Games: Command and Conquer: Generals

This game is already playable, but devel­oper Westwood is sitting out the Christmas bloodbath of big releases, working towards a launch in February.

In this release there are three factions: the Americans, the Chinese and the anarchic GLA (Global Liberation Alliance). Each has its own campaign and, of course, own large-scale special weapon. As the Americans you can negotiate using your heavy weapons, whereas the Chinese rely on relentless waves of soldiers. This is fine if infantry is all you’re fighting, but added vehicle support is a must if you’re to succeed against tougher foes. As the GLA you’ll be expected to think on your feet to achieve your aims and to take the surroundings into account when planning your attacks.

The C&C series has never shied away from nuclear warfare, but seven years ago graphics cards didn’t possess the power to depict a mushroom cloud in all its lethal glory. The US reaction to this aspect of the game will be interesting given the post-11 September atmosphere.

Catching up with RTS (real-time strategy) classic Ground Control, the Generals’ engine is fully 3D and has optional mouse-controlled rotation. Field unit upgrades continue in this game with the ability to add an artillery-firing drone to American tanks, for example. Paratroopers can be deployed to sterilise buildings garrisoned by the enemy. All sides have timed special weapons such as daisy cutter bombs and chemical warfare attacks. We’ll let you know whether the early promise results in a game that justifies the sales it is bound to get.

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer:Westwood
URL: www.westwood.ea.com

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