COMMAND AND CONQUERhas always seemed to be my WARCRAFT-killer in the past. Just when I thought that I would never find a game that would stop my WARCRAFT and WARCRAFT II craze, here comes Westwood Studio's COMMAND AND CONQUER and I lose interest in Blizzard's masterpiece. A few months later when the expansion for WARCRAFT II came out, there is another C&C and my craze for WARCRAFT leaves again. Now, I've been obsessed with WARCRAFT III since July and there is a new COMMAND AND CONQUER out. Will it continue the tradition?
COMMAND AND CONQUER GENERALS, developed by EA Pacific (not Westwood), scraps the storylines of the past games and brings up the questions of what the world might be like a few years from now. Tensions between the United States, China and the Global Liberation Army (a middle-eastern type government) run high and war seems inevitable (sound familiar anyone?). So, you pick your side and basically go to it.
This is the first COMMAND AND CONQUER game that isn't pre-rendered and is in full-3D. The game looks great, the best that any game in the series has looked so far. Extensive detail has been paid to the units' design. GENERALS has the best special effects seen in the series yet, and you can even zoom in to get the "full atmosphere" of the game.
Gameplay wise, the game might not resemble the last COMMAND AND CONQUER you played. The taskbar has been moved to the bottom of the screen from its normal position on the right and there are a lot of new units this side around too. One of my favorite units in this game is China's Overlord Tank. Crank out a couple of these bad boys and your base will be safe from almost anything. An option included with these tanks is the ability to build something onto the back of it. You can build a propaganda tower, which will strengthen the enemies around it and also heal them. You can build a gatling gun, or even a troop carrier. Another neat aspect recently in the COMMAND AND CONQUER series is the ability to take over civilian buildings. Say you're going through a town and need to have a decent fighting station, but all you have is a few tanks and a lot of infantry. Send those infantry into a building by a simple click, and voila, you have a "base" that can take some hits.
One of the biggest improvements to the game is the full-fledged air battles. Both the United States and China have air forces (with the United States having more of a variety) and the units can engage above the air. Say you're China and you see a few Comanche helicopters protecting a supply depot that you need. So, just send over your Migs and blow the thing out of the sky, along with its supply harvesters (which in the US's case is Chinook helicopters).
As in most Real-Time Strategy games, multiplayer is a must. I'm glad to say GENERALS comes through with a great multiplayer server and almost comes through with a better service than Battle.net (Blizzard's online service).
COMMAND AND CONQUER has always been known for its great soundtrack and GENERALS will not disappoint. The rocking tracks fit perfectly as you're watching buildings or weaponry explode as your troops roll through cities or deserts.
While I still say the original COMMAND AND CONQUER is the best, GENERALS aims and just barely misses the bull's-eye. It may not be my WARCRAFT killer but it definitely is splitting time in my PC right now.