Heavy Gear II for Linux

It's a step in the right direction if the direction you want to go is away from the same old boring first-person shooters.
Linux Issues

Heavy Gear II was originally written in the Direct3D API (from that company in Redmond). It was the first Direct3D game to be ported to OpenGL for Linux and, as such, is a terrific accomplishment by Loki. For my money, they did a great job. Unfortunately, there are issues with the game that are, by and large, not really Loki's fault. This game has many of the same problems in every platform. On my G400-based VA Linux box, things worked fine, though I did experience some of the interesting clipping issues mentioned earlier. However, the closed-source drivers on my NVidia GeForce GTS-based Debian system went belly-up every time I went from 3-D mode back to the 2-D menus and debriefings, which made it impossible to use the single-player campaign modes at all on that machine. Loki's support gave me some interesting suggestions and patches to try to alleviate this problem, but none were successful in the end. I've since heard that this is a known issue with the NVidia cards and this particular game.


Heavy Gear II is a great game, and it's highly addictive once you get past the steep initial learning curve. The story isn't just a few cut scenes used to break up the action; it's fun to watch unfold and holds your interest. The overall feel of the game is fast-paced and fun, nearly arcadelike at times; however, the game play problems are hard to ignore. I can't help but feel as though this game was picked from the vine a bit before it had ripened fully. That said, I'd certainly recommend giving Heavy Gear II a try, especially if, like me, you really enjoy simulator-style games with some strategy and tactics required. However, if you want a simple and easy-to-learn first-person shooter, you should probably pass on HG2.

The Good/The Bad

J. Neil Doane (cainei@valinux.com) is a professional services engineer with VA Linux Systems and an Indiana escapee. Between prolonged spasms of rabid geekness, random hardware scavenging and video gaming, he is a pilot, a guitarist and a very poor snowboarder.


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