Traditionally speaking, Real Time Strategy and consoles just do not work. Like ever. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, like the excellent Halo Wars. But for this review ill be taking a look at one of my favourite games of all time, Command and Conquer. When I was a kid I had the game on PS1 and I loved it, but for this review ill be taking a look at the equally awesome N64 version.
The game centers around the conflict between the GDI (the good guys) and The Brotherhood of Nod (the bad guys) and their war over world domination and the precious Tiberium that litters it, and burns your troops alive if they walk through it. Tasty touch. Anyway for the main campaign you pick a side and play through a set of missions, occasionally given a choice of which one you want to play. You choose the missions via a world map, there is then a scene with your commanding officer briefing you and then you’re in, and thats where things get good.
The stumbling block of console RTS games is always the controls but the N64 nails this. Of course you use the analogue stick to control movement of the cursor, you can set the movement speed to slow, normal or fast and the movement is smooth and easy. You can select troops and move the camera with great ease, almost as easy as with a mouse! The menu is opened using a trigger whilst another trigger toggles guard, repair and other orders. Your units can be grouped using the C-buttons and everything basically is just really easy and user friendly. It makes you wonder why more RTS games cant work so well.
Fortunately the graphics and sound match this standard. The Expansion Pak allows for a higher resolution but even without this the game looks pretty good with varied environments, distinct units and a pretty solid framerate even with large battles. The sound effects are pretty good with cool gunfire and one of the best death screams I've ever heard. Add to this a cool soundtrack and you’re in for a decent sound experience.
Of course if you get bored of the two single player campaigns (two!) and don't want to replay the levels any more then you can try the far more challenging Special Ops missions. These are a set of missions where you get to play through using different units and completing different objectives. They’re really a lot like the campaign only, far, far harder. They make for a fun distraction to the campaign and really make the whole package’s value for money skyrocket.
All in all Command and Conquer is a gem, a true gem, with great gameplay, good graphics and sound and huge value for money. The only real criticism is perhaps the fact that there is no multiplayer and the story is a bit, well, shite? But still I cannot recommend this enough.