No, I’m not talking about football. I’m talking about Command & Conquer. You see, a couple of weeks ago, I picked up Dawn of War for some online action against Dr.Heinous. While I was at Fry’s (which would be my home-away-from-home should I ever win the lottery), I saw an item on the shelf: CNC: The First Ten Years. If I hadn’t been there to get something else, I’d have grabbed it on the spot. How much had I been missing those games? I had actually been thinking about setting up one of the computers to dual boot Win98 so I could play it again! I have fond memories of Red Alert in particular, and the kick-ass soundtrack that came with it. IIRC, you could play the original game CD as a music CD also, and to this day, Hellmarch still gives me goosebumps.
I know that last tidbit because in my boredom, I went back last night and picked it up. Cue the music, cue the goosebumps. I remember waiting for the game to come out with same sense of anticipation that I had for Episode V of Star Wars. And like that movie, it delivered. So when I put it in the drive last night, what I felt was… trepidation.
You see, I’d failed to note that the games were on DVD, not CD. All twelve games on one DVD. Well, I’ve mentioned before that my DVD seems a bit…cranky at times. And sure enough, it didn’t want to accept the DVD. I tried twice, and it even managed to partly crash the O/S. (However, it didn’t fubar it totally, unlike some people’s I won’t name. Thanks to hyperlinks, I don’t have to.) So after failing twice, I set it aside and played something else for a bit, while I tried to decide what to do about it. After a couple of hours, I tried to reload it again, and that time it worked. No idea why…. but then this morning it wouldn’t again. Grrr. I’m not going to replace the DVD on speculation, seeing as I’m setting money aside already for a complete system replacement.
Anyway, the point of the post was my reaction to playing CNC:RA again, for the first time in years. The game was everything I remembered… and a few things I had been glad to forget. OMG, but it was bad… The cut screen graphics were blurry and had a low frame rate. The menus were weird; the non-campaign games vs. computer were under multiplayer. The game launched directly into the campaign, not the menu, and it took me several minutes to figure out how to get out of the campaign. In the game, I couldn’t queue build orders, or produce from multiple factories of the same type. All the build orders were dumped into a single scrolling bar. I had to left-click to select a unit, then left-click again to move it, not right click. I couldn’t tell my newly built units to go to a particular place. I couldn’t set waypoints. The AI was horrible. (That’s one thing I did remember; it was bad about going to “sleep” when it couldn’t find resources to mine and not waking back up when they appeared again.) All of these things would make the game be considered amateurish at best today, or written by incompetents or ripoff artists at worst. But the music is as good as I remember, at least.
Amazing how games have progressed, and how certain conventions/features have become standard, isn’t it?