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Command and Conquer Renegade Review

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Developer: Westwood Studios Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: February 26, 2002 Also On: None

Back in 2002, with its 98MB RAM requirements, EA was still courting to the computers of the 1990s. My 4 gig XPS with its 512MB video card laughs at you, Renegade. But I don’t. Amazingly it was the consoles, with games like Halo, that were pushing the graphics envelope at the time. As ancient as it may seem today, I still find an enjoyable – and yes, playable – trip down memory lane.

The concept of Command and Conquer Renegade at the time was both brilliant and controversial. Hardcore fans of the franchise wanted Westwood to stay near its roots: Real-Time Strategy games. But being the creative team that they are, they decided to take a new, riskier approach. Making a First-Person Shooter not only meant traveling far from the nest, with all of the challenges that may pose, it also created the significant challenge of potentially alienating their audience.

Everyone who has ever played a Command and Conquer game has always been curious, “what would it be like if you were closer to the action?” The bird’s eye view of the game kept you a good distance from battles. You never got up-close with any of the units or characters. Tanya and other prominent characters were nothing more than, essentially, a detailed speck on the screen.

Command and Conquer Renegade does exactly what fans of the franchise have always wanted: an up-close-and-personal experience of the C and C world. Granted, the graphics were not top-notch, even for 2002. Westwood definitely went for a more accessible experience (in terms of computer requirements) than they tried to push the hardware limitations of the time. This is definitely not a Crysis of 2002. It is fair to say that due to the lack of detail, this game is ugly. In Westwood’s defense, the levels are massive. Much larger, in fact, than most shooters even today. Nonetheless, it does other things right.

For one, it is fun to play. There really is no doubt about that. You play as Nick Parker on the GDI side. You go from one location to the next destroying Nod facilities and trying to recover data on their plans. Aside from varied scenery (you will end up in places from a beach to snowy mountain cabins), you will also encounter familiar enemies, vehicles and buildings from the real-time strategy Command and Conquer games. These include the harvesters, buggies, Mammoth tanks, Hand of Nod, Guard Towers and more.

As far as weaponry is concerned, Parker is fully prepared for battle with Nod forces. Westwood included some cool modern-day guns such as a machine gun, handgun and rocket launcher, but also weapons that you will not find in a lot of other shooters. These include the Chemical Gun, Flamethrower and so on. Although it can get tedious, the experience is overall enjoyable. The number of guns is certainly a plus and help to change the pace of the game.

Since Command and Conquer Renegade is a game released in 2002, it only is fair to judge it based on the time that it was released and not on today’s standards. For its time, Renegade would be considered a slightly above-average shooter with a decent online multi-player. I played it online back when I still had a 56K modem in 2002, but did not get a chance to play it today. With or without multi-player included, Renegade is a game that all fans of Command and Conquer should seek out. The easiest way to find it is by buying the Command and Conquer: The First Decade compilation.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 7.5
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 7.5
Written by Kyle Review Guide