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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Mercs - Atari ST [035] PlayThru

Here is Capcom's Mercs, another arcade game ported to the Atari ST by one of our 'favorite' developers, Tiertex. Mercs was released by US Gold in 1991.

NOTE: A trainer was used for making this capture.

First, I can't say I was expecting to record a playthru of this title.  This was sort of a last minute decision, as I have been pressed to fill in some holes in the posting schedule to youtube while at the same time juggling 'real life'.  No real requirements place me in the schedule; I'm just trying to keep doing things the way I have been doing them.  Mercs was selected because of the short game duration, and the fact it was ported to the Sega Genesis and Master System from the arcade original, so there is more fodder for capture, and may eventually lead to a comparison with the arcade original.  Now, on with the usual stuff...

I can definitely remember seeing Mercs in numerous arcades in the 90s.  Similar to Pit Fighter (another game I never touched in the arcade), Mercs' arcade cabinet setup supported 3 players.  I can't say I ever actually played Mercs. It probably lost out to playing a game on the Neg Geo MVS, or pinball at that point.  The 3 player feature was not carried over to the Atari ST port, even though the possibility of doing more than 2 players did exist.

I know people will argue with me over the capability to do more than 2 joysticks on the ST, but the parallel port adapter was not too difficult to find; it was inexpensive, and joysticks were also cheap.  And since this game was 'STe Enhanced' allegedly by using the 4096 color pallete, there was another opportunity to use the additional two joystick ports of the STe.

So, what are my thoughts of the game?  I'm not really a huge fan.  Having never played the arcade version, I can not really take a stab at what is missing besides the 3 player option.  The gameplay seems OK.  Graphics wise, the game looks OK.  I see that for the port the screen is basically set up to be in a vertical setup with the score panel on the side, to imitate the the vertical orientation of the arcade machine.  I guess that works.

My biggest gripe, and that could be from the version I selected to play, is the loading time. Loading was absolutely horrible.  Granted, the compression could be the cause of this, but it was painful.

Unfortunately, like other Tiertex ports, basically the same music is used throughout the game.  There are sound effects, but they are layered right on top of the music from the sound chip, not isolated, which I think causes a distraction.  Also, the music gets old very quick.  I did not like how the boss music was handled, and how the layering that was done.

I guess my overall thought is that the content in the game is OK.  A little more polish and more music variety would be nice.  I would say this is a mediocre port at best.  Like Mercs or Capcom?  Give it a try.  Otherwise, most likely this title is a pass.

Capture info -

This video was captured on June 23, 2019.

Game was played on an Atari 1040 STf, TOS 1.4, 1MB, equipped with a CosmosEX from Jookie.
A Best Electronics ST Monitor to VGA cable was used, connected to an OSSC 1.6 (processing the video in Line4x mode), with the output being captured by a Startech USB3HDCAP.

Video was edited with Shotcut.

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