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SummaryA Definitive Title of the Real-Time Strategy Genre
The GoodThe first game of the Command & Conquer series delivers a truly engaging story through the cutscenes that take the form of a briefing by your commander transmitted to your battle terminal. With convincing acting, interesting characters and the way the missions relate to them they manage to create the feeling of actually taking part in the world of GDI, NOD and Tiberium. Origin's old slogan was "We create worlds." and really is what modern games are or at least should be about. Tiberian Dawn manages to be a world of it's own and to completely capture the player inside. A truly remarkable feat seldom achieved even by great games.
And what a world it is. The combination of present day war machines such as the US army battle tank M1A1 Abrams and futuristic weaponry like the ion cannon works well with the real-life units adding to the feel of this being "real" and futuristic elements ensuring that it doesn't merely seem like a war simulator.
The story involves the enigmatic religious group Brotherhood of NOD with perhaps the best fictional villain ever to be concieved, Kane (Joseph D. Kucan), as it's leader seeking control of Tiberium, a mysterious substance of extraterrestrial origin rich in minerals. As you march towards world domination under Kane's command or try to defend the world order from him you'll find yourself really wanting to achieve that goal and to see the future with Kane's eyes, or see him lying at your feet.
Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn has a perfect soundtrack that doesn't seem to have even a single mediocre track and the style varying somewhat so everyone should be able to find something to like here. Frank Klepacki has created an unique sound for the Command & Conquer series and for Tiberian Dawn in particular. The first game of the series certainly doesn't pale in comparison to the later titles, it may even be the strongest on the audio side.
The gameplay is very enjoyable and already has pretty much everything that a modern RTS does. When Tiberian Dawn was new this wasn't a problem as it hadn't already been redone to death. Today the value of the gameplay may have decreased somewhat but it still is a game genuinely fun to play even with all the typical flaws of the genre.
The BadThe AI is rather weak and the gameplay has all the flaws that even most present RTS games continue to. The story seems very promising but fails to deliver all that much on the background of the conflict. All in all, there's very little to complain about in Tiberian Dawn.
The Bottom LineCommand & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn is in many ways the definitive title of the real-time strategy genre. While it wasn't the first successful appearance of this game type, it refined the concepts Westwood themselves had first introduced with Dune 2: The Building of a Dynasty which holds the honor of being the the first RTS game.
Dune 2 may be the first game that can be considered to be an RTS but Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn is the game that created both the term itself and the whole genre of games. The real-time strategy titles of today still carry it's distinctive mark and one could say that the genre hasn't developed much during all this time.
That alone makes Tiberian Dawn a title worth noticing in the history of video games but even as a late entrance to the RTS genre it would shine out from the best.