The moment your man fires the first bullet, you'll be drawn into the world of brutal fighting that is the Tiberian Dawn.

User Rating: 9.8 | Command & Conquer (EA Classics) PC
Westwood Games’ real time strategy game Command and Conquer (known to some people as “Tiberian Dawn”) is the game that has probably influenced the genre more than any other. First released in 1995, Command and Conquer combines the thrill of epic storylines, the excitement of unpredictable real time strategy, and the best gameplay of its time, to produce an instant classic that will be played by gamers for years to come.

Command and Conquer is set in an alternate future – a world divided into two groups vying for power over of Europe and Africa. In the early 2000s, the 2 major powers: the GDI (Global Defence Initiative) and NOD (full name: The Brotherhood of Nod), are fighting across the 2 continents, struggling to control the peoples and resources of the world, as well as the mysterious substance called Tiberium, that could be the key to the Earth’s future – or it’s destruction.

Command and Conquer was unique at the time of release, in that it allows you to play as either side in the war: GDI or NOD. Each one has their own style of fighting, from GDI’s technological superiority to the brute force of the NOD war-machine. In each case, the player can use their side’s strengths (and weaknesses) to their own advantage: you are not restricted simply by your units and structures, only by how you use them. But even so, both sides have a huge arsenal of weapons at their disposal: from the lowly but vital Rifle Infantry, to hordes of Tanks rolling across the battlefield, to the massively-fun-to-watch A-10 napalm Air-Strikes, and even Nuclear Missiles. The only part missing from the battlefield is full control of naval powers (although boats do make an odd appearance from time to time, you can never actually control them. Thankfully, this was remedied in the next C&C - Red Alert).
Whichever side the player picks, Command and Conquer features an absorbing 13-15 mission (that’s about 15 to 20 hours gameplay) single-player campaign for both GDI and NOD, centred on control of an entire continent (as GDI, you fight in Europe, and as NOD, in Africa). Missions take place on a variety of different maps (although these are slightly restricted by the mildly out-of-date graphics). But you get a sense of the different areas of battle: from the green meadows of central Europe to the burning deserts of Africa.

The game is seemingly basic at first - you build buildings and troops while gathering funds for your war-effort, and then proceed to wipe the enemy off the map. The learning curve is comparatively short compared to some games: the controls are simple enough to use: mouse for moving and attacking units, and for building and placing structures, and the keyboard for the small number of hotkeys and control-groups. By the time you get to the 4th or 5th mission, you should have done learning – and can then really enjoy the game without worrying about pressing the wrong key or moving the wrong man. Along the way as you play more missions, you are introduced first to your basic units and structures - rifle infantry, the Construction Yard, Power Plants and Barracks – but will soon receive better and more powerful units and structures - the Mammoth Tank and the Temple of Nod. But don't rush through the campaign just to get those better units - the early skirmishes and gameplay are invaluable unless you want to spend months on end trying to beat the AI on the later levels.

However, there are a few small and at first, unnoticeable problems that the experienced player will pick up on - most notably the sheer dumbness of the AI on some levels compared to recent-day games. But what it lacks in intelligence, it makes up for during the course of the whole campaign - the depth of the gameplay is astounding. At first, you may think that the AI is leaving you alone to build up and take the fight to it, but before long you will be fighting 3 or 4 completely unconnected battles on 3 or 4 different fronts, and just one of these battles could turn the mission in the enemy's favour. And unlike many other real-time strategy games, what you do in one battle will affect the whole war - this is shown clearly in black and white (or rather, red and gold) on the world strategy map at the end of each mission - what you win or lose in one battle affects where you fight next, who you fight against, and what your mission objectives are. This produces a huge array of missions that range from a lone commando unit being hunted by the entire Nod army, up to vast battles on the ground, with sprawling bases at your - and the enemy's - disposal.

New players of Command and Conquer will immediately see that the graphics in the game are seemingly obsolete, thanks to the advent of fully-rendered 3D graphics. (In 1995 when C&C was first released, the graphics were state-of-the-art. But don't be fooled by its dated look - surprisingly few people have a problem with the early-generation graphics; such is the game's overall popularity. And it’s not just the in-game graphics: one of the best aspects of Command and Conquer is the use of cut-scenes between the missions to keep you going through the storyline – which actually makes sense, considering it is a war-game. This feature was still in its early stages at the time of C&C – there are few cutscenes that are more than a talking head detailing your next mission, but all the same, it makes the fight seem more personal – you are actually a part of it. (The cutscenes were once again improved greatly for C&C Red Alert).

The sound in the original Command and Conquer is awesome - some incredible soundtracks play while you batter your opponent, and they all add to the war-game feel by, if you like, "encouraging you" to kill, maim and generally beat the enemy until their end. Particularly, I’d recommend the track called “Warfare” – speaks for itself really!

This game almost single-handedly brought the Real Time Strategy genre into the limelight, and although it lacks such things as reliable multiplayer and skirmish / random map gameplay that are the staple gameplay in more recent games, this game paved the way for others such as Dawn of War, Rise of Nations, and of course the rest of the C&C Universe. But if you want to feel the classic action, and be part of the birth of Real Time Strategy, buy this game and get your money's worth out of it (it isn't hard!).

The moment your man fires the first bullet, you'll be drawn into the world of brutal fighting that is the Tiberian Dawn.
The world will be yours to Command and Conquer.