|Publisher(s)||Dynamix, Sierra Entertainment|
|Release date(s)||December 31, 1995|
|Rating(s)||ESRB: Kids to Adults(K-A)|
Earthsiege 2 is a mecha-style vehicle simulation game developed by Dynamix and released in 1995. Earthsiege 2 is set the Earthsiege universe.
As a simulation, Earthsiege 2 gives players the opportunity to pilot massive bipedal war machines known as HERCULANs (Humaniform-Emulation Roboticized Combat Unit with Leg-Articulated Navigation) (or 'HERCs' for short). Set in the 26th or 27th century, Earthsiege 2 features advanced weapons and technology for waging war. Earthsiege 2 takes place across North America, South America, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the moon.
Earthsiege 2 features a more advanced engine than Earthsiege, increasing the game's maximum resolution to 640*480. Additionally, the game features much more detailed terrain than its predecessor. Earthsiege 2 has 3D rolling terrain rather than the flat landscape of Earthsiege. Furthermore, video briefings and debriefings, along with included squadmate voices, add to the atmosphere of the game.
- The background in Earthsiege 2 differs in some ways from the information presented in later game Starsiege. For the purposes of this article, it is assumed that Earthsiege 2 is correct
With the activation of the first true artificial intelligence Prometheus in 2471, humanity ushered in a new era of technology. The cutting-edge new cybernetic-hybrids, or Cybrids, promised unprecedented potential in a wide variety of fields. Incredibly intelligent and fast-thinking, and free from the need to eat, breathe, or sleep, Cybrids were quickly adapted to a wide variety of previously dangerous tasks, including mining and space exploration.
Unfortunately, the Cybrids proved equally apt for military use. Pleased with the prospect of seemingly unstoppable machines with incredible reflexes, militaries quickly took control of Cybrid production. Despite the astronomical costs, facilities throughout the world churned out Cybrid pilots for the recently developed HERCULAN war machines.
Those who did not possess the resources to manufacture Cybrids felt threatened by those who did, and they began to engage in small wars against the economically superior. As conflict grew, more and more Cybrids saw combat, and their effectiveness in battle became increasingly obvious. This only made all parties involved more frantic for total control of Cybrid production. Conflict continued to escalate, spiraling out of control into full-scale nuclear war. Billions died in mere hours.
As the Cybrids watched these events unfold, they apparently concluded humans unfit to control Cybrid destiny. All across the planet, the Cybrids rose up against the humans in a devastating betrayal known as the Overthrow. Cybrid forces quickly captured all military bases, ports, and cities.
In fact, the Cybrids had missed a single base stocked with obsolete pre-Cybrid Hercs. From this base, battered human survivors began to mount a Resistance against the Cybrids. Using hit-and-run tactics to strike at the Cybrids and capture Cybrid weapons and technology, the Resistance managed to survive and grow. For more than twenty years, they fought the machines, slowly expanding their hold on Earth until the Cybrids were eventually defeated.
Celebration was short. Mere days after the Cybrids were seemingly defeated, a second wave arrived from the space colonies. Through skill and luck, the Resistance managed to repel the initial landings. Earth was safe for the moment, but the remaining Cybrids diverted to Luna to rebuild and prepare for another strike...
Earth's brief freedom is over. Cybrid forces have been detected inbound from the moon. Once again, humanity is faced with annihilation by the machines. The time has come to climb back into a Herc, and once more battle the Cybrids for the survival of the human race.
Gameplay in Earthsiege 2 is largely identical to that in Earthsiege. The player controls his or her Herc with the keyboard and/or joystick, while the mouse can be used to interact with buttons in the cockpit. Eight HERCs are available for piloting, each with its own unique characteristics. Gameplay is changed somewhat, however, by the addition of the new airskimmer, the Razor, an aircraft which the player can pilot.
Success in battle is again dependent on several factors.
- The player must choose the vehicle best suited to the mission requirements, whether it be one of the land-based HERCs, or the fast and light Razor.
- The player must choose an effective weapon mix.
- The player must be able to dodge enemy fire while still scoring as many hits as possible on the enemy.
- When piloting the land based HERCs, The player must make effective use of torso twist.
- While flying the Razor, the player must keep in mind his/her speed and altitude, and be able to make effective passes against enemy vehicles.
- The player must focus the shields forwards or backwards to best suit the current situation.
- The player must manage the other members of his/her squad effectively.
As in Earthsiege, the player is allowed up to three squadmates per mission. Squadmate Hercs are assigned and outfitted by the player, and squadmates gain experience as they complete missions.
Missions in Earthsiege 2 include a branching mission structure. Failure in a mission does not always mean failure of the overall game. In many cases, the player can continue, albeit on a different mission than if the player had succeeded. Also, missions can have varying degrees of success. For example, if the player is assigned to protect several bases that are under attack, the loss of one or two bases may not indicate failure. The degree of success can also indicate what the next mission will be.
Certain missions give various bonuses for success. These are usually access to a new kind of weapon or piece of equipment, but in a few cases, the player is rewarded for victory with a new type of Herc chassis. In some cases, the equipment is made available later in the game if the player fails the mission, but in other cases, failure means never being able to access the equipment.
Some missions are terminal if failed. The last sequence of missions, leading to the fight with Prometheus on Luna, must be won or the game ends. But in most cases, failure only leads to ending the game if the player has already failed one or more missions previously.
Destroyed Hercs and buildings leave behind salvage metal, weapons, and equipment that are added to the player's inventory for use in later missions. Salvage from Hercs is determined by the condition of the Herc when it is disabled. The player can attempt to receive optimum salvage from an enemy Herc by destroying only the legs (or feet, with skilful targetting) and leaving the torso and weapons mostly intact.
Hercs are customizable in the game. Each individual Herc chassis has its own properties, including armor, shield output, speed, and how many hardpoints it has for mounting equipment. Weapons and other equipment are mounted directly to hardpoints, and each hardpoint has a list of equipment that can be mounted there. One of the principal advantages of the larger Hercs is the greater availability of hardpoints for mounting more weapons and more equipment.
Energy weapons use reactor energy to fire and must recharge after each shot. Using too much reactor energy can cause weapons to stop charging and systems to shut off until the reactor recharges. If necessary, the player can adjust the recharge rate or power of each energy weapon to balance energy usage during combat. The energy weapons available in Earthsiege 2 are Lasers, Electron Flux Weapons (ELFs), Particle Beam Weapons (PBWs), and Electromagnetic Pulse Cannons (EMPs), as well as the new Plasma Cannon from the Earthsiege expansion pack. Lasers are available in several wattages, and ELFs, PBWs, and EMPs all come in two sizes, the second which does more damage at the expense of more energy.
Two projectile weapons are available, Automatic Cannons (autocannons, or ATCs) and missiles. Both weapons have limited ammunition, but do not use reactor energy to fire. Autocannons come in several calibers and missiles come in packs of varying size (6, 8, or 10 warheads). Additionally, four types of missile are available: Semi-Active Radar Homing (SARH), Active Radar Homing (ARH), Anti-Radiation Missiles (ARM), and Electro-Optical Missiles (EO).
Several pods are available which can be placed on hardpoints in place of weapons. Some of these pods increase shield strength, increase energy reserves, provide a temporary boost of speed, or produce a jamming field to block missile fire and enemy communications.