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  Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun
...GDI serves only the rich and the complacent. The Brotherhood of Nod lives to serve all mankind! The Brotherhood looks after it's own! We are Brothers. We are family. Join our cause - and all that we have to offer will become yours. The vision of Kane - the truth of Kane - the power of Kane remains alive and well in the body of his Citizens. Join the Brotherhood - and let Kane come alive for you! ...
Preamble...

This grandson of the original Command & Conquer by Westwood continues the tortured story of man's very wicked future. Both interested parties, NOD and GDI seem to have hidden agendas throughout the game and neither should be trusted. Manipulation of Tiberian along with the knowledge of the Tacitus has created a worldwide conflict that threatens Earth's very structure. So is Tiberian Sun a big change in the series or is it just a continuation of the game. Read on to see an opinion of Westwood's newest addition to the C&C family.

Companyline...

Set in the early 21st century, the real-time strategy game once again pits the Global Defense Initiative (GDI) against the Brotherhood of NOD in a struggle for control of the planet. With an epic storyline that unfolds as play progresses, players will learn the reasons behind the worldwide outbreak of Tiberium and what happened to the notorious NOD leader Kane, who was presumed dead at the end of the first Command & Conquer.
Tiberian Sun features an all-new game engine and improved controls that will allow players to command their forces with even greater ease. Westwood's MegaVoxel(TM) technology is used to create a more exciting and dangerous battlefield with dynamic 3D terrain, realistic physics and a fully reactive environment. Explosions leave craters. Lakes and rivers freeze. Ion storms cripple high-tech weapons. Forest fires rage out of control, and winds carry poison gas clouds.
Multiple levels of warfare allow players to cripple opponents from afar or get up close and personal in an all-out ground war. GDI and NOD have distinct styles, units and abilities, providing unlimited tactical and strategic choices in the struggle for global domination.
Players can travel under, over, or on the terrain as they employ devastating new weapons, including the Devil's Tongue, Hunter-Seeker Drones, Jump-Jet Infantry, Disruptors, Stealth Generators, genetically engineered cyborgs, the Firestorm Defense and many more.
Dynamic colored lighting brings the mood and atmosphere alive. Stealth missions are set in the deep blue of early night. Bases on full alert come alive with sirens and spotlights in search of intruders.
Tiberian Sun features enhanced Local Area Network and Internet play. Up to 8 players can engage in fierce combat over a LAN and players can go head-to-head via the Internet and Westwood Online. Find and challenge opponents from all over the world with just the click of a button without ever leaving the Tiberian Sun environment. A built-in worldwide ranking system allows players to track their victories and defeats against other Internet gamers. Expanded multiplayer options also include random Battle Map(TM) generation, Battle Clan(TM) support, and four new handicapping controls.
"Even though we've added a host of new features, technology and units, Tiberian Sun retains the best aspects and traditions of the Command & Conquer universe and stays true to what our vision of a compelling strategy game is," said Brett W. Sperry, executive producer of the project. "I think our fans will appreciate the quality and depth we're building into Tiberian Sun, which will make it a game of lasting value, intrigue, and fun."

Gameplay...

Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn brought us our first taste of the series and many of us became addicted to this evolution of Dune 2. Tiberian Sun adds new depth to the storyline and a deeper world in the 21st Century. Full motion video introduces you to new scenarios with some very nice acting and effects. James Earl Jones and Michael Biehn are the two recognizable faces here. I think that the effort in making the FMV was excellent and helped the 'under-the-skin' feel happen. Sound and graphics are typical Westwood high quality. Some buildings make ambient noises and ion storms crash huge lightening bolts into the ground. Ground and building destruction is more evident and you will see things like bridges take damage until they fail. Wheels get blown off of buggies and cyborgs drag half their bodies in relentless attack. Towers have searchlights mounted that will pick up the enemy and spot them. Nightfall grays down the terrain but picks up the effect of streetlights, fires and the glow of a Tiberium field.

Two CD's give you two campaigns that will explore either the GDI or NOD sides. Interestingly enough, the original C&C game shows up at odd places and occasionally is of some use. I came across some old bases and equipment that was seldom of use and usually in pretty beat up shape. TS has a slightly different feel and one of the changes is the sidebar. Mini movies can play in the radar screen window, which can give you new information updates at critical times. You have in addition to the structure repair and sell capability, the power toggle and waypoint buttons to enhance the game.

I noticed the AI failed with not dealing properly with situations. For example, I took over a Hand of NOD Barracks and then started to build more engineers. The AI did not build another Hand of NOD and so could not stop me from taking over more of its' structures. It also tended to build basic units far more though advanced units would have given it a better advantage and balanced the game.

Handling your units is classic C&C but with some twists. You can give units waypoints (a Dark Reign feature) so that they can avoid problem areas or patrol waypoints to allow units to watch over your territory. You can still assign a group of units a Team number that can be called up with one keystroke. Same goes for assigning locations to assist getting around the maps. The new units will give you pause at times to use them to their best advantage. I really enjoyed the Mammoth II, Orca Bomber, Cyborgs and the Nod Artillery. The Subterranean APC is a real devil when your up against it as well. Instead of using a massive amount of GDI tanks to grind up NOD bases, Mechs are the rule of the day here. Called Assault Armor, the Titan and the Wolverine can deal with most ground forces in short time. Queuing units being built is also handy so that you do not have to continually go to build more. Up to five queued units is possible. As your units survive battle, they become veterans that are stronger and faster.

In the End...

If you are familiar with C&C, then you will find that TS is pretty easy to jump into. The added features make the game much more interesting but not dramatically so. The music was above average but not inspiring. New units mean a bit more study to see the best situations to employ them. AI could be stronger with more emphasis in base survival. Player immersion I would rate as average. I guess that it's safe to say that TS simply is another chapter in the C&C world. But I found the game too much like its predecessors to make it be singled out. Real time strategy did not take a big leap forward but TS has the C&C appeal that we all know and love. This is still the "build the base and mass an army" game that we all played in Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn.

Review ID Number: 175
  Product Details
Westwood Studios
Review Date: 2001-04-20
Reviewer: Nick Sardy
Rating: 8 out of 10
 
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