The original Command & Conquer still the best?
Command & Conquer was actually the first Real Time Strategy game I had played. Sure I had seen Dune II on MegaDrive in Deka as a kid, but I really had no idea how to play it, I couldn't find my character anywhere...
It was a few years later when I got my hands on Command & Conquer. Some PC magazine at the time had a three level demo, and like a lot of demoes in the day, I hit it - hard! I remember the second level of the demo was the only one that let you get a decent force up, so I left some enemy units alive so I could cover the entire map in my forces. (Slowdown central)
When I finally got my hands on the full release I was finally able to play as the dark side, NOD. In true bad guy fashion, these guys had the best toys. Flame tanks and Stealth tanks would have to be my pick of the bunch. Flame tanks were great against infantry and there was nothing more satisfying than uncloaking a huge force of stealth tanks in your buddies base.
It's fair to say that I sunk a lot of hours into this game. I loved creating armies and bases, so much so that by the time I decided to attack the opposition I usually outnumbered them 5 to 1, oops. That said, there was nothing quite like mobilising a group of thirty or so Mammoth tanks and pretty much rolling over the enemy base.
Command & Conquer added a lot to a fairly young genre. It wasn't the first RTS game ever made, but it certainly popularised the genre and set the standard for games to come. Simply put, Command & Conquer is a milestone in the RTS genre and most games in the genre give it a nod.
Playing through the missions you could play as either GDI or NOD. Both teams had differing units and strategies. GDI was more brute strength while NOD were more technically apt, and downright sneaky. The game threw you in many tricky situations and there was never a dull moment. One nice touch was that missions could differ slightly depending on the route you took through the campaign.
Who could forget the cutscenes in this game? Back when FMV video was the in thing, Command & Conquer outdid everyone. There was live action combined with state of the art 3d sequences that gave the game unrivalled polish. I'm sure I wasn't the only one that looked forward to beating the next mission just to see the next video. What was really cool though was when there was a new weapon briefing, I remember seeing the Orca helicopters and wanting to build them ASAP.
Where Command & Conquer really excelled though was the multiplayer. Even though the game has a lot fewer units than many of today's games, the units were fairly robust and we all came up with some really evil and unique strategies.
There have been a good many FPS games since Command & Conquer, some like Total Annihilation were great, but for me, nothing quite captured the flow of the original C&C. Many games have too many units to master them all and use all of them effectively, or are just completely unbalanced. I'd love to see a modern day touch up of the original Command & Conquer.