Command & Conquer: The First Decade – Game Review (PC)
On August 31, 2005 gaming hit a new peak for me. Okay, that’s probably not entirely true. I can’t quite remember when I actually first played Command & Conquer (later to be known as Tiberian Dawn), but regardless, on that day, PC games reached a new pinnacle for this reviewer. Whilst I had played and enjoyed one of the first RTS games to be released, Dune II, the first C&C came, saw and indeed conquered, and gamers haven’t looked back since.
At some point in time (a year later) another company named after a weather pattern released their own RTS game with Orcs and Humans, but for some reason it was lacking tanks. Yawn… But if this was a disappointment, the C&C franchise went from strength to strength and with the release of Command & Conquer: Red Alert, I was completely sold. Few things in life can compare to crushing the enemies of the Soviet Union under the treads of massive Tanks, and this game allowed for lots of crushing. Keep in mind this was back when people didn’t complain about a game being based on tank rushes. Unit rushes were a fresh idea in this newly pioneered genre.
For those that don’t know – and in that case, this pack might not be what you’re after – the C&C franchise has basically three separate series within it. The vanilla Command & Conquer titles (Tiberian Dawn, Tiberian Sun, and Renegade, C&C‘s first and only FPS game) are essentially the core C&C games. They pit the world-policing GDI against the terrorist organization NOD in a futuristic setting fighting over a mysterious resource called Tiberium. The Red Alert games deal with an alternate history where World War II never happened as we knew it, with the western Allies battling against the Soviet Union. And the final installment bearing the Command & Conquer name, Command & Conquer: Generals and its expansion, deal with a future war involving the US, China, and a terrorist GLA.
Like most games from ‘back in the day’ I can’t help but have nostalgic memories of my time while playing them. Everyone has those gaming stories, where they did some absurd thing in the LAN play with their friends, or those modem games where you and your friend both built nukes and would take turns dropping them on a field full engineers just to watch the engineers run around on fire.
I mean, everyone did that… right? Right? Hello?
Right, well then, now you have the chance to replay all those great memories without bugs, OS compatibility issues, or other such problems…
There is a lot of good about this pack: all of the C&C games (except Sole Survivor) and expansions on one DVD. Also, if there is one thing the Command & Conquer series is known for it’s the fantastic install sequences. Too bad all we are treated to here is a Windows install screen.
No big loss though, after all, you get to install 12 titles with the CD key for the Command & Conquer: The First Decade key. Of course, you still have to put in CD keys for 5 or 6 of the games. So the install process is boring and you have to enter in a bunch of CD Keys at once, but it’s worth it for the game play that follows.
And – at least all the games work! I imagine some of you have caught on to the ironic style being used here. The good news is, generally speaking, the games do in fact run properly. Although some people have had better luck than others, a few seem to have trouble with the Soviet mission videos showing in the first Red Alert, but there is a fix around that will take care of that (and it should be resolved in a patch EA has claimed). As for myself, the first Red Alert works fine, but I’m unable to get through a mission in Red Alert 2 without a crash to desktop. I get some odd crashes here there with the other games on occasion also, but overall, except for Red Alert 2, they all seem to work fine.
|The first Red Alert game is all and all a fantastic game.||And I’d be saying the same for Red Alert 2 if it would run for more than two minutes for me.|
Despite all the problems and disappointments with the pack (the bonus DVD isn’t terribly exciting, just some little light interviews and such), if you’re missing any of the C&C games, or have problems running the older ones, it’s worth the purchase. It is nice having them all right there on one DVD, and a nice single launcher to use when you just feel like playing a C&C game, but you can’t quite decide which one.
For those of you who never really got into or experienced the C&C franchise at all, this is a tough call. Going back to the older titles is difficult, they obviously lack the conventions that RTS players are used to today. While they’re important entries into the history of gaming, I don’t know that someone who never played them when they were new will be able to jump into them. On the other hand, the FMV sequences between missions are almost worth the price of admission alone. It’s like watching that cheesy B-movie that is absolutely horrible, and yet a guilty pleasure.
|The first C&C is a bit odd to play without the control scheme of a modern RTS||C&C Generals however is new enough that just about any RTS play will have no problem jumping in. I mean, who doesn’t like carpet bombing?|
|Renegade was the franchise’s attempt to enter the FPS fray. You’ll note there were no sequels.||Most of us try not to talk about Tiberian Sun, in fact, this is basically as far as I could bring myself to go for a screenshot!|
Trying to review a pack where the games span from 1995 to 2005 makes following the usual review breakdown rather difficult so here’s the quick summation:
If you’re a fan of the series, and you’re missing games, lost CDs, what-have-you, by all means go out and pick this up. It’s not a flawless pack, and while it’s disappointing that there’s even a need for a patch, this could be one of the best purchases you’ll make for your game library (once it’s patched).
If you missed most of the series, it’s a tough call. Going back and playing the older titles will probably feel like playing an Atari game for the first time after just playing a game on the Xbox 360.