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G-NOME pushes real time 3-D simulation over the edge. Experience the terror of being chased on foot by a four-story HAWC. Feel the adrenaline rush as you turn and face the armored giant. Avoid its gunfire as you desperately pull the trigger on your GASHR and eject its pilot. Steal the HAWC and smile with satisfaction as you crush your enemy with his own vehicle.
  • Pilot more than 20 different mechanized vehicles including assault tanks, swift hovercraft and enormous multi-legged HAWCs, all with unique weapons and capabilities.
  • Incredibly detailed vehicles display multiple levels of damage, right down to the last body part.
  • Patrol on foot using rocks and trees for cover. Lower bridges, enter buildings, man guard towers, or recover crates to gain health and new weapons.
  • Exploit mountains and rivers for tactical advantages as the battle progresses across icy tundra, barren deserts, sweeping grasslands and fields of lava.
  • Windows®95 native plus DirectX’ technology makes for effortless installation and fast graphics as well as panning stereo sound.
  • 20-plus missions with multiple solutions pit you against the computer's intuitive AI.
  • Go head-to-head with up to 7 opponents over a network or the Internet.
~ from the back of the box

The mid-90s saw a massive scrap heap of mech games, particularly on PCs. Along with the heavy hitters of MechWarrior and EarthSiege, a slew of one-offs entered the market vying for their thrones. Developed by 7th Level and released in the February of 1997, G-NOME was one of them; an attempt to kick start a linked universe that fizzled out when the company itself did the same. Even with these humble beginnings, can it touch the heights of those better remembered mecha?

The answer is not so simple. G-NOME has some really good ideas that were quite revolutionary at the time, but it's a potential the game unfortunately squanders. Mechanically, the mech battles are simpler than the hulking robot simulators the genre has become known for. There is no fine-tuning stats or customising weapon loadouts between missions. Objectives are rarely more than "go here" and "destroy this" and the levels themselves are flat and borderline ugly. What it does have is an impressive array of mech designs which you can hop in and out of at will. You can even force an enemy pilot out of his hulking tin can leaving it free for you man it yourself.

The LAB allows you to get a full run-down on all mechs, mercs and missiles.
For ease of reference, the manual also contains all of the stats too.

This alone is more than enough to give G-NOME my recommendation. It adds an extra layer of strategy and complexity to an otherwise straightforward game. It also means that if your starter mech, referred to as HAWCs (Heavy Armor Weapon Chassis) in the game, can be abandoned if it is close to destruction leaving you free to hijack another hopefully less damaged one. It's not as simple as jacking cars in Grand Theft Auto though. You will first have to force the pilot out of there using a weapon called the GASHR. There is an element of risk and reward, as the GASHR is only usable while on foot, away from the protection of a HAWC's cockpit. You're not completely useless, however. The tiny polygonal humanoid is rather sprightly, being able to sprint away from danger at a reasonable speed. He'll also have a basic arsenal of weapons too, though don't expect them to do as much damage as a mech's missiles or energy blasts.

While on foot, you can enter freed up HAWCs by just walking into them. You can also enter buildings too, but don't get too excited for these are little more than a single-screen control panel where you can manipulate bridges, collect ammo or begin a self-destruct sequence. Regardless they're a nice addition that breaks up the shooting that make up most of the missions.

Cinematic third-person views give you a nice view of the area around you and your mech (right).
It's also good to see surrounding dangers when outside you mech and vulnerable (left).

Even on the easiest setting, I would say it's a pretty difficult game. Enemies are bullet sponges and ammo for almost all but you basic projectile are finite. Perhaps this is due to the misplaced idea that mech-jacking would make the game easier, or perhaps in giving them loads of health it will encourage players to utilise this feature. Enemies are also much better aims than you. You can target mechs, but they are not locked on. Instead, you'll have to aim manually which can be a pain when fumbling around with the controls. Wherever a projectile hits, it will damage that section of it, such as its legs, guns or torso, and if it's weakened it will behave accordingly. Leg damage will slow down its movement while shooting its guns will slow down its rate of fire. The torso does the most damage overall but regardless of where you hit it will eventually explode into a satisfying blast of fire. At this point, its pilot would likely eject itself and turn its kamikaze sights on you - perhaps forcing you out of your own mech. Be sure to kill these little buggers as they're deceptively annoying.

I had no major problems controlling G-NOME, but it does suffer from a case of spread-key-syndrome most games of this type had during this era. The HERC turns and looks with the arrow keys while + an - on the number pad controls its speed. The number keys from 1 to 4 on the main keyboard directly shoot the weapon mapped to them while various letters allow for multiple targeting, camera and swivel options. Tap Space to centre your mech, while Enter will stop you dead in your tracks. These are fully customisable in the options menu, and you can set up to three inputs for the same task. You can even save layouts to a file to easily set up many different layouts. I wish more developers - even now - would allow for such a complete customisation. Regardless, I never managed to feel fully comfortable with the controls.

Graphically, G-NOME is a mixed bag. For 1997, the polygonal mechanoids looks robust and solid, even those with a more out-there design seem tangible to a degree. There is a small amount of slowdown when a lot of them swarm around in a skirmish, but it's not game-breaking. The environment, however, hasn't been given the same attention. No matter the environment, the location or the very planet itself, all stages feel disappointingly similar. The ground is flat, bordered with impassable mountains funnelling you in the desired direction. Up close, these peaks have heavily pixelated textures that warp jarringly as you turn. The same can be said for the variety of buildings which look more like a glitched splat of giant poo. What's worse is that you're encouraged to get up close to these structures in order to enter them.

Buildings like this one in the distance can be entered if approached on-foot (left).
This one hosts a control room for a nearby bridge. Click on the lever to lower it (right).

You can tell this is 7th Level's first 3D game. They've featured on this site several times before excelling in 2D animated adventures and desktop toys (see Ace Ventura, Arcade America, Monty Python's Meaning of Life and Take Your Best Shot) and you can see the learning curve on display. It's a shame as the engine itself is rather robust. It was one of the first third-party games to utilise an early iteration of Criterion's RenderWare game engine. Even so, I wouldn't say this is a great example of what it could do when compared to others that used it at the time. Criterion's own Scorched Planet looked much better the year before.

So, G-NOME is a bit of a mixed bag. There are many great ideas squandered by a tame level design and mismanaged difficulty curve. Playing it, I had many awesome power-fantasy moments, but not as many as boring wars of attrition. I had a few exciting last-second wins, but not as many as the slow drawn-out failures. G-NOME doesn't have the dense lore, minute detail and thoughtful strategy as MechWarrior or EarthSiege, but it does have grand-theft-mecha. That's enough for my recommendation.

To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses the DOSBox-X build of DOSBox 0.74 running Windows '95. Manual Included. Read the ChamberNotes.txt for more detailed information. Tested on Windows 10.

IMPORTANT - Remember to shut down the emulated version of Windows before exiting DOSBox. This could potentially result in errors, lost saves and corrupt data.

File Size: 357 Mb.  Install Size: 586 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ


G-NOME is © 7th Level Inc
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

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  1. Great addition to the collection, thanks for the food chief!

  2. It's a shame to see that this was the end for 7th Level, just as they upped their ambitions considerably. The pivot to 3D was a rather ruthless culling point for the industry, which was already starting to see consolidation and burnout of studios as production, distribution and marketing requirements pushed up the barrier to entry. At least it sounds like they put out a half-decent game.

  3. Oh my goodness. I was racking my brain trying to remember the name of this obscure mech game when I found your site and came across this. G-Nome! Thanks for uploading!!

  4. Thank you for this addition to your great website! I used to like this game a lot when it came out, It was my first mech game. I still have an original copy somewhere in my parents house.

    Anyway, did you know that they made a sequel? It's called "Dominion: Storm over Gift 3". It's not a mech game but an RTS Starcraft-style set in G-Nome universe.