Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, possibly the greatest game from the C&C franchise and the greatest game to come from Westwood Studios. Hell, could even be the greatest game of the 1990′s. There are many things I could say about Tiberian Sun, before I even start playing it. But how much of my great memories are skewed? Is it now, as great an experience as I remember it being twelve years ago?
I know what you’re thinking, it’s another fanboy review. Well guess what, it is… Of all the RTS games I’ve played, this one right here has always held a special place in my heart. Because it’s the best, of the best. Command & Conquer is the greatest RTS franchise, and Tiberian Sun is the greatest game in it. At least, that’s how I remember it… I may be assuming I’m still right, but I’m tackling this one head one. For the Brotherhood!
Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun is a real-time strategy video game developed by Westwood Studios and released in 1999. The main storyline follows the second major war between the Global Defense Initiative of the United Nations, and the global terrorist organization known as the Brotherhood of Nod. The story takes place in 2030, 30 years after the GDI had won the first major war in Command & Conquer. As of February 12, 2010, Electronic Arts licensed Tiberian Sun and its expansion pack Firestorm as freeware. – Wikipedia
Tiberian Sun is the sequel to the original Command & Conquer game, now called Tiberian Dawn. It was the third C&C game released, following Red Alert. And the first game released by Westwood Studios after having been acquired by Electronic Arts. It was released ahead of schedule, by order of the EA overlords and thus had its share of bugs and incomplete content that had to be pulled from the final game. A lot of this was fixed with the release of the expansion pack Firestorm. Firestorm fixed some balance issues, added some units, as well as expanding the story beyond the main games end. And is installed for the purposes of this review.
In February of 2010, Electronic Arts released Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun as Freeware. So if you never played it before, or have simply lost your copy, you can relive the awesome. You even get the expansion pack, level editor, and a few extra goodies. You can go here to download a copy. Go ahead, I’ll wait… Good? Great, now then lets see if it’s worth installing…
Before I started playing I did some looking around to see if I could get higher screen resolutions in the game. By default Tiberian Sun only has 640×480 and 800×600. However I was able to find a way to alter the rules.ini file to allow for my current 1280×1024. This did cause a small problem with the game keeping this resolution. When starting the game its 640×480, but upon starting a skirmish or campaign the resolution would switch to 1280×1024. The only real problem with this is that loading a save would result in the game staying at the 640×480, unless I first started a new campaign. An annoying issue, but one I dealt with to enjoy the game at a better resolution. I’m not taking points off for this, I am however taking them off for not having more than two resolution options in the game.
A bout with Skirmish mode all most turns into one… It’s the mode that I love, its the mode that I hate… After completion of the GDI storyline I took the skirmish. The first match was a 1v1v1v1, me and 3 AI controlled armies:
Once the match started and I figured out where I was I aborted and restarted to get a better starting position. Repeated this four more times until I get the lower spot on Grand Canyon, the best spot for that map IMO. The match starts, I build this, and train that. Fighting the urge to lay pavement and reorganize the base layout so soon in the match. When suddenly comes three Pink-Nod Recon Bikes! My Titans make short work of them, but before the flaming tires had finished bouncing in the explosive shock wave, 4 Orange-Nod Devils Tongues pop up in the center of my base! They manage to ignite many of my troops, but again my Titans are victorious. But whats that emerging from the fog of war? Blue-Nod Buggies and Cyborg Troops! I managed to stop their advancement, but not without a small cost. Two minutes later, with only half the repair work done on the buildings and units the process starts over. As time goes by I get the extra joys of missile launches, Hunter Seeker Droids, and Artillery…
Eventually I just quit… This match, should have been an 1v1v1v1 but instead was 3v1. Not once did I see any of the other Nod armies fighting each other. The next skirmish I played included 7 AI players and myself, and within twenty minutes of playing I had been attacked by five different players. Does this make it unplayable? Not entirely, but it does make it a higher level of challenge than any of the missions in the singleplayer game. And while I am all about a good challenge, there are times where I would also like to have a more casual game. However changing the Tech Level from 10 to 9 completely changes just how aggressive the computer is against you. I did this as a test on a 1v1 match, and was only sent small trickle forces that could barely scratch the paint on my Titans. Tech Level shouldn’t affect the AI Difficulty, which was always at the same level.
Years ago, when playing this game with friends, we would set a 20 minute truce at the start of the game. This would allow us to have ample time to build suitable bases and squads. Sure, that takes some of the fun out of it, we never had the hard fight of survival at the beginnings. But we always had matches that would last hours and we always enjoyed them.
It was about this point where I suffered a major computer failure… I am in the process of getting everything back online and running. But unfortunately haven’t been able to get either Tiberian Sun or Firestorm to operate in the past week or so. I have just about gotten everything fixed, and should be able to complete my play testing and finish the final verdict of the review shortly. Therefore I will be posting “Bargain Bin Breakdown – Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun Addendum”. Which will contain the final verdict as well as the Firestorm expansion’s opinions.