Review by Parky
"Best addon pack takes Generals to the next level"
Time to unleash the absolute latest in modern weapons technology in a quest to become the world's most powerful General. There are new single-player missions, a lot more multi-player maps, new weapons and more.
The upgrades and units are standard expansion fare, but Zero Hour adds something else- new generals, each with their own combat styles, units and powers, and personalities. There are three for each side- Air Force, Lasers, and Superweapons for the USA; Toxins, Camouflage, and Demolitions for the GLA; and Nukes, Tanks, and Infantry for China. Each of these has a doctrine that you must adhere to if you wish to use them effectively, and have weaknesses that hold you to it. For example, the US Air Force general cannot make tanks, but has aircraft cost reduced, unique and better air units, and a point defense laser on all airplanes that along with the standard countermeasures upgrade makes them practically immune to missile fire. China's tank general can build the Emperor Overlord, which is the newest and baddest vehicle on the ground. The GLA camouflage general can make literally everything invisible to the unaided eye, and turns the GLA into a real guerilla army (his Scud Storms are especially scary). All of these generals can be used in skirmish or multiplay, and there is a special 'generals challenge' campaign in which you pick one and play against all others. Your opponent is always on territory that favors their doctrine, and it can get pretty tough. This is a great way to accustom yourself to the various generals and pick your favorite, and is also quite fun since your opponents continuously taunt you during the games.
It's worth mentioning that several nice tweaks have been added to the engine. For example, fighters on an airbase will automatically attack nearby enemies, and both superweapons and scouting powers (e.g. radar van scans) appear as a sidebar icon with a number indicating how many are ready, if it's more than one.
Although Generals added a new standard of graphics and several new and interesting departures from the original C&C game design, it was something less than revolutionary. Zero Hour goes a long way toward addressing this issue, and really turns Generals into a completely new game.
The sound in this game is good, new music, and unit sounds. There's nothing here that will make you hit the mute button that's for sure. Sound is good from the explosions to the generals talking to you.
The expansion adds a new campaign for each side, with about 5 missions each. The campaign is interesting, and adds a few new elements, but is actually not the best part of the expansion. There are full motion video cut scenes (reporters talking about what's going on) to add some depth to the story, which is pretty straightforward stuff that could happen sometime in the near future (though we hope not). The missions add unique buildings and locations, all well done, as well as objectives that are pretty fun to carry out. Some of them are quite difficult, and there are a few stealth commando missions that Generals sadly lacked. There's also some campaign-only powers, such as the ability to call in battleship artillery and carrier strikes in one of the USA missions.
There's tons to do. You can do the campaign which won't take that long but then there#s the Generals challenge which is basically, you pick a General and go up head to head against all of the other Generals, basically once you have finished with one Generals you choose another and do the same.
You will be coming back to Online play everyday, it's so addictive, and will last you along time here until another expansion or new game comes along.
Some have argued that it is what Generals should have been from the start, but I'm glad EA took the time to do a good job on this rather than rushing it for release. I honestly have no complaints about the expansion- it's one of the best ones I've seen for any game. It's a definite must for any Generals fan, and even if you weren't overly impressed with Generals, Zero Hour might just change your opinion.
I strongly recommend this game to all C+C fans.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 12/28/03
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