If you're a strategy fan and don't already own a copy of Command & Conquer, you've got it easy when it comes to deciding whether or not to buy the new Gold Edition of the award-winning classic. Because you haven't already spent $40 or $50 on the original Command & Conquer, you needn't worry whether or you should shell out another $45 or $50 for Windows 95 support, SVGA graphics, head-to-head Internet play, and a Command & Conquer Theme Pack (animated icons, wallpaper, and sound effects); after all, you're buying the game, not the extras. So you'll buy the Gold Edition and love it - case closed.
But what if you're one of the hundreds of thousands of users who already own the DOS version of Command & Conquer? Is it really worth $30 or $40 bucks (owners of the DOS version get a $10 rebate) for the enhancements? For gamers uninterested in multiplayer action, the answer is probably "no." The new graphics are a big improvement, but they're not enough to get you excited about fighting the same single-player battles over again. But if you're into multiplayer C&C, it's probably worth the investment.
Take the SVGA graphics, for instance. It would be easy to dismiss them as eye candy, but the truth is they allow you to see four times as much of the map as in the DOS version - giving you a decided edge when competing against players using the old C&C. And with the addition of Westwood Chat support, C&C fans have another venue for finding opponents and playing tournaments or ladder games. Setting up a game over Westwood Chat is about as easy as Internet gaming gets, and there are always plenty of opponents looking for action.
The one complaint many will have with the Gold Edition is price. Westwood has made a ton of money (and justifiably so) off the sales of Command & Conquer; to ask Command & Conquer owners to pay almost full price for an SVGA upgrade, Internet play, and Theme Pack is a bit much. New users will find the investment well worth it, but the company could create a lot more goodwill among their loyal fans by upping that rebate by five or ten bucks, or simply creating an upgrade. Especially when you consider that serious C&C players will consider those SVGA graphics essential for staying competitive in their multiplayer matches.