After struggling so long and so hard to bring MechWarrior 2 to gamers, Activision wasn't about to let the license pass to Spectrum-HoloByte without a number of add-on packages. The first was a port to Windows 95 and the NetMech bundle, and a MechWarrior 2, Part 2 is also in the works. But fans who can't get enough will find the new mechs and missions of the first expansion pack an essential buy.
Ghost Bear's Legacy is a good addition to the MechWarrior 2 family, although it could have been a bit better. Installation is cumbersome, requiring a disk check against your original MW2 disk. Then, it doesn't add GBL to your old Mech install, but creates an entirely new, stand-alone game that chews up about 30 megs and must be run from its own directory. More irritating still, it's DOS only and, since it deals with a new clan, you have to start as a new cadet. Simply adding some new missions to the old game would have been just fine, thank you very much.
Beyond this, however, GBL is a fine production with a slick new intro and some new cutscenes. The first mission helps set your difficulty level by having you fight a seemingly endless stream of opponents: however many you take out before going down determines how tough the following missions will be. After this, you're sent on about a dozen missions, linked by a story that revolves around the retrieval of the clan's stolen genetic heritage.
These missions are tough and innovative, and include information gathering and some deep penetrations in which you'll need to use the same mech for several battles in a row. Activision has even tried their hand at making an underwater battle, which comes off feeling like regular Mech, only bluer. A similar fate befalls the "forest" scenarios, with trees that look more like telephone poles. Some new mechs, such as the Kodiak, Incubus, and Linebacker, help spice up the mix, as do killer new weapons like the anti-missile system, inferno missiles, torpedoes, and others.
Ghost Bear Legacy is a good package, not a great one. There are only twelve missions, and gamers would have benefited greatly from a mission editor. Still, it proves there's some kick left in the old Mech 2, and if you finished the original missions you'll probably want to check it out.