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Catapult by Baratus20

Version: 1.0 | Updated: 10/01/03

For MechAssault (Xbox)
Mech Guide: Catapult
Version: 1.0
Author: Shaun Jackson
Contact: hosschibi@hotmail.com
Date: 10/01/03





*****************
Table of Contents
*****************

1.0) Introduction
2.0) The CPLT-C1 Catapult
  2.1) The "Real" Catapult
  2.2) The MechAssault Catapult
3.0) Weapons Systems
4.0) Defensive Systems
5.0) Strategy
  5.1) Grinder
  5.2) Multiplayer
6.0) Map Strategies
  6.1) River City
  6.2) The Junkyard
  6.3) The Colosseum
  6.4) Ice Pack
  6.5) Frosty
  6.6) Number 51
7.0) FAQ
8.0) Credits 

*****************
1.0) Introduction
*****************

Well, first thing's first: This guide may not be reproduced, in part or in 
whole, in any way, shape or form. It may not in any way be altered or thrown up 
on some other web site without my express permission. This is my work, not 
yours, so don't try to take credit for it. You can feel free to print it out 
for your personal use, carry it around for reference, or, in a pinch, use it 
as a coaster. As of now, only www.gamefaqs.com has my permission to use this 
document on their site.

Before I begin I would just like to say that this is my very first
attempt at an FAQ. I've been a Battletech/MechWarrior junky for years, and, as
such, I'll be going into a bit more in-depth information about the 'Mech itself
than most of the others have thus far. Speaking of the others, they've all done
terrific jobs so far in their 'Mech guides. They were part of my inspiration 
for doing this, after all. I guess that covers the intro, so, without further
ado, let's begin!

*************************
2.0) The CPLT-C1 Catapult
*************************

The Catapult was produced by Hollis Inc. in a limited production run between 
2571 and 2573 under a special military contract with the Star League. It was 
officially classified as a close-support vehicle, designed as a second-line 
'Mech with strong offensive capabilities. (excerpt from BattleTech TRO 3025)

------------------------
2.1) The "Real" Catapult
------------------------

When I say the "Real" Catapult, I am talking about the official BattleTech
version. The MechAssault version is, technically, considerably weaker in terms
of firepower, as I will explain further shortly.

Weight: 65 tons
Class: Heavy
Chassis Type: Hollis Mark II
Engine: Magna 260
Maximum Speed: 64.8 KPH
Jump Jets: Anderson Propulsion 21. These were later changed to Anderson
Propulsion 25 Jump Jets due to a somewhat common problem where the jump jets
would vent exhaust directly into the Catapult's fusion engine.
Armor: Heavy Durallex; 10 tons
Weapons: 2 Holly LRM 15 Racks
         4 Martell Medium Lasers
Targeting and Tracking System: O/P 1078

-----------------------------
2.2) The MechAssault Catapult
-----------------------------

Name: Catapult
Class: Medium *
Armor 3774
Speed: 25 mph
Cooldown: 8 Seconds
Offense: (energy)  Pulse Laser x4
         (missile) Javelin x4
Defense: Target Jamming
         Jump Jets
Salvage: Approximately 1220 Units of Armor
         Laser Salvage
         Missile Salvage

* - Though MechAssault considers the Catapult a Medium BattleMech, the Medium 
class by definition is 40 to 55 tons. The Catapult's 65 tons puts it 10 tons 
above a Medium 'Mech and 15 tons below an Assault 'Mech.


For all intents and purposes, the MechAssault and "Real" versions of the 
Catapult are identical except for their weapons. The "Real" Catapult carries
twin Long-Range Missile 15 Racks (so 30 missiles per salvo) and 4 standard
medium lasers. The MechAssault version carries four pulse lasers, which is
superior to the real version, but its four racks of Javelin missiles are only
capable of launching four missiles per salvo...so I'm sure you can see the
difference now. A thirty missile salvo will kill just about anything in this
game in very short order.

********************
2.3) Weapons Systems
********************

A lot of the 'Mechs in MechAssault have a weapons payload that is often
considerably different than their BattleTech counterparts, but the Catapult
is the closest thing to an excpetion to that as we're going to get. Like its
counterpart, it has no ballistic weapons and relies on its missiles to soften
up its enemies, then grinds them to dust with its lasers at close range.

==Pulse Laser x4==

The Good: Very fast weapon, per-shot heat is low

The Bad: Less effective as range increases, per-shot damage is laughable

Level 1 - Ammo: infinite  Heat: 1/3 Unit Damage: 60 per shot, around 230/sec 
Level 2 - Ammo: 400       Heat: 1/4 Unit Damage: 67 per shot, around 300/sec
Level 3 - Ammo: 268       Heat: 1/5 Unit Damage: 64 per shot, around 400/sec
note: While it may seem the level 3 pulse lasers do less damage than the
level 2, it must be noted that 3's firing rate is insane compared to 2's.

==Javelin Missiles x4==

The Good: Excellent tracking from long or mid-range, heat-to-power ratio is 
fairly good

The Bad: Will quickly lead to heat problems if you don't let up the trigger, 
will just about always miss at very close ranges, reload time is just a tad
slower than what most would like it to be

Level 1 - Ammo: Infinite Heat: 4 1/2 Units Damage: 400 
Level 2 - Ammo: 32       Heat: 4 Units     Damage: 545
Level 3 - Ammo: 16       Heat: 3 1/2 Units Damage: 667 
note: Level 3 damage seems to be just a bit inconsistent, a proper damage for
it would more likely be 665-670, so I just took the average of that to get my
stated damage.

==Alpha Strike==

The Catapult's Alpha Strike isn't entirely as good as most of the other 'Mechs, 
this partially being due to the fact that the Catapult has only 2 weapons and
most of the other 'Mechs have 3. The best use of the Alpha Strike will come 
when both your pulse lasers and your javelin missiles are at level 3 and in one 
of the following situations:

   1) You're beating a hasty retreat from an ambush, or just simply a bigger, 
      badder 'Mech
   2) You're rushing to the aid of a friend and need extra harrassment ability

It's mostly because of its having 2 weapons that the Catapult's Alpha Strike is
overly specialized. When laying down a rain of level 3 pulse lasers, double tap 
the L trigger to blend a missile salvo in with your lasers. If timed right the
missiles will come out so fast they should catch your opponent off guard, and
hopefully make him use an anti-missile defense just as you're switching back to
your pulse lasers. He wastes his defensive power for a few seconds, and you lay 
into him with lasers he can't do anything about. That's a good deal.

**********************
4.0) Defensive Systems
**********************

The Catapult has two defensive type systems to help ensure its continued
survival. Though one of them is questionable in its overall usefullness, the 
other is an indispensable piece of equipment, and so we'll start with that one.

==Jump Jets==

While the Jump Jets can actually be considered both defensive and offensive,
its primary uses of escape and positioning are both more defensive in nature.
The Catapult has a superb Jump Jet system; it's rather powerful and it lasts a
considerably long time. Though I'll go more in-depth on some Jump Jet
strategies in the map strategies section, it's a good general rule of thumb to
use Jump Jets in these situations:
   1) Escaping from a larger 'Mech, especially one with poor tracking weapons
   2) Positioning yourself to get off a better shot at the enemy
   3) Getting behind a building or other structure to use as cover
   4) Getting on top of a big building or hill to ensure both an offensive and
      defensive advantage

==Target Jamming==

Quite possibly the big yawn of the Catapult's arsenal, target jamming
supposedly messes with your opponents' radar, but my multiplayer games have
not shown that to be all that true. What it DOES do is scramble your opponents'
tracking system, making them break their target locks with you. This is most
useful when you're nursing your 'Mech's armor until you can find some armor
salvage and need to stave off a few missile salvos. I find this to be a
particularly useful ability in River City, which I will again elaborate upon
when I get to the section of River City entitled "River City Cammo".

*************
5.0) Strategy
*************

As stated above, the Catapult was designed as a close-support vehicle; a
defender with strong offensive abilities. Now, any 'Mech can make a good
account of itself on the battlefield if it's piloted by an experienced
MechWarrior, but the Catapult tends to require a bit more...hmmm...sharpness,
on the part of the player. Again, it's a big 'Mech with only 2 weapons systems.
'Mechs like the Hackman and Uller may only have 2 weapons, but they are very
small and very fast which can potentially make up for their firepower defecit.
The Catapult does not have that luxury.

------------
5.1) Grinder
------------

Odd as it may seem, I have found the Catapult excels quite nicely in the
Grinder mode. In a single player Grinder, the Catapult's pair of x4 weapons
lend themselves rather nicely to a one-on-one dueling structure. The problem
with this is that after you beat Ragnarok, you have enemy 'Mechs coming at you
two at a time. Unfortunately, though the Catapult is still more than capable of
putting up an excellent fight, it becomes rather easy for one slip-up to mean
your death.

So, if you play a single player game of Grinder, I more than suggest fighting
in the River City. Such an urban environment compliments the Catapult's
fighting capablities and often cripples those of the other, bigger 'Mechs.
Again, I'll go deeper in the River City map strategy section, where I shall
clearly lay out why I so love River City.

In a game of Grinder, always keep the following in mind:

   1) Getting on top of buildings provides a great vantage point. It lets you
      target your enemies easier while making it harder for them to hit you.
      The only danger you will really have to watch out for is a building
      collapse, which will more than likely kill you. After your building has
      soaked up a few shots, jump off and move on.

   2) Never stand still for more than one second. The Catapult has decent
      armor, but standing still for any length of time is still a bad idea.

   3) Learn exactly how much a bridge or building takes to collapse. Start
      working on the structure before hand until it's one hit away from
      collapsing, then lure the enemy 'Mech near/under it and deliver the final
      blow.

   4) Fight a guerilla war if need be. The Catapult wasn't designed as a
      slugger, so be patient and play cat and mouse if you have to.

   5) The Catapult shines in a multiplayer game of Grinder. Just stand at long
      range and launch missiles while your partner/s work from closer ranges.
      Working with one or more players, you should easily rack up dozens of
      kills.

----------------
5.2) Multiplayer
----------------

==Team Destruction==

Again, the Catapult excels at this type of thing. A lance of four 'Mechs which
counts one Catapult in its ranks will generally get a higher ratio of support
kills than a similar lance that does not make use of the Catapult and its
unique suppport abilities.

I can't say this enough: in a team environment, the Catapult should hang back
and lend supporting fire and, only when truly necessary, charge in for a
frontal assault. Otherwise, get your weapons powered up to level 3 ASAP then
keep your distance and harrass your enemies with alternating pulse laser
and missile fire.

==CTF==

The Catapult is a terrible 'Mech to use in Capture the Flag. Good CTF 'Mechs
usually have a) good speed or b) heavy weapons, and the Catapult fails to fit
well into either of those categories. It simply doesn't have the speed to
help it evade attacks, nor does it have the necessary heavy weaponry to fend
off your attackers. This is one situation where I cannot recommend taking
the Catapult. If you decide to take it along, make sure to use your Jump Jets
to their full capability. That's just about the only way you're going to
accomplish much of anything.

*******************
6.0) Map Strategies
*******************

Although the Catapult is well-rounded enough to be used in just about any of
the maps, it functions best when there are lots of stuctures on the map. Again,
the Catapult tends to be benefit a bit more from the extra cover, and its Jump
Jets make all but the most impossible jumps easy. Getting from one place of
cover to the next should pose no problem. With that, let's get to the map
strategies...

---------------
6.1) River City
---------------

I think I need to start with River City. This is a terrific map in and of 
itself, but I feel the Catapult can really exploit this map for all its worth.

==General Tips==

You shouldn't have too much trouble here. There are a lot of buildings, so
you'll find yourself with a lot of cover to hide behind. Against heavier
'Mechs you should use hit-and-run tactics to soften them up, peeking around a
building just long enough to loose off a missile salvo and perhaps a few
stabs of pulse lasers. Once the enemy 'Mech begins to belch heavy smoke, feel
free to rush from behind (or jump off of) your cover and charge him with your
weapons blasting. You should sustain minimal damage...unless of course you
are ganged up upon. In that case, I would suggest using saturation fire to
distract them as you backpedal; in other words, reverse throttle and hold
down your pulse laser trigger, until you can duck behind cover.

There's a hilltop on the outskirts of the city, usually with some salvage
sitting on top of it. This is a pretty good place to set up camp for a while
and take shots at your enemies. It's generally harder to shoot at things
uphill, and scrambling their tracking with your target jamming will not make
that task any easier.

==The Big One==

There's a rather large building at the edge of town (a bit in front of the
gates where the secondary enemies appear in Grinder). The Catapult is one of
the few machines capable of getting on top of this building. The other 'Mechs
are simply too heavy with too weak of Jump Jets to get them up there. This is
an excellent spot to snipe from. It's so high that almost the entire map will
be in your field of fire, allowing you to address any threat there may be.
This building is also a bit more solid than the others in this map, so keep
that in mind when your enemies start shooting at the building rather than you.
If it collapses with you on top of it, you're simply going to die. Make sure
you know how much the building can take, then jump off just before it comes
down, then hit the ground with guns blazing.

==River City Cammo==

I happened upon this by chance one day when I was playing Grinder. Beyond the
river and against the hills that mark the boundary of the map, there is a
cement tunnel opening. Destroy it. Only the front part caves in completely,
leaving the rest relatively intact. The trick here is you can run inside.
The collapsed area will completely cover your 'Mech. Now, weapons can still
go through the collapsed section, but the important difference is that you'll
be able to swing around so you can see your enemies, but they won't be able to
see you. Activate target jamming to mess with their lock-ons, then target them
and fire at your leisure. Even with target jamming they'll have a rough idea
of where at least part of you is. It's been my experience that when they
return fire and you are hidden in the collapsed tunnel, they tend to miss wide
half the time and will often just score a shot on an arm. This is not a be-all
end-all secret strategy, but it is pretty amusing to use.

-----------------
6.2) The Junkyard
-----------------

The Junkyard is a pretty decent area to take the Catapult into. It's fairly
open, and a lot of fights will consequentially start from long range, so your
missiles will be your best friends in this place.

==General Tips==

Firstly, choose red as your 'Mechs color. A fairly sound stratgey is to get
between one of the junk piles and the side of the hill. The reds of the junk
and your 'Mech are very similar, and, from long range, that junk should absorb
quite a few missile and/or PPC blasts...or anything that fires more than one
thing at a time. Provided you're dead center in the space, and just a tad hung
back, your field of fire should be virtually unobstructed.

Try to stay away from the central base at the top of the hill. This area is
very open with few ways to dodge enemy fire short of jumping over the wall.
If you need to head up there, jump your way as much as possible, dash and
grab whatever salvage you need, then hop over the wall again before someone
blows you away. A general exception to this is when you know your enemy is
heading up the hill. If you have good timing and positioning skills, you can
poke your head over the top of the hill on the opposite side just enough
to get a missile lock and unload a few salvos as the enemy 'Mech crests his
side of the hill.

==King of the Hill==

In a game with only one or two opponents, the base can actually be a viable
option for attacking. Your Javelin missiles can lock onto 'Mechs running
around at the bottom of the hill, and their arc of fire will carry them over
the wall. The wall will absorb just about any return fire your enemies can
dish out, provided you are positioned well. Just be careful if you focus too
much on one enemy, because it's no fun concentrating on chipping away at a
Mad Cat and having an Atlas sneak up behind you.

*****************
6.3) The Colosseum
*****************

In a one-on-one battle, the Coliseum is a good choice to take your Catapult
into. It provides ample coverage if you need it, plus it's open enough that
your missiles should have few problems finding your enemy.

==General Tips==

There aren't a whole lot of things I can say you should NOT do in this map.
There aren't really any truly bad strategies or choices you can make here.
Well, except that you should not walk around in the molten lava. But why would
you ever do such a thing?

That large bridge that expands across the center of the map can make a good
place to hang around. Like the base wall in Junkyard, you can arch missiles
over the bridge railing and damage enemies below you, using the bridge as a
source of cover. The only problem here obviously is that if the bridge
sustains enough damage to collapse, you're as good as dead.

Another strategy is to take out the bridge yourself. The Catapult's Jump Jets
are strong enough to carry it over the gap, so you can use that to your
advantage to flank an enemy or escape from someone who's chasing you.

If possible, keep to the hills. Running up, down and around the hilly areas
lets you take a lot of good shots while making you a difficult target to hit.

The valley below the bridge is also a good place to hang around. Keep moving
from side to side while shooting whatever 'Mech is coming at your way, and
use the small rock outcroppings to absorb a few shots for you.

==Four Corners==

On each end of the map, a straight shout from each end of the bridge, there
is a group of four metal structures arranged in a square. Staying in the
center of these structures provides you with a maximum field of fire and
puts excellent cover only a step away. Weaving in and out in this area is
a good way to get maximum offensive and defensive potential.

*************
6.4) Ice Pack
*************

I didn't realize how good a map this was for the Catapult until I went there
as research for this guide. Without a doubt, long-range 'Mechs own the
battlefield here, and the Catapult is no exception.

==Genereal Tips==

Keep to the outside edges of this map. They are raised far above groundlevel
and you can deal massive damage by simply circling around the map and
launching missiles at whoever wanders into range. You will encounter large
gaps every so often, but your Jump Jets are more than capable of carrying you
safely across.

The ice covering the ground is breakable. If it strikes your fancy, breaking
the ice underneath an enemy 'Mechs armored feet will make it stumble for a
moment, disrupting their ability to attack and enhancing yours. If you are
being chased, shattering the ice underneath your own 'Mech will cause it to
drop a few feet; this should help break your opponent's target lock and
may provide you with a chance to more cleanly escape.

Just about the only way you're going to be getting salvage in this level is
from the 'Mechs you blow up. The level itself is lacking all forms of salvage.

If running around the edge of the map is not to your liking, then the central
area is also a good place to hang out. The hills are good cover, and are easy
enough to jump over if you need to make a hasty escape.

***********
6.5) Frosty
***********

Frosty is a pretty good map to haul your Catapult to. While it's not quite as
great, in my opinion, as Ice Pack, it's still a perfectly serviceable map.

==General Tips==

Unlike Ice Pack, the ice in Frosty is unbreakable.

There is a lot of mist in this area. Make your 'Mech blue and keep long range.
The mist should help give you partial cover from your enemies.

There are small structures littered rather sparingly throughout the level.
Just about all of the buildings will collapse with one hit from your weapons.
For this reason they should not be overly relied on for cover.

There are several ice bridges in this level. They are all fairly long so
blasting one out from under an enemy 'Mech should be no problem.

The curving snow ramps double as good cover. Hopping off the side of one is
a good way to dodge a PPC blast or a missile salvo.

There is no really good static position from which you can effectively fight.
For this reason make sure you're continually on the move.

**************
6.6) Number 51
**************

Number 51 is a fun little map. It's a fairly good place to take a Catapult.

==General Tips==

Number 51 has a few patches of molten lava, some of which you might not see
until you're right on top of them. Keep a sharp eye out.

Try to hang around the areas which have lots of buildings and use them for
cover, then play hit-and-fade tactics until you soften up your foe then jump
out and finish him off.

That big stone bridge doesn't take long to bring down. Use it if you want, if
not, then blow it up so you yourself won't be killed by it.

==Smokey and the Bandit==

Again, I happened across this trick while researching for this guide. Just lay
into the top of a building with a few pulse laser shots until it starts to
belch thick black smoke. Then jump on top of the building and into the center
of the smoke pillar. I found this to be an amazing way to ambush your enemies.
When they see the blip on their radar, they'll assume you're actually behind
the building, and when they go to investigate, you can feel free to blast them
from your perch, or drop down behind them and rip them a new one.

==The Rock==

Not necessarily anything amazing, the giant rock on this map can make a good
ambush point. The rock is pretty easy to collapse, and it falls apart in a
much wider range than you'd expect it to. At the very least it's a good
distraction.

********
7.0) FAQ
********

Q) What's the best 'Mech in the game?

A) There isn't one. There are no good or bad 'Mechs, only good or bad
MechWarriors.

Q) Why do you like the Catapult so much?

A) I don't think I like the Catapult so much as I respect it. First, I like
a 'Mech with a clear-cut role, and the Catapult's role is quite clear: to
provide its allies with fire support.

I never hated the Catapult per se, but I never held it in high regard until
the first time I played MechCommander. I was playing a mission about halfway
through the game and all was going well. I was moving on to my final
objective when missiles rained down on my team, taking out one of my light
'Mechs. I ordered my team a bit further up the trail and standing on top of a
hill next to the command center was a Catapult, piloted by an enemy commander.
That Catapult took a beating from my team (now consisting of four 'Mechs) yet
it continued to fight back. It took out another of my 'Mechs with a critical
shot to the head from its lasers before it finally went under. The only other
'Mech for the rest of the game to put up nearly as much a fight was a Mad Cat
a few missions later. After that, I never underestimated another Catapult.

Q) You said you were a "BattleTech/MechWarrior junky". Care to elaborate?

A) Sure. I've been playing MechWarrior for about 6 years. I have all the
MechCommander, MechWarrior 2, MechWarrior 3, and three of the MechWarrior 4
games. That's a dozen total for those keeping score. As for the main
BattleTech world, I have 26 of the novels, and have been researching it for
the past few years. I have seven of the Technical Readouts and 2 of the
Field Manuals; Capellan Confederation and Draconis Combine, my two favorite
Inner Sphere powers.

Q) You gonna make another guide?

A) Who knows? I've wanted to try writing a guide for years and I am very happy
to have finally done so. I have to say though, I didn't realize how much
hard work a guide like this took until now! These last couple of nights have
held little sleep for me as I played until the wee morning hours then sat down
at the computer to type a few more sections.


************
8.0) Credits
************

First I need to thank to now-non-existent FASA corporation for creating
BattleTech in the first place.

Thanks to Microsoft for creating such a worthy addition to the MechWarrior
series.

Thanks to everyone who's ever written a guide for www.gamefaqs.com. It's hard
work, and I appreciate all of you even more now.

Finally, I thank you, the reader, who has taken the time to read my work. I
hope it's been of some help to you.

You can reach me at hosschibi@hotmail.com.
Copyright 2003 Shaun Jackson

                                  

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