Mercs – Sega Genesis Review

Mercs – Sega Genesis Review

By Kano | 19th September 2017 | 9:43 PM

Release Date:  1991

Genre:  Shoot em up

Publisher:  Sega

Developers: Sega

Wolf of the Battlefield.

Mercs is a classic top down shooter originally developed for Capcoms CPS-1 Arcade System. This highly addictive game is a sequel to the arcade game ‘Commando’. It was ported to the Sega Genesis / Megadrive and Mastersystem consoles in 1991. The original working title for this game was ‘Wolf of the Battlefield 2’. We just thought that sounded really cool and it’s a shame that it wasn’t used for the Sega releases as it would have added a lot of character! Incidentally a wolf can be seen howling on some of the in game art such as on the mercs shield.

The Plot

The games story is very rambo-esque. You play as part of an elite team of mercenaries, complete with rippling muscles and an ammo belt.

The storyline is an adaption of countless 1980’s military action movies. The president has been kidnapped and you must fight your way through six tough levels in order to rescue him.


Mercs is one of the early pioneers of the top down shooter genre. The player can shoot in all eight direction allowed by the D-pad. The controls are good but shooting diagonally can be a little cumbersome at times. Enemies are constantly running at you begging to be slaughtered and there are also various destroyable objects around the battlefield. The action really ramps up in later stages so you often find yourself shooting in all directions whilst trying to run for cover!

There are also numerous enemy vehicles which can be blown up such as trucks and tanks (arnie would be proud). At certain segments of the game the player can jump into drivable vehicles such as trucks and speed boats. These vehicles have their own energy guages which can be a lifesaver as the game progresses.

The Sega Genesis version features two distinct gameplay modes which really makes this two games on one cartridge. This seems extremely generous, albeit for the lack of multiplayer action in either mode.

Arcade Mode

Arcade mode is basically an identical port to the Arcade version adapted for the Genesis. It features the same levels and storyline as the arcade version. The Arcade version has a very easy learning curve and is incredibly fun and addictive to play.

Original Mode

The original mode is refreshingly original compared to the arcade version! The storyline is different and there is an added RPG style level up system. Special items are scattered throughout each level and these can then be bartered with at shops. You have the ability to increase the players health guage, speed and body armour. You can also restock on missiles lost during the action.

Another feature of original mode is that you can meet up with three other playable characters each with their own unique weapons. These then act as additional lives. If a player dies they can be revived for a price in the shop.


Mercs is a very playable game with a challenging difficulty level. The presentation is nice, especially when compared to other early Genesis titles and the sound effects are catchy. At it’s heart it is a shootem up so even with the added features of original mode, there is a limit what this can offer. On the other hand mercs is not meant to be anything more than mindless blast em up action! The game will keep you trying for quite a while before you figure out all of its secrets, give it a try and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading.