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Command and Conquer Generals: Zero Hour
Although the game itself is a bit dated Command and Conquer Generals Zero Hour strategies are far more varied than what you'll usually see in a PC RTS game these days, and overall it rewards players who take the time to consider their next move. To maximize your ability to keep pace and dominate the battlefield, here are some strategies and techniques to use in online and practice matches.
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Command and Conquer Classic: The Tank Rush
The Tank Rush is an old standby in Command and Conquer. Generals: Zero Hour strategies tend to discourage simplicity when launching attacks, but even in this more sophisticated game there are times when a good mass of tanks is the best solution to your problems.
The thing to remember is this: the USA should not tank rush. The GLA should not tank rush. China should try at least one tank rush. The Paladins and Crusaders of the USA are too expensive to waste, and the Scorpions and Marauders of the GLA need serious upgrading before they can hold their own. China has both the Battlemaster, which receives a bonus in hordes, and the Overlord, which while slow can mount a gatling gun, or bunker for 5 soldiers, or a propaganda tower that can heal other tanks.
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Command and Conquer Generals: Zero Hour Strategies: Porcupine
Essentially, the Porcupine (a strategy more commonly seen in games such as Total Annihilation) is one of the Command and Conquer Generals: Zero Hour Strategies that emphasizes defense. It is viable because for each faction there are resourcing options that are independent of resource stockpiles. Expanding is not necessary once you've enough Hackers, Supply Pads, or Generals Points in bounties on destroyed vehicles.
Bases can become self supporting, and restrict their offensive power to super-weapons. The key is defense in depth and mobile reserves: pick a choke point, guard it with defensive structures, but leave an open path for some fast, heavy hitters to rush out and take out any siege units who come to the party.
One particularly effective tactic for China or the GLA is to invest in siege weaponry of your own, and time force-fired nuclear artillery or scud missiles to impact every couple seconds within the choke point. Attackers will be decimated even before they enter firing range.
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A New Entry to Command and Conquer Strategies: The Siege
Command and Conquer Generals: Zero Hour strategies that emphasize sieges in the vein of the old Warcraft Tower Rush are now viable due to the ability to build anywhere on the map include several variations of The Siege.
All Sieges have one thing in common: a line of defensive structures are built close to the opposing base but just out of range of enemy defenses, backed up by armor. Next, siege units such as Tomahawk launchers, Inferno or Nuke artillery, or Scud launchers are brought forward and parked next to the defensive structures. From there, they bombard the opposing defensive lines, forcing units within the opposing base to charge into the teeth of your defensive structures. Every time there is a gap between enemy reconstruction and counterattacks, the line should be moved a little closer to the offending base.
Another method is to break some construction units into the opposing base and build defensive structures, creating in effect a siege from the inside out
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Ultimate Command and Conquer Strategy: Super-Weapons
Many Zero Hour matches end in a giant contest to determine which player can build the most super-weapons the fastest. Super-weapons strategies are simple: build as many as quickly as possible, and use them on the enemy every time they come available.
However an effective counter to this strategy is a strategy in and of itself. Super-weapons are expensive and require major investments in power in order to be sustained. They've also got to be defended while building, and both power and defense require resources that could otherwise fund offensive forces. Command and Conquer Generals: Zero Hour strategies that emphasize expansion, raiding, and focused strikes can be incredibly effective counters. Taking over as many resource stockpiles as possible, launching harassment air strikes on prerequisite buildings and resource gatherers, and in the GLA's case, the use of rebel ambushes and tunnel sneak attacks on the super-weapons themselves can frustrate and negate a super-weapon focused base.
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Command and Conquer Generals: Zero Hour Missions
A number of Challenge missions ship with Command and Conquer Generals: Zero Hour. Missions in this case mean going up against an optimized pre-constructed base run by an AI general that will mock you at every turn and strike your most vulnerable structures and units.
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Zero Hour Challenge Missions: USA Generals
- General Townes - Laser Technology
Laser Technology is power intensive, but devastating both on offense and defense. General Townes specialization converts Crusader tanks to Laser Crusaders, and Patriot Defenses to Laser Patriots. These target infantry and armor equally effectively, and the Patriot Defenses smash aircraft and incoming missiles.
Hit his power structures, and both his base defenses and tanks go offline. The best way to fight him is to Porcupine up, and build super-weapons.
- General Alexander - Super-Weapons
She has specialized her particle cannons and Aurora Bombers, and her Patriot defenses have been upgraded to EMP Patriots. Attacking vehicles are disabled by the Patriots and aircraft are instantly destroyed, so this is one of the tougher Command and Conquer Generals: Zero Hour missions.
Your best bet is to get infantry as close to the particle cannons as possible. Use helicopters screened by other aircraft to draw fire or the GLA rebel ambush get some infantry next to a particle cannon and have them try to capture it. Within a few seconds she'll sell the structure.
- General Granger - Airpower
General Granger is probably the easiest of the USA generals to take on, but do not underestimate him. Raptors, Comanches, and Stealth Fighters are cheap, more durable, armed with additional missiles and lasers to shoot down incoming missiles.
Build bullet or laser based anti aircraft weapons in large numbers, and advance slowly to his base. Don't count on static structures or super-weapons here, he'll destroy them. But get close, apply constant pressure, and you'll beat one of the easiest of the Command and Conquer Generals: Zero Hour missions.
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Chinese General Challenges
- Tsing Shi Tao - Nuclear Weapons
This General can be a tough nut to crack, because his three nuclear missile silos are more than enough to wipe many bases out in short order. Approaches to his base are sealed by overlord tanks firing radioactive shells and nuclear artillery cannons. Striking his power reserves are also fairly ineffective as each power plant produces quite a lot of juice.
Hit him with airstrikes or sneak attacks inside his base. A particularly effective strategy is to break some construction units into one section of his sprawling base and build a second base. Effectively a siege from the inside out, if he tries to nuke the expansion he'll destroy his own structures.
- Ta Hun Kwai - Heavy Tanks
Probably the most annoying of the Command and Conquer Generals: Zero Hour missions you'll face. He blathers quite a bit about making the ground run red with blood, crushing under tanks, etc. He is equipped with cheaper and highly upgraded Overlord tanks but he never sends them at you in large numbers.
Build adequate defenses, and if you're GLA get Jarmin Kell. He can snipe the crew out of the upgraded Overlords, and then they're your toys.
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GLA Cell Leaders: Command and Conquer Generals: Zero Hour Missions
- Dr. Thrax - Toxins
Thrax talks a big game, and his defenses are hard to break through at the outset of a game. But toxins are nothing special with the GLA - expect the usual Anthrax armed Scuds plus some toxin spewing infantry and tractors.
Fighting Thrax is fairly simple - don't use infantry, do use aircraft, and optimally build Stinger Sites, Gatling Turrets, or Patriots to shoot down Scuds and attacking bio-bombers. Then use airpower or sneak attacks to get into his base and destroy his Palace.
- Prince Kassad - Stealth
Taking on Kassad is basically the same as taking on your standard GLA cell without having to face Scuds (aside from ScudStorms) Expect to have a lot of invisible units getting close to your base, supported by rebel ambushes and tunnel sneak attacks.
Defend yourself by scattering defenses that detect stealthed units liberally through your base, then counterattack with super-weapons. Remember that his structures will be invisible, so make use of radar scans to seek and destroy.