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January 12, 2004
Mercenaries - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
11/2/2005LucasArtsPandemic Studios1$89.95

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The graphics are stunning.
LucasArts are firmly entrenched in their Star Wars license, and why shouldn't they be it's one of the biggest properties in the world. Problem is that 2005 will see the third and apparently final Star Wars movie and the license, while still hotter then the sun on a cold day, will certainly start to cool off a little bit. What's even more confusing is that in the last year the company has killed off projects including sequels to two of their biggest properties, Sam & Max and Full Throttle. It's fortunate then that LucasArts has another potentially massive property on their hands with this game, Mercenaries which is being developed by Pandemic Studios, who are also working on the very nice looking online game Star Wars: Battlefront. But this preview is about Mercenaries, so let's get on with it...

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Now thats a big bang!
Mercenaries is set in North Korea in the near future, where a coup has plunged the troubled nation into chaos. An elite private military company, Executive Operations, has dispatched a mercenary to track down the “deck of 52” fugitive members of the old hardliner regime – before they can launch a nuclear attack (sounds like some other deck of cards from Iraq really). Mercenaries is a third-person combat-action game that delivers the next level of free-form gameplay in massive interactive environments. The game gives players the opportunity to take on the role of a soldier for hire in an open-ended world, if you see a battle you can join in or just sit back and watch for a while.

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Getting in the tank
In the game, players choose to be one of three mercenaries: an American ex-soldier Chris Jacobs who speaks Korean and has great strength, a British secret agent Jennifer Mui who specialises in Chinese and stealth techniques, or a Swedish bounty hunter who speaks Russian and is extremely fast and agile.

Each playable character has unique strengths and weaknesses that affects gameplay. For example, characters demonstrate increased expertise such as stealth, speed, or sniping allowing for unique interactions with the international factions, including China, North Korea, and the Russian Mafia. Players choose to make enemies or form alliances with these factions in order to obtain new vehicles and weaponry and unlock new bonus missions that are specific to each faction.

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Nice.. ermm.. weapon.
Players stock up on more than 30 different types of real-world weaponry including grenades, sniper rifles, rocket launchers, and air strikes that are capable of demolishing an entire city block. Within the environment, characters gain access to more then 30 authentic ground and air vehicles, including helicopters, cars, jeeps, tanks and SUVs, that they use to travel throughout the world and accomplish their objectives. If you can see it you can steal it, use it, or blow it up.

The Havok physics engine allows for the most realistic and dynamic gameplay – everything in the environment acts and reacts as it would in real life. As with many other LucasArts games the sound effects and foley work in Mercenaries are being recorded at Academy Award-winning Skywalker Sound. Expect a release in early 2005.