Another retro game that deserves recognition, one of my favorite Real-time strategy franchises and the first RTS I played. Released in 1995 on DOS, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Sega Saturn, PlayStation and the Nintendo 64 by Virgin Interactive, Sega, Nintendo and developed by Westwood Studios and Looking Glass Studios for the N64 port. I owned the game on Playstation shortly after its port was released. Its concept and genre was alien to me, I was used to adventure games and side scrolling platformers. Getting to build a base in an alternate universe and destroy an enemy base I found highly enjoyable. The story-line the game is based around is interesting, the world being divided over the harvesting of Tiberium that is a strange substance that is spreading across the world. It becomes a valuable resource and highly sought after by the two factions, the Global Defense Initiative and the Brotherhood of Nod, it’s the main source of income in the game despite it being poisonous to biological lifeforms. This is a common theme in RTS games, for example Spice from Dune, Minerals & Vespene Gas from Starcraft, eventually later Real time strategy games start to develop more complex resource management by introducing wood, stone and metal in games such as Warcraft and Age of Empires.
As most games and most story-lines there is a suggested bad guy (Brotherhood of Nod) and a suggested good guy (Global Defense Initiative) and in the single player campaign you can do missions for either. Both have their respective objectives and integral characters. GDI’s main objective is that of a super-power claiming resources and power to look after the planet, no extremist views. Mirroring the USA/UK global powers of today. The NOD on the other hand are based on a militant organisation of ancient origins suggesting extremist views on the Tiberium and its properties. Their armies are light weight and easily maneuverable, their tactics are of a guerrilla army. They also have unwavering support for who they consider a demi-deity Kane the leader of their organisation. Whereas GDI’s army is large and powerful but not easily maneuvered. Most of the missions are about the two global powers going head to head over the control of Tiberium.
Command and Conquer UI
The games is relatively user friendly and its UI is easy to workout.The building option bar on the right, including power bar (tells you the amount of electricity or power you are using on your buildings), resources located at the top and map on the top right. Normally the game has a “fog of war” so you cannot see the enemies positions but after exploring you can monitor their movements on the map allowing you to reinforce your base and defenses. It has a wide variety of units and buildings to build including defenses and even includes “hero” units such as the Commando. Later developing into Tanya in the Red Alert series. This allows you to formulate multiple strategies from either ground, air or sea to attack your opponent. Therefore, a highly strategic game, not only do you have to plan your attack you have to build your base on limitations such as terrain and spaciousness as some buildings require a large amount of space to place and construct. Furthermore, as the harvesting of Tiberium is the sole source of income, building your base close to a Tiberium field is absolutely necessary as it will otherwise become a hindrance if you have to rely on your harvesters having to travel long distances to obtain your only source of currency.
Graphically it is a mix-match of pre-rendered graphics for the building and unit icons and 2D graphics you would expect for a DOS and Windows 95 and considering it was before 3dfx released the ‘Voodoo1’ into the graphics card market. Its 2D environment you tend to overlook due to the fact it would require a lot of power to make the game 3D and without many machines or consoles able to support 3D games it really was not important for the franchises flagship game. Its cut scenes mainly consist of CGI pre-rendered graphics and during mission briefings they use Westwood employees and professionals to act out scenes.A professional actor was hired for Kane in the NOD campaign, this added a immersive feel to the game and try to make it relatable.
A critically acclaimed game with great reviews putting RTS’s on the map. Definitely worthy of the ratings and titles it has received. I am going to give it a personal 9/10 as it had great replay value and its scenario mode allowed endless fun playing computer generated maps against CPU players with adjustable difficulties, allowing you to hone your skills to attempt higher difficulty levels on the single player campaigns.
Hope you enjoyed the read!