I remember that and it's sequel being quite fun back in the day. Not too sure how well it's aged though.
I played the original off CD, under Win7 recently, and it was as much fun as first time around.
It does tend to develop into a specific set of mechs, with particular weapons, because they are much better than most of the alternatives. Unlike mechwarrior, the robot thingies have shields. Different planets have different relief and terrain cover - movement speeds, and jump capability (gravity) as well as sensor range, weapon, shield, life support penalties and bonuses, which does go some way towards mixing up how you fight your squad.