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Command & Conquer: Renegade

Developer: Westwood Studios | Publisher: Electronic Arts
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 02/27/02 | Genre: FPS

Highly anticipated by fans of the Command and Conquer series and regular FPS fans, Command and Conquer: Renegade had huge expectations to meet. The C&C series is one of the most popular series in video gaming, and this game promised to make a new type of game in the C&C universe. Did it work? Yes, yes it did.

Although this game is nothing like it's predecessors in terms of game play (it's not a RTS), it definitely feels like you've been dropped right into the middle of a fight between GDI (Global Defense Initiative. For you non C&C players, these are the good guys) and the Brotherhood of Nod (The bad guys). The sound effects sound the same, there are many of the same buildings (like the Obelisk of Light, my personal favorite), and even the vehicles are recreated in full 3d. This truly adds to the feel of the game.

This game puts you in the shoes of Captain Nick "Havoc" Parker, who many will remember from the original Command and Conquer. Havoc is a loud, in-your-face commando, who plays by his own rules and will do what he sees fit. Havoc is also the most elite fighter on the GDI's side. You will need to complete about a dozen missions, ranging from "Destroy the secret Nod base" to "Rescue prisoners locked in the bottom of a boat". These missions are very long and intricate, and during them you get assistance from fellow GDI solders, huge weapons, and even such familiar vehicles as the deadly Flame Tank and the speedy Nod Buggy. These vehicles add a lot to the fun factor of the game, and also make it much easier to do battle with literally hundreds of enemy solders.

The arsenal of 23 different weapons really helps keep your interest. A once or twice a level you find a new gun, and even if it's a rocket launcher with 6 shots you'll use it on the next grunt you see just to watch how cool it will look. And it does look cool. Except for the flamethrower, but after Return to Castle Wolfenstein all FPS should just stop having them, as they can't possible match it. This game also has probably the coolest and most devastating weapon in any FPS, the holy Ion Cannon strike. It's not a gun, but a beacon that targets a deadly Independence Day-istic beam to shoot down and kill almost every thing close to it. If you've just planted it, you better get the hell out of there. The vehicles also are extremely fun to drive. You don't even have to bother shooting at the solders, just run them over in your Mammoth Tank. Delicious.

The AI of friendly and enemy solders is mediocre. Although the enemy solders do a good job for the most part of dodging bullets, often they wont notice you if your sniping and miss their head by a millimeter or if your behind them and fire your gun at them. Also, they don't seem to care if you've set an explosive next to them and it's about to go off. This takes away from the realism. And friendly solders are good at fighting for the most part, except that they all usually get slaughtered in about a minute of fighting. Maybe the developers were trying to show that you really are an elite solder. This game also has a slight bug problem. Often when I'm in the middle of a huge firefight my gun will suddenly aim as low as possible, causing me to only see the floor, and after a couple seconds seeing the Game Over screen. And often my gun will just keep firing without me pushing the fire button, wasting all of my ammo for a weapon, and even when I change weapons it still keeps firing, proving that it's not just some advanced gun-jamming feature. And this is just a minor gripe, but if you fire at the sky after a few seconds it will hit the "roof" and blow up without hitting anything.

The graphics of this game are OK, but nothing special. The characters are sort of choppy, and the cut scenes don't look good at all. And often when there are many enemies onscreen you can see the frame rates dip into the teens, even on my new 1.8 gigs P4.

However, the multiplayer is where this game really shines. It feels exactly like an old C&C skirmish, complete with characters and vehicles. And to win in this mode, you need to treat it like a skirmish: using strategy, and not just running up and shooting at everything with a rifle. The maps are also expertly designed, and are fun for everyone. The appeal of this mode lasts much longer than it takes to beat the full game.

Despite the flaws, this game is very fun. Fans of the series will have a great time driving around in Humm-vees, using Chemical Sprayers, and blowing up Nod scum. It is a bit short though; after 10 hours you've beaten the single player. But the multiplayer will last you at least 20 hours. Even multiplayer verses the computer is fun for those without a good Internet connection. So, I would have to give this game a B+ overall.

By Anthony Stagg - 03/24/02
ESRB Details: Mild Violence, Suggestive Themes
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Screenshots for Command & Conquer: Renegade

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