|Publisher: Aspyr Media Genre: Strategy & War|
|Min OS X: 10.2.6 CPU: G4 @ 1000 MHz RAM: 256 MB Hard Disk: 1600 MB DVD-ROM Graphics: 32 MB VRAM|
In the minds of many gamers there have been only two real-time strategy (RTS) games; the one where the orcs fight the humans and Command & Conquer (C&C). The original first graced Macs and System 7.5 back in late-1997. After an absence of seven plus years, C&C returns to Macs in Westwood Studios’ final project before merging with EA Pacific - Command & Conquer: Generals (Generals).
GameplayGenerals makes a break from the pack of previous C&C incarnations in that the back story doesn’t focus on a single evil individual or specific plot. Conversely, Generals is based on more contemporary issues and scenarios that may as well have been pulled from CNN headlines. The game focuses on the growing threat of the Global Liberation Army (GLA) and the efforts taken by the US and Chinese governments to deal with said threat. This doesn’t provide for much of a storyline, but honestly that’s not what people are looking for here. For the most part, C&C fans are looking to blow stuff up and there is a lot of room to do that.
First, the toysSlow moving, the Chinese forces rely solidly on brute force, solid defense, and superior numbers. They also like to burn things. Between the infantry-charring Dragon Tank, the napalm-chucking Inferno Cannon, and the vengeful Nuke Cannon, it is fairly obvious that The People’s Republic has been successfully playing with matches for some time now. A primary point of caution is that with so much splash damage possible, you have to be careful where and when you do use it.
The US forces are best defined as quick and surgical. They don’t necessarily shoot a lot of bullets, but every one of them counts. Additionally, they are the only faction with a significant air force to their ranks. The US units are hi-tech, efficient, and unfortunately fairly expensive so you need to use what you have wisely. Pathfinders (snipers), rocket-equipped Humvees loaded with a couple snipers and anti-aircraft infantry, along with Stealth Bombers round out my personal favorites.
The adjective that continually seems to be attached to the GLA is “scrappy,” because that is exactly what they are. They are without a doubt the most unorthodox faction, and are arguably the most fun to play. They don’t really have the funding enjoyed by their opponents, so the GLA simply enjoys using their opponent’s weapons against them. Technical Trucks, Marauder Tanks, and Quad Canons are all able to salvage weapon systems from defeated foes. They are able to counter their total lack of an air force with an intricate series of underground tunnels. So if you are up against the GLA, be careful or a swarm of Suicide Bombers will unexpectedly end up in your back yard…and nobody likes that.
Added into this mix are General Abilities and Super Weapons. You progress through the game as a General, gaining experience for each battle you win. If you gain enough experience, you will be given a promotion and rise in rank. With each new rank, you’ll be given a General Point with which you can purchase your General Abilities. These abilities are sneaky little items that often appear out of left field to turn the tide of battle. Highlights include the GLA’s Cash Bounty where GLA units earn 20% of the value of any enemy unit they kill, and the MOAB bomb dropped from a US B-52 Stratofortress.
Super Weapons contribute similar earth-shattering effects to the fold. The US brings a Particle Beam to the party, the Chinese have their nukes, and the GLA have SCUDS loaded with Anthrax. All of these super-effects mean one thing: RTS players who like to sit back and play defense are going to have to draw up a new game plan. Generals is all about being like a very offensive virus. You need to multiply, spread out quickly, and never stop attacking.