Review by MCLink
"Quack, Quack - that's a wrap!"
Command & Conquer was the first and only game of the Command & Conquer series to be available on a Nintendo console and the only game to be specifically refurbished in 3-D to fit the Nintendo 64 format of games. Command & Conquer is very different from its same versions on Playstation and PC with the removal of some gaming modes and video edits. The game has received criticism for its deviations to market on the Nintendo 64. However, Nintendo fans who had never heard of this series before or those who never played the other versions before this one would not be disappointed with the attempt to introduce Command & Conquer to Nintendo. Command & Conquer's only competition would be Starcraft and both of these games were out there on the outer fringes as they penetrated a console that had never seen this kind of action before.
The great thing Command & Conquer is that there is never one linear way to go about a mission. Of course you have to set up your construction sites and avoid the enemy's routine patrols and skirmishers, but once you have established your base there is no wrong way to take out your enemy's base. The game begins with the basics of using small units and builds all the way to more difficult missions that allow you to control all of the options of waging war from one single infantryman all the way to a nuclear strike. Command & Conquer offers variety on two fronts. You can play as the GDI or NOD forces and each side offers different military forces and technologies. You will almost always start a mission as the attacking force up against an already established enemy. The difficulty of the game relies on how well you can manage your forces against the enemy raids on your base. These raids are constant and take away from being able to do anything early on besides defending yourself. Later missions will challenge you with advanced weapons of war and harder to find tiberium fields. The control scheme of C&C is laid out easily for you to maneuver forces and build units with the most effectiveness.
One of the difficult parts of the control scheme are the use of the yellow C buttons on the controller that allow you to assign and access multiple units in groups and it was never a big help but does not affect the gameplay. Beyond the C buttons the game is very accessible and despite the complicated controls of some RTS games this one is very easy to use.
Command & Conquer's story follows your path as either a GDI or NOD commander. You will get to see what both sides of the conflict have to say about the globally transforming invasion of the alien substance tiberium, and how each side plans to overtake each other. Both sides have to overcome various public relations and power struggles, which play out in the scenes between missions, and both end in ultimately powerful finales. The story follows your conquest through either Europe or Africa. You can choose variants of each mission you play as well and there are two extra missions featured for both GDI and NOD that were developed only for the N64 version of C&C.
What is special about Command & Conquer on the N64 are that the characters and units area redone in 3-D while the maps remain the same for the background. Once the fog of war is rolled back and the map is totally revealed you find yourself immersed in a topographical war zone filled with landscapes that include mountainous terrain, hills, and even villages that the GDI must protect or NOD can pillage. Command and Conquer has an in-game music soundtrack with seventeen tracks that you can keep on a loop or let play through. If the music gets too repetitive for you, then you can turn it off at any time as well as the money sounds and sound effects. The sound effects of this game go great with the game. Whether you have a hundred infantrymen opening up a salvo or that dreadful humming of an Obelisk of Light preparing to zap some poor sprite you will not be disappointed by the distinct sounds each unit makes. Your EVA will inform you of each move you make and of any incoming attacks on your base, which can be very helpful at times. The voice dialogue stays with the game's story but the videos are in still images. So you will get to hear Kane's words of wisdom throughout the game along with the other major characters.
I never realized that the PC version actually used videos in between the missions, but the N64 can only go so far.
Command & Conquer is no game to beat in one sitting. Depending on how well you build up your forces the missions may take a few minutes or a few days. The strategy in this game is quite simple in that you must outnumber the enemy presence before being able to win the mission. Overall, you have a total of 32 missions available on this game and while the your ultimate goal in each mission is to overpower your enemy, the missions will always be objective specific and you may finish a few missions without having to wipe your enemy off the map. There are also numerous variants to most of the missions so that you can go back and play these missions in up to three different ways. A scoring system is set up that tallies the results of your mission including casualties and buildings destroyed so that you can go back to beat your high score in a game or your friend's. So there is a tremendous replay value to this game that you can enjoy even eight years later. The enjoyment and fun of C&C does not go away!
One fun trick I had with the help of the Gameshark was to build up a gigantic fort and make it impenetrable to scouting and recon forces. I would leave the game on over night for several days and ended up with a massive body count and score at the end of the game. The GameShark was never a better buy than for this game. It is hard to find a working one these days but it was definitely worth the infinite money, ion cannons, and nukes!
Command & Conquer for the N64 is a special gem that introduced RTS to the N64. There are two reasons why this game receives either highly positive feedback or very negative feedback. The reason it gets negative feedback is because Command & Conquer originally began in 1995 on PC and was redeveloped for the Nintendo 64 in 1999. So fans of C&C that had got their hands on the N64 version would be disappointed in what this game lacks compared to its former original. In the end it does lose to the PC version of this game and therefore I would not recommend buying this game if you have played or are a PC fan of Command & Conquer. The reason why this game receives so much positive feedback is because it reached a market that had maybe never heard of the C&C series. It was a redevelopment risk worth taking because until I had actually seen the live videos on Youtube for the cutscenes of this game I had no idea how spoiled a PC fan of this game would be. MC Link is your daddy. But as for how well this game holds up on the Nintendo 64, it is a gem and a very good introduction to the C&C series that is worth replaying. As for buying this game to add it to your N64 collection I would highly recommend doing so, but if you have never played the original Command & Conquer game itself I would suggest going to the Westwood Studios website and playing the original PC version of this game (as it is available for free) to enjoy the full depth of Command & Conquer.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/27/12
Game Release: Command & Conquer (EU, 07/30/99)
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