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Mercenary: Escape from Targ (walkthrough) ~

It's not very often I actually play a game and find that it has a such a lasting impact on me - but I must say that Novagen Software's 'Mercenary' series of games were truly unbelievable given that they came out on the Sinclair Spectrum back in the glory days of home computing - well, 1987 to be exact (although Commodore 64 user's got it in 1985). People talk about games like Jet Set Willy and Manic Miner as being brilliant, well in their day perhaps they were special, although in fairness the graphics and cheeky atmosphere of the games  probably make up for the actual playability - which if I'm being truthfully honest, many games back then were damn near impossible to complete without the cheats! Nostalgia arguably makes us forget about such quibbles, giving many games perhaps more credit than is actually due (although I do salute the madcap genius of Matthew Smith).

Mercenary: Escape from Targ however remains a classic for several reasons,  first its the technical achievement of what could be possible with a Sinclair Spectrum, no other computer game could actually let you blast around shooting Commodore 64 signs all night (oh the satisfaction!), secondly it was entertaining, intelligent, gripping but most of all it was original. Lots of lookalike games have sprung up since - but the original Mercenary will always be a firm favourite for me. I distinctly recall playing it for almost 24 hours during New Years eve and day (circa 89/90) whilst laying on the floor in my parents house with a battered 48k rubber keyed Spectrum, on a black and white portable television.  I've never done that with any game before or since, although I confess I've got close!

Even today its still very playable once you've mastered the odd layout of the Spectrum keyboard - and I recommend it to anybody thinking about playing it again (I also think there has been a PC remake, but don't quote me on that!).  For the sake of completeness and a little bit of nostalgia I actually searched and found the walkthrough for the game on-line, although I've since had to edit the solution as to be honest it wasn't very concise and I've included a few screenshots of the game.  Back in the early 90's when I started playing this, I didn't really have all the instructions so its no wonder I wasn't all that good at it (ha!), but below is the short walkthrough - enjoy!

The somewhat confusing Mercenary walkthrough...

The details of this walkthrough originated from a Your Sinclair magazin
e article (courtesy of a Mr Arthur Olcot, Issue 71, Page 52) that appeared several years ago; however its not until you actually start following Mr Olcot's walkthrough that you realise how damned useless it is, lacking sufficient explanation and missing vital instructions and items to finish the game (did Your Sinclair trim it to save space???). Arrghhh! So below are his instructions, with additional clarification and amendments from me accordingly:

Step 1 - get the cheese and the power amp

Having bought the Dominion Dart for 5000 credits and boarded the ship...

Go to hangar 11-13, operate the elevator and leave the ship. You'll see a wall with 3 doors (those without crosses 'X'), go through the left door and pick up the cheese. Go back to the hangar and go through the door on the right in the wall with two doors. This is the bank, go through the door on the right and up the corridor 'til you see a transporter on your left. Go through this and you'll find yourself in a different corridor, go through the last door at the far end and keep going (through several rooms) until you come to the Poweramp. Take this and retrace your steps back to the transporter. Go through it and go right into the hangar. Use the elevator, get into your ship and leave.

The cheese (which you can actually fly - allegedly even as high as the Colony Craft)  and the Poweramp

Step 2 - land on the Colony Craft - get the kitchen sink

Go to location 81-35 and go through the left hand door. Take the key; go back to your ship and leave. Go up to an altitude of 65997ft and you'll see the Colony Craft begin to reduce altitude. Now slowly park on the roof of it and take the elevator down. Go through the single door (not the dual doors) – go left – take the lift down – exit lift – use door immediately on right. Take the first door on the right. Take the sink, go back and leave.

The key for the Colony Craft, and the kitchen sink (with cooker presumably)

The sink allows you to carry more, also if you find the cobweb (discussed later) it enables you to have full access to all locked doors (apparently - no idea how that works). You don't need the cooker incidentally...

Step 3 - get the photon emitter

Fly to location 09-06, go down into the hangar and go through the door on the left (single door in wall not the two close together) – turn right down the corridor, through door – turn left – take second door on the left – take transporter – get the photon emitter. Go back to the hanger – take the door on the left (of the two close together), turn left - get the cobweb. Go back to the hanger, use the elevator and take the ship.

The photon emitter and the cobweb

Step 4 - get the Novadrive and the Interstellar Craft

Now leave for location xx-xx (in red) – it’s easier to locate it if you fly to that location (as opposed at ground level - look for a dot and crash land on to it!). Go to the hangar, through 2 doors in a row and then through the transporter (the door with the 'X'). You are now at complex 03-15, go through door ahead and then through the door on the left. Go through the door in front of you and you'll see a door with a skull and crossbones on it. Go close, take it, go through the door to the hangar. Take the left door (in the right hand side wall) and take the pass. Now go back to the hangar and through the door you came in (door at far side on the left) – then through the door ahead – through the door ahead – take the door on the right – take the transporter directly ahead – take the door in the right hand wall (with 6 sides) – take the door on the right – take the door ahead – take the door ahead – get the Novadrive. Now go back to the hanger where you found the pass. Board the ship, take the elevator, press Y to launch and leave - and you've won!

The skull and crossbones door and the interstellar ship (if you didn't have the photon emitter the hangar would be dark)

The planetary pass and the Novadrive

Promotional plug for Mercenary 2 :)

So there you have it, took me nearly 20 years to get to the ending but it was worth it! Hopefully you'll know be able to complete it far quicker than I did :)

Incidentally, for completeness the Spectrum control keys are:

1Speed 1
2Speed 2
3Speed 3
4Speed 4
5Turn left
6Up (& forwards)
7Down (& backwards)
8Turn right
EActivate hanger elevator
BBoard ship
LLeave ship

Website contents @ Aaron Littlefield 2010