the middle of a river!
There’s so much to be blasted away it’ll keep shoot-’em-up fans happy for hours on end. You don’t have to stick to shooting the enemy, either. If you are feeling really naughty you can blow up any houses, trees or bushes you see along the way and sometimes you have to, to clear a path, y’see).
MERCS is a real winner with me. The tune at the beginning may be a little, erm, grating but the rest is excellent. A real cool blaster, and I didn’t say it looks like a updated version of Commando once (even if it does).
NICK — 84%