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Aspyr Media
Strategy & War
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Command & Conquer Generals: Zero Hour
February 9, 2005 | Michael Phillips

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Throughout history, weapons of war have constantly evolved. The Greeks and Romans did battle with chariots and blades. During World War I, biplanes and rifles were all the rage. World War II brought us the atomic bomb, a weapon capable of leveling an entire city with ease. During the Vietnam "police action", fire breathing tanks taught soldiers the importance of Stop, Drop and Roll. As time presses ever forward, weapons become more creative and deadly.

The same thing applies to EA Games' Command & Conquer Generals expansion pack, Zero Hour. Set to be published by the Colonels at Aspyr Media, Command & Conquer Generals Zero Hour adds 30 new units and 20 new upgrades, as well as 3 new single-player campaigns, visual enhancements and an entirely new single-player game mode to the original Command & Conquer Generals game. So, read on as I highlight the finer points of this upcoming RTS expansion.

A Fictitious War
Command & Conquer Generals is already a massive real-time strategy (RTS) game, but Zero Hour will take things to the next level. Zero Hour is all about upgrades, giving players a host of new strategic options. There are new tanks, troops, bombs, technologies and even "lasers". That's right, I said, "lasers". There will be plenty of things for players to blow up and enjoy.

The first of which are the new single-player campaigns. Each of the game's 3 factions will get a 5 mission long campaign, for a total of 15 new single-player missions. Each campaign will expand on the ongoing war between the forces of the USA, China and the terrorists known as the Global Liberation Army (GLA). The GLA: Liberating the world through terror since 1994. Players should find these new campaigns both fun and challenging. None of the missions will present players with the typical build here, kill there formula, but rather will give players unique missions with various objectives. For example, one of the GLA missions will involve escorting a GLA leader's armored limousine to a local airport for a quick escape. Another interesting mission will involve leading a group of U.S. soldiers to dismantle GLA fortifications through stealth and covert technology. For instance, Zero Hour will give players the use of Microwave Tanks, a unit capable of literally cooking electrical systems and enemy soldiers quickly and painfully. Thus, said tanks will be perfect for quietly shutting down key enemy positions. China's missions center around recapturing abandoned USA posts from GLA insurgents. One of the campaign's more unique missions will pit players against an onslaught of suicide bombers Hell bent on bringing down a Chinese nuclear reactor. GLA supporters give an entirely new meaning to the phrase, "take one for the team".

We Have Weapons Of Mass-Destruction, Honest!
As I mentioned, Zero Hour will introduce players to 30 brand new weapons of war, as well as 20 new military upgrades. I will now list each one and then discuss it in a 5 paragraph essay format. So, fetch some hot cocoa or Mountain Dew because... I'm totally kidding! I'm only going to use the less popular 4 paragraph essay format, but I digress.

Players who choose the USA will find that they're all about technology, particularly lasers. The Avenger, for example, uses lasers to "paint" ground and air targets. Once painted, the unfortunate target is more susceptible to fire from surrounding units. The Avenger can also down aircraft with its laser weaponry. Speaking of aircraft, USA players will also have access to the Countermeasures upgrade. When upgraded with appropriate Countermeasures, US aircraft can deftly avoid anti-aircraft fire, such as heat-seeking missiles. US soldiers in Zero Hour will also gain the ability to don Chemical Suits, which act as a buffer against the GLA's multitude of bio-weaponry.

Chinese players will gain several new upgrades and weaponry. For instance, the ECM Tank has the ability to disrupt the tracking systems of incoming missiles. Chinese Neutron Mines kill unsuspecting soldiers while leaving buildings and vehicles undamaged. Neat trick, eh? Chinese Generals also gain the ability to Carpet Bomb a designated target area.

GLA fans will also have plenty of new toys of terror. The new Combat Cycle is an inexpensive and highly maneuverable vehicle that's perfect for reconnaissance and mowing down enemies on foot. The GLA Battle Bus is a heavily reinforced civilian vehicle that provides for mobile assaults, as well as stationary cover for the troops within. Camo Netting acts as the perfect disguise for GLA Tunnel Networks and Stinger Sites.

Shiny Happy People Blowing Up
Zero Hour will give players 25 new multiplayer maps which boast new weather efforts, such as thunder, rain and lightning. Zero Hour further introduces an entirely different single-player mode called Generals Challenge. In the Generals Challenge, players do battle against one of nine A.I. Generals, each with their own strategies and specialties. For instance, Chinese General Tao is a nuclear specialist, while USA General Townes specializes in laser weaponry. General Townes' base is surrounded by a host of laser cannons, making assaults quite a chore. Of course, it only takes one successful nuke drop to make a fine powder out of those fancy laser cannons. The various Generals will also verbally taunt and otherwise make fun of opposing players. Depending on their opponent's specialty, players will have to adjust their strategy accordingly.

I Love Explosions
Anyone who currently enjoys Command & Conquer Generals should absolutely look forward to Zero Hour. Even in its beta form, Zero Hour ran splendidly on my Dual 2 GHz G5 and ATI Radeon X800. Sure, Zero Hour won't require an X800, but remember, an X800 never hurts. Basically, anybody who can comfortably run Command & Conquer Generals should have no trouble with Zero Hour. This indeed is one expansion that packs quite a kick, so look for Command & Conquer Generals Zero Hour soon from Aspyr Media.

Command & Conquer Generals: Zero Hour
Publisher: Aspyr Media
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