The first strategy game I seriously played and loved was Dune II: Battle for Arrakis. Before that, I was absolutely not interested in this genre. I never found it particularly exciting to virtually push some combat units around on a map. But Dune 2 nevertheless cast its spell on me and has not let go of many of us to this day. A whole bunch of successors poured over the audience in the years that followed. However, these clones soon lost the appeal of the new. Perhaps I would have found these fresh ideas in other – less well-known – representatives of the genre back then. In search of such pearls, I enter the famous hexa fields of The Perfect General II.
Blood and thunder rule the country: The vicious Death Adder inflicts war on the kingdom and kills people by the dozen. Amongst the numerous victims are the relatives of three great heroes, who finally, when even their best friend gets slain right in front of their eyes, swear revenge.
So much for the usual excuse to have player controlled muscleheads beat up some baddies. But all of this is not communicated overly well in the actual game, is it?
In spite of finally turning into a great commercial success, the long delay of getting MechWarrior 2 out of the door had disgruntled FASA sufficiently to not prolong their cooperation with Activision. The licence went to Microprose, where ironically, the production of the official sequel again went on for years after having been first announced. Activision was still allowed to produce add-ons to MechWarrior 2, on the other hand. Mercenaries stretched the definition of "add-on" to the extreme, being a standalone game. One could almost suspect this is where they would have taken the series for a third installment.