Command & Conquer revolutionized war gaming when it hit the PC back in '95. While the traditional war game gave you a finite number of units and had you running and gunning from the get-go, C&C required you to find resources build units, train infantry -- and run and gun from the get-go.
Thus was born a new genre: real-time strategy or, to use the fancy-schmancy term, resource management. Now C&C creator Westwood Studios, with major tactical help from Nintendo, is bringing this classic to the N64 in time for a summer of high-intensity campaigning.
Set in the near future, C&C posits a world sundered into two warring factions. Waving high the banner of democracy and freedom is the Global Defense Initiative (GDI), comprising the big cheeses of the West. Rising from the ruins of the fallen Eastern bloc is the Brotherhood of NOD, a powerful quasi-governmental force led by a shadowy -- and murderous -- strongman named Kain. Depending on your mood, you can play as either side.
The economic underpinning of third millenium war is a mineral called Tiberium. Both sides must mine, store and process the stuff into aircraft, tanks, anti-aircraft batteries and other ordnance. Tiberium also provides a ready source of cash for recruiting and training personnel.
Construct and Conquer
The roughly 50 missions embrace a wide variety of terrains, challenges and goals, but all begin with almost the entire battlefield shrouded in darkness. This fog of war could conceal friend or foe, town or Tiberium, ocean or mountain. Scouting out this treacherous landscape is but the first of your many tasks.
You'll have to carry out some missions with the limited forces assigned to you at the beginning, while others require you to search out friendly bases. Many missions require you to deploy your Mobile Construction Vehicle (MCV), then double-time your efforts to build and deploy a power plant, Tiberium refinery, Tiberium silos and factories for making tanks and other weapons. Most structures are quite costly to build or repair, so reinforce your garrison before venturing far afield.
Each side had unique units. While the GDI can churn out grenade infantry, the monstrous structure known as the Hand of NOD is the training ground for elite shock troops. The speedy NOD buggy is ideal for scouting out fog-shrouded territory, while GDI aviators fly search-and-destroy missions with the vertical-takeoff-and-landing Orca.
The Sound of the Fury
Thanks to excellent sound-compression, you'll hear the many voices of war at great length. Before you move out, no-nonsense leaders deliver mission briefings and breathless officers under fire break in with emergency transmissions. On the battlefield, foot soldiers aye-aye your commands in classic gruntspeak ("Movin' out!).
Most importantly, a comms officer with a sultry voice keeps you apprised of your mission status, including sneak attacks by the enemy beyond your line of sight. Moody techno music deftly underscores the on-screen drama. This is definitely one game in which you won't want to turn off the audio.
C&C will retain the maps of the original, but thanks to Expansion Pak support they'll look much sharper. That's a must when tracking the intricately detailed action.
Controlling the Conquest
The N64 Controller will make it much easier to command your troops. Assigning as many as four units to the C Buttons makes for fast, one-button access, while squeezing the Z Button gives you instant access to your resources.
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