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Created by the team responsible for Dune II, Command and Conquer is similar in appearance. The playfield consists of a top down view map that is black, except for the areas that have been explored. Once discovered, the area is viewable on your scaled area map and on the playfield.
C&C has had quite an upgrade in the graphics department, no more flat bug-like sprites ala Dune II, C&C sprites are well sized and colorful, drawn at a slightly isometric angle it gives a more three-dimensional effect to the game. Nor forgetting the nice new cut scenes, smooth video sequences that swap between 3D rendered animations, and live actors intermixed on computer generated back drops. The mixture of News-reels and mission descriptions given by GDI commanders is extremely entertaining providing a good feel to the game.
Sound is excellent with the background music playing a type of mod file with crisp quality music ranging from peaceful to heavy metal and onwards to military chanting over a stirring drum beat! Nothing can be more inspiring in the midst of a battle than the masculine shouts of "Fight, Win, Prevail".
Aside from the music, the replies the men make to the orders you give are extremely helpful. Clicking on a unit causes them to reply with answers like "Yes Sir!." Smart and snappy responses, I find a definite strategic advantage in hearing "the troops" reply to your orders. The usual "We're under attack" expressions also allow you to center in on the action before they're all smoldering wrecks.
Most of the scenarios are started with a mobile construction vehicle and troops that can be moved around the map. When a suitable sight is found, the MCV can convert itself into a Construction facility where buildings can be made.
Once a construction facility has been built, the players needs to collect
"spice", oops, I mean Tiberium :) that is harvested via a harvester and
refined at a Tiberium Refinery. Thankfully, there is no equivalent to the
sand-worms of Dune II to gobble your harvester up. Once your harvester is
full of Tiberium, it returns to the refinery where it is converted into hard
cash so more weapons can be made. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) is quite
good with the harvester automatically heading back to the Tiberium field
and returning full to the Tiberium refinery.
With harvesting underway, the player needs to start concentrating on the strategy elements of the game, deciding between building up defenses, or risking it all with a quick and dirty attack, the facilities that can be built are:
|Tiberium Silo||None (Storage of more money)|
|Barracks||Mini gunner, Genade thrower, Bazooka troop,|
|Advanced Power Station||More Power|
|Guard Tower||Ground gun defence|
|Advanced Guard Tower||Air/Ground missile defence|
|Weapons Factory||Medium Tank, Mammoth Tank, Harvester, Hum Vee,|
Rocket Launcher, Mobile Construction facility, APC.
|Hele-pad||Orca Attack Choppers, Chinook troop transport|
|Adv Comms facility||ION Cannon|
|Hand of Nod||Mini gunner, Flame troop, Bazooka troop, Engineer,|
Commando, Airport, Light tank, Recon Bike,
Dune buggy, APC, Mobile Artillery,
MLRS (Long range rocket launcher) Flame tank,
|Temple of Nod||Nuclear Weapons|
|Hele-pad||Attack Chopper, Chinook troop transport|
|Adv Power Plant||More Power|
|Sam Sight||Missile air defence|
|Obelisk of light||Laser ground defence|
C&C has a much more polished interface that allows actions to be carried out with one click, quickly and easily (just how it needs to be in the heat of battle). Units can be selected by clicking on them and then moving the mouse to the appropriate place, e.g. onto an enemy unit will cause an attack pointer to display, on a blank area of the map, the move icon. Grouping units is also very easy, you just move the units individually together and drag a selection box around the units (like selecting files in Windows), and once selected, the group will carry out your orders, be it move, attack etc. A keyboard shortcut can also be assigned to the group for quick access.
Gameplay in C&C is refreshingly varied, not every mission involves setting up a base, and taking out the enemy. Many have goals that need to be achieved, like collecting a crate with secret plans, or protecting a Dr in a village, destroying certain elements of the enemy base. Your performance in one battle also directly effects your options in later levels, with NOD for instance. Unless parts of the Nuclear Weapon are found in crates, you will not be able to build a nuclear weapon in the last mission of the game.
There is one very serious problem with the C&C enemy AI, it does not know to shoot through walls, this does not really seem like a problem, until you realize how easy a mission can become to defeat, it is actually possible to build sand bags to the computers enemy base, and "fence" it in. Its harvesters won't be able to get in or out, nor will its troops, they will all just sit at the sandbags, never thinking to shoot there way through. An amusing problem, but really, how hard would it have been to program "walls" into the AI. Still, this problem does not occur in a multi-player game.
Which comes to the point, what would a game be these days without Network support, thankfully C&C has IPX, and modem support which I believe truly makes this game shine, allowing four players in IPX and Head-to-Head for modem. The IPX support is fully compatible with KALI (Multi-player IPX games through your modem onto the Internet, in essence the ability to play people from all around the world) and the modem support plays smoothly and flawlessly at 14,400 and 28,800 bauds.
Playing another Human player, or even better three other players is a brilliantly entertaining experience, but be warned, if you're going to play Kali, you have to watch out for your opponent(s). If he's been playing for a while, your game will be over within a few minutes.
In fact, the multi-player gaming side of C&C has been so popular, and so many have connected using Kali that all of the patches released by Westwood (to date up to 1.19p) have been to address multi-player type bugs, and the biggest (I feel) bug of them all, the case of fairness.
This is quite a heated debate within the C&C community, but I have to say that NOD has the advantage, NOD has more weapons at there disposal than GDI, and MUCH better base defenses, I personally feel that two evenly skilled players, one as GDI and one as NOD, the NOD player would be the victor many more times than GDI.
Westwood will disagree every time you bring this topic up with them, but actions speak louder than words. The patch to 1.18 included some minor, but important changes to the costing of the NOD turrett. (from $250 - $600)
The only other "tactic" that is apparent with C&C is what I call the Achilles heel syndrome. It does not take a player long to realize that crippling the opponents cash flow is the best way to win. In C&C, to cripple the cash flow, you just have to destroy the harvesters, a VERY easy feat indeed, especially if you are NOD. This unbelievably annoying strategy is often agreed upon by the players at the beginning to be taboo. Those that resort to harvester killing are often considered cowards, but not by all.
Written by Jere Lawrence
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The Command and Conquer File Collection - look here for new levels, editors, cheats, and FAQ's.
Alex's Command and Conquer Page
Andreas Peterschelka's Command and Conquer - All about the computer-game Command & Conquer
Belgian Command and Conquer Page - The BCCC is organising a ranking ladder of Belgian C&C modem players.
C&C Modemplayers in Sweden
C&C MultiPlayer Page
Command & Conquer Resource Center - Here you'll find FAQ's, patches, cheats, editors and more.
Command And Conquer Modem Players
Institute Hall Command and Conquer Base - Dozens of new maps for bored Command and Conquer players.
Temple of the Conquerer - The temple is a site dedicated to Command & Conquer, the real time strategy game by Westwood. Get strategic info and find other players to challenge.
Wheel's C&C Page - A small shrine to C&C.