Game name: MERCS

Manufacturer: Capcom

Year of development: 1990

Category: Shooter

Hardware Platform Info: Capcom Play System board, also known as CP System, CPS or especially CPS-1. It is the same one used by other classics such as Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, Strider, Final Fight, Ghouls'n Ghosts, U.N. Squadron or Captain Commando.

  • Main CPU : Motorola 68000 @ 10 MHz
  • Secondary CPU: Zilog Z80 @ 3.579 MHz
  • PPU: 192 KB VRAM + 16 KB CACHE RAM
  • RAM: Para el 68K, 64 KB RAM + 192 KB VRAM (Shadow). For Z80, 2 KB RAM
  • Sound chip: Yamaha YM2151 @ 3.579 MHz y Oki OKI6295 @ 1 MHz (samples a 7.576 kHz)
  • Resolution: 384x224
  • On-screen colors: 4096 (192 global palettes of 16 colors each) to choose from among 65,536 (depth of 16 bits, of which 12 bits are RGB and 4 bits of brightness level)
  • Simultaneous sprites: 256 16x16 with maximum 16 colors (15 opaque + 1 transparent)
  • Tile size: 8x8, 16x16, 32x32 with up to 16 colors (15 opaque + 1 transparent)
  • Tile maps: 3 mapas de 512x512, 1024x1024, 2048x2048

Main developers: Masayuki Akahori, Shoei Okano, Miki Kijima, Yoshihiro Sakaguchi, Takashi Hayashi, Hitoshi Nishio, Miho Kobayashi, Hisashi Kisanuki, Yukari Kakuta and Miho Kobayashi.

Music composer: Manami Matsumae.


History of development:

Commando, a Capcom run and gun, was a great success in second half of the '80s both in its domestic and recreational versions, so it greatly influenced competing titles that followed, such as Bloody Wolf (Konami), Heavy Barrel (Data East), Ikari Warriors or Guerrilla War (SNK).

Capcom responded with MERCS, a Commando sequel for its CPS recreational board that incorporated new features such as the ability to play up to 3 simultaneous players, the use of vehicles such as jeeps, tanks or launches, new weapons such as cutouts, grenade launchers or flamethrowers, or added of a health bar so that players do not lose a life with each shot.

MERCS stood out for pectacularity of its graphics, which had huge objects as final enemies and detailed scenarios that now, in addition to moving vertically, could be done horizontally.

Shortly after its launch U.S. Gold published conversions developed by Tiertex for western computers, such as Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga or Spectrum, and Sega programmed versions for Master System or Mega Drive. This latest version, in addition to original story, had a new extra game mode that included a different story with new levels.

Several generations later, MERCS appears alongside other arcade classics from company in compilations Capcom Generations (PlayStation, Saturn), Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 1 (PlayStation 2, Xbox) and Capcom Classics Collection: Reloaded (PSP). The conversion for Mega Drive, which Sega developed, was included in the Wii virtual console.

Developed by Californian studio Backbone Entertainment, in 2008 its sequel Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 was released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which completed the trilogy of this saga.

Game Overview:

MERCS is an aerial perspective run and gun for up to 3 simultaneous players, with screen rotated for vertical orientation. We embody a group of burly elite mercenaries called MERCS who have been secretly hired by US government to prevent the rebels from taking control of Zutula (a fictional country created for the game) and to rescue a former president of the The US government, which was kidnapped by a group of revolutionaries, while touring Central Africa to promote world peace.

The game has 3 selectable characters:

  • Joseph Gibson: Former 7th Airborne Green Beret, expert in a wide variety of weapons, now a mercenary. He wears blue and is controlled by player one (the one on the left of the machine).
  • Thomas Clarke: Prominent in the air forces for his great ability. Specialized in mechanics and weaponry, he joined MERCS in 1986. He wears yellow and is controlled by player two (located in the center of the machine).
  • Howard Powell: former leader of a special anti-terrorism unit, which he left to form MERCS group in 1985. He wears red and is controlled by player three (the one on the right of machine).
  • It is the 9th game that Capcom published on its CPS-1 board.
  • Upon completing the game, it is said that MERCS is set in March 19XX.
  • Known in its original Japanese version as 戦 場 の 狼 Ⅱ (Senjō no Ōkami II, which would translate as Wolf of Battlefield II), MERCS is the sequel to another Capcom classic: Commando, a game that was originally known in Japan as 戦 場の 狼 (Senjō no Ōkami, Wolf of the Battlefield).
  • The name of main character of Bionic Commando that Capcom released for recreational 1987 was changed to Super Joe (protagonist of the original Commando) in its American version, thus linking this game with Commando saga. In the NES version of game, Super Joe went from hero to victim, since in that version he was kidnapped and Nathan "RAD" Spencer should save him.
  • In Bionic Commando that Capcom released in 2009, it is mentioned that Super Joe and Joseph Gibson of MERCS are the same person, thus definitely linking both sagas.
  • Masayuki Akahori, Capcom programmer in classics such as Final Fight, Final Fight 2, Magic Sword, N. Squadron, Hyper Dyne: Side Arms, MERCS, Black Tiger or Son Son II debuted as a co-producer in MERCS, a role that years later he recovered in Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Director's Cut and Resident Evil 2.



Information on the location and purchase of the Vintage Arcade Machine:

Machine purchased June 2018 at Coin Op Wharehouse, Maryland. USES. Imported into second container in December of the same year.

Information about the restoration process or repairs carried out:

After adapting a 220v transformer and making necessary adjustments to monitor and control panel, the machine works perfectly.

Links to other related websites: