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Retrospective: Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn

Command and Conquer has come a long way since its birth in 1995 with ‘Tiberian Dawn’, the first in the hugely successful series and without a doubt, one of the best games of all time.

The Command and Conquer series is one of the finest real-time strategy series around. It’s generally considered by gamers as the title which originally defined the RTS genre, no mean feat. It can now be legally downloaded for free. Released on the PC first and then the PS1, N64 and Sega Saturn, Command and Conquer would spawn 5 sequels.

Gameplay – First of its Kind

C&C’s gameplay mechanics would require the player to construct a base, acquire a flow of resources from nearby Tiberian fields and secure the area in order to successfully fund the ongoing production. Ultimately, the goal being to “Command and Conquer” the opponent’s base – this was RTS gameplay at its conception.

The game featured around 50 different units and structures, with GDI and the Brotherhood of NOD both differing in their arsenals. NOD was the more tactical side; players would have to use units sparingly and strategically to overcome GDI’s much more powerful units. Each side though, was brilliantly balanced.

Mind Blowing Visuals

At the time, the visuals featured in C&C were outstanding. Westwood Studios had managed to create a world where the player could control whole armies and send them to their demise. Each unit was excellently hand-drawn, from the grunts to the twin-barrelled Mammoth Tanks. Living out your own battles at home, or with friends. Awesome.

Magic Single-Player Action

C&C featured two single-player campaigns which together consisted of a grand total of 50 missions. The replayability came with the multiple pathways in the campaigns with players selecting a green arrow on the world map; naturally the longer the arrow the harder that variation of the mission. Each mission had similar goals like, destroy the enemy base, defend the player’s base until reinforcements arrive, or simply use a commando to sneak in on a stealth mission.

Players could put ‘Covert Operations’ into the password system on the PS1, to unlock an extra 15 rock-hard missions, first seen in the PC versions, ‘The Covert Operations’. All this was driven with groundbreaking FMV cut-scenes which introduced the infamous NOD leader, Kane.

To see and complete everything in the game would take a while. Gamers who were lucky enough to link up the game on the PC version would experience some of the first online multiplayer RTS gameplay.

A New Beginning

‘Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn’ was the start of something special. Westwood had created a massively popular game with a huge following and had shaped the history of games forever. Fans eagerly awaited the next installment, but they didn’t have long to wait as Westwood’s historic Red Alert appeared shortly afterwards in 1996.

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