COMMAND & CONQUER
(This is my first review, so if I missed anything, forgive me, but tell me.)
Well, this famous PC game is finally out on the PSX. The game is basically built on the same paradigm we'd in Dune 2 - the game that probably made Westwood famous. Now, I've to say that I was a big fun of Dune 2. Although I haven't played C&C on the PC (because my PC isn't big enough), I've seen it in action and have some expectations on this PSX release.
Anyway, let's get started. For those who are unfamiliar with Dune 2 or C&C, there're 2 sides that you can choose to be - the good guys (the Global Defence Initiative peacekeeping force, GDI) or the bad guys (the Brotherhood of Nod). The game comes in 2 CDs, one for each side. There're 15 missions you've to do sequentially, each getting harder of course. They seem to be just translated from the PC version. However, there're 6 more special operations written especially for the PSX, so the *real* C&C addicts can have something new to play with.
Before and after each mission, there's a sequence of FMV to brief and debrief you about your mission. They can range from wipe out everything to build a solid base. The FMV is quite impressive though. There's a mix of real people acting, or just computer generated graphics. You don't get to interact with the characters though.
Although each mission is different, the overall theme is the same. You start off with some troops and (sometimes) some credit. Start building, train your troops, harvest Tiberium (which will translate into credits), explore your surroundings and kill (or run away from) your enemies.
The sounds are pretty good. Music suits the game, but you probably won't notice it when you concentrate on your mission... The effects are alright, not overly exciting. The usual "click-on-soldier-he-says-yes-sir" type things are all there.
The graphics within each mission is pretty crude. I'm fairly disappointed with that. The soldiers are very small, which reminds me of the game Worms, and makes it difficult to control. One possible bug I found was the co-ordinates of the soldiers are not always correct. Sometimes I've to click just above him to select him. The resolution is fairly low, and given the relative largeness of the surroundings, it makes moving from one place to another quite slow. It's not possible to jump from one place to another in your map, as in Dune 2.
However, just like Dune 2 and C&C on the PC, game play is exciting. You've to take care of so many things at once is what makes this game popular, and it sure as hell is here in this version.
On the other hand, the controls are difficult to learn. There're *2* pages in the manual purely on controls. I imagine it'll take a few hours to get used to. Since I got the game on Saturday, I've probably played 3 to 5 hours, and I still can't say I'm familiar with the controls.
This leads me to the manual. With the complexity of the game, ie, the things you've to know in order to just start playing, the manual is disappointingly thin on material. The manual is 30-odd pages long (and you do have to read it, especially if you haven't played C&C before), but it doesn't really tell you anything really important. It only goes half way towards filling in the gaps. I don't know whether Westwood did it on purpose to make you explore your way through or what, but it sure annoyed me. Another thing is, the manual is in black and white. This makes the pictures and icons very difficult to recognise in the game, and therefore, made it even more confusing.
Frankly, the standard controller probably isn't good on this game. The mouse would be better, but I don't see the manual says the mouse is supported. Similarly, your progress is done via passwords. Nope, no memory cards, which I found surprising, and feel very disappointed. I thought the days of writing down passwords on pieces of paper that you'll lose were gone...
There's been discussions on various PSX newsgroups about the lack of 3Dness in this game, and the lack of the linkup option. Yep, they're both correct. You get a bird's eye view on things, so things are practically flat. And no, you can't link it up, but I don't personally care anyway. However, I saw someone from Westwood saying there'll be linkup in the next version of this game.
Overall, I can't say the game has met my expectations, especially regarding the manual and the controls. But you just can't deny the exciting game play.
Game Play: 8.5/10 Graphics : 5/10 (If it wasn't the FMV, it may not even show on the scale for a PSX game...) Sounds : 7/10 Longivity: 8.5/10 Manual : 3/10 OVERALL : 6.4/10Last Word:
You may be better off getting the PC version if you can. At least, there're more missions (in the form of Red Alert and things) for you to play with. For C&C PC addicts, I don't think the 6 special operations are worth the money, might as well as Red Alert... For others, rent before you buy. If you aren't hooked within the first 3 missions, don't get it.