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Reviewed: Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun: Firestorm
Author: Chris Kim       Date: April 3rd 2000
Page: 2

The follow-up to the latest Command and Conquer game is Firestorm. This new expansion set adds several new features and enhancements to the already solid Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun game. This review will not cover the aspects already covered in the original review of Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun, but rather just the new features and enhancements found within the expansion pack.

When the original Command and Conquer was released back in 1995, many heralded the game as one of the best of all time, not for its innovative graphics or sound, but for the depth and engaging gameplay it provided the player. It provided one of the best real time strategy gameplay elements to the world for the first time. Soon afterward, Red Alert was released, following the similar Command and Conquer gameplay style, added even more craze towards the real time strategy genre and Command and Conquer series. Soon after, the sequel to Command and Conquer was announced, however, due to many delays, the game took four full years to develop. The final product was Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun, which was criticized by the media for not bringing anything new to the genre, but the gameplay itself was solid by bring back the tried and true gameplay of the original Command and Conquer. Despite what the media said, the gamers still flocked to the game and sold well over two million copies.

Recovering the Spacecraft
That's a Unique Monster
Unhappy Civilians

So what is exactly is changed in this expansion pack? Included are eighteen new missions, seven new units, three new upgrades, and many new multiplayer enhancements. As with the original game, the missions are divided up nine to each side of the war, both GDI and NOD forces back at it. Proceeding the original game with many FMV sequences, Firestorm adds new FMV sequences that unravel the storyline to the player. The new storyline takes place right after Tiberian Sun where NOD was left devastated and GDI trying to recuperate from the devastation of the Tiberium attacks. Kane is dead, and the replacement for the NOD has been added. The story picks up from there. The new units make a very smooth transition into Tiberian Sun and the rest of the gameplay. Rather than disturbing the natural strategies, the new units add some unique strategies that can be used in the battle, same goes for the upgrades. Some of the added multiplayer components are crucial and add a lot to the seemingly lackluster multiplayer of the original Tiberian Sun.

Along with the new additions to the game, two of the features stand out most. The most obvious is the continued saga between the warring nations of The Brotherhood of Nod and the Global Defense Initiation. Through eighteen missions, the battles between the troubled sides continue on, further developing the deep and rich world of Command and Conquer. If you played the original Tiberian Sun, you would recall that NOD was left in shambles and GDI was scrambling to defeat the Tiberium mutated monsters that emerged from the Tiberium, the story picks up right at that point. GDI continues to battle the Tiberium monsters, while NOD at the same time is using the Tiberium monsters to fight against the GDI. Fans of the series will appreciate the new plot with the leader of NOD, Kane, dead, and see what progresses on further.

Recovery of CABAL
Genesis--Tiberium Acceleration Field
Tiberium Monsters Attack

Most of the new single player missions are very well designed and are a lot of fun to play. While some of them are the basic destroy the enemy and recover items missions, there are a few unique missions that haven't been seen before. One mission that stands out is one where the NOD was to lure Tiberium mutated monsters out of the Tiberium concentration zones and use them against the GDI to destroy them. This must be accomplished while being undetected by the GDI. It's the missions like this one that makes the game so much more enjoyable to play. Because gamers are expected to already know Tiberian Sun pretty well, the missions are very difficult from the start.

Quite obviously, new units would be introduced in an expansion pack. Included in this package are a few units for each side along with a few upgrades. Many of the units are more than just simple power units that destroy everything in sight, they have a distinct and fresh purpose that makes various tasks in the game a world better. Units such as the Mobile EMP Cannon for GDI allows units to give a small shockwave that will temporarily disable any mechanical units in an area. Another similar unit is the Mobile Stealth Generator. Just as the name tends to say, this unit allows the player to cloak units that surround the unit. One extremely powerful unit is the Reaper, which as the name tends to show, is a killer. This NOD unit fits perfectly with the dark atmosphere of the NOD with extremely powerful rocket launchers that can cause some major devastation to an area. All these units, unlike some games, integrate quite well into the rest of the game and don't cause any major problems the flow of the game.

"Infected" Truck
Random Maps
Reaper Not to be Messed With

Some people complained about the lack of strong multiplayer options in the game. Thankfully, many new multiplayer options have been added to Firestorm. Most significantly is the addition of the World Domination Tour, or WDT for short. This new feature is a massive dynamic online battle to conquer land of a place that looks very similar to the United States. These stations are setup in various locations, and then the battlefield and dominating control shifts dynamically as people who choose to play a certain side take control and dominate areas, the borders of power will shift. This dynamic battlefield adds a lot of depth to the existing multiplayer game. Another feature added is the much improved random map generator, which not only adds the new tilesets, but also adds many new controls to modify and manipulate the environment. This added manipulation of the environment allows for even more random created maps and some very interesting levels as well.

Aside from the multiplayer and new campaign, there really isn't much else new in the game. Almost all of the graphics, sounds, AI, and interface remain unchanged for the most part. The game screen is still limited to the smallish 800x600 resolution and no new special effects were added. For the new units that were added to the game, such as the Juggernaut, is very well animated. The other new mutated Tiberium monsters also add a unique twist to that game that dramatically affects the game. Some of the pathfinding issues in the original game have been flattened out, and therefore the pathfinding is improved. If an object is in the way of a unit's path, and is destroyable, will attack and get rid of the object. Parts of the interface still remain archaic and might not be as nice for users of more refined interfaces.

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Added:  Monday, April 03, 2000
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Score:
Page: 2/4

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