Mercenary, Commodore 64

Novagen‘s classic 3D exploration game, Mercenary, was first released for the Commodore 64 in 1985. It was designed and coded by Paul Woakes.

For clarity: Mercenary was apparently released for Atari 8-Bit home computers first, with the Commodore 64 version following soon after. Which makes this a conversion. That said: there isn’t any conclusive evidence that proves or disproves that either way, other than what Wikipedia says, but I’m willing to believe that it’s true.

As a free-form kind of flying/walking game, Mercenary is fun to play and grab, because you can fly/walk/stand and orient yourself from pretty much any angle you desire. Like a photographer. And take grabs.

The puzzles were always a little too obscure for my tastes, but flying around is still great fun. The control system – using the keys 1 through to 9 for different speeds, and space for stop – help make it easy to zip around and check things out.

Mercenary might be a little bit basic by today’s standards, but it’s still great fun to load up and fly around, find objects, steal vehicles and ships, drive cars, and shoot the landscape.

Heck, if you want to play it seriously, it’s great for just that too!

An ‘add-on’, called The Second City, was released the same year, and two ‘proper’ sequels followed on 16-bit machines, with Damocles: Mercenary II in 1990 and Mercenary III: The Dion Crisis in 1992.

More: Mercenary on Wikipedia

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