Great news! You can play MechWarrior 2 and MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries through your browser thanks to the Internet Archive.
First, a big thanks to Reddit user a_false_vacuum who posted over on r/OutreachHPG that this thing exists. Kudos to you! For the rest of us, gaze in wonder at what is probably the easiest way to play older MechWarrior games.
Well, sort of. We’ll get to the big caveats in a sec. First, how does this whole thing work? Basically, the Internet Archive has an image of the CDs and an applet that runs a DOS emulator through your browser. You download the emulator and the CD, which means a 740 MB download. That might take a few minutes, depending on your internet speed.
After that, the whole freakin’ think loads in your PC’s RAM and runs from there. This has a few problems, most notably that you can’t save your game; as soon as the browser closes, everything gets wiped and you have to re-download the game all over again. You CAN save your game in a far less meaningful way by simply returning to the title screen, but once you close the window it’s game over for good.
Another problem is that since everything is done through the browser it’s a bit of a resource hog. And by hog I mean a voracious CPU-eating apocalypse. The menus and intro videos play just fine, but when you actually get into a ‘Mech the whole thing slows to a crawl.
I got about 1 frame every 2 seconds on my laptop. Things didn’t improve much when I moved to my desktop, and my desktop PC is a fairly beefy machine running most games on high graphical settings. But then again, I was using Google Chrome. Perhaps a slimmer, more streamlined browser will actually be able to get this game to run a bit better.
It’s a real shame too since I’d love to have an easier way to play some of these older games. Browser-based ‘Mech-bashing just sounds super cool and perfect for the 21st century. If someone could get this to work and tell me how you did it, I’d be awfully grateful.
I’m told thanks to the Reddit comments that the MechWarrior 2 version of the game actually allows you to download the ROM, so in theory, you can just download your own DOS emulator to play it that way instead. That’s one step more than being a browser-based game and is thus inferior, but would likely provide a far superior gameplay experience in being able to actually save your progress.
For those unfamiliar with MechWarrior 2, I did a pretty big write-up on it a little while ago. We’ll get to MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries in due time.
And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.
Why would you use Chrome for browser gaming? That’s like trying to go mud bogging with a Formula 1 racer.
Boy, I’d sure love it if this worked. MechII Mercs was the closest game ever to actually guiding your own path around the Inner Sphere. Old Amiga Mechforce was a pure port of the board-game rules to the computer, but there was nothing that gave you the feeling of both 31st Century Mech Action and mercenary unit business decisions. That is my Big hope for Mech5 in December.
By The Way, THANK YOU for Sarna. It is so wonderful to know others are as passionate about this niche as I am.
You can always use the Mechwarrior Quadrology, if you are so inclined. It works, you just have to adjust the speed in DOSBox.
On the other hand, I am something of a hoarder.
I still have my old WinME stack that I still use to play all those old games; MW2 and MW3 series.
Sometime I get nostalgic.
Internet Explorer and Pale Moon use less RAM