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It is finally here, it has been delayed and delayed by Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun was finally released in stores on the 26th/27th of August 1999.
Installation & Settings
Westwood are well known for designing their own install programs with their game releases. Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun is no exception. Autoplay kicks in with an animated menu asking you if you would like to install the game or explorer the CD. I clicked on Install and followed the instructions through, once I had entered the serial number off of the CD I was asked to choose the install method, most of you won't need to change a thing as everything is setup for the best performance, but the option does include installing the music and sound files onto your hard-drive instead of running them off of the CD.
Once installed you can check out the readme, or launch the actual game. I glanced through the readme file but there was nothing that concerned me so I loaded up the game. On another note before I start on about the options, just as in the last two Command & Conquer games the game comes on two CD's one for the GDI (Global Defense Initiative) and one for NOD, the game can be run off of either, but the cutscenes are different on each CD.
Once the game loads you are greeted by a number of options, they go as follows:
The first thing I did was load up the options menu and setup the game with my graphics card (The G400). Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun allows resolutions from 600x480 up to 800x600. I changed the game to 800x600 and clicked ok. Once that was done I was ready to start my first game. I clicked on New Campaign, selected the Global Defense Initiative and the first bit of full motion video kicked in.
The introduction video lasts around 3 minutes, once that is out of the way it is onto the first mission.
I know many of you have played Command & Conquer but I'll write this introduction from the view of someone who hasn't. Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun is a real time strategy game (RTS) it involves you moving troops around a "3D" battlefield. On the battlefield you need to build up your forces to beat the enemy, you build up your forces by creating various buildings such as Tiberium Refineries, Harvesters to collect up the tiberium which in turn brings in more money for more vehicles, troops and buildings.
As mentioned before, each mission is played across a large scale battlefield, storms, fires and ice are all part and parcel of each mission both hindering and helping you out. Level design is superb throughout the whole of Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun.
The new "3D" terrain manages to really enhance the gameplay over the original Command & Conquer, vehicles and troops take longer to travel up hills or mountains, ice is harder to walk on and using your weapons on the enemy is now harder due to ground level differences. Bridges and new units also help to make this a worthy purchase over Command & Conquer.
It is very rare these days to see a game come out that doesn't require a patch as soon as it is released, I guess 3 years in the making helped greatly. Anyone expecting a completely new game though will be disappointed as you won't find one here, but what you will find is the excellent gameplay of Command & Conquer refined to the limit.
The graphics do their job, but they are not as advanced as some of us had hoped. The terrain is excellent with a lot of detail, but the blocky voxel graphics do look a little out of place on top of it. Some people will complain about the lack of multiple resolutions as 800x600 is the highest supported resolution (1024x768 or higher is available though, if you edit the sun.ini file yourself), but when you play the game at the higher resolutions that are not supported, you can understand why, the text is too small, troops are too small to see etc so it isn't really a problem.
The cutscenes are a big improvement over the original game with far higher production values. James Earl Jones and Michael Biehn both overact and the dialogue is poor but what do you expect in a computer game?
Sound & Music
Overall the sound is very good, explosions and gunshots all sound realistic despite not supporting any special features such as Creative's EAX, the only real problem is with the music, it is nowhere near the quality of the first two games, it ends up just being plain dull. Thankfully it can be switched off without trouble.
The game hasn't changed too much from Command & Conquer, it has the same style and feel but it has been refined to the limit. The graphics are dated but in my view it is the gameplay that matters most and the gameplay is still just as first-rate. Evolutionary not revolutionary.
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