It is 1995. There is a sense of sheer excitement as your PC boots up. The good old 486 with a massive 4MB of RAM. No Windows, just MS-DOS. However, it is not the PC that is important, but the game that is loading up. The iconic Command & Conquer – also known as Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun… if you ever bothered to call it that.
If nostalgia works the way it should, this memory would remind you of one of the greatest games of the 90s. It was revolutionary and the start of a commercially successful franchise, and established Real-Time Strategy (RTS) as an important genre that would be copied in years to come. Sure, Dune II laid many of the same foundations, but Command & Conquer just made it more iconic.
However, nostalgia does not always work. Sometimes what you remember is nothing like it really was. In times of remastered games, new features are added and do nothing but suspend nostalgia. Thankfully, this is not the case with the 2020 Command & Conquer Remastered Collection.
This is nostalgia revisited. It is pretty much the same game with the same cutscenes, and even the same music. It is Global Defensive Initiative (GDI) against Kane’s Brotherhood of Nod. It is base building with limited complications. Soldiers, vehicles and tiberium harvesting all feature almost exactly as they did 25 years ago.
It just comes with improved visuals and sound. Of course, the 4K visual upgrades mean that even the PC you dreamt would exist in 2000 will not cope with the game.
IN THE BOX
The Remastered release includes the games Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn, and Command & Conquer: Red Alert. It also comes packed with three expansions — Command and Conquer: The Covert Operations, Red Alert: Counterstrike, and Red Alert: The Aftermath. All the content has been given the same love and attention in the update.
These updates — outside of the graphics — include a number of options to fine-tune old and new features to ensure the perfect gameplay experience. There is a new build-queue mechanic, and the option to fully configure your mouse buttons.
Players can tweak pretty much any of the new mechanics, the game speed, key-bindings, and more. Almost every element is customisable. If you want, you can choose to enjoy the original lo-fi sound samples and pixelated graphics.
The Remastered Collection comes packed with a bonus gallery. This brings to life behind-the-scenes videos and images. It offers a fun and entertaining insight on the birth of elements from the game.
The FMV cutscenes still look like something from the turn of the century. You can only sandpaper and polish those original low-resolution videos so much before they are the best they can be… which is not great if I am honest.
However, I cannot reiterate enough that the soundtrack and almost everything else remains fantastic. For this old grump, reliving the series brought a real moment of happiness in this crazy world and time.
The gameplay in Command & Conquer was always key however. In essence, this remains unchanged and familiar. Build your base and units, and dominate the enemy across a variety of campaigns and skirmishes. Of course, resources are key, and Command & Conquer had you harvesting tiberium to build your way to success. However, how you approach that success is always up to you. Do you sit back and build a massive force to sweep across the map? Or send out scouting units who may take out enemies and expose their base before succumbing to a bloody or explosive end?
New players should be warned that Command & Conquer is more simple than modern RTS releases. It also stops taking itself too seriously after Tiberium Sun… although it was never serious even then.
If you missed the games way back when, grab it, play it and enjoy it. These remasters are both satisfying for nostalgists and new players alike. It is still a game which is simple to play but difficult to master. And they remain great games.