Command & Conquer
Another popular PC title goes 32-bit! Command & Conquer provides hours of gripping combat strategy on the PlayStation.
In C&C, you take command of one of two armies, the GDI or the Brotherhood of Nod, then deploy troops and armored divisions as well as build training areas.
Gameplay is aided by outstanding sounds, with troops marching to a driving rock beat and hitting the trenches amid loud explosions and blood-chilling screams. While the battlefield graphics are just average, the superbly rendered cinemas provide a real eyeful. The controls are the weakest element, especially since the game isn't mouse-compatible. The control pad lacks pinpoint accuracy, causing you to select the wrong objects--something especially bothersome when you're in a jam and seconds count.
Controls aside, the more you play C&C, the more you'll want to command and conquer it. Strategy fans should definitely enlist in this war.
- To explore unfamiliar territory, send a foot soldier off to any of the far comers to reveal enemy positions.
- Versus the laser towers, listen for their telltale charging hum. When you hear it, retreat immediately--failure to do so could cost you valuable troops or vehicles.
- Enemy foot soldiers are sometimes hard to hit. If one opens up sniper fire on a vehicle, just run over him.
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Command & Conquer has created quite a stir (albeit a good one). Where Doom revolutionized the first-person shooter (now you can find millions of "Doom clones"). C&C created a realtime strategy craze (and you can expect plenty of "Command & Conquer clones"). Since this is run in realtime. I would recommend this title to even those who tend to steer away from strategy games. Why? The action is constantly flowing. You won't find any slow-paced turn-by-boring-tum, move-one-piece-at-a-time game here. On some of the later levels, you won't have time to plan anything with too much depth. You'll have to run on instinct alone. The strategy (and fun) part enters when you find yourself trying to balance your time collecting Tiberium (your income) and constructing buildings and military units and defending your base and destroying your enemies. Everything in this game is done just about perfectly. The PS version even one-ups the Saturn version by having extra operations of play (most from the PC expansion disk, and some are PlayStation exclusives). But the graphics are just as lackluster. grainy and tiny-sprited as they were on the PC. and Westwood has left out a Link Mode for head-to-head play. But these complaints are few and the praises many. C&C is excellent from start to finish.
There's not much changed here outside of the new missions (which are plenty). I've been a big fan of Command & Conquer since the PC days and this version sticks to what made the originals so great (since it's almost exactly like the original). The graphics looks great, but the music gets repetitive (like the Saturn version). Any strategist should enjoy C&C.
C&C is easily one of the best PS titles--if for no other reason than its sheer lasting power. The game's more than 60 levels will keep you strateglzing for weeks, and the gameplay itself is intuitive and instantly addicting. C&C's missions are so varied-from simple search-and-destroy sorties to assassination attempts-that the game never gets dull.
The additional levels are an added perk, which is rare. Usually the Saturn gets that kind of special treatment. The graphics are exactly the same, and the load times are tolerable-we see no improvement on either of these key points. Of bourse, the play remains the same, top-notch action we've come to know and love on the Saturn version.
Until now, only PC owners had the chance to play as Nod or the GDI in an all-out strategy sim. Command & Conquer is staged in a slight futuristic Earth where the GDI (Global Defense Initiative) is battling for control of the Tiberius deposits (a type of fuel) with the terrorist group known as the Brotherhood of NOD. Each has its own specialized vehicles and troops, making strategy a must for whichever side the player chooses to fight on. Building bases, amassing troops, placing them in strategic locations and starting the attack are only part of the fun in Command & Conquer.
Graphically, the title ranks right up there with the PC release. The missions are really similar with only minor differences. The one acclaimed feature of C&C was the unique soundtrack that even now has been slightly modified over the original and improved for the PlayStation version.
The game mechanics of C&C, including the game speed, have not suffered at all. The title plays as fast as it would on a Pentium 90, bringing the action into the player's hands at full speed. Features like the Build Screen have been improved and are now able to be pulled up from anywhere. Overall, it's a good game on the PC but an even better title on the PS-a feat not often accomplished in a ported title.
- MANUFACTURER - Westwood Studios
- THEME - Strategy
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
Command & Conquer is a real-time action-strategy game that tests your reflexes as well as your planning and strategic skills. The game takes place in the near future, and the story line is clearly told via cinematics. There are main characters that play large roles as the game unfolds, but most of your time will be spent battling it out with your enemy. The interface of the game is a top-down perspective so you can see all of your units moving about and (hopefully) accomplishing their tasks. From this view you can control every aspect of the game. The view only shifts when you win a battle (this could take hours), and a nicely-done cut-scene expands on the story and prepares you for your next mission. After you have completed all the missions for either side (15 or so), you win the game. There are two sides to play -- GDI or NOD -- and the story is different for each. I played both sides all the way through, and the game was still fun after I finished. The best part about C&C is the multiplayer capability where you can have up to four players battling it out at once. Although it's not without flaws, Command & Conquer is one of the best games I've ever played; check out my review and find out why.
The first thing you do after you install the game is watch the nicely-done introduction. This sets the stage for the entire game and allows the player to really get into the storyline. Westwood did a great job with storyline and cut-scenes in Command & Conquer, which (for me) made this game one of the best ever. Most games for me don't have that extra frosting like C&C does, with the smooth transitions and well-done video. I admit, the videos and story elements of a game are not everything, but they sure polish a game up if done correctly. C&C gets an A+ in this area.
Gameplay and graphics are the most important elements in a game for me. C&C does both of these well. Standard VGA graphics are not the sharpest, but they do very well with what they have. Westwood will be upgrading to SVGA with their new release, Red Alert, due out in late September. Gameplay is great with C&C and I have just a few complaints which I will touch on later; first, the things I liked. I loved all the different units each side had and all the unique abilities available at the player's disposal. I switched from one side to the other several times, trying to decide which one I liked better. Westwood did a good job at balancing the sides so one was not overpowering the other all the time. When you start the game, it is apparent that the NOD team is the devious, sneaky, no-good, third-world gonna-take-over-the-universe type. The GDI team is the fine, organized, sharp-looking, freedom-fighter, defend-the-earth-against-all-evil type. At first (if you do what I did) you may pick sides based on the type of person you are. So you have picked a side; now it's time to wreck havoc on the enemy.
The missions are laid out from very easy at first, to progressively more challenging. The player chooses from a world map which territory to attack, then the mission briefing begins. After the neat video, you are off and running in the heat of battle. An average mission will take about 2 or 3 hours to complete; that's not counting the first 2 or 3 that will only take a few minutes at best. Mission by mission, the game and story progress until you have won that last victory and the game ends. Time to switch sides and start over! Orrrrr ... call your friends and blow them off the face of the earth! That's just what I did, and that's where C&C shines the most. It's a whole different game when suddenly you don't know what the other player is going to do. My friends and I have played over the modem one-on-one or over a network with four of us at once; both ways are fun. The interface is easy, and modem gameplay is smooth and seamless on anything better than a 486 50. I played a friend who had a 486SX 25 and that was dog-slow, but who has those anymore? Overall, C&C is one of my all-time favorite games.
Now I'll get to the few things I did not like about the game. First of all, after a couple of weeks, I had figured out the computer AI and playing solo was not as rewarding anymore. I also got frustrated when my harvesters were being stupid and I had to baby-sit them while my base was getting crushed. There are a few things Westwood did not catch when designing the game that the player could use to his advantage, making the game unenjoyable. A few of these are:
- You can build sandbags all over the battlefield, into the enemy's base, then build a turret or guard tower to crush him from the inside out.
- If you are NOD, to win you just have to build 20 or so recon bikes, put them in packs of 8, and say goodbye to whoever was dumb enough to play you.
- Tanks can't destroy one little soldier with their 20MM cannons at point blank range. This frustrated me forever.
- Harvesters are stupid. Enough said.
- The battlefield is too small. (This will be corrected in Red Alert.)
- Once you go everywhere on the map, you can always see it. Now you can watch your enemy everywhere he goes.
- Helicopters can't map. WHAT? That's why I'd buy one anyway. Logically, I would think they would be the best mappers because they can FLY!
- Each time you make a commando SNEAK into the enemy's base, he yells, "Ready to rock and roll!" and all players can hear it.
486-DX2 66, 8 MB RAM, VGA card (1 MB VRAM), mouse, SoundBlaster-compatible sound card, 14.4 modem (for network play)
Reviewed On: P-133 MHz, 16 MG, SB 16, Diamond Stealth video w/ 2 MB DRAM.
Aside from these gripes, the game is great. I know Westwood is working on these items for their next release due out this fall, so I have full confidence I will enjoy Red Alert even more. If you are a fan of real time simulations, then C&C should be on the top of your list to get. But if you don't like sweating, biting your nails and yelling at your computer screen, you'd better stay away from this one. Enjoy!