Vintage RTS Games

Recently, the 3rd installment in the RTS game that has taken the whole world for its playground has been released. Command and Conquer 3 is now available commercially, and I would love to try it have my laptop been able to. Unfortunately, beloved as it may be, my laptop’s pretty ancient. I’ve had it for the past two years, and that converts to 27 in gadget years.

But, I was in the mood for global domination, so I installed two ancient RTS titles on my laptop last week. One of them’s The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-Earth and the other’s Emperor: Battle for Dune.

Now, as great series, nay, stalwarts, in the genre of fantastic fiction, I love both Tolkien’s Middle-Earth and Herbert’s Arrakis. However, I have to admit, I’m a bit disappointed with the two games, and I was trying to look beyond the graphics.

I love the veterancy system in LOTR: BFME. Sortof gives you a sense of continuity. I feel constrained, though, with its limited space for building infrastructure. The hero system’s cool in the sense that you can play the awesome LOTR characters from the book, but unlike the heroes in Warcraft III, you can’t really trust them to lead your troops all by themselves.  I think I’ll give this another try by playing LOTR: BFME 2, its sequel.

Emperor: Battle for Dune is disappointing. I’ve searched for this game for a long time, and it’s not available anymore in our friendly, neighborhood digital pirates. No one’s sharing this via torrents, too. I got lucky one time, and saw a torrent of it somewhere, but then, it took me MONTHS to finish downloading. Which just goes to show how many people have it.

For a rabid fanboi of Dune and RTS games, this is a big let down. The controls are wonky, the units aren’t that awesome, the maps are dull (well, the author made the desert planet of Arrakis seem hauntingly beautiful and terrifying, so why couldn’t the developers take a page from that book?), and the AI is annoying. The AI’s strategy seems to be Send Them As Soon As We Made Them, so, while you’re trying to build your base, the AI’s units just kept coming and coming, and as long as you have a defensive structure or a counter-unit waiting nearby, you’re well and good.

Anyway, I might remove these two games from my system sometime soon, and look for other vintage titles to try out. Or, maybe, I should just tear myself away from playing games, and get some actual work done. Yeah, that can do.

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