Command & Conquer
(a.k.a. Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn
) is a 1995 real-time strategy video game
produced by Westwood Studios
and released internationally by Virgin Interactive
. It was the first of twelve games to date to be released under the title Command & Conquer
; six subsequent titles having since continued the story set as sequels
with one acting as a prequel
, along with the production of several spin-off
games. Met with universal acclaim by consumers and critics, Command & Conquer
was released for seven separate platforms
along with becoming the initiator of the Command & Conquer franchise
, and today generally is considered as the title which originally defined and popularized the modern real-time strategy genre.
Set in an alternative history Earth within the year 1995, Command & Conquer tells the story of two globalized factions; the Global Defense Initiative of the United Nations, and the ancient quasi-cult, quasi-state organization known as the Brotherhood of Nod, becoming locked in a mortal struggle for control over a mysterious resource known as Tiberium.
The original Command & Conquer is widely referred to as Tiberian Dawn, in order to distinguish between this game and the extensive franchise it has spawned over the years. In Germany, Command & Conquer was sold with the subtitle "Teil 1: Der Tiberiumkonflikt" ("Part 1: The Tiberium Conflict"). On August 31, 2007, current publisher and owner of the C&C franchise Electronic Arts made Command & Conquer (Windows95/Gold version) freely available for download from their official website , to mark the franchise's 12th anniversary.
Modern RTS basics
One of the quintessential titles of the modern real time strategy genre
, Command & Conquer
's gameplay mechanics will typically require the player to construct a base and then acquire a flow of resources, in order to fund the ongoing production of various forces to assault and conquer the opponent's base with. Command & Conquer
features around 50 different units and structures. Virtually every type of structure in the game acts as a tech tree
node, and additional units, structures and special abilities become available to the player as new structures are built and placed. Access to advanced units and abilities can be temporarily blocked if the required structures are destroyed, or if they are not being provided with adequate power by the supporting "power plant" structures.
All structures available to the player are built on-site at a "construction yard" building, which can either be already deployed on the battlefield as the mission starts or begin as a large-sized mobile construction vehicle ("MCV"), which is capable of deploying itself into an aforementioned construction yard at a suitable location of the player's choice. As a structure is being constructed, resources will steadily be deducted from the player's credits counter until construction is finished. When the construction yard has finished building the new structure, the player can select a spot next to a pre-existing structure in order to place it, where the prefabricated building will rapidly begin unfolding in a distinctive manner. Base defense is provided by specialized defensive structures, as well as fortification in the form of sandbags, wire fences and concrete walls. Later on in the game, the player can build lethal defensive structures like guard towers with machine guns or rockets, gun turrets, or the iconic "Obelisk of Light" of the Brotherhood of Nod.
While the two sides largely mirror each other in regards to tech trees and unit types, each has a distinct strategic preference. GDI units are intended to be sturdy and are often more powerful than their Nod counterparts, at the cost of being more expensive and having slower movement. GDI forces also have access to air and naval support. Stationary defenses include the guard tower and missile armed advanced guard tower which can engage ground and air targets. Conversely, Nod's units are cheap and fast, at the cost of withstanding less punishment. Nod forces are made to avoid direct engagement as much as possible, relying on hit-and-run tactics, active camouflage and guerrilla warfare to gain the advantage. Nod also has access to limited air support and naval support. Stationary defenses include the anti-tank gun turret, the Obelisk of Light laser guard towers and the surface to air missile (SAM) site.
Tiberium, the game's sole resource (except for the occasional money crate), is acquired by specialized "harvester" units which bring their cargo to a "refinery" structure and which in turn will convert the crystals into usable resources, expressed as credits. The Tiberium itself requires storage space in the form of "refineries" and, in the case of excess, "storage silo" facilities. Deposits of Tiberium are able to slowly regenerate and proliferate on the battlefield if not depleted beforehand, and can also cause nearby plantlife to mutate itself into so-called "Blossom Trees". Blossom Trees seed Tiberium spores to their surroundings, and once one or several are present on the battlefield Tiberium deposits will regenerate themselves on the map indefinitely.
Command & Conquer
features two story-driven single-player campaigns which together consist of a total of 50 missions. The player is required to complete about 15 missions as either GDI or Nod to end a single-player campaign successfully, however the missions can differ depending on the route of conquest the player takes throughout the campaign, which allows for a higher replay value with each playthrough. Each of the mission briefings in the single-player campaigns is presented in the form of a full-motion video
which features live actors, with the two campaigns together having over 60 minutes worth of FMV material. Campaign mission objectives range from complete destruction of enemy forces to selective destruction, special operations or objective defense. Some of the missions of C&C
first innovated various twists to the standard RTS single-player formula such as limited or no base building, and mission-specific rewards for goal completion. A common bonus reward for the GDI faction for example is the availability of the "Airstrike" power after the destruction of all SAM
sites on the map. Bonus missions
Five "secret" missions are included on the Command & Conquer CDs
, and can be accessed by providing the word funpark
as a command line parameter
. In the original DOS
release, The Covert Operations expansion pack
(which updated the game version to 1.20) was required to access these missions. The DOS C&C
1.22 patch also unlocks the funpark
parameter and the 'Untamed Land' track. According to the release notes of patch 1.02 of the Command & Conquer: The First Decade
Creating a shortcut for Command & Conquer and adding on 'funpark -cd.' (without quotes) to the end of the 'Target' will allow the funpark missions to be accessed when the user selects 'New Game' from the Command & Conquer in game menu. The funpark missions can also be accessed by typing the following into the 'Run' window if Command & Conquer is installed in the default location:
"C:Program FilesEA GamesCommand & Conquer The First DecadeCommand & Conquer(tm)C&C95.exe" funpark -cd.
The use of this -cd command line parameter is exclusive to the The First Decade compilation pack however, as it disables the use of the CD in favour of the directory added behind the parameter. The original DOS version's way to access the funpark missions instead is the command line parameter: "c&c funpark".
The original MS-DOS
release features multiplayer with up to four players, which was a rarity at the time, and supports play over network
, null modem
. Multiplayer over an internet
connection was added in the Gold Edition
/Windows 95 Edition
release of Command & Conquer
, which sports several other improvements over the original DOS version.
As a result of changes to the IPX protocol libraries for the Windows XP and Windows 2000 environments, however, network play through this method has been rendered unavailable, disabling LAN play except for matches that are played over parallel or serial link. From the time that the original Westwood Studios multiplayer server was taken down, an unofficial one has been taking over its functions.
An alternative version of the thipx32.dll patch is also available that allows LAN play on newer versions of windows by using UDP protocols, rather than the IPX protocol.
Command & Conquer
is set in the latter half of the 1990s after a meteorite
crash lands near the river Tiber
. The impact introduces an alien
substance to the world dubbed Tiberium
, which becomes of unprecedented value due to its unique property of leeching nutrients from the surrounding soil
them, emitting highly toxic
gases in the process.
An ancient and quasi-religious secret society, known as the Brotherhood of Nod, proves to somehow have foreseen the potentials of this new substance, and reveals itself to have been investing in the development of technology to harvest the Tiberium crystals ahead of the established scientific communities. They soon control almost half of the known supply of what has become the most valuable commodity on the global trade markets, and use these assets to sustain a rapidly growing army of followers worldwide under the leadership of a charismatic and self-proclaimed messianic figure, who is known only as Kane.
Following a series of relentless international bombings which culminate in the destruction of the fictional Grand Trade Center in Vienna, a wave of mass panic and fear begins to sweep the globe. These acts are ultimately attributed to Brotherhood of Nod terrorists and their leader, Kane. The United Nations Security Council realizes Nod has systematically begun with the unfolding of a centuries-old plan for world domination, and sanctions the G7-based Global Defense Initiative task force to intervene on its behalf, inadvertently setting a conflict in motion that will escalate into a modern world war.
Commanding the Global Defense Initiative
's troops, the player becomes instrumental in eliminating Nod
forces. Under the command of General Mark Jamison Sheppard
, the player completes a range of missions ranging from securing a beach to rescuing civilians and scientists to defending GDI bases from Nod assaults. The player will be taken to battlefields in various countries of Europe such as Germany
, the Czech Republic
, and more. Finally, the player besieges the Temple of Nod in Sarajevo
, Bosnia and Herzegovina
has established his main base of operations. Nod campaign
As a new recruit to the Brotherhood of Nod
, the player initially performs tasks for the Brotherhood's second-in-command, a man known as Seth
. After Seth attempts to deploy the player in an operation against the United States' military
's approval, Kane kills him and thereafter issues commands to the player directly. The player is entrusted with the mission of driving GDI
forces out of Africa
through the use of both conventional
and unconventional warfare
. In order to give Nod a decisive advantage in the conflict, the player is ultimately assigned to gain control of GDI
's space-based ion cannon
, and establish Nod's Temple on South African
soil. The campaign ends with the entire African continent coming directly under Nod influence and the Brotherhood being ready to commit themselves to achieving the same with Europe
. The conclusion of the campaign allows the player to choose a historical landmark to destroy with GDI's successfully hijacked ion cannon. Potential targets include the White House
, Big Ben
, the Eiffel Tower
and the Brandenburg Gate
The creation of Command & Conquer
has been characterized by its developers as being a culmination of work at Westwood Studios
which had been in progress for several years, with development on C&C
having begun in earnest in early 1993. According to former executive producer
and Westwood co-founder Brett W. Sperry
: "Command & Conquer
was the net result of the Dune II
wish list." With Dune II
becoming the blueprint for the real-time strategy
genre, it would subsequently lay the foundations for C&C
itself as well. Also according to Sperry, "With Dune II
, a commercial and critical success, it was time to build the ultimate RTS without the "leg up" from a license like Dune
, and thus Command & Conquer
was born. I was fanatical about calling the game "Command & Conquer
" -exactly like that- because to me, it perfectly expressed what you did in the game."
The original concept of the Command & Conquer fiction was created by Brett Sperry, Eydie Laramore and Joseph Bostic. Like its predecessor Dune II, Command & Conquer was originally intended to be a high fantasy game featuring wizards and warriors. However, due to the political climate of the early 1990s, and the events of the Gulf War in particular, the developers felt that a contemporary war environment would be more accessible. According to Westwood co-founder Louis Castle: "War was in the news and the threat of terrorism was on everyone's mind. That definitely had an effect on the fictional world of C&C, though a parallel universe was created to avoid dealing with the sobering issues of a real war." "We wanted to make it a contemporary war for a contemporary world, with contemporary politics. At the time, Brett [Sperry] had said that it seemed to him that the next wars won't be fought nation-to-nation, but fought between Western society and a kind of anarchistic terror organization that doesn't have a centralized government. It turned out to be very prophetic". In an interview, Kane actor Joseph D. Kucan mentioned that the Brotherhood of Nod faction was an invention of Eydie Laramore in particular, with the two of them having extensively discussed biblical metaphor and imaged backstory.
The Tiberium substance was introduced to replace the spice from Dune II as the mined resource for building and expanding, with Louis Castle stating: "It solved one of the fundamental problems we had with making an RTS, which was that we wanted to have a central resource that everybody was fighting over. Dune has spice, which made perfect sense - and it was also used when we came to the idea of Tiberium. It became the anchor of the C&C universe because people were arguing over a limited resource that represented wealth and power". The original concept of Tiberium was inspired by the 1957 B-movie "The Monolith Monsters".
The music of Command & Conquer
was composed and produced by Westwood Studios
' former sound director and video game music composer Frank Klepacki
. The original soundtrack can be listened to on his web site
, along with various cues that were cut from the game, most of which are also present on the discs of the DOS
version and the expansion pack
. An official soundtrack CD
called "The music of Command & Conquer
" came with some of the game's collector's editions
, which features tracks from both the original C&C
game and the expansion. Though it was never released through retail, Westwood Studios sold this official soundtrack by special order through its website and in game catalogues.
Note that some track titles differ from the in-game versions. In these cases, the in-game track title is mentioned behind the original title. Also, some track titles differ from the versions on Frank Klepacki's website. In these cases, the website's track titles are mentioned behind the original in-game track title. The first seven in-game tracks are only available with the "The Covert Operations" expansion pack.
The track "No Mercy" features voice samples of the character Chuck De Nomolos, from the movie Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey.
|Track listing in Command & Conquer and The music of Command & Conquer
- "Act on Instinct"
- "No Mercy"
- "Iron Fist"
- "We Will Stop Them" (Deception)
- "On the Prowl"
- "Re-con" (Recon)
- "In the Line of Fire"
- "Prepare for Battle"
- "Depth Charge"
- "Rain in the Night"
- "Creeping Upon"
- "Target" (Mechanical Man)
- "Just Do it Up" (Just Do it)
- "C&C Thang"
- "To Be Feared"
- "Full Stop" (Warfare)
- "In Trouble" (Looks Like Trouble)
- "Air Strike"
- "Depth Charge"
- "Creeping Upon"
- "Iron Fist"
- "Recon" (Re-Con)
- "Voice Rhythm"
- "Untamed Land"
- "Take 'em Out" (Just Do it Up 2)
- "Rain in the Night"
- "Act on Instinct"
- "C&C Thang"
- "Fight, Win, Prevail"
- "Canyon Chase" (Industrial 2)
- "Just Do it!" (Just Do it Up)
- "In the Line of Fire"
- "March to Doom"
- "Sand Traps" - 00:34
- "Mechanical Man" (Target)
- "No Mercy"
- "On the Prowl"
- "Prepare for Battle"
- "Deception" (We Will Stop Them Now)
- "Looks Like Trouble"
- "Warfare (Full Stop)"
- "I AM" (I AM - "Destructible Times", Nod credits theme)
Add-ons and versions
of Command & Conquer
was released for MS-DOS
in 1995 and for Macintosh
computers in 1997. Both versions feature three missions from the GDI
campaign (the first, tenth and sixth missions in that order). The third mission of the demo was slightly modified from that of the actual game in order to introduce players to the GDI "Mammoth Tank" unit. The second mission, which featured the GDI Commando, was also slightly modified from that of the actual game, as it did not have enemy Nod vehicles, which Commandos are inefficient against.
The MS-DOS version of the demo utilizes the same 320x200 resolution as the original game did. Westwood Studios did not release a new demo on the later 640x400 resolution, first introduced with the Windows 95 port of Command & Conquer. Having been released after the Windows 95 port however, the Macintosh demo does feature the 640x400 GUI.
Both demo versions were distributed in two separate parts; one being the core game demo and the other an optional media add-on which added a limited number of briefing cutscenes and music tracks to the demo's available missions. As of 2008, both demo versions are still available for download on the original Westwood Studios  server.
Since Command & Conquer
's initial success in 1995, versions of the game have been released for many different platforms
- Sega Saturn: The game was given a simple port to the Sega Saturn and appears exactly like the original MS-DOS release. This version can be played with either English, German, French or Japanese in-game voices by changing the system's language setting accordingly, although the FMVs remain in the language that the release was targeted for (English being the most widely spread one, as the others were exclusively distributed in their respective countries).
- Command & Conquer: Gold (a.k.a. Command & Conquer: Windows 95 Edition) is a re-release of the original game for Windows 95 and above. It features an improved engine and interface similar to that of its prequel, Command & Conquer: Red Alert. The new game engine runs at a resolution of 640x400, twice that of the original's 320x200 CGA resolution. A resolution of 640x480 is also available, but it should be noted that in this mode the graphics are centered rather than scaled, distorting the game's aspect ratio. The Covert Operations can also be installed with C&C Gold.
- PlayStation: Although the PlayStation version is near identical to the Sega Saturn version, it featured five missions exclusive to this port. The game is incompatible with the PlayStation's link cable however, precluding the possibility of multiplayer modes. The Covert Operations is included. This version has also been released on the Playstation Network in Europe.
- Nintendo 64: In the Nintendo 64 version, the in-game sprites were replaced by 3D rendered models, though the terrain texture remained the same. The game offered an optional high-resolution 640x480 mode and a MIDI rendition of the PC version's soundtrack. The videos were removed due to cartridge storage constraints, and replaced with either static images accompanied by the cutscenes' audio tracks, or with cutscenes converted to real-time 3D scenes. The Covert Operations was included with this port, as were several new missions.
- Macintosh: The Macintosh port of Command & Conquer is a simple port of the Windows 95 /Gold version, making it share its 640x480 screen resolution and better GUI graphics compared to the various console ports. The PC version of "The Covert Operations" add-on can be installed on the Mac as well, by copying the two files from The Covert Operations disk starting with "sc" to the C&C folder, and then increasing the game memory. The method of manually copying these "sc" files works on the Windows 95 version as well.
- The Windows 95 version was re-released in 2006 by Electronic Arts as part of the The First Decade compilation pack with a patch for Windows XP compatibility, and came bundled with the expansion pack. As of August 31st, 2007, the .iso file for both the GDI and Nod disks has been released to the public as part of a 12-year celebration of the Command & Conquer franchise. Unofficial ports
- A recreated game engine known as FreeCNC has been developed for the game which is written to use the cross-platform Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL). It requires a retail copy of Command & Conquer, and offers the gameplay feature of being able to build multiple units at once, a capability that was first introduced in Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun. FreeCNC was made for all Microsoft Windows platforms and is compatible with all POSIX-based operating systems, such as BSD, Linux and other UNIX-like OSes.
- A Sega Mega Drive version was made by a Chinese fan, but was never completed. One of his earlier versions was released on the web and seen as a leak of an official version. In the released version, it is only possible to build structures and vehicles -- no infantry, enemies or Tiberium are present. However, the screenshots on the creator's web page show a much more advanced version than the one that was released.
The Covert Operations
An expansion pack
titled The Covert Operations
was released by Westwood Studios
in 1996. It includes fifteen new "-very
- difficult" single player missions, ten new multiplayer maps and seven new high quality CD audio
tracks (as well as lower quality in-game versions). Unlike the original game's, the expansion's missions can be played at any time and in any order, and, with the exception of the dinosaur bonus missions, are not accompanied by briefing cutscenes. The expansion pack's files contain unused music tracks that are present in the DOS
version of Command & Conquer
, but not in the Windows 95
Installing the expansion pack on older DOS versions of the game patches them to version 1.20.
On Windows systems, a DOS emulator is needed to start the setup program. However, to install the expansion pack on the Windows 95 (Gold) version of the game, it is sufficient to just copy two specific files from the CD to the game directory. Sole Survivor
Command & Conquer: Sole Survivor was a multiplayer spin-off of Command & Conquer. It featured a deathmatch-style game in which each player controls a unit of the original C&C game and travels around the game arena collecting crates to increase the unit's firepower, armor, speed, attack range and reloading speed. Sole Survivor was often compared to a first-person shooter, however played with a bird's eye view of the arena. It featured no single-player mode and the multiplayer had no hints of a storyline, and the game was omitted from inclusion in the Command & Conquer: The First Decade compilation pack released in 2006.
Reception and legacy
Command & Conquer
was released to universal acclaim in 1995, and the game's runaway success during the mid-1990s has often been credited with originally having defined modern real-time strategy
as well as having played a significant role in popularizing the RTS genre with the wider gaming audience. The resulting C&C franchise
has been described as being "nearly synonymous with RTS gaming" and "legendary" by professional reviewers, and continues to this day with the series having sold 21 million copies worldwide prior to the launch of Command & Conquer: Generals
in 2003. One of the defining features of the franchise would remain the use of live action full-motion video cutscenes
, which play between missions and which serve to both further a typically epic storyline as well as provide players with their objectives for the next level through mission briefings.
Command & Conquer was one of the first video games to ship on multiple CD-ROMs despite the fact the game's content could easily fit on a single CD, which is considered the most pertinent outside factor in the success of Command & Conquer. The choice by Westwood Studios to distribute the game on multiple CD-ROMs made multiplayer gaming possible with only a single copy of the game, which resulted in Command & Conquer becoming the first RTS game title to feature competitive online play.