Shaggy's Weekly Review – T-Mek by Atari Games

This week I am reviewing one of my favorite arcade games of all time – T-Mek by Atari Games. While I have spent many tokens on many other games I always have enjoyed a nice round of T-Mek. In a way it’s a spiritual successor to Atari’s BattleZone, another sweet game.



Released: 1994

Players: 1-2, simultaneous


The Nazrac Tournament is in full swing and here is your chance to enter your Mek (a sort of battle hovercraft) and fight your way through a slew of enemies until you face Nazrac yourself.

T-Mek is an immersive 3-D arena vehicle combat game from Atari Games. By controlling your Mek you fight head-to-head with the computer or against a friend. The game is linkable but it is difficult to find an arcade that features more than one unit.


After you insert your coins the game asks for you to identify yourself by entering in a name. After that you can choose from up to six different Meks – 3 for beginners and 3 for more advanced players. Each one has its benefits and downfalls in categories such as speed, defense and offense which is shows you on the screen. After that you are sent to an arena to fight in; in two player mode one player gets to choose from one of the several arenas to play in, loser getting the choice if there was one. In the arena, you have to hunt down and destroy the other Meks by using your firepower – there are basic lasers and some Meks have strong weapons such as cruise missles. Cruise missles work just like the Cruise missiles in the Atari Jaguar game Iron Soldier – you manually guide them to the target. Other Meks may have an energy bolt to disable an enemy Mek temporarily and all Meks have a defensive mechanism such as a cloaking device, reflective screen or shields. You have three minutes to eliminate everyone on the board as many times as possible (they respawn) to get the highest ranking score – if you die you do get more chances to fight in the time limit but the game tracks how often you die and how often you kill and figures out your ranking.

There are powerups on each level floating about – just fly through the blue lights to charge up your defenses or offenses or simply kill an opponent and grab the green orb they leave behind.

There are several boss battles you must face against a lone boss – by using your wits they aren’t too hard to pass through, although it does get quite difficult towards the end.

The arenas are interesting, from the Alien Nest to the desert to the volcanic wastelands. Some areas have their own hazards such as lightning strikes or lava flows. There are a few hidden arenas the player can access as well if they do the right stuff to unlock them.

The gameplay itself is action packed and quite addicting, especially in multiplayer. The concept seems to follow similar games like BattleWheels or even Unreal Tournament in it’s winner take all, deatchmatch only gameplay.


In 1994 sprites were still the king of the graphic techniques used and T-Mek uses nothing but sprites for opponents, powerups, environments and obstacles. They are pre-rendered sprites and look pretty good if not a little pixelated as the game uses a lot of scaling. It would be nice if the cockpit was a little smaller affording more view to the playfield but it’s not absurd like the cockpits in Wing Commander 2. There is a radar and info on your status in the game to be found there. T-Mek does have a few nice special effects including nice explosions and transparencies.


There is little music to speak of in the game besides what you here in the menu screens. Otherwise it focuses on the sounds of the battlefield which consists primarily of weapon fire and really loud, really nice explosions which are enhanced by a subwoofer under each players seat. They used the Cage Total Immersion surround sound system and thanks to the cockpit style cabinet it makes it easy to distinguish T-Mek’s sounds from the arcade background noise. The explosions make the sound experience worth it alone.

The Cabinet

The cabinet for T-Mek is huge and highly detailed with artwork. To give the impressionct-mek.jpg that you are actually sitting inside a ‘Mek’, they made a sitdown cabinet with surround sound, a comfortable chair and plenty of artwork on the inside. The seat has a subwoofer in it for that great bass effect that accompanies explosions. This is a dual-player cabinet – there are no single player cabs known to exist. This allows you and friend to play head-to-head easily. The monitor is a 27″ SVGA set; there are two joysticks with a trigger and thumb button on each, one stick on the right and one stick to the left of the player. They are placed to the sides of your legs. For forward movement you press both of them forward, turning you push one forward and the other backwards, just like on BattleZone. The artwork is great and that combined with the size of the cab, it’s hard to miss T-Mek.

Overall T-Mek is an awesome arcade title that only saw a home release on the Sega 32X (an Atari Jaguar version was planned but never released). That is probably because the game was so well made for arcades that it didn’t translate too well to the home console. The size of the game makes it impractical for most homes but if you find it at an arcade, play it with a buddy and its a guarenteed good time for killin’.


Explore posts in the same categories: Arcade Fun, Arcade Games, Arcade Software, Atari, Review

2 Comments on “Shaggy's Weekly Review – T-Mek by Atari Games”

  1. Bruce Says:

    T-Mek Would play great on the X-box live network

  2. play the game

    It is tiring trying to compute the time we have spent looking up top game arcade online sites articles.

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