Review by StavrosJ
"Just like every CnC expansion, Zero Hour ROCKS"
The greatness of the command & conquer games is also represented in its awesome expansions. From Tiberian Sun Firestorm with its entirely new campaign and intruiging story and unique gameplay mechanics, to Red Alert: Yuri's Revenge that introduced a completely new side to the game as well as a new campaign and new cut scenes. Zero Hour is equally great in its own right, in that it introduces some of the best add ons to the game. Note: I will be brief in my review of the graphics and sound, because I've already done so in the CnC Generals review.
As always, CnC generals has the best graphics I've ever seen in a RTS game. The new units are modeled equally well, especially the microwave tank that produces a cool shimmer in the air, and the EMP patriot battery whose missiles explode in a sphere of EMP. Overall graphics are perfect.
Sound in CnC generals ZH is still as excellent as always. The new generals challenge mode (more on that later) features voices from all nine generals, all of which have a slightly comedic tone to their lines. The most apparent is the tank general Ta Hun Kwai (which means 'He's very fast'). One of his lines goes like 'I think I better build some base defenses...no wait, I'll build more tanks! aha, ahahaha.' Each general in the generals challenge will taunt you endlessly, and this can get annoying, though it will be more fun to hear when their taunts turn into pleas when you begin to destroy their base. Overall, sound is excellent.
CnC generals not only brings on add-on content such as a new campaign and new units, it also brings on NEW content. While the campaign should provide a considerable amount of new gameplay, the real meat of the expansion is the generals challenge mode that was intended to be in the original game, but apparently never made it. You choose from nine different generals that each specialize in something different, whether its tanks, infantry, or superweapons. You then proceed to take on seven other generals(why the game doesn't let you take on all the generals, I dont know why) in single matches. The various generals require various changes to your game strategy, because as much as they have better versions of the units they specialize in, the units they don't specialize in are either not there or are more expensive. The air force general for instance, has an extremely powerful air force (duh) but cannot build a single tank. The AI for the enemy generals is also good as it is modeled after their specialties, so you won't have a something like a tank general attacking you with infantry. Fighting different generals with your chosen general proves to be a unique experience as your strategies have to be constantly changed. A good example is if you were to choose the air force general, you will have an easy time with the superweapons general as the air force general's planes have laser defenses in addition to countermeasure upgrades, which means the EMP patriots that are the superweapon general's special defense will have a tough time hitting those planes, even if they are upgraded patriots. On the other hand, things change dramatically when you fight the tank general, whose brute force approach and heavy armour will prove difficult for planes to survive. The new units are fun to use and very interesting. Some of my favorites are the combat chinook which functions like the humm vee, only it can fly and is better armoured, and the emperor overlord which really is the overlord on steroids, being able to mount two upgrades instead of one. The new units are as useful to the gameplay as much as they are fun to use, and their careful design is what makes the gameplay even better than before. The online part of the expansion has also been massively upgraded from the original game. You can earn numerous awards for your battles against players, and you can also play the game as the specialized generals. Sadly for me, I have a firewall, but hopefully I'll be able to get rid of it and try out the multiplayer. Still though, the single player portion of the game is excellent and worth the price alone. Overall this is an excellent expansion that is faultless in quality, and quantity. Perfect gameplay.
Zero Hour's campaign now has a story, though its a little mundane compared to the awesome plot of the westwood made CnC games. Cinematics in the form of CNN style news bulletins convey the plot. The story overall isn't very great, but at least its there.
In addition to the campaign which will last you about 15 hours, you have the generals challenge mode. If you play all the generals, and assuming each match lasts an hour, you get 81 hours worth of gameplay right there. This amount of time you can spend on the expansion, trancends the life span of most expansions. Expect to be playing this expansion for a long time.
BUY OR RENT?
If you enjoyed CnC generals, but have played it too many times to enjoy it anymore, then buy this immediately. You won't regret it. And, just as it is with any game you burn, its illegal.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/14/03
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