Battletech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception was a turn-based adventure/RPG game released in 1988/1989 by Westwood Studios and based on the BattleTech franchise. It was one of the first commercial ports of the licence, and featured some of the franchise's worlds, institutions, political figures, and weapons, particularly the three-story tall Battlemechs.
The player takes the role of Jason Youngblood, a young cadet MechWarrior stationed on Pacifica (also known as Chara III) in the Lyran Commonwealth. Stationed at the Citadel, Jason is learning how to pilot a Battlemech and also to fight with small arms, all the while having to live up to the reputation of his hero father, Jeremiah. During a training session in his 'Mech, the Citadel comes under attack from neighbouring star-empire the Draconis Combine, slaying the Palace guard, Jeremiah apparently among them. Barely escaping, Jason is rescued from arrest by Draconis Police by Rex Pearce, a friend and colleague of Jeremiah's and a member of the Crescent Hawks. Together they must find and join up with fellow members of the Crescent Hawks, a special forces company established by Jeremiah and the Archon Katrina working in conjunction with the mercenary unit, the Kell Hounds.
The game is divided into three sections, each with different objectives and gameplay style, but a similar interface. The first section is set at the Citadel, and as a way to get a feel for the engine and the interface the player must complete successively harder training missions in a BattleMech, and may also enroll in lessons in a selection of small arms. As well as giving the player an idea of the theme of the game, this section allows the player to "level up" and earn some C-Bills, the staple currency in the BattleTech universe. Unusually, all of the game's plot events occur in-play, having the game start before the story. During one of the training missions, the citadel comes under attack and the game changes.
The second section of the game is much more staple RPG: finding people to join the player's party, finding better weapons, items to advance the plot, and of course, engaging in or avoiding battles. The game here sees the growing party search Pacifica's towns and cities for the means to open an old Star League era cache of Battle Mechs and other equipment Jeremiah seems to have concealed. Navigation around the map is timed to the computer's internal clock, when random encounters with enemy 'Mechs and infantry can occur. The player can choose to manually target his weapons (which introduces the turn based battle system) or can opt for computer controlled combat. One of the towns is walled (the star port) and requires the 'Mechs to be parked in a Garage, meaning that a Mech is not always able to count as protection. Random attacks occur often and cannot always be fled from, and so during this section keeping the player's Mech fully functional and protected becomes both challenging and important. The attackers become stronger if the player gains more Mechs, and less strong again if the player loses a Mech. C-Bill shortages can become a real problem, especially if the player is using weapons with ammunition like missile racks, or if no party member can perform Mech repairs. The final section, which is reached once the means of entry to the cave is discovered, consists of a series of puzzles, requiring a combination of luck and logic.
Although the game data contains info for all of the pre-3050 weaponry, a very limited catalogue of mechs appear in this game (suggesting that Westwood/Infocom may have intended the game to be initially much larger, or perhaps a follow up game using the same engine).