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Command and Conquer Renegade

Score: 90%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Westwood Studios
Developer: EA Games
Media: CD/2
Players: 1 - 32
Genre: First Person Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

I almost feel as if I'm preaching about the choir in this section. Is there a game that EA produces that doesn't look or sound good? Aside from the bland tutorial and the fact that ladders almost merge themselves to the color of the wall, everything else looks very good. I was never a Command and Conquer player, but a lot of my friends that played this game were stupefied at how gorgeous the graphics were, and how true the NOD and GDI troops stayed to their former selves. Troops are easily distinguishable which is nice, since later on in the game you'll fight some hard troops labeled the Black Guard . The detailing on the humans is fantastic. Faces twitch perfectly. Bodies move more fluidly than any game I've ever seen. Some of the 'smarter' troops will even run from left to right to avoid you firing at them. If and when you do hit them, they fall as realistic as anyone should fall. If you injure the baddies on a shot, they writhe. A head shot will result in the target crumpling immediately to the ground in a heap. Immediately after the body hits the ground, it dissolves into this bluish light, which is kind of funky. I didn't mind this too much, but it kind of takes away from the realism. There are also vehicles in the game that look sweet! One of my favorites was this GDI Mammoth tank, which isn't too difficult to drive, but is awesome as its metal definitely screams: 'bad arse.' Oh, and when you shoot something with this tank, you can count on one of the best explosions you've ever seen.

Speaking of explosions, Renegade has some of the nicest special weapons' effects in any video game I've seen. Sparks, debris and anything else boom-related shower all over the place. The weapons look really good, and overall they're your run of the mill weapons. Normal weapon effects aren't particularly awesome, as the greatest thing you'll get for hitting someone is a brownish-red smoke cloud that rises off of wherever you hit an enemy. Granted, this is neat because you can see where you hit a particular enemy, but it'd be nice if the machine gun would actually riddle an enemy, while a blast from the sniper rifle would plant them on their derriere. Alas, each bullet from each gun does the same amount of visual damage. While on the subject of the sniper rifle, I was a bit upset that the zoom was so ineffective. It barely zoomed in on the soldiers you were targeting, and was a bit frustrating. Granted, I was hoping for a Medal of Honor type zoom, but didn't get it. The backgrounds on Command and Conquer Renegade are nice enough, with buildings giving you a distinct feel of a covert commando operation. Hallways look like hallways, and hey, I can see leaves on the trees outside. You've got to love that.

The sound is really great. No, really. The voices are noteworthy due to the fact that what they say is so crystal clear, you can actually understand what each character is saying. The sounds of 'war' are so realistic, that often times, some little 'commando wannabe syndrome' triggered inside of my head, and for that brief second I was saving my faction's store of Tiberium. My friends said that most of the weapon and explosion sounds are from the actual Command and Conquer series, but that is in no way a negative. It brings a perfect sense of nostalgia to the game, and only adds to the fact that you are still playing a Command and Conquer game albeit a first person shooter. Forming a lovely couple to the impressive visuals of the explosions and shots are the sounds that respectively accompany them. I feel lucky that I have a sub woofer because the explosions and 'wartime' sounds would make that little subwoofer do a samba dance because the sounds were so impressive. The music is top notch with a metal/techno feel to it that lends itself perfectly to infiltration and extermination. Nothing like high pace music laced with subwoofed explosions eh?


Gameplay:

I'll be honest. I didn't play a lot of the Single Player Mode. Why? It certainly is great. You take the part of Captain Nick 'Havoc' Parker, who is a special commando for the GDI that is as brash as he is bold. Your goal is to rescue scientists (though I didn't get through the game far enough to know if the mission changed), and take as many NOD troops as you can on the way. Missions are given to you with a fair amount of firepower in the ol' arsenal to accompany you. You don't have any help, but your armor and bullets more than suffice for anything that NOD can throw at you. Along the way, element after element of the original Command and Conquer introduces itself just nicely, which has Westwood Studios seamlessly pulling off what it was shooting for. The other Mode, perhaps the most fun Mode, is the Multiplayer Mode. This is the reason why I didn't spend equal time in the Single Player Mode. Prepare for endless hours of enjoyment. You are split into teams, in which the other team is the nefarious one. Your goal as a team is to destroy all the buildings of the other team a la C&C or Starcraft - pretty much any strategy game. While you do this, you must defend your city/base or your all out attack will be stymied by the fact that your enemy just leveled your base while you went kill happy. There are various things in the multi-player maps that will let you change character class, control your money amounts (you need money to accomplish certain things), etc. The vehicles are also a huge presence on the multiplayer maps, as you shooting against one of those NOD flame-throwing tanks is a huge no-no. The Multiplayer Mode is just so much more fun than the Single Player Mode because of the social air, camaraderie, and strategies that you can build with a team of other humans. Single Player Mode, while fun and well designed is limited to the fact that you're a neurotic super soldier whose one goal is to kill and rescue. Strategies are there to devise, but nowhere near the capabilities you have in Multiplayer Mode.

Difficulty:

Multiplayer is very difficult right off the bat. You'll start out playing against people that do it a lot and often. Soon though, you learn the tricks of the trade, and to this day I use a sniper rifle for its ability to 'lead' someone rather than some of the bigger guns that the other players may use. Single Player Mode lets you choose from three difficulties, with the Easy setting being somewhat silly it's so easy. Enemies just stand there while you shoot them, and if two or three baddies are by each other, and you plug one of them, the other two continue to talk about the Lakers. You eventually rescope the other two, and BLAM take them out. The middle difficulty was more my cup of tea since I've had some experience playing FPS games, and it was difficult enough to feel rewarding, yet easy enough to not make me have another emotional breakdown. The toughest difficulty level will make you go bald. Either the stress will cause hair loss, or you will pull it out. It is insanely difficult, and only should be tried by those that were Navy SEALs in real life. I stayed away from that last difficulty, because it was too tough for me. The AI is considerably sharper, both in wit and shooting. There were times when I wouldn't even see the enemy, and he'd pluck me in the back of the head causing instant death. While being realistic, it is on the downside of fun for me. Of course there are those of us that like pain though, and will enjoy the toughest difficulty like pecan cheesecake.

Game Mechanics:

Perfect controls. You need perfect controls in a game as intense and real as Command and Conquer Renegade . You get perfect control. The camera angle is always optimal, with wherever you're looking being the primary angle of vision if you will. The AI is really good, making human like decisions and mistakes, yet being shrewd enough at times to really challenge you. The manual is a swell read, teaching you the ins and outs even before the tutorial. Perhaps the only disenchantment I had was with the load times, but hey, it is a near perfect PC game.

Riot Rundown : You want a great mission base Single Player First Person Shooter? Side step Command and Conquer Renegade then, and go after Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, or Return to Castle Wolfenstein . If you already have those games, then C&CR is a luscious addition to your library. If you're Command and Conquer crazy, then this is definitely a game you want too. If you like Mulitplayer games though, run don't walk and get your hands on this game. It brings a strategy/simulation feel and mentality to a First Person Shooter game, which is flawlessly done. It is fun to look at, hear and most importantly, play. And while there could be a little improvement here and there, it is a very well done game that Westwood deserves high merits being that this is the first FPS they had ever done.


-Sydney Riot, GameVortex Communications
AKA Will Grigoratos

Minimum System Requirements:



PII 450 or equivalent, 64 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, 3D Accelerator, 16MB VRAM, 500 MB disk space, mouse, sound card.
 

Test System:



Windows XP Pro, Athlon Duron 1.0 GHz processor, 320 MB RAM, 46x CD-ROM, Hercules Gamesurround Fortissimo II sound card, Xtasy GeForce 4 MX 420 Video Card, Keyboard, Mouse

Sony PSOne Virtual Kasparov Windows Serious Sam: The Second Encounter

 
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