"But mecha-neko, Command & Conquer is a real time strategy game! Have you completely lost your mind?"
No, young hypothetical person, I have not gone insane! This is Command & Conquer: Renegade, the FPS spin-off game where you play as the Commando unit! The very same Commando unit from those awful, frustrating missions where you don't get a base and you have to keep all your units alive.
It'll be all I can do to not just walk under the tracks of the first tank I see just to spite the bastard.
Nod soldiers pop out of their elevated positions and slaughter the GDI troops before they can react! What, or indeed who, could stop such carnage?
A Commando is a good idea against the infantry, but he's going to be splattered by that Nod tank!
They keep pouring out of the caves and standing idly on these ledges. This doesn't seem to be the pistol that the Commando has in C&C but I'm not complaining because it does the job.
When all the soldiers have been defeated, the helicopter explodes. I guess we must have had a rocketman somewhere.
Although this looks really cool it was the Engineers who destroyed the barrier, not me. Confident little bugger didn't even bother to get clear of the charge before setting it off.
There's a GDI Orca helicopter flying about shooting missiles, a Nod Chinook dropping more reinforcements to defend the Tiberium Harvester that you can't see for the explosion. On my side, there's another tank and a Hum-Vee sitting around like idiots getting shot by Nod Rocket troops.
With most of the GDI COs injured, I'm now leading the force to find the Nod base, which must be nearby due to the appearance of the Tiberium Harvester.
The Obelisk is a great big laser tower that destroys anything that comes within a few hundred metres of it. The red light on its tip means it's charging and it's about to fire. There's a loud ZAOUM and the Medium Tank to my right is annihilated. I can't do anything!
There's a moment of silence, some glowy blue particles, and then the GDI Commander lets loose the Ion Cannon! Cutscene complete!
Gosh, that was fun. Sure it was 90% cutscene and 10% me trying to find where the heck the Nod soldiers were hiding, but it was just the prologue. It gets you used to both the on-foot and vehicle controls and it has some explosions in it.
Where the hell did the Mammoth Tank come from anyway? Maybe we were the suicide squad that gets sent into the blackness after all and there was a GDI base a short walk away with the player hammering the Medium Tank button... Building Unit Ready Building Unit Ready Building Unit Ready Building Unit Ready.
Nick 'Havoc' Parker doesn't know the meaning of subtlety. Sadly there's no FMV in Renegade. I'd have loved to see the bizarre discontinuity between seeing Havoc as a 2002-era crappy, bucket-headed 3D video game character in-game and seeing him as a real guy in desperately serious cutscenes, but what can you do. Neither me or Havoc pay much attention here until Brigadier General Locke says the magic word.
"THEY'RE TORTURING CIVVIES! WE CAN'T WAIT SIX HOURS!"
Havoc runs out the door, steals a hovercraft and heads off to liberate Nod occupied EXTREME MACHISMO.
"If he survives, I'll pin a medal on him. Then I'll have him shot."
THAT'S your radar? Looks like some shitty computer game to me.
Why did they even bother?
TSK TSK, where's that white tank gone?
First up, shoot all the Nod guys that are stuck halfway inside the walls of the GDI base structures, then find where the base commander himself has gone.
Blimey these structures are BIG. Bigger than they seemed in C&C. Takes a couple of minutes to walk around the entire Construction Yard.
The Commander of this base is hiding in the shack to the right. LIKE A COWARD. My reward for rescuing him is a bunch of Ion Cannon targeting modules. I can chuck them at a structure and the Ion Cannon will then fire on it. Sounds great, but it sounds rather dangerous if I have to be next to the thing I want to destroy.
SHOGO, you can change between the two at any time on foot, but in Renegade, vehicle controls are always done in third person.
Havoc's absolutely useless against this blockade of Nod tanks. If only there was a scripted event here to clear the way.
Thanks, EVA. You're awesome as always.
Time for some C4!
Don't mind if I do.
What the hell am I doing?
That GDI base is pretty pathetic. It's got a Construction Yard and a Power Plant, a couple of Guard Towers and that's it. No Barracks, no War Factory, nothing that can produce units. It's not even doing a very good job of defending the accessible shore to the South as there's another one on the West side. Sell that base and hope you get an Engineer out of it. (I'm kidding. I can't build or use structures (as far as I know). I'm not the Commander, I'm just Some Bloke.)
This didn't happen in C&C. Well, that's the end of that Tank. I can't push it over and it's losing armour points rapidly. Bang. It's dead.
Don't try to drive up steep walls, kids.
The way forward was blocked by those diabolical X shaped things anyway, so it's fine.
This sniper rifle's only really useful at very long range, when you can't use the LMG. There's a massive delay between shots, so I'm losing health like crazy here.
Why can't every sniper rifle be the PSG-1 from the Metal Gear Solid series? (Or the pistol from Red Faction?)
Back to the pistol!
Too late. This one's dead. Argh!
It's not a mission failure, so I continue.
Well, none of my weapons are having any effect. I could use C4, but I can only throw it a short distance. I'd have to walk across the tiberium to get to the Harvester.
It takes several charges and I'm left with single digit health, but the Harvester is destroyed. DON'T NEVER SAY CAN'T.
Unlike Contract JACK, the levels are big enough so that there's a chance for me to find cover before they fire, but the enemy are much better shots at long range than I am.
I'm not sure these are real men, they disappear shortly after I kill them. Are they holograms or, worse, GHOSTS...?
Destroying the Hand is a secondary objective, which means plentiful bonuses upon its destruction!
I'll chuck a block of C4 on the master computer here and run like hell.
I'm going to dive in and have a look around.
Not half shabby for just $300!
You can also shatter the glass by walking into it. Havoc must shoulder barge everywhere like Wario. Alright, let's blow this place up one last time and move on.
Destroying the SAM Site outside beforehand got me a couple of GDI soldiers who've been completely unhelpful this entire time. I try to activate them to get them to follow me but they refuse to leave the Hand before I destroy it. Their loss.
If hundreds of Nod soldiers can survive the explosion, these guys should as well.
And where is everyone? What's the point of having so many desks if nobody's going to man them?
"Why do you interrupt me, GDI?" (doesn't sound like Kane)
"I GOT A PRESENT FOR YA!"
I leave the building and detonate the C4, reducing the Comm. Center to a smoking, completely intact building. Gotta take this C4 back to the shop and get it checked, it's nowhere near up to snuff.
I think there's some kind of scale problem here. It makes more sense if you consciously suppress everything you see and pretend you've just saved hundreds of people instead.
"Conflict of interest? No, heh heh. I got INTEREST in CONFLICT!"
The game hasn't worn out its welcome yet, but I'm fairly certain that it's about to. I enjoyed that first proper level as it reminded me of the stand-alone Ace levels from Mercenaries. The Ace levels in Mercenaries were tense because there were no saves whatsoever within the mission; you had to complete the entire island on one life. Renegade tries to match that tension and pace with its stupid C&C-esque dance music, but it tired me out. In Mercenaries, you could order weapons and ammo at more or less any time, but here you have to earn them, which sounds like a great idea until you find that they just keep shoving useless, uncontrollable soldiers at you instead of ammunition.
Unlike Mercenaries, Renegade automatically makes a separate save whenever you complete a mission, forming a level select. Pretty sure none of these games have done that so far. I think this is pretty important.
There's nothing terribly bad about Renegade and I compared it to Mercenaries. That might be the kindest thing you might ever hear me say about a game.