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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Real-time Strategy

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

Westwood Studios/ Electronic Arts

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q1 2006

 

 

- All the C&C greatness in one package
- Even after 10 years, the original C&C is still fun to play
- Amazing to see how far PC game graphics have come in just a decade

 

 

- Good luck trying to find online multiplayer for any title
- Not much bonus material on bonus disc
- While not an issue for older titles, C&C Generals requires a solid video card to play smoothly

 

 

Review: Command & Conquer: Generals (PC)

Review: Command & Conquer: Generals Zero Hour (PC)

Review: Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 (PC)

Review: Command & Conquer: Renegade (PC)

 

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Command & Conquer: The First Decade

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

Command & Conquer was the game that single-handedly began my obsession with real-time strategy PC gaming back in 1995. I would spend hour upon hour playing, squaring off the Global Defense Initiative against the Brotherhood of Nod in high-tech, futuristic combat with soldiers and sci-fi machines of destruction. I was so addicted in fact, that on one infamous occasion I spent from 9 p.m. one night until 7 a.m. the next morning playing C&C, giving me a single hour of sleep before heading off to a full day of work.

 

command conquer first decade          command conquer first decade


My C&C addiction led directly to a similar WarCraft dependency before I slowly weaned off real-time strategy (RTS) gaming on my PC for home consoling on the N64, Dreamcast and Xbox.

But thanks to Electronic Arts releasing Command & Conquer: The First Decade, Iíve been once again able to revisit my C&C gaming days, with not just the first C&C, but all 12 games and expansions that have been released in the series. In one great package, fans of C&C can have it all: the original C&C with its expansions; Red Alert and its many expansions; the much more sci-fi driven Tiberian Sun; the wonderful Red Alert 2 and its expansion, Yuriís Revenge, which I didnít play on its release in 2001, but certainly is my favorite game of the franchise; Renegade, a first- and third-person shooter along the lines of Halo; and finally Generals, the first 3D C&C game that headed the franchise in an entirely new direction it never ventured before.

While it definitely wasnít the first RTS game, C&C certainly proved to be one of the genreís defining titles along with WarCraft. There have been tons of RTS games since, but they all owe an allegiance to C&C for popularizing the genre. It wasnít the resource gathering of the economy managing or building aspects that really caught the fancy of gamers who first played C&C, although those distinct parts of the whole certainly were some of C&Cís appeal.

 

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What stood C&C apart was its great storyline and the campy (usually intentionally so) video cut-scenes that accompanied the strategic RTS gaming. Hey, even James Earl Jones surprisingly made an appearance as a general. But the most memorable actors were those that portrayed the Brotherhoodís Kane, the Russian psycho psychic Yuri and the sexy-yet-deadly GDI super-soldier Tanya. The stories changed from C&C game to C&C game, but they all maintained a high degree of excellence as far as gaming is concerned.

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It didnít matter if it was the GDI versus Nod in the original, or the alternate history of Red Alert, or the futuristic Tiberian Sun, or the much closer to current reality in Generals, it was the excellent background instilled into the story and action that helped bring a new gaming universe to life, an universe that many fans flocked to in big numbers. C&C was an outrageously popular game until the over-saturation of RTS titles, decline of PC gaming in general and the introduction of the PS2 and Xbox put RTS gaming on the endangered list.

But the RTS genre has been resurgent of late, and C&C is back for the renaissance. After installing C&C: The First Decade off the DVD and starting up the game that started it all, Command & Conquer, I couldnít believe how much fun it was even now to play. More remarkable as you make your way from game to game is how far PC game graphics have evolved in the last 10 years. The difference from C&C to C&C: Generals in terms of visuals is unbelievable. Only one issue came with that revelation for me, however. While the older titles played flawlessly, including the cut-scene video streams, C&C: Generals came along with choppy and disruptive graphical performance with my less-than-adequate video card in my somewhat aging PC.

 

command conquer first decade          command conquer first decade


Although 11 of the 12 games here are RTS titles, there is also the one C&C game that isnít a RTS, Renegade, included. Renegade brought an entirely new perspective, literally, to the C&C world. It was a first- and third-person shooter that got C&C gamers up-close-and-personal with their favorite gaming universe.

Online play didnít make a smooth translation into C&C: The First Decade. The original C&C hit PC gaming around the infancy of the Internet, which was infused into both gaming and everyday life on a much, much, much more primitive level back then. For those too young to remember, there was actually a time you had to have your dial-up modem ďcallĒ other players to play each other in a PC game. In C&C: The First Decade, older titles donít have instant online playability, even though the interface for connecting is still in the game. The official EA site does have patches that are supposed to provide some sort of online gameplay opportunities, but require downloading, installing and hit-or-miss experimentation to get working properly.

A bonus disc comes along, which most really wonít consider bonus material, although each game is touched upon as far as what the developers had in mind during its creation. Fan tributes to the series and a developer interview are other bonuses included.

ďXĒ marks the spot as C&C: The First Decade will have all C&C aficionados waxing nostalgic for the good old days of GDI versus Nod, Kane and Yuri, and of course, Tanya, the sexiest female gaming character next to Lady Croft. This collection may not make any new converts to the C&C realm, but those old enough to be gamers in 1995 and enjoyed the C&C experience may want to revisit the past with C&C: The First Decade.

- Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

 

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