In the one package, you get two classics from the mid-1990s in remastered form. Two behemoths of the real time strategy genre back in its heyday. Both have been remastered faithfully to the source material with warts and all.
This collection contains both the Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn and Command & Conquer Red Alert games for $AUD29.95 on the Steam with updated graphics, remastered music, modding tools and a host of bonus content.
You can catch my early review here.
Although Electronic Arts (EA) has taken over the Command & Conquer franchise, many of the original developers of these games, who have since moved to Petroglyph, had a hand in the resurrection of these classics. You can see that having the original developers on the team really helped with the recreation of these games.
I haven’t been happy with the treatment of this once beloved franchise with the poor handling of Command & Conquer 4: Tiberium Twilight, then the web browser game Tiberium Alliance, mobile game Rivals and disappearance of Generals 2. EA hasn’t had a good track record with this franchise, but it is good to see that they are trying to patch the wounds with this remastered collection. Hopefully, we will be able to see a worthy ground-up successor to Command & Conquer one day.
For now, I just want to highlight what I thought about these games and whether its worth the purchase.
For $AUD29.95 on the Steam, this collection is worth it. You get plenty of content. I think any person who has played these in their original form will enjoy playing these games again for the nostalgia and some good old fun. For newer people to the franchise, I think this game may appear out-dated to you. The real time strategy genre, while relatively similar to what it was in the 90s, has made some steady changes. All the quality of life changes you would expect like in Company of Heroes or Starcraft II are absent in these games.
Yes, there is an updated sidebar and the ability to queue multiple units to purchase. These are welcome additions, but the ability to move-attack, set way points and issue cascading orders are not present in this version. I think they went for small changes, without impacting on the overall game play of the classic.
There are plenty of bugs and glitches in these games, which I believe were present in the originals. This means you will have missions where you complete all the mission objectives, but the mission accomplish screen doesn’t appear (meaning a restart is required) or the enemy does silly things like deploy a Construction Yard on a small island without any resources (it makes the mission easier though).
I like how they up-scaled many of the full motion videos. The videos look and feel like they have been polished, but there are obvious blurriness and blemishes here and there. It’s easy to say these videos are terrible, but when you compare the original with the remaster, you can see how much improved these remastered collection videos are.
The great new thing is the remastered music. In any of the missions, you can choose any background music to play. You can play Tiberium Dawn music while playing Red Alert and vice versa. The remastered music sounds fantastic and some had voice clips from later Command & Conquer games, like from Tiberium Sun.
The campaign missions for both Tiberium Sun and Red Alert need to be unlocked by playing the campaign, but it appears that the missions for expansion games like Red Alert Retaliation are unlocked from the very start. I was thrilled to be able to watch and play many of these Red Alert Retaliation missions, because the iconic General Carville made his first appearance here. Back in the day, Red Alert Retaliation was a PlayStation 1 exclusive and was a hard game to get my hands on.
In terms of game play, I remember how frustrating it was to play the games, particularly Tiberium Dawn. I normally play on Hard Mode so all the enemy units have more HP, defense and attack points. The missions were incredibly difficult that I needed to restart from time to time.
In some missions, once I reached a certain checkpoint, I would save the game. I knew that if I failed to save and the mission ended in failure, I would have to restart the entire mission again. Frustrating. But, that is the charm of these old classics.
During single player games, you are able to change the graphics between the original and the remastered graphics. While it is nice to see the original graphics, I much prefer the remastered graphics and rarely, if ever, turned on the original graphics.
My strategy in most of the Tiberium Dawn missions was to defend as much as a I could, while buying as many Refinery or harvesters as a I could. Then, when enough money I would purchase an APC and some engineers for a base rush. I would ram the APC into the enemy base, let the APC die near the Construction Yard and have an engineer capture it. If there were any surviving engineers, I would make them capture the Refinery and then Barracks/Hand of Nod.
The Tiberium Dawn missions were hard and it did not help that my units seem unresponsive when they were being attacked.
Engineers are less effective in Red Alert, so I resorted to hoarding resources and then rushing an enemy base with an overwhelming number of heavy tanks/medium tanks.
I did not like the non-base building missions. They were close to impossible to complete on Hard Mode. For these missions, I had to scale back to Normal Mode/Difficulty to complete them.
I found the Skirmish matches with the AI fun. Back in my under 10s years, I used to play heaps and heaps of Skirmish matches. These matches brought back heaps of memories. It also great that the Retaliation units were added to this mode.
The game has been addictive since its release. I am having a lot of fun with it. I just hope to hear more about future installments to the Command & Conquer franchise. Perhaps a remaster of Red Alert 2 and Yuri’s Revenage? That would make my day.