In MechWarrior, the Catapult isn’t just humble fire-support. It’s one of the most beloved heavy Mechs in the entire Inner Sphere.
By Louis Kemner
Published 6 days ago
The MechWarrior PC gaming franchise has no shortage of exciting war robots the player can use to win interstellar wars. Since the 1985 BattleTech board game, this broad franchise has featured classic Mech designs, such as the Warhammer, the Marauder, the Thunderbolt and the Catapult. The?latter of?these is the gold standard for fire-support platforms.
Although the Catapult isn’t huge and scary like the titanic Atlas, it has won over MechWarrior fans for decades with its remarkable durability, maneuverability and weapons payload, all in a slick 65-ton package. Here’s what the?Catapult can do in the lore and in the games.
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In the lore, the Catapult had a somewhat humble beginning. This Mech was designed in the 2600s and had a surprisingly short production run, being built in factories across the Inner Sphere for only a few years. However, even in limited numbers, the Catapult quickly endeared itself to?anyone in need?of the latest military hardware. The SLDF, the main army of the mighty Star League,?used?this Mech, as did the armies of the five Great Houses.
However, the Catapult really made a name for itself in later decades when the SLDF departed the Inner Sphere and the Succession Wars?flared to life. The five House armies were waging war on one another, and everyone wanted to use Catapults. At the time, few if any new Catapults were being built, and no one was building spare parts for this popular Mech either.?The feuding armies would launch entire planetary invasions to capture stockpiles of Catapult parts or handfuls of this Mech, proving how vital these Mechs were for?front-line armies.
The secret of the Catapult is that it had no particular secret. Its body had a simple and easy-to-use design, being a bulbous body on backward-canted legs, with a boxy missile launcher on each shoulder and?no proper arms. This machine was also famed for its great durability and ease of repair; many Catapults survived decades, even centuries, of nonstop war, a feat few other Mech designs could claim aside from the Atlas.
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The Catapult is a fire-support Mech armed with two LRM 15 missile launchers, a common weapon type in the lore and games alike. These missile pods allow it?to rain down impressive support fire for its size. If enemy tanks or Mechs get close, the Catapult can fight back with four medium lasers, another widespread weapon of the time. As for maneuverability, the Catapult only had an average ground speed, but it also had jump jets, allowing it to get into position or retreat with ease, no matter how rough the terrain is.
Better yet, the Catapult’s simple design made it easy to modify with whatever weapons its user?had on hand. During these desperate times, many pilots swapped out their Catapult’s missile pods or medium lasers for other weapons, such as a pair of PPCs for sharpshooting, SRM launchers for close-range urban warfare or autocannons. The possibilities?were endless, and everyone wanted to make their Catapult truly their own.
The Catapult is one of the first Mechs to appear in the games, debuting in 1996’s?MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, a related title to the 1995 smash-hit MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat. Although the Catapult was absent from?1999’s?MechWarrior 3, it appeared in 2000’s?MechWarrior 4:?Vengeance.
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More recently, it was included in 2019’s?MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, along with other classic Inner Sphere Mechs of that era. The?venerated Catapult appears in the multiplayer-only?MechWarrior Online, as well as the 2018 strategy game BattleTech. In fact, even the semi-canon MechAssault games feature the Catapult, including a non-canon variant named the Bowman (not to be confused with the canonical Bowman Mech from the lore).
These repeated appearances make it clear that the Catapult is a beloved and classic design both?within MechWarrior lore and out — and?for good reason. The power and ease of use of the Catapult?endears it to many PC gamers,?who?feel like an authentic MechWarrior by using it.?True to the lore, these video games make it easy to tinker with the Catapult’s basic but effective design and totally remake it.
A player could swap their Catapult’s LRM launchers for SRM launchers?to handle urban combat and ambush, or it might have autocannons or even bigger LRM launchers at the cost of lasers or armor plating. In the BattleTech game, it’s a good idea to keep the Catapult in the lance’s rear during a fight, but once the Catapult’s LRM ammo runs out, it can charge forth and fight with its lasers while enduring a surprising amount of return fire. This effectively makes it two Mechs in one, and any player can appreciate that during a tough campaign mission.
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About The Author
(2430 Articles Published)
I graduated high school in Kansas City in 2009, then earned my Associate’s in Arts in 2011 at MCC Longview, then my BA in Creative Writing at UMKC in 2013. I have a passion for creative fiction and I’ve studied and practiced my craft for over ten years. Currently, I’m expanding my resume and skill set with jobs such as SEO writing and journalism.
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