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One of the most popular spinoffs of the BattleTech franchise, the MechWarrior series puts the player in the cockpit of the Giant Mecha that define the universe. With cutting edge graphics and fairly intense combat, these games probably brought more people into the universe then anything else.

The first game, MechWarrior, set roughly around 3025, placed you in the shoes of Gideon Braver Vandenburg, who is out to reclaim his birthright after his family was murdered. This game, published in 1989, is notable for featuring full three-dimensional gameplay (predating games like Ultima Underworld), as well as crude squad AI (which would be refined in later games in the series).

The second game, MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat (1995), was set during the Refusal War in 3057 between Clan Wolf and Clan Jade Falcon. Five years have passed since a cease-fire between the Clans and the Inner Sphere, however, the circumstances have changed. The player is given the option to play as a young warrior in either side, rising rapidly in rank as you led the campaign against the opposing clan. The expansion pack, Ghost Bear's Legacy, followed after this conflict as the Draconis Combine attacks (you guessed it) Clan Ghost Bear. However, not all is as it seems. A standalone sequel, titled MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, places you as an Inner Sphere mercenary, giving you the choice of running your own unit or joining another one. It's technically a prequel to the other MechWarrior 2 games, as it covers events in the the previous decade.

MechWarrior 3 (1999) takes place three years after MechWarrior 2 and in the aftermath of Operation Bulldog (the setting of the first Mech Commander) on the planet named Tranquil, where a task force code-named Damocles is assigned to take down several major installations of a Clan while the Star League deals with the rest of the Clans (this is the Counterattack and Great Refusal arc). Due to a surprise attack, half of the Inner Sphere force is destroyed before it even makes landfall on the planet. However, the mission must go on. The expansion pack, Pirate's Moon, feature a new campaign letting you play as either a raiding pirate or a member of the Eridani Light Horse, the mercenary unit deployed to stop said pirates.

The fourth game, MechWarrior 4: Vengeance (2000) is set during the Steiner-Davion conflict. Taking place on the planet Kentares IV and its moon, the plot's premise is similar to that of the first game, albeit much more involved. You play as Ian Dresari, trying to regain your birthright after a cousin affiliated with House Steiner betrays you. The expansion pack, Black Knight, continues Dresari's story as the Black Knight Legion arrives. A standalone expansion, Mercenaries, puts the player in control of a warrior known only as "Spectre", who, incidentally, is a mercenary.

Early in 2010, MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries with the Clan and Inner Sphere Mech Paks were put online for free download by MekTek, along with MekTek's own in-house Mech Pak, adding several dozen 'Mechs and weapons to the game. MekTek also made some modifications to the game itself, enhancing the HUD and 'Mech icons as well as making several Clan, IS, and MekTek Mech Pak 'Mechs and weapons available in the Campaign mode.

Mechwarrior 4 also made it to arcades as Battletech: Firestorm for the Virtual World Tesla II pods. Earlier Virtual World Battletech versions were unique to the pods, even having exclusive features like generator and coolant loop management, but missing others like jump jets. Otherwise, they played a lot like the home MechWarrior games, just in a fancy arcade cockpit full of MFDs.

A game trailer was shown in 2009 for a reboot of the series for the 5th game, in the vein of the first 4 games, set in 3015, but as time went on, the IP rights holder and game developers couldn't find a publisher for such a game and have since retooled the game into a free-to-play MMO: MechWarrior: Online. Initially taking place in the year 3049 (before the Clan invasion era) that will allegedly update storyline-wise each day after the the currently set August 1 2012 release date (which will be August 1st, 3049 in game universe, meaning that the Clan invasion will not happen yet and Clan mechs will not be initially available). The website can be found here.

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries was released in 2019.

Also of note is Mech Assault, a Third-Person Shooter series set in the same universe, and Multiplayer Battletech: Solaris and Multiplayer Battletech 3025, which were online multiplayer takes on the MechWarrior formula before NetMech (MW2:31stCC), MercNet (MW2:Mercs) and such became popular. Unfortunately, both titles have been entirely Lost Forever for years.

Fan made games and mods:

For the MechWarrior tabletop roleplaying game [1] , see BattleTech.

Tropes used in MechWarrior include:
  • Ace Custom: Your 'Mech. Your lance's or Star's 'Mechs. Pirate's Moon gave Ace Customs to pretty much all the pirate Mooks as well, resulting in some unexpectedly tough fights.
    • You'll come across a lot of these in Solaris battles in MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries.
  • Announcer Chatter: Duncan Fisher in MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries
    • And now in Living Legends, too! The MWLL team was able to hire the talented George Ledoux to reprise the role for the introduction of the Solaris Arena game mode in patch 0.5.0.
  • Anti-Air: The Huitzilopitchli and Partisan tanks in Living Legends. Both spew out hundreds of pounds of ammo every second when firing at enemy aerospace assets. They're needed to protect your team from enemy bombers if your doesn't have anybody piloting air superiority fighters.
    • The Quad Panzer will spit a wall of large pulse laser death at any air or ground target foolish enough to wander inside its range.
  • Arch Enemy: In Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries, Burr's Black Cobras may take this role in opposition your lance, depending on how you interact with them. Destroying Lieutenant Dunman's lance in the Industry Raid mission on Halloran V leads to Dragonfly attacking you during the last Halloran V mission. This culminates in a firefight with Colonel Burr on Wernke, which will see you grossly outnumbered and possibly outgunned.
  • Artificial Stupidity: AI controlled lancemates tend to dumbfire missiles, bump into enemies and take forever to go around obstacles. However they are actually good at shooting down aircraft.
    • Enemies do this too on the lower difficulties, which makes some missions (especially Escort Missions) extremely frustrating due to the tendency of enemy 'Mechs to die while standing right next to friendlies, either severely damaging them or taking them out too.
    • Arguably the whole reason the single-player campaigns are playable at all. The player is always pitted against numerically superior forces, occasionally using even heavier Mechs than their own; were AI pilots capable of doing things like grouping weapons, using group fire properly and smartly managing heat, they'd consistently wipe the floor with the player.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The Clan hierarchy, with different Clan definitions for asskicking as seen in MW2:
    • David Versus Goliath: The Jade Falcons have to duel one-on-one against the heavier mechs while piloting the lighter one in the Urban Warfare-styled arena, with one notable (but thankfully optional) example with you piloting a 30-ton Kit Fox against the 85-ton Warhawk, and thats after surviving the earlier fight against the 70-ton Summoner (which is mandatory).
    • Wolfpack Boss: The Wolves, on the other hand, don't use such extreme ton disparity, instead putting you alone against the 2-mech groups on the relatively open arena.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Cockpits and rear torso shots, which are notoriously hard to hit, even on a stationary mech. When you do hit it though, expect to devastate the enemy. Cockpits and rear torsos mount very little armor even when maxed out, and most players strip some or all armor from both cockpits and the rear torso for more guns.
    • In the Mechwarrior 2 games, the Firemoth (Dasher, for those going by the Reporting Name) 'mech happened to suffered from its cockpit being a easy spot to hit, making it really easy to destroy (on top of already being easy to destroy on account of already being a Fragile Speedster).
      • Jenners, Urbanmechs, and Catapults suffered from this too in the course of the MechWarrior 2 series. A direct frontal hit on most of these machines usually resulted in head hits thanks to the bounding boxes on their cockpits. This was especially bad for the Urbies, because they were all of 30 tons and slower than molasses in winter.
    • The Daishi (Dire Wolf if you go by Clan names) in MW4 has a ridiculously huge cockpit hitbox compared to other mechs, and since most players strip its head armor, you can simply blast them in the face and almost instagib them.
      • Averted with the fan made expansion pack's Cyclops. The obvious head, with its enormous red eye, certainly looks like a vulnerable spot, and is just begging to be shot off. However, destroying it reveals that it isn't actually the cockpit.
    • Not always the head in Living Legends. The Owens is 4/5th legs and poorly armored to begin with, often leading to the battlefields strewn with legged Owenses in the opening minutes of a match. Likewise, stripping off a Shadowcat's left arm renders the 'mech mostly useless.
    • A number of Mechs in MW4 Mercs were significantly less threatening if you knew their weapons placement and nuked it five seconds into the fight. This was particularly useful on Solaris.
    • In Pirate's Moon, the Awesome had an unfortunately positioned head hitbox just above its center of mass. Long-range snapshots with Gauss rifles or Clan ERPP Cs, particularly from a slightly higher elevation than the target, would often take the 'Mech's head off
  • Awesome but Impractical:
    • The artillery beacon deals tremendous damage, but has limited ammunition and requires incredible timing against moving objects. God help you if you're overheated and a Longbow carrying 10 of these finds you.
    • Long Tom artillery pieces, which are one of the heaviest weapons in the game, and you need to be damn good to hit anything further than 300m away with them, When you do hit targets though, they will feel it. The Living Legends version of the Longtom can one-shot any mech with a direct hit, but it has an extreme reload time, only one vehicle mounts it, and the design of the gun makes it impossible to hit anything closer than 400 meters away unless the Long Tom tank is parked on a hill.
    • The online community for MW 4:V had a gentlemen's agreement to ban these 2 weapon in online matches as players using aimbots would simply spam auto-hits with these weapons, outside the game's draw distance.
    • Ghost Bear's Legacy added the Arrow IV artillery missile. Extreme range, very damaging single-shot missile, almost always hits it target and very capable of killing light and medium Mechs in a single strike. Except when said target has another GBL add-on, the anti-missile machinegun. Meant to reduce the number of missile hits in standard volley shots, an AMS will make all Arrow attacks an utter waste - and there are a lot of Mechs that carry it. The Arrow IV missiles were improved in MW4, however, where they are considered too large for an AMS to destroy.
    • The recently revealed (but not yet implemented in the public version of the mod) new HUD for mechs in Living Legends looks incredibly awesome, but currently suffers from being hard to read.
  • Awesome Yet Practical: the PPC, especially in its ER version. Coolest energy-shot graphic effect in all games, not unreasonably large or heavy compared to the damage it does (other similarly damaging kinetic and missile weapons all take more inventory to fit and are heavier), ammo-independent and hurts like hell. Oh, and it tends to disrupt electronics in the target. Massive heat buildup is the only thing preventing it from getting into Game Breaker territory.
  • Beam Spam A very viable tactic was to use nothing but ER Large Lasers and heat sinks and blow the legs off enemy mechs. This becomes even more effective in games such as Mechwarrior 3 which allow the player to walk into water for a quicker cool down.
    • Living Legends has the "Anaconda" variant of the Huitzilopotchli Anti-Air tank. Instead of mounting lots of autocannons, it mounts six Clan Large Pulse Lasers. It can leg most mechs in two alpha strikes, or fire almost continuously when chainfiring.
  • Big Bad: Smoke Jaguar Galaxy Commander Brendon Corbett in MechWarrior 3.
  • Big Freaking Gun: The Clan rail gun in MekTek's free MW 4 is considered one even by 'Mech standards. The Autocannon/20s, Hypervelocity Autocannon/20s, Ultra Autocannon/20s, LB-20 X-Autocannons, Gauss Rifles, and Heavy Gauss Rifles are all much smaller than the Rail Gun, but can be mounted on far more mechs, and are the largest conventional weapons in the games. The Long Tom artillery piece in Living Legends can one-shot an Assault 'Mech with a direct hit.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: 'Mechs like the BattleMaster in MW4 have huge weapons (it's nearly as large as a 20 ton 'Mech) carried in their arms, which are very easy to blast off.
  • Blinded by the Light: The Warhammer in Living Legends has a very large spotlight mounted on the shoulder, which is effective at blinding enemies using the nightvision overlay.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Marshes in Living Legends. Large mounts of silt and mud covered in trees, murky water full of reeds, and fireflies everywhere.
  • Cannon Fodder: Tanks and basically every non-mech/dropship enemy in the games; most die in a couple hits. The tanks in MW4:Mercenaries take it to the next level in that they almost never shoot at you; only in missions where you get attacked by dozens of them are they an actual threat.
    • MechWarrior: Living Legends, a Crysis total conversion mod, has non-mech assets more like their Classic Battletech counterparts, as in actually dangerous. Veterans from MW4 tend to ignore tanks when first starting to play MWLL. It is quite surprising when a Demolisher eats their 'Mech alive with its double Autocannon/20s.
    • As the game progresses, most light BattleMechs become these too. The array of larger weapons available to heavier 'Mechs can chew up even a modestly well armored 35-tonner in one or two good salvos.
      • Sometimes subverted in Living Legends, where a good pilot in a Shadowcat can make a real mess of an average pilot in an Atlas.
  • Canon Immigrant: The Omni version of the 40-ton Arctic Wolf from the official Clan Mech Pak, as well as Mektek's 85-ton Deimos, were later made part of canon BattleTech. (Previously the Arctic Wolf had only been a non-Omni Battle Mech in the tabletop game.)
  • Car Fu: The Harasser hovercraft in Living Legends can punt tanks around like they're toys.
  • Cassandra Truth: In MechWarrior 4: Vengeance, nobody in the Steiner command listens to Vanda Castro even though she's the only one who is giving sound tactical advice and not grossly underestimating the threat posed by the player. Lampshaded by the player and their operations officer after Operation 5-1.
  • Classic Cheat Code: In the original MechWarrior 2 campaign. Naming yourself "Calvin" or "Hobbes" unlocks special 'Mechs (including an Elemental). Name yourself "Freebirthtoad" and you can play all the missions.
  • Collision Damage: Inverted when ramming buildings, trees and vehicles, played straight with other 'Mechs, in which both sides take minimal damage.
    • 2 and 3 handled it oddly; speed more than weight seemed to play a factor in the amount of damage taken and dealt, and it was not unheard of for badly damaged 'Mechs colliding with something and losing a limb or a weapon. In 3, you could do considerable damage to enemies and yourself by getting tangled up in their collision boxes. And then there was the bridge bug, in which your 'Mech clipped through the bridge and got docked for collision...on your head, usually resulting in instant death.
    • In Living Legends, aerospace fighters take collision damage when touching a player. If you run fast enough at a Sparrowhawk scout plane sitting on the ground, it will explode when you touch it.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Due to how long ranged missiles work in Living Legends, mechs that boat these (which were viable in previous games) will get faceraped by anything that gets within their minimum range of 20 to 350 [2] meters. Other mechs, like the Shadow Cat, tend to carry one huge gun in one arm, meaning that if you blast them off, the mech essentially turns into a walking target with a few peashooters for armament.
    • For some values of "peashooter", anyway. A pair of Clan ER Medium Lasers is not an insignificant amount of firepower, and with above-average range.
  • Damage Is Fire: Rear torsos in Living Legends with smoke and burn when critically damaged.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: In Mech Warrior 4: Vengeance, Vanda Castro. She immediately relises the threat that Ian Dresari poses to the Steiner occupation force and constantly urges Lord Roland to destroy him and his band of followers before they can grow in strength. Thankfully Roland is an idiot and never acts on her advice.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Spectre from MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries.
    • Also Dominic Payne of MechWarrior 3. Epona Rhi takes over for him when Dominic's not there for most of the Pirate's Moon expansion.
  • Determinator: The Mechwarrior Guard Captain from the intro movie of Mechwarrior 4: Vengeance, when he sees why no-one has been answering his radio calls:
  • Die, Chair, Die!: Various neutral buildings, bridges, trees, and civilian vehicles can be destroyed. The third game even lets you go so far as to destroy the terrain, kill people and cut power lines.
    • The third game went so far as to let you blow gaping craters in the ground if you so wished, something none of the other games have managed to recreate since.
  • Disc One Nuke: Solaris VII in Mercs, and the salvage system in MW3.
    • Mechwarrior 2 Mercenaries Titanium had a dynamic salvage system. This sometimes meant you picked up some extremely good salvage early in the game. It was possible to be two or three campaigns in and still piloting light 'Mechs, and spontaneously win an Atlas in salvage in one of the missions, dramatically snapping much of the combat challenge over a giant metal knee. Such a prize would be hard-won, though: you had to kill said Atlas first, and unless you killed it with a headshot or by shooting off both its heavily armored legs, it would very likely be unsalvageable.
  • Domed Hometown: In MW2 Clan Wolf campaign you are tasked to secure, and then defend, one of these on the vacuumless moon. It is fragile, so watch where you shoot.
  • Ejection Seat: In non-Mercenaries games, ejecting is only useful to stare at a cool visual of the landscape instead of an explosion and a mission failed screen when someone blows you up. In Mercenaries games, ejecting lets you avoid a game over at the cost of your Mech and all its equipment (usually avoided by reloading a savegame, but appreciated by the heavy role-players).
    • More useful in Living Legends, where ejecting deposits you a couple-dozen meters above the fight in a suit of jump-capable battle armor with some basic weapons. While the BA default armament isn't amazing, it's sometimes enough to finish off a crippled enemy. More significantly, it allows you a means to escape back to base and replace your 'Mech (or grab better BA weapons) without giving up a kill to the enemy pilot--killing a pilot in his machine grants a much larger reward than just destroying an empty 'Mech.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar
  • Every Bullet Is a Tracer: High explosive autocannons, .50 cal machineguns, artillery shells..
  • Exploding Barrels: Fuel tanks, APU's, and Drop Ships deal significant damage and overheat nearby targets when they explode. 'Mechs also do this when they get destroyed.
  • Explosive Overclocking: If you keep your heat levels too high by overriding the auto shut down, or in some cases just firing all of your weapons at once, your 'Mech will explode. This is derived from the tabletop game where having your heat getting too high led to risks of ammo explosions, and then of a reactor overload. In Mechwarrior 4, the interface will get progressively harder to read as you build up heat. In Living Legends, overriding the shutdown (and continuing to build up more heat) will cause your mech to start taking massive amounts of damage from the mech melting. It's not common to see a laser boat like the Awesome suddenly loose both of its arms in combat because the the pilot was blithely ignoring the computer screaming at him to shut down. Even more hilarious when something that mounts Gauss Rifles looses an arm from overheating - the Gauss Rifle will violently explode, likely destroying the mech instantly.
  • Eye Beams: The Atlas in MW4 mounts an energy weapon in its head. Which means you shoot frickin' laser beams out of its eyes!
    • The "head" of the MW4 Cyclops also has an energy hardpoint. A bigger one, actually - which means that if one is willing to mix Inner Sphere and Clan technology, the Cyclops can shoot what look more or less like lightning bolts out of its eye. With a Flamer (also Inner Sphere, although there is a lighter Clan version), you can even shoot fire.
  • Face Heel Turn: thrust upon the player character of Vengeance and his team to set up the Black Knight expansion.
  • Fan Remake: Assault Tech 1: Battlebech, which has gameplay similiar to Mechwarrior 2 with updated graphics and gameplay mechanics.
  • Fan Sequel: MechWarrior: Living Legends, a Crysis mod, made when it appeared that there wouldn't be any more Mechwarrior games. It combines most of the better parts from previous official Mechwarrior games.
  • Featureless Protagonist: The second game. You are definitively male in MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries but almost anything else is up for grabs.
    • MechWarrior 3 uses this in the original campaign, but the Pirate's Moon expansion Retcons you into a male lieutenant who backs Victor for the brewing Fed Com Civil War. All player characters in Mechwarrior 4 games are male as well.
    • The original Clan games in MechWarrior 2 are notable in that they offer absolutely no characterization for the player whatsoever, not even gender. All other games have definitely put the player in a character's boots.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Mr. Bubbles in Living Legends. Mr. Bubbles is a one hundred ton bipedal tank with three ten ton rotary autocannons which can shred anything in the game in seconds.
  • Fragile Speedster: Light and Medium 'Mechs are fast, but can not take heavy punishment. Assault and Heavy 'Mechs tend to be the opposite. A special note goes out to the Sparrowhawk jet in Living Legends. It has so little armor, that if you try to run over a player at max speed, you explode. Other vehicles don't even take damage from doing the same thing.
    • Mechwarrior 2's Firemoth is a special case - no other Mech can reach its blinding speed. Even the second-speediest Mech in the game is, at best, half as fast as the Firemoth.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The CRAP, Close Range Assault Puma in Living Legends - a variant of the Puma which has loads of heavy lasers.
  • Geo Effects
  • Glass Cannon
    • The Hollander II in Living Legends; it caries one huge gun which makes up the the entirety of the right torso; However, the armor is comparable to tissue paper.
      • Less true after recent patches, as the Hollander's RT armor has been significantly increased. Still vulnerable, but now less likely to be knocked out by random extreme-range PPC snap shots.
    • The Cougar in Living Legends due to its side torsos being huge yet having virtually no armor. It packs quite a lot of firepower since it has little armor.
    • The Loki in Living Legends, which is a very powerful, very squishy heavy mech.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The Atlas assault mech in some of the games has glowing red eyes, like in the Multiplayer BattleTech 3025 trailer
  • Going Critical: All mechs in MW 4 always go critical when their center torso is destroyed. The explosion is fairly small, but very damaging. (Note this is not an actual meltdown of the reactor, it's air being allowed into the (previously) vacuum sealed reactor chamber, thus super heating the air and and being expelled explosively.) Living Legends takes it Up to Eleven with its critical explosions, which are like small thermonuclear bombs. They happen less often (about 1 in 10 'mechs goes critical when it's destroyed[3]) but the explosions are far more damaging, far larger, disable nightvision due to a EM pulse, and can blind pilots with the glare.
    • Mechwarrior 3 handles this a bit differently. 'Mechs don't really go critical except from heat deaths, when they suddenly explode like nukes and deal massive damage to anything even remotely close. Normal deaths just have the 'Mech collapsing, or possibly outright exploding, but with nowhere near the magnitude of a heat death critical explosion. It is actually better to avoid doing this, as destroyed Mechs can't be salvaged.
    • There also missions where you are required to destroy some reactors. After doing that, leg it, unless you want to be caught in the blast.
  • Goomba Stomp: The (in)famous "Death From Above", or DFA. Nearly impossible to manage in MechWarrior 3, but results in hilarous physics-defying glitches and instant death to your enemies.
    • In MechWarrior 4, DFAs do damage to the torso based on weight. A 20 ton mech will do fairly little damage, but a 100 ton Marauder II will basically crush anything under 50 tons when it lands on the enemy.
    • Due to Crysis's wonky collisions, trying to DFA a mech in MWLL will result in your mech landing on their head. The bottom mech can then run around with a mech riding on its head. Hilarity Ensues when you have a 95 ton Assault 'Mech riding ontop of a Raven running around at 120kph.
  • Gravity Screw: Extremity in Living Legends. The gravity something like 25% normal MWLL gravity, causing mechs and tanks to be extremely floaty. Battlearmor can zip through the sky, rolling around crazily. The map also breaks the impact prediction mechanism on Long Tom artillery and Firebombs (they use "normal" gravity in their impact predictions), so you have to eyeball your shots.
  • Guide Dang It: Good luck knowing where to start the story missions in MechWarrior 1 without a guide. And sell your starting 'Mech while you're at it. You won't need it 'til you're done with practically all those missions save for the final one to retrieve the MacGuffin, and you'll save a fortune on travel costs.
  • Gundamjack: You can kill pilots in their cockpits in Living Legends, then steal the mech and sell it/use it against the original owners.
    • The dynamic salvage system of the updated MW2: Mercenaries 1.1 patch (Win9x-only) allows you to salvage any 'Mech you can destroy without doing excessive damage (via headshot, for example). And one story mission begins with you 'Mechjacking a 100-ton Kodiak from the Ghost Bears and smashing your way back to your ship.
  • Hartman Hips: Epona Rhi from MW3, at least if her lancemate Alan Mattila is to be believed. Epona is not amused by the suggestion.

Alan: Love you too, Epona, wide hips an' all!
Epona: What?! What did you say?

  • High-Pressure Blood: Cockpit kills in MWLL cause it to explode in a shower of blood the size of a small tank.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: The Uziel in Living Legends currently has a cockpit that is physically impossible to hit without splash damage. Several mechs in MW 4 also have odd hitboxes - the Hellspawn has a rocket pod on one arm that has a separate hitbox, but the pod will only sometimes be disabled when the arm is destroyed.
  • Hold the Line
  • Inescapable Ambush: The very last fight at the end of the final mission in MechWarrior 4: Vengeance is a nasty one. After going through two lances of heavy and assault mechs and an active Dropship, you're presented with an Unskippable Cutscene that always leaves you by yourself, facing away from William's Daishi in your possibly-badly-damaged 'Mech. Making it worse, he's at his long optimal range and has a direct shot at you the instant the cutscene is over. Hope you didn't bring a 'Mech geared for close-range fighting. If the fight were more equitable it would be a lot less of a pain, though this is partly excused by its being a Boss Fight.
    • Some of the Solaris matches in MW 4: Mercs start this way, with something large and nasty (say, a Fafnir) pointed straight at your side torso. Nothing says Fake Difficulty like eating two Heavy Gauss slugs or two Arrow IV's to the torso half a second into the mission.
  • Insurmountable Waist High Fence: A variation: Attempting to leave the mission areas results in you failing the mission.
  • Interface Screw: In the third game, if you let your heat levels get too high, or take too much torso damage, this will happen. PPC (Particle Projection Cannon) shots also cause the cockpit HUD to distort; if enough PPCs hit you in a short time, the entire HUD can be effectively impossible to read.
    • In the second game, only cameras go static if sensors on the Mech are damaged. The rest of the HUD stays normal.
  • Joke Character
    • The Osiris in Living Legends, which violently explodes if you stare hard at it, is huge for a light mech, not particularly fast, and not very well equipped.
    • The Bushwacker Prime in Living Legends, which is an infamously bad medium mech. It's big, every single weapon on it has a completely different firing characteristic so attacking with all the weapons is nearly impossible, the individual weapons are weak (It can easily be overpowered by one of the starting light mechs), and it's expensive. In a scrim, both teams took only Bushy Primes. Within 2 minutes, most of the Bushwackers were down to only using their Large Laser and a pair of machineguns, as it carries a pathetic amount of spare ammo for its autocannon. The mission timer ran out before the teams could kill each other.
    • The AC/10 and UAC/10 ballistic weapons in Living Legends. Likened to hitting the enemy with a wet noodle; by the time you start dealing appreciable damage to the enemy, the gun overheats and you have to hold your fire. The weapon is heavily affected by lag, and the projectile requires you to lead your shots and lag-shoot.
  • Large Ham: Duncan Fisher in Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries and Living Legends.
  • Lead the Target: Required when using any weapon except lasers and missiles that are fired after obtaining a lock, specially over great distances.
  • Lethal Joke Character:
    • While slow and can be killed in one hit, infantry and battle armor in Mercenaries equipped with their version of flamethrowers can force enemy 'Mechs to shut down, leaving them vulnerable to further damage. They can also be hard to spot in the heat of battle, allowing them to get in range despite their speed.
      • Some Battlearmor can outgun 20-30 ton BattleMechs, damage-per-second wise.
    • Battlearmor in MechWarrior: Living Legends has paper armor and are (fairly) slow, but will utterly tear mechs apart if left alone. Most players can easily kill them with a PPC blast to the feet or by hosing them down with machine guns, but if the battle armor gets on top of your mech, you're doomed unless you can smash your mech into a nearby wall or have a teammate blast him off. If you can't, the battlearmor player can hose down your cockpit or rear torso armor (which is made of paper) with his guns without a fear in the world of getting killed or knocked off.
    • The Harasser light-hovercraft in Living Legends. Originally laughed at for its poor handling, poor armor, and poor weaponry. Then it was discovered that it can climb up almost vertical walls and punt tanks around like they're made of paper; a Harasser hitting an 80 ton tank at its max speed (162kph) will send the tank flying wildly back. Then MWLL version 0.4 refined the handling and gave it the hilarious 6xFlamer variant which can kill enemies by making them overheat.
    • Mechwarrior 2's Firemoth barely counts as target practice when encountered in missions, as the AI uses it like any other Mech, and any weapon at all will deplete its armor at alarming speed - when it doesn't kill it outright. However, the version that mounts eight light lasers can be frightfully effective if used by a competent player - get in close using its ridiculous speed and maneuvrability to avoid enemy attacks, unload alpha strikes at the enemy's legs and/or weak back armor until heat buildup threatens to shut you down, get the hell away before they have a chance to react. Rinse and repeat until enemy is dead. Here's an excellent example.
    • The Sparrowhawk in Living Legends used to be a joke vehicle, but after the flight model was changed to make heavier aircraft less maneuverable, the Sparrowhawk effectively Took a Level in Badass. If a Sparrowhawk gets on your tail when you're in a Shiva or a Sulla, you have no hope of escaping from the Sparrowhawk as it pounds your engines into dust.
  • Lethal Joke Item: The machine gun, even the heavy version, in MW4 is weak compared to other weapons, but if you load enough of them up on a Daishi, or even better, an Annihilator, the dakka goes through the roof and things get a lot more fun.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Inferno in Living Legends. Rocky terrain, large lava flows sliding down mountains, distant volcanic explosions, a smoky atmosphere, and extreme heat which causes mechs to overheat easily.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Mad Cat MK 2, a 90 ton assault mech armed with a pair Gauss Rifles, has a base speed of 68 km/h (compared to an Atlas 54 km/h) and has jump jets.
    • Even worse, the Kodiak-same speed, also has jump jets, packed with hard hitting medium range missile and HAS CLAWS.
    • Because of how Jump-Jets works in the MW2 games, the mechs that are equipped with them can use it as a near omni-directional Nitro Boost, performing VOTOMS-style maneuvers. The jets work the same way in Assault Tech 1: BattleTech, and they are hilariously buggy - AT 1 simulates falling damage, so if you come down too hard you'll damage your legs and fall over, though sometimes it results in your mech sliding forward for all eternity at the speed you landed at, which may be 300kph. You can still fire and steer (sort of) while this is happening.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: The opening and ending videos for MW4: Mercs implies that the entire game is a series of stories told by an older Spectre some time after the World of Blake Jihad. Helps to explain all the canon discrepancies.
  • Loads And Loads Of Mechs: MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries has over one hundred mechs
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Some missile systems can fire up to 40 missiles per salvo, using multiple missile systems allow you to fire more.
    • MWLL has a variant of the Catapult with double MRM-40 launchers. Missile massacre indeed.
    • Another MWLL example is the Vulture C, carrying four LRM-20 launchers. Considering that a single LRM-20 salvo is already visually impressive in this game, you can imagine how fantastic (or terrifying, if you're on the recieving end) four of these at once looks.
    • In MW: Mercs, the Longbow.
  • Made of Explodium: Buildings in the games tend to explode quite easily.
    • In MechWarrior 3, trees, radio towers, vehicles and pieces of scrap scattered about also fall into this category.
  • Mighty Glacier: Assault 'Mechs, and Assault Tanks like the Demolisher and Morrigu. The Shiva Aerospace Fighter also fits into this, at least amount other fighters.
  • Min-Maxing: Players tend to strip off armor on the legs, rear armor and head as well as downgrade the engines to provide free tonnage for more weapons, heatsinks, or equipment. Surprisingly, the majority of the players avoid deliberately shooting these areas despite being a logical tactic unless they're at a serious weight disadvantage.
    • They don't usually attack the legs on players who do this because said 'Mechs already move at a snail's pace; it's faster to just blast them in the face right before they shoot you. And getting a leg destroyed while away from the front lines is borderline griefing to most players.
    • In the MechWarrior 2 titles, there are many variants where the arms are reduced to ammo repositories, if that. Some just strip them of all armor and don't put anything in them, making them vestigial. This frees up tonnage and armor allocation at the cost of criticals, and since arms in MW 2 don't allow wider firing arcs like MW3 and aren't weapon hardpoints like MW4 (which completely changed up customization), this becomes very practical.
  • Nintendo Hard: Pirate's Moon is very much so.
  • No Backwards Compatibility in the Future
  • Oh Crap:
    • The player in MW4: Mercenaries if he continues doing the ambush missions at the start of the game. Be prepared to fight a Mauler, several Arguses, and swarms of tanks and helicopters. While you're in a light 'Mech. Two ways around it, though: you are given the rare option to flee without suffering a Game Over, and it's entirely possible to do missions on some other planets first and thus be able to afford the heavier 'Mechs you'll need to win this fight.
    • Watch the trailer for the Mechwarrior Reboot. It appears that is exactly what the guy is thinking at 1:07.
      • As if you'd be thinking anything different if you suddenly had an Atlas in your face and was piloting anything less than another 100-ton Assault 'Mech!
      • The previous example Lampshades the opening of MechWarrior 3, where a similar thing happens at 1:35.
  • One-Hit Kill: Averted in the Mechwarrior 4 series. No matter how good your aim or how much firepower you have, it is nearly impossible to kill an enemy 'Mech in one blast even when it clearly should. Even if you hit a Mad Cat in the cockpit with a pair of Gauss rifles or hit a 20-tonner in the back with 4 AC-20s, a second shot to the same location is nearly always required.
    • Not so, try hitting light mech's cockpits with 7-8 Gauss rifles at once, good times.
  • One Mech Army: In 3, the epilogue notes that you and your single lance of mechs (with the support crew) effectively managed to singlehandedly destroy the entire military infrastructure of Corbett's faction of Smoke Jaguar. Just the four of you managed to pull off what an entire task force couldn't manage otherwise. This is played with, though, as a massive army of angry Clanners (who are chasing you down after obliterating the rest of your task force) are hot on your heels.
  • Overheating: You explode if your 'Mech's heat level doesn't drop fast enough.
  • POV Sequel: In the expansion MechWarrior 4: Black Knight, you are up against Ian Dresari, the Player Character from 'Vengeance'
  • Power Armor: The Battlearmor suits that appear occasionally throughout the series. The battlearmor is an available asset in MW4:Mercenaries, but they're basically tiny, easy to shoot mechs. The Battlearmor that appears in Living Legends are demonic spiders from the pits of hell itself, who will hop onto your mech and slowly slice all your arms off while you scream for your teammates to shoot him off.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: MechWarrior 4 sacrifices some lore-accuracy for smoother gameplay, such as introducing the hardpoint system to make different 'Mechs more unique.
  • Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: In MechWarrior 2, 3, and in Living Legends, your 'Mech's computer has this to say at the start of every mission:
    • "Reactor online. Sensors online. Weapons online. All systems nominal."
  • Psycho for Hire: Duncan Burke in Vengeance.
  • Real Robot
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Atlas in Multiplayer Battletech 3025 have glowing red eyes when they're powered up.
  • Reporting Names: Clan BattleMechs have different Inner Sphere designations. For example, the "Timber Wolf" is referred to by Inner Sphere soldiers as "Mad Cat", and the "Dire Wolf" becomes "Daishi". This leads to confusion when going from MechWarrior 2 (which uses Clan names) to MechWarrior 3 or 4 (which use Inner Sphere names).
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Ghost Bear's Legacy campaign, culminating when you level a city to punish an enemy clan.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: In Mechwarrior 4: Vengeance, the protagonist is from a royal family, seeking to restore legal rule to his planet (and the final battle is with his cousin). After one of his missions, a lancemate actually says "I guess you're not one of those royals who let the rest of us do the heavy lifting."
    • Mechwarrior 1 and Gideon Braver Vandenburg as well...hell, let's just say the whole BattleTech verse is rife with examples, if you read the novels.
  • Running Gag: Hula girls are rapidly becoming this for MechWarrior Online (based on the 2009 trailer, in which a hula girl statuette was visible in the cockpit of the Warhammer).
  • Sadistic Choice: There's one near the end of the fourth game's original campaign. You can either save your sister or leave her to die in order to raid a weapons cache to help in the final battle. The choice you make determines the ending. It's actually not much of a choice. The weapons cache is very well defended, so if you have enough equipment to capture it, you probably don't need what's in it anyway.
  • Scenery Porn: Living Legends is full of this. It's running on Crysis, after all.
    • Potentially the upcoming Mechwarrior Online as well has it's running off the newer Crytech 3 engine vs the older engine Crysis / Crysis Warhead has.
  • Schmuck Bait: In the Blade Splint mission of MechWarrior 2, there is an overly innocuous building that, upon closer inspection, has a description of "Don't shoot me" Doing so nukes the entire city, killing all mechs in the area, yourself included.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Some of the mission briefings in 4.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Sandblasted in Living Legends - complete with fake Egyptian pyramids, fake ruins, lots of sand dunes, and a very light sandstorm. Deathvalley has lots of sand, but it has no dunes, being more rocky.
  • Shooting Gallery: A Humongous Mecha-scale version of this trope appears in a mission in MechWarrior 3. An enemy training course is left on in one of the mission areas, and it's very possible to walk your lance into it without realizing it, then start shooting when you realize you're surrounded by 'enemy contacts.'
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Averted by low caliber LB-X Autocannons in Living Legends. The LB-X/10 has a relatively tight spread up to 500 meters, and the LB-X/2 and LB-X/5 have nearly no spread at all (since they're basically buckshot for killing jet fighters)
    • Played very, very straight with the LB-X/20, however, which is useless beyond about 200 meters, but utterly lethal within it.
  • Shout-Out: See Classic Cheat Code.
  • Shows Damage: The series uses this trope extensively:
    • Type 2: 'Mechs start to emit smoke and sometimes even visible flames when they are heavily damaged.
    • Type 3a: in MW3, 'Mechs show exposed wires when damage is focused on certain areas, and taking head damage can cause fractures on the cockpit glass along with a quite loud and surprising "*CHING*". MW4 uses scorch marks instead.
    • Type 3b: Limbs (and in MW4, missile racks as well as various gun mounts) can be blown off entirely, leaving only twisted bits of metal and wiring hanging from the stump. Severed limbs are actually capable of crushing unlucky/oblivious Battle Armor players in Living legends.
  • Smug Snake: In MechWarrior 4: Vengeance, almost all the Steiner command staff fit this trope, but especially William Dresari.
  • Sniping the Cockpit: In the official games, destroying the "Cockpit" section of the armor is a way to quickly kill an enemy, but difficult due to the tiny hitbox and the mechs bobbing around. In Living Legends, sniping the cockpit lets you actually steal the enemy mech - kill the pilot, and you can hop in his mech and use it combat (though there is no cockpit armor, so you're totally exposed) or run back to base to sell or repair it.
  • Some Dexterity Required: As would be appropriate when operating a Real Robot, there are a lot of controls. A LOT of controls.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": "Mechwarrior" is just one word, and the "W" is capitalized when used in titles.
  • Spheroid Dropship: Carried over from BattleTech.
  • Spider Tank: A quad mech was available in Mechwarrior 2 by cheat codes. It was a bit hobbled by technical limitations; as the engine couldn't have a four-legged Mech, two of the Tarantula's legs are in fact arms. Shooting the latter "arms" off has no effect on the now-two-legged, gravity-defying Tarantula's movement; and yet, only shooting one leg off causes the three-legged Tarantula to be unable to move. They haven't appeared in any later games.
  • Squishy Wizard: The Loki in Living Legends. Several of the variants carry devastating long range or close range firepower, it's fast, and most of the variants carry plenty of radar equipment. It's also pathetically armored, causing it to die very quickly when focused on.
  • Stone Wall: The Hephaestus hovercraft in Living Legends. It's a scout hovercraft which has more armor than a 60 ton main battle tank; but has the firepower of a Battlearmor player.
  • Subsystem Damage: All of a BattleMech's individual parts have independent lifebars. Severe damage to a leg greatly hampers your movement (either from greatly reduced top speed in 2 or being forced to limp in 3 or 4, and your 'Mech is dead if you lose both legs), and losing an arm destroys all weapons equipped in that location. Individual subsystems can also be damaged or destroyed even if the section they're stored in isn't totally wasted.
    • Getting a leg destroyed in Living Legends will have you knocked over but not dead, but it barely matters to make a last stand since you're going to get hammered to death in a broken 'Mech by that point.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: It doesn't matter how much of a powerhouse your current 'Mech is, enemy light mechs will still gun for you.
    • Or if they are outnumbered, like in the first Halloran V mission where a lone light Owens 'mech charges your full lance. Of course, Specter is amused.

Specter: Spunky little fella, isn't he?

    • It's also fully possible to do that mission with a lance full of 100 ton assault mechs. The 25 ton Owens, outfitted with long rang missles, will charge right at you.
  • Taking You with Me: Players sometimes attempt to selfdestruct adjacent to an enemy to inflict significant damage. In MechWarrior 4: Vengeance, there was even a weapon, that when triggered, produces a more devastating explosion.
    • Also in MechWarrior 4: Vengeance, if you lose Terra Risner you get informed that she did this to an enemy patrol. Justified since she joined your team when you rescued her from being summarily executed. She was not going back to a POW camp for that to happen again.
    • Happens sometimes in Living Legends, where getting killed close enough to an enemy can kill or damage him too, even if you don't go critical.
      • Some players have also been known to use the handheld TAG laser to call artillery down on a 'mech while standing on its head.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: At maximum difficulty, AI accuracy is not affected by "knock" and never "dumbfire" LRM's. They can constantly nail you with an ER PPC regardless of your moving speed.
    • They can also detect you through walls on Veteran and Elite difficultly in MW4, where players are limited to line-of-sight radar.
    • Hell, in most of the games, the AI Mechs will target and close with the player even when the player's Mech is powered down, behind several terrain features, and crouched among trees; this is made all the more galling when the player's teammates will be raining fire on them the entire time but unable to get the AI to stop charging the player's position. What's the point of going Passive Sensors when the AI uses magic?
    • Base turrets in Living Legends have hitscan weapons, even for weapons that aren't normally hitscan. They look at you, then you instantly take damage, often before the turret actually "fires" the weapon effect.
  • Tanks for Nothing: Tanks in the singleplayer Mechwarrior games are only useful as a distraction or maybe getting in the occasional cheap shot against Mechs.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Alpha strikes, or firing all of a Mech's weapons, regardless of type, guidance or power, in a last-ditch attempt to cause as much damage as possible. Tends to kill everything - including occasionally the firing Mech, from excessive heat buildup.
  • Underground Level: Thunder Rift in Living Legends. Most of the edges of the level are completely covered and full of stalactites and stalagmites, raining chipped rocks. The center of the level opens to a rift in the cavern's roof, where water comes splashing down in waterfalls.
  • This Is the Final Battle
  • Timed Mission: The first game gives you five game-time years to finish the story.
    • In the second game, most missions give you 25 minutes to complete, unless said mission is a Trial of Position or otherwise noted as 15.
  • Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: In the third game. The initial drop insertion goes awry when Warship-class lasers on the surface shoot down your dropship. The first three operations see you linking up with other survivors of your force and completing your mission objectives; the final operation is basically all about frantically searching for a way to escape the planet before enemy reinforcements overwhelm you.
  • Trial by Combat: Clan Trials.
  • Tournament Arc: If you beat Ghost Bear's Legacy without losing a single mission, you get to compete in a tournament to win the right to a blood name.
  • Unbreakable Weapons: Partially subverted. Rotary Autocannons jam when fired long enough (but will unjam on their own after a while), but the machine guns (except for the infantry's version) can fire as long as they have ammo.
  • Unwinnable by Design: The final mission in Ghost Bear's Legacy requires you to jump jet inside an enemy dropship. Don't have jump jets equipped? Have fun restarting the mission.
  • Vector Game: The first game.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Taking care of your lancemates in the fourth game helps you get a slight edge in later missions.
    • One of the missions in MW4: Mercenaries has you rushing to defend a base. However, one of the base's hired defenders are ambushed as you move to the base. You can detour and try to save them, or completely ignore them. If you save them, they will come to your aid on a later mission on the planet. One in which you are alone and really need their help.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: The first game can be one, if you disregard the storyline missions. Of course, that makes it Unwinnable.
  1. Emphasis on character to character combat and interactions rather than the vehicle to vehicle combat of Battletech
  2. MRMs don't work closer than 20m, ATMs have a minimum arming range of 150m, LRMs just fly over the enemy at 150m, and Arrow IV missiles arc over the enemy until 350m
  3. or so the devs claim. Most players are convinced it's more like 20-25% crit chance