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  CM 00/01

Command & Conquer was one of the most revolutionary games of all time. It was the first strategy game to implement FMV clips, real-time control of units, multiple units selections and an intriguing storyline. Years later, after multiple add-ons and even the pseudo-sequel Red Alert, Westwood have finally release Command & Conquer 2 : Tiberium Sun. The issue now will be whether it can surpass it's predecessor's glory or not.

Tiberium Sun should be familiar to anyone who has played the other games in the series. The right-sided interface is still there. But you can now designate hot-keys for faster scrolling and the plus point so far, the ability to queue 5 units for production as compared to 1 in the previous edition. There's a unit veteran system that allows unit to gain experience as they survive more battles. The AI has improved and it's a lot harder to win again this time around.

The game's terrain is now more realistic and coupled with the impressive lighting effects makes the game more eye-pleasing. You can now blast mountain ridges to reveal a passable route/tunnel, destroy bridges to hinder your enemy and even leave craters when your explosive barrage falls on an unsuspecting unit. Enemy bases now have searchlights, you can have sudden burst of ion storms and lightning to spice things up.

The single missions range from simple to intricate. As far as the challenge goes, I found the single-player games to be pretty easy to advance from mission to mission. The storyline continues where Tiberium Dawn left off. It has been a few decades after the Brotherhood lost their leader, Kane. Tiberium has covered much of the planet, killing or mutating most of the human race. GDI is still fighting the smaller factions of the divided Brotherhood, until Kane re-emerges and assume control of Nod.

The units mix makes for an interesting and different game depending on which side you're playing. Each unit has a purpose in the game instead of being cannon fodder. You have your normal basic infantry units, harvesters, artillery, tanks and so on. The difference between each faction are maintained. GDI are equipped with heavry armament, big tanks while Nod get good infantry, stealth tank and some subtle units for subversive tactics. Both sides have their own 'killer machines', GDI with their Mammoth MK II, an ATAT-like (Star Wars) tanks with an awesome rail-gun. Whereas Nod has a Cyborg Commando, with a special weapon that can emit a sphere-like pulse capable of decimating infantry, vehicles and buildings alike. He needs to be killed twice before dying!

New structures make an appearance too. Construction facilities remains unchanged, as are the Power Plants needed to power the base. This time around, GDI has the option to upgrade certain buildings to increase their capacity or add extra ability. Nod, on the other hand, gets smaller Lazer Turrets and the much-sought for Obelisk of Light, But the best thing lies in Nod's Stealth Generator, capable of 'cloaking' half of the base. Cool or what!

Multiplayer options are a tad more restricted. A maximum of 4 players in Internet games and 8 in Skirmishes is the limit. Internet play is via Westwood's server. You can't play head-to-head TCP/IP games, so LAN games are IPX only. The game also comes with 2 CDs, one each for both sides. Westwood have also added an option to randomly generate multiplayer maps that can be tailored to suit your wishes. The quantity of each individual terrain feature can be altered.

Was it worth the wait? You might ask. Well, in my humble opinion it was pretty much a let-down. But Westwood has managed to retain the best features of the previous games. However, in keeping the tried-and-tested formula, they didn't come up with anything new. So, it's more of a 50-50 thing, if it had been released earlier, then it wouldn't be that bad. All in all, for the sake of the storyline and FMV sequences, go out and get your hands on a copy of Command & Conquer 2 : Tiberium Sun.


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