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Command and Conquer Generals is a story straight out of modern day CNN. It seems the world is being threatened by the GLA (Global Liberation Army), a terrorist organization that likes to blow up stuff. The Chinese and the Americans are apparently the only ones concerned, each attempting to secure the safety of the world by taking out the GLA. Sound familiar? That's because you basically watched it on TV last night.

Though it might up the ante in terms of eerie realism, the story is not supported adequately by the game's main Campaign mode. Each side features 7 or 8 missions, but unlike other C&C games, there is no branching. It's a strictly linear go for each one.

Additionally, the designers felt that to keep up the realism, they had to forgo what is considered a hallmark of the series - live video. There are no actors or FMV segments at all to help flesh out the story. Instead, you are given a quick voice briefing before each mission and then an introductory in-engine cutscene to set the stage. I hope Kane has a day job.

The result might keep the feel consistent without jarring you back and forth between gameplay and video, but it also does very little to give the story any arc. The Campaign feels like just a series of missions strung together loosely. Despite having completed all three, I couldn't tell you the overarching story if I tried.

While they dropped the ball with the plot, they definitely pick it up again when it comes to the brand new 3D 'Sage' game engine. Say goodbye to the sprites of old - all vehicles are polygonal and the maps feature fully 3D terrain. Great texture work and terrific explosions breathe new life into the franchise. You can rotate and zoom with ease to get different takes on the conflict. Though the infantry look a little cheesy, watching them get blown into the air after a particularly nasty barrage lends a palpable sense of mayhem. By all accounts, this is a very pretty game.

This cool new engine comes at a price, though, as C&C Generals requires a lot of power to run smoothly. Lower-end systems will chug along with options turned way down. But to be fair, you can't ask for a burly new graphics system without expecting some resource hogging, so it's not a big deal.

The three sides are balanced nicely. The technology of the U.S. is superior, the Chinese rely on mass numbers, and the GLA makes up for its basic unit deficiencies with sneaky tactics and devastating weapons. Civilian car bomb, anyone? And when it comes to ubers, the GLA's Scud Storm and China's Nuclear Missile are much nastier than the US Ion Beam.

The units add distinct flavor to each side. The Chinese Overlord tank, for instance, can be outfitted with a gattling gun (good against infantry), soldier bunker or propaganda tower (heals nearby friendly units). U.S. spy drones can open up the map to airstrikes. The GLA can build tunnel networks to be even stealthier. If there's one thing C&C does well, it's unit creativity.

What it doesn't do so well is handle veterans. Units gain up to three veteran ranks by killing the enemy, and vets gain abilities like self-healing and higher damage. Plus, downed pilots can be placed in normal vehicles to add veteran points to that unit, making them quite useful indeed.

But in a bizarre design decision, veterans do not carry over in the Campaign. Despite keeping a three-star unit alive, he's gone when you win the map. Doesn't that sort of defeat the purpose of veteran units altogether? By the end of a map you're attacking with Nukes and waves of tanks, rendering the veteran advantage nil. How about letting me choose a few vets to take with me? Vets would come in handy by giving you a start advantage; the inability to carry them over is just frustrating.

As laid out in our recent preview, Generals was so named because you were supposed to choose to play as one of nine generals, thereby giving you access to certain special abilities. I guess this turned out to be awkward in the play testing, because the concept has been changed. Instead, you gain 'General points' by completing mysterious requirements during battle. You can then use those points to buy General abilities (which only last for one battle). These include various levels of airstrikes and a quick repair option, as well as side-specific choices like the Chinese ability to crank out veteran infantry immediately or the GLA's ability to collect cash from downed enemies. It might not be as cool as they originally planned, but the 'Generals' idea works well and adds some more fuel to the strategy fire.

And when you get right down to it, Generals excels in its gameplay. It's a much slower-paced affair than most other recent RTS games like WarCraft 3 and Impossible Creatures, but the slower movement makes for a more strategic game. Building, upgrading, and taking out a heavily fortified enemy with a well-placed nuke is as fun as addictive as ever.

Gone is that frisky tiberium, replaced with a vague 'supplies' resource. Each side has a different means of collection, though the games rarely turn into the classic 'war of attrition' model that dominated earlier C&C games. Plus, the Chinese have a 'hacker' soldier that can illegally download cash from the Internet in case you run out of supplies. Hmmm...sounds like a new business model for GR...

But despite its thoroughly updated look and features, Generals falls into old habits with some annoying AI. Your units have an amazing tolerance for pain, as evidenced by the fact that they do not move or even fire back on their own if they're being attacked from even a smidgen outside their range. You'll watch in vain as a GLA missile launcher takes out three tanks and ten infantry because they didn't have the intelligence to fire back or even move out of the way after the first two missiles. You have to keep a close watch over every single battle.

Additionally, you cannot set up formations, which can spell disaster in a 3D RTS. Tanks often have a hard time figuring out how to get through certain areas and will instead take 'the long way home'. Setting up waypoints is impossible, and advanced unit controls (like making a group of infantry 'scatter' before being bulldozed by a tank) are absent.

When you tire of the single-player experience, you can hop into Generals multiplayer. The game definitely works better here as the AI range issue isn't as noticeable. Up to 8 players can go at it at once, and the matching system is very handy.

To sweeten the deal, Generals lets you watch an instant replay of any battle - single or multiplayer - to find out where you went wrong. It's a great feature that's long overdue in the RTS genre.

And speaking of long overdue, it's about time the C&C universe got a real update. Though Generals isn't without its design faults, it serves up enough RTS goodness to please fans of the genre and acts as a fitting swan song for Westwood and EA Pacific.

I'm patiently waiting for the next release. I can only imagine what EA Games will produce.
Yes C&C is a very good game.
I hope the new version will come soon.
anyone having a problem getting CNC Generals Zero Hour working peer to peer?
I also like this games.

Command & Conquer Generals
The fathers of real-time strategy are back with their final hurrah, and it's one hell of a hurrah.
by Dan Adams

February 7, 2003 - Every now and again, I remember why I like real-time strategy games so much. Now that the advancing horde of unholy clones has all but been demolished, there's a much more refined, strategically sound, and quality bunch of titles in this genre coming out. Quality, not quantity, I say. And a great example of this is the beautifully designed Command & Conquer Generals that has certainly put me back in the strategy saddle. Before we get to the meat of the review, be sure to check out our exclusive video review of the game as well.

Generals takes a big step back from the Command & Conquer series of old, focusing not on the machinations of one evil man with a super evil plan, but instead on more "realistic" global issues of today while maintaining the creativity and fun of unit and weapon design the series has always had. The game focuses on the growing threat of the Global Liberation Army (GLA). Both China and the US are having problems with the group that sees both of the superpowers as a threat to their freedom. The imperialist scum must all die. Through the three campaigns and multiplayer battles, you'll have the chance to fight to save the world from the terrorist threat or bring a whole lot of pain to the world via a rather large toxic payload.

Westwood and EA decided to move away from the silly cutscenes of old and instead stick with a more mature style. All scenes use the in game engine to good effect although they use a Matrix style camera for too many of the explosions. There are no main characters to fart around with this time around, instead focusing on the war and the fact that while there are heroes, it's no one man or woman that conquers the enemy. It's a good move for the series and while some people might miss past attempts at character driven fiction, Generals manages to stay true to the series with its gameplay and faction styles.

In order to keep the game from being a resource management exercise, all sides dip into the same pool by gathering supplies located in dumps around each map. US uses Chinook transport choppers, China uses supply trucks, and the GLA uses forced labor. Each faction also has extra ways of bringing in cash so the money never stops completely flowing meaning games will always continue to be interesting even after the supplies have run dry. Airdrops, theft and salvage all bring in good amounts of cash. While the US has the potential to make the most money with several air drop sites, China can steal it with their hero and make money with computer hackers and the GLA has the chance to scavenge money from the carcasses of their enemies. While you do fight over resources, worrying about your tactical decisions is much more important. Because the resources are centered in certain areas, it's much easier to concentrate on what's happening to your troops and bases.

The sides are all balanced excellently, with each having their advantages and disadvantages. The Chinese are the bruisers of the bunch, relying on power and quick delivery of bullets. Their biggest weapons are among the most powerful, but are also the slowest on the map. They have a very balanced ground attack that can take care of all threats incoming. They do have an air force, but it isn't nearly as strong as the Americans'. Most of their weapons are built around fire and burning the crap out of things. From their crazy dragon tanks that can lay down huge walls of flame for defense and the Inferno Cannon siege weapon that can be upgraded to fire napalm shells to the crazy Nuke Cannon that delivers small nuclear shells over long distances. The only problem with these weapons is that they are all splash damage related, meaning you're going to have to watch where you use them. Look before you leap, you might end up wasting a bunch of your own troops in the crossfire.

This is also the case with the scrappy GLA. They're based around toxic weapons that will damage anything. From their anti-infantry toxic tractors, to the mobile scud launchers, this is a deadly arsenal that can just as easily turn their own troops into mush. The GLA has a lot going for them though. Since they aren't as technologically advanced as the other two sides, they go for a scavenging style of play. Not only can vehicles like Technicals and Marauder do well on their own, they can also equip themselves with weapons from fallen vehicles. You'll often see Technicals suddenly firing tank shells or a Marauder suddenly with two tank barrels instead of the one it began with. This makes their use pretty interesting.

credit: IGN
Hey itss good game, but little bit boring
looks like some cut and pasting going on to try and cut down on the number of posts for free websites LOL
Exactly. Duplicate topic and quite a few copy/paste. To those who copied and pasted, I advise you to stop doing so if you still wish to be around this excellent community. Read the rules and FAQs of this board.

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