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BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception

Amiga game review, ADF downloads, screenshots, ratings and insights
BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception, published by Infocom and created by Westwood Studios offers a unique mix of adventure, strategy and RPG game elements. Stamping the Infocom brand on the box was likely an attempt to lure adventure and RPG fans to the game as Infocom was owned by Activision by this time and a shell of what it once was during the text adventure days. But Crescent Hawk's Inception did offer a solid story based on a well-developed sci-fi universe, so there's that. The project lead, Michael Goldberg, went on to create two more BattleTech games and the designer, Joseph Hewitt, went on to create graphics for legendary games like Eye of the Beholder and several installations of Command and Conquer. So the game had a solid team behind it, for sure.

The first half of the game follows a typical RPG formula: take your character and find ways to increase your experience and skills while also collecting cash. It can feel a little tedious at times but does a very nice job of introducing the story, technology and world.

As was typical for many games of the era, BattleTech was a simple port from DOS that didn't utilize the power Amiga had to offer, so the graphics aren't exactly amazing. Nor is the sound. But, developers did take the time to add mouse controls. The game happens to be quite menu heavy at times, so having a mouse to click through those is quite nice. However, for moving your characters and mechs, they keyboard directional keys are much easier to navigate.

The boxed window system provides echoes of Wasteland: little bitty graphics in the corner to see people you're dealing with and a large text area to the right. The main difference here is the text area can go into a more Infocom-ish story mode from time to time. But then a large map view is also there for moving around from place to place, which should be very familiar territory for adventure fans.

That being said, the missions you are given and the overall atmosphere is pretty cool and the game is pretty fun. There is a really nice balance between advancing your character's skills as a
pilot but - bizarrely - also as a bit of a stock investor. You read that right. The shares you invest in can help you earn more cash (and later in the game some things cost a ton) or lose your shirt. Interesting game dynamic.

The entire game is rather enjoyable. It's only the ending which involves a brutally painful maze with, yet again, ridiculous puzzles you have to slog through. It's this part that will likely lose most folks these days.

But if you're into BattleTech, military science fiction, or frankly simply into RPGs, this is worth a spin.
4.3
3 total votes

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Shot97

by Shot97 Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:48 am

I personally give this one a 5, though I can see where others might think of it lower. This was probably first RPG I ever got into. As a kid I spent most of my time in that little training area, again, unwilling to look up that terrible manual based copy protection. When I did at last I was horrified at the destruction of the home I had personally spent so much time in. I wondered aimlessly on foot until I found the beautiful star port... The adventure was so incredible for me. I adored the combat system, where, like many RPGs, you strategically chose your next action. The addition of beautiful cut scene animations and sound during combat was always that extra touch of magic for me. The feeling first time I broke that one guy out or prison, sneaking around on foot to steal a mech, and the same guy turning out to be a traitor... Heart pounding moments... Then to send a nice satisfying laser (great sound for the laser) in his direction to fry him for good... This game was a winner in my book. I loved the auto-map, probably the best auto-map of any game of that era. I searched every square inch of that huge map... I was rewarded for stepping back into the ruins of my old home... With any American RPG of the era, there's not much story, but what's there is powerful and memorable. My first introduction to the Battletech/Mechwarrior franchise, and I still believe this is the best representation that series ever got in computer form. Mechwarrior is of course an incredible combat simulation, but that's all it is and that's all it ever will be. A great looking first person shooter with little substance for the mind. I didn't have the 2nd Battletech as a kid but it was one of the first games I downloaded when I got the chance... And what a sad sequel in my eyes... To go from this special RPG to the next one always makes me wonder what might have been. I have to disagree with the thoughts on the Amiga port being of the lazy variety. When viewed side by side with the DOS version you may be tempted to believe that, but on closer inspection (and having played both versions) this is not a lazy port. It's not "upgraded" port by any means, but it's not "lazy". It's not a straight port. You'll notice most of the buildings in the DOS version are blue in color, where the Amiga version gives some a nice grey/pink scheme and . Faces are given a realistic peach tone on the Amiga and are given the normal terrible red in the DOS version. I'm not even positive if this was an original DOS game, it may be a C64 port. If that's the case, all the more credit to the Amiga version. Of course the DOS version featured only PC speaker sound effects where as the Amiga featured quite wonderful sound during combat. You're going to get the basic same experience regardless of which version you play, but there's no doubt in my mind the Amiga version is just that extra bit of wonderful. A good game is a good game, that's my first thoughts. Next, how did it utilize the hardware if original or port. This was a port, and it certainly does not make it obvious it's not a lazy one... But it does all you can really ask of a port. It understands it's on another machine and it tweaks the game for you. The colors are different, they are better, sound effects were added are better, the game is both played and saved on a single floppy disk at fast speeds... While I would love for every port on the Amiga to be a thousand times better than EGA, you can only differ yourself so much from the original hardwares vision. This game did all a port could ask for, it understood it was on different hardware and it altered itself for that hardware. That is a good port in my eyes.
  • 1
4.3
3 total votes
Developer:
Westwood Associates
Publisher:
Infocom
Designer:
Michael Goldberg
Artist:
Maurine Y. Starkey, Joseph B. Hewitt IV, Michael Goldberg
Programmer:
Barry Green, Louis J. Castle
Music:
Paul S. Mudra
Genre:
Strategy, Tactics, Role Playing (RPG)
Perspective:
Top-down
Theme:
BattleMech
Player mode:
Single-player
Origin:
USA
Release date:
1988

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