Command & Conquer (C&C) could be associated as the latest blockbuster movie in the cinema. It quickly went to the top of most gamer's list and despite the delayed release date, it was well worth the wait. C&C ships with 2 CDs, one for each side, enabling you to play a 2-player game on 2 PCs.
The storyline is set in the future where the Global Defence Initiative (GDI) takes on the bad guys, Brotherhood of Nod (NOD). These 2 forces compete for control of Earth and to an extend, the invaluable tiberium (minerals). Each side has an arsenal of high-tech weaponry at its disposal. For each side, winning overall means having to achieve victory in about 15 scenarios. The scenarios you get vary on how well you accomplished in the previous mission with the difficulty factor featuring extensively. At the end game, both sides will be able to have weapons of mass destruction : Ion Cannon (GDI) and Nuclear Warheads (NOD).
The early GDI missions see you struggling when your funding is cut after NOD frame you for destroying a civilian village. Meanwhile, NOD have their own problems too, when your mentor Seth gets a bullet in the head for defying Kane, leader of NOD. As the plot thickens, the missions get harder. One particular thing that caught my fancy was that although NOD are the bad guys, they are more fun to play and this has been proven by an Internet poll. Actually both sides has their own strengths and they are more or less well-balanced. Both factions start at different parts of the world, GDI in Europe and NOD in Africa.
Starting from the install sequence to the superbly rendered cut-scenes in-between missions, the graphics involved is simply breathtaking. The cut-scenes features digitised actors, which is a plus! Although the game uses the standard VGA instead of SVGA, you will get used to it when you appreciate the animations involved. Speaking about animations, there's a good deal of humour injected into them, idle infantry will do push-ups and even fiddle with their guns. Tanks have turrets that rotate smoothly as they move and fire. Grenadiers lob grenades which blast helpless victims into a bloodied mess. Rockets fizz from bazookas. Flamthrowers setting victims alight and then running around before dying. The famous Obelisk of Light frazzling all those who approach. And the coolest will be NOD's Nuclear Warhead, which will destroy and vaporize anything in its path. The sound effects are as good as it can get. The 'techno' music in the background adds to the realism of the game.
Forces at your disposal in each mission vary with the objective of the mission. Sometimes you get to build bases and advance on the enemy and other times when you have a fixed number of units to accomplish a particular mission. There's even a mission where you just have one unit, the Commando, but he's a good unit which you will find hard to forget.
Usually you start with a Mobile Construction Yard, where you can start to build other buildings, and from then on, more units. Cash comes in the form of tiberium which you need to mine and store. The one best thing about tiberium is that it regenerates, causing mission to be a long-term affair.
Control in C& C is very simple. You can select as many units as you like instead of the 4 in Warcraft and 12 in Starcraft, both by Blizzard. This allows you to shift large armies effectively and quickly. The forces in C&C are numerically larger than other strategy games, which leads to a more 'battle-like' feel to the game. The only drawback is that you can only build a unit at a time, but you can still decrease the building time by increasing the number of Barracks/Hand of NOD. New buildings must be made adjacent to an existing building and you need Power Stations to generate power for you buildings or they won't be functioning.
Units for both sides are different. NOD have Bikes that moves like win and comes equiped with dual rocket launchers. GDI has a Heavy Rocket Launcher that has a huge range and a devastating effect. The NOD Obelisk of Light is one cool defensive weapon that sends bolts of lazer to vaporize any advancing unit. NOD has the Stealth Tank with cloaking ability, allowing it to sneak up and attack on any unit, except the infantry (who can see it). The coolest infantry unit would have been the GDI Commando, he's useful in taking out any infantry as he has quite a large 'field of view'. Furthermore, he packs some C4 explosives which is enough to destroy any particular building. While idle, he smokes a cigar!
To sum it all up, C&C is an awesome game that comes with exceptional fun. Maybe it's the general within me that's influencing my view on the game, after having played with toy soldiers when I was young. It's a highly recommended game for any avid gamer. The presentation and cut-scenes are superb, the gameplay is well-paced and the action, pulsating. Worthy of a place on your PC game shelf.