Articles & Editorials: A Trip to the Past

In today’s communities, we have many vivid gamers who speak about the games they play, how long they’ve been playing, what games they started with, ect. For the past ten years, we’ve all been part of a striving community of Command & Conquer players, whether we visit forums or not. Although we’ve gone through the rise and fall of Westwood, we’ve still held together pretty strong. But, other than the political side of the game, there is a lot that people have missed. Upon talking to C&C King in the past, he, being active around the community much longer than me, has notified me that about 75% of today’s community started with Red Alert 2. Myself? I started with C&C 95, but I joined my first C&C forum just a few months ago. I still had a lot to learn myself. Because of how the community welcomed me, I decided to write this in return. I thought I’d write an article explaining the past about the C&C series. But, not the political side as I mentioned; instead, I am writing about all the games that a lot of you missed.

Command & Conquer (and it’s expansion, Covert Operations)

This was the start of the C&C Series, and the start of a generation of great work. This was the start of the Tiberium side of the series. Based on modern day times (modern day meaning now, not the 1900’s in general), the game takes place when a meteorite strikes the earth near the Tiber river. Tiberium contents are contained in the meteor, and the river itself is the origin of the name of Tiberium. The Tiberium spreads quickly, and has devastating results on human, animal, and bionic life. Trees are affected to where they mutate and sprout out Tiberium of their own. Humans and animals become diseased, and, in this game, instead of mutating into their own creatures, they simply begin to die. Any contact with it creates a problem (including just running your infantry into the Tiberium infested land). But, there’s an upside. Tiberium can be harvested, which is how you receive your funds.

This is also the start of Kane. In some ways, you could say there are two conflicts in this game, the battle with Tiberium, and a battle with Kane. Kane was the antagonist in Tiberian Dawn, and he even shows up in other games, as I’m sure you know. He wants total domination, and a brotherhood. He calls it the Brotherhood of NOD. What Nod could stand for? We do not yet know. Chances are, we never will. It probably has no meaning. Kane could be classified as a man who wants to become dictator, because, like Stalin and Hitler, he believes in this brotherhood, a peace, but he believes he must get rid of the evil to do it, and he will do whatever it takes. Kane has traitors, civilians, anyone he fells like killed, they are. Even people who worked for him would be shot on site, if they showed as little as a beam of sweat due to fear. If you play as GDI, you try to stop Kane from taking over the world. You have the power of ION technology, and you have basic military units that we have today. Sure, you’re basically not the most advanced, but everything is cheap, and you have power in numbers. If you play as NOD, you have stealth technology and the obelisk of light.

You don’t really communicate with Kane at first, because you aren’t allowed to see him until someone else tries to ruin the trust he has for you. If you win as GDI, it ends as Kane being discovered in his underground hideout under his temple, and he is smashed by a few rocks and supposedly killed. If you win as Kane, basically you take over the world, and GDI is crippled, as pretty much every Command and Conquer game. Possible reasons this didn’t get an amazingly great reaction from the general public? Most likely because it was relatively new. Not many people knew about it, and the people who did play it had a specific problem beating the 11th GDI mission. According to many active gamers, including myself, the 11th mission was almost impossible to beat, because all you have to start with is an MCV, 6 grenadiers, and you are in a chaotic location. You have three turrets against you, and a tank that almost always squishes your grenadiers. If you manage to beat the tank, you find yourself up against a newly deployed flame tank, capable of obliterating anything that has no armoured defense. Although it has low graphics compared to today’s standards, I believe this is definitely a must-have type of game.

Another interesting Snip-it: in the expansion pack “Covert Operations” you are in control of dinosaurs if you chance a certain command line integrated in the game. Personally, I haven’t tried this myself, but it’s still interesting.

Tiberian Sun (and it’s expansion, Firestorm)

This was basically the continuation of the Tiberian Series. This is basically a few years after the original, when the Tiberian madness is really taking it’s toll on the earth. But, in this game, you don’t have to deal with the Tiberium killing your units, because they are protected by hazard suits. But, you aren’t out of the woods yet. A new form of Tiberium arises, which is a blue, explosive form of it. Sometimes if an explosion goes off in the Tiberium, explosions will appear all over the blue field, sometimes even killing your infantry or damaging your vehicles. Another thing in the game is the more advanced technology (of course). It takes place a couple decades in the future, so they have hover tanks, more advanced stealth, more advanced ION technology, EMP, drop pods (troops that fall out of the sky like meteors), hunter-seekers (they basically drive around until they crash into something and blow it up). Another interesting feature that is in firestorm, is the fact that the Tiberium not only kills, it mutates creatures a lot more. There are creatures such as flying jellyfish shaped fiends (I don’t recall the name), visceroids, which are a blobby attacking thing, and other little mutated animals. Even mutant humans, or cyborgs.

Kane returns. Somehow, he doesn’t die in the first C&C, and he returns to lead in the second once again. He’s back to his normal ways, killing traitors, and trying to use the Tiberium to his advantage. He uses special units to handle mutants, and he likes to harness the power of a new “Tiberium vein” by making it’s contents into a chemical missile. The veins themselves are more dangerous than the Tiberium, at least to the GDI. For any units that are moderately heavy, such as tanks and titans, the veins will eat away at them when they cross over, slowly but surely destroying the tank. Civilians and harvesters can somehow cross with ease, and they are the ones who can move in to kill the core of the vein, to slowly get rid of the entire thing. And, of course, there is the Orca. It had little importance in the first C&C being a simple attack helicopter, but now there are many different editions to it. It can carry units, bomb bases, and of course, serve as an assault aircraft. Meanwhile, the NOD on the other hand has their own flying unit, called the banshee. A mix between a helicopter and a plane, it hovers and flies similarly to the ORCA, but fires a plasma type weapon.

This game, however, has a different engine, so it has more advanced graphics. It uses the engine that RA2 was based on, because RA2 was actually built on the Tiberian Sun engine. This is the big advance in the game, because it made it cooler to play. Why did this not become very popular at first? Well, it was kind of new, and the AI was brutal in skirmish for one. I remember installing it after not playing for a while, and just deciding to try out the skirmish to get used to things again. I was annihilated. A lot of other people complain about it too. Seriously, even Acerz 492 said, “how can one get used to the game if they get assraped within the first 5 minutes?” Another one could be the fact that some people consider a lot of weaponry to be basically useless. Some thought that the Firestorm generator was useless with only one or two enemies, or one missile coming at any given time. It was also easily destroyable without proper defenses, and it took a while to put up. There are a few others, I’m sure you can imagine them for yourself.

Red Alert: The Beginning

No, it wasn’t called “The beginning.” Red Alert 1 was simply the beginning of the Red Alert series. This game had the same graphics as the original C&C, but the only difference in the game it self was the fact that there were different teams, it was based on a different timeline, and there were separate conflicts. To make things clear, this in reality had nothing to do with the other C&C games, but Kane mysteriously appeared for some reason. He was helping out Stalin. But first, before I get into that, I’m going to give you a little backround. Basically, the game starts when Albert Einstein creates a time machine (ironically, in real life he proved time travel is impossible). Einstein decides to travel back in time, and kills Hitler before Hitler can wreak any havoc. Because it was both Hitler’s and Stalin’s dream to rule the world, Hitler is now gone, so it makes Stalin’s job a bit easier. So, he comes back, and Stalin is back and trying to take over the world (but in the game, you only deal with Europe). Now, Kane is somehow helping Stalin. It doesn’t show how Kane came into the picture, but he is there, and he randomly gives papers and information to Stalin, aiding him on his conquest to capture the world. If you play as the Allied forces, (the allies in the beginning of World War 1), you try to stop stalin. As before, if you play as the Reds, or, the soviets, you get to fight along side Stalin.

If you win as allies, you see a couple troops find Stalin under a couple big rocks, then your commanding officer comes and puts one on his head. If you play as stalin and win, it shows him with his wife, and Kane standing around celebrating. His wife gives him poisoned tea, so he dies. Then, Kane shoots her. Which brings me to a side point, that many of you may have missed. Remember Kane’s quote? “He who controls the past, commands the future. He who commands the future, conquers the past.” – Kane. I’m sure I have some of your attention now. This is a very overlooked quote. Now you understand what Kane is doing. Another fun fact for this game. In the expansion, “Counterstrike,” you can edit a click an Easter egg to play the game in Giant Ants mode. Feel like commanding an army of ants? This might entice you!

Why was this game overlooked? Well, it had a different style title for one. Crummy graphics on the back page, and a preview that in a way, kind of lies to you. Also, the money didn’t fit in so well. Unlike Tiberium, which had it’s own background for how it got into the game, there is ore and gems just scattered randomly. Seriously randomly. Like, you just drive around and there’s ore and gems right there. Kind of like Red Alert 2.

Well, that’s basically what you’ve missed. It sounds interesting now, doesn’t it? I strongly encourage you all that missed out on the first games, to buy the C&C 10th Anniversary re-release of all the games, and you should definitely try this out!

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