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The Birth of the Real Time Strategy Genre
One of the first real time strategy games, Herzog Zwei, was on the Sega Genesis. A few years later, the first computer RTS, Dune II, came out for the personal computer. Shortly after that came Westwood’s first edition of Command and Conquer. The first Command and Conquer box set hit the shelves in 1995. Red Alert appeared the next year. The games continued to be produced by Westwood Studios until the company was bought out by Electronic Arts.
Since the first game came out, many expansions and other titles in the series have been released. Command and Conquer issued several games that are not always direct sequels to another. The original storyline started in the near future with the Global Defense Initiative battling the Brotherhood of Nod. Westwood Studios continued the Brotherhood of Nod storyline in Tiberium Wars. Kane's Wrath and Tiberium Twilight are the latest games in the series, according to Wikipedia.
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As any Command and Conquer fan knows, the futuristic setting is not the only place where one can enjoy the style of real time strategy Westwood used. Red Alert, released in 1996, allows a player to take a sojourn into the Alternate history genre. The Red Alert series begins with Einstein and one of his assistants perfecting his time machine. Einstein goes back in time to kill Hitler. He prevents World War II, but another war with the Soviets and the Americans starts.
The sequel to the first Red Alert, Red Alert 2 , released in October 2000, made it into the Top 100 Games of All Time list, although it should not have come in higher on the list than Blizzard’s Starcraft. The game continues the alternate history and throws in many lame plots from pulp fiction, yet despite its many story flaws. The game is actually entertaining.
Red Alert 3, released in 2008, continues the alternate history story line of Red Alert but adds a third faction, the Empire of the Rising Sun. Red Alert 3 contains many of the same units and includes more of the Weird Science gadgets for which the series is noted.
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Westwood's Foray into the First Person Shooter
Wolfenstein 3D started the trend of 3D first person shooters back in the middle of the 1990's. The start of the twenty-first century saw Doom 3 and Quake. It is not surprising that Westwood decided to make their own futuristic first person shooter about this time. The result was Renegade. It was released in 2002, and has been re-released on the Tenth Anniversary Edition DVD.
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Command and Conquer Tactics Change in Generals
In many real time strategy games, there is an advantage to building more than one building that allows you to train units. You can train the units faster. That was not the case with most of the Command and Conquer games. Generals fixed this flaw however. It also marks Westwood’s first attempt at a real time strategy game in a modern setting.
Some of the sides are the same you can play in Red Alert are the United States and the Soviet Union. Included in the new game is an emerging power, the nation of China. The storyline mode requires you to play through all three factions.
Command and Conquer Generals and Zero Hour, released in 2003, have somewhat dated graphics. The mission ending scenes look nice. They do take much longer to load than they should, however.
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The 10th Anniversary Edition of Command and Conquer does not include Red Alert 3 or the direct sequel to the original game, Command and Conquer 3: Tiberian Wars. These games came out in 2008 and 2009 and were not part of the anniversary celebration for the series.
They also take up about half of the hard drive space that the entire Command and Conquer 10th Anniversary Edition DVD does. This is due, in part, to better graphics and more levels in each game. An avid strategy gamer can expect what makes each series unique in each title and they will get the chance to command some of their favorite characters and units again. Now that you have learned some rather unimportant trivia about the history of one of the most popular real time strategy series, you should go play one of the games instead. (Follow this link if you're stuck on Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3.) Xbox 360 owners can also experience the latest release, Tiberium Wars on the Xbox 360 console.
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Author's Personal Experience
Command and Conquer Red Alert, Tiberium Wars, Red Alert 3 and Generals Screen Shots