Strategy & War
|Command & Conquer: Generals
September 26, 2003 | Tim Morgan
In recent years, the Macintosh real-time strategy world has been dominated by a giant by the name of Blizzard. The clear reigning champions of the Macintosh RTS arena have been Starcraft and Warcraft, and as weíve been hoarding uncountable masses of hydralisks and entangling peons with a Keep of the Grove, all the while, the name Westwood has slipped further into the collective backs of our heads.
Mac users were treated to a one-of-a-kind RTS with the introduction of Command & Conquer. With its tongue-in-cheek cutscenes featuring actors of questionable talent, its addictive techno-thumping soundtrack, and its tantalizing glimpse into a potential not-too-distant future of armed warfare, Command & Conquer was an RTS recipe that no design house other than Westwood could possibly duplicate.
And sadly, Mac users have had to watch as our PC brethren have enjoyed Red Alert, Tiberian Sun, Yuriís Revenge, and other sequels, all with the immediately-recognizable Westwood spin on RTS gaming. Itís been a long time since any Westwood RTS has made it to the Macintosh, and the announcement of C&C: Generals for Mac will surely leave Mac users, who had once lost hope for Westwood (now a part of EA Games), with a sense of revitalized enthusiasm.
Revisiting the OldC&C Generals borrows a lot from the original Command & Conquer. Smart-talking commandos, flame-throwing tanks, and hammy accents will all be back in force in the Mac version. But this game is not merely a rehash of an old formula. Westwood has blended many of the mainstays of C&C with a reborn, modernized RTS engine to give us Generals.
The premise is familiarly simple: three superpowers, locked in a war of global proportions. No other explanation is given, and none is necessary. On the heavyweight end is the United States, with its extravagant weapons of war (and their exorbitant prices), and its unmatched air capability. Strength in numbers comes by the name of China in this game, with its ability to hoard swarms of units and vehicles. For those who like to play dirty, thereís the Global Liberation Army (GLA), a fictional terrorist organization whose strengths include scavenging destroyed vehicles and usurping civilians for their own ends.
Westwood appears to have once again balanced the game appropriately. All three sides are blessed with characteristic super-weapons and super-vehicles, and while the three factions are not clones of each other, each has its obvious strengths, and thus they should prove evenly matched in battle.
RTS aficionados who have been living in the land of Blizzard for the last few years will have to re-learn many of C&Cís paradigms again (remember, use the left mouse button to attack!), but Generals seems to have borrowed a few ideas from Warcraft; the two most notable examples include the switch from a construction-center build system to a worker-unit build system, and the move from a right-aligned information bar to one spanning the bottom.