The hit PC game translates well to the Saturn,
but loses some parts in the translation

Publisher: Westwood Studios
Developer: Virgin
Genre: Strategy

There have been many strategy games done on the Saturn, but very few with the panache of Westwood's C&C. Unlike Koei's Romance of the Three Kingdom games, Westwood's realtime war simulator mixes in storyline and tactics with a lively, humorous style. The end product is both entertaining and engrossing, without bogging down in excessive details.

As the Saturn's first realtime wargame, Command & Conquer manages to create a fairly convenient interface from the original mouse-driven PC interface. Since all your decisions must be made without the benefit of decision time, players must be able to make snap decisions and have precise control. Surprisingly, that's what you get with the D-pad. Creating unit groups, building powerplants, and map navigation can all be handled quite well with one- or two-button combinations. The new build palette is organized by unit type, rather than by buildings and units, which makes it easy to build a refinery, train a soldier, and order a rocket bike simultaneously. One built, players will quickly find that maneuvering vehicles is easier than the PC version.

The crazy story may not make the game better, but certainly more fun. From the initial FMV intro, with its cheesy soap opera and 500 channel television, to the charismatic Kane, you get tossed into the bizarre alternate universe of GDI vs. NOD, that world's version of GI JOE and Cobra. Both fight over Tiberium, a catch-all unnatural resource that doubles as money in the game. As the game progresses, so will the FMV, revealing a plot that makes you want to watch instead of skipping it. A definite plus.

If there were no PC version of this game, Command & Conquer would still be a very good game. However, the PC one does, and the Saturn version will pale somewhat in comparison. In order to save memory and CD space, Westwood has dropped some animation frames when building units and some FMV sequences for the Saturn version. Although the missing animation is only a cosmetic difference, the missing FMV sometimes contains important hints on how to play the game. Most notably, in one of the GDI missions, the PC FMV warns of a new NOD weapon (the Obelisk of Light, a laser weapon with incredible range), where the Saturn FMV does not, thereby putting players at a disadvantage. Also, some units that are available to the original C&C remain missing from player's build queues until near the final levels.

The biggest gripe PC players may have when moving to the Saturn, though, is the control. The D-pad allows better driving, but much worse prevision when building your base. Also, Saturn owners can only control three groups as opposed to eight, and can't navigate through the map. When you're in the middle of a raging tank war but need to build missile bases at the same time, the PC edition looks much better.

If you want to choose between the PC or the Saturn Command & Conquer, I would suggest the PC version. However, the Saturn version has its own strengths, and heartily recommend the purchase.