I was really looking forward to playing Command & Conquer The First Decade. I’m old enough that the C&C games were responsible for some of the most memorable times of my younger gaming years. A trip down memory lane might be a welcome breath of fresh air in the stale environment of rehashed releases.
C&CTFD is pretty heavy in content considering that all the C&C games ever released on PC — including their respective expansion packs- is included on one DVD. On top of that, the package comes with a bonus DVD holding about an hour’s worth of developer interviews, C&C history, and other goodies. Any C&C fan should find a lot to enjoy in the bonus DVD alone. Sadly, I feel that there could have been a lot more since the C&C universe has been around for a whole decade. Kind of hard to believe that all of that history could be compressed into one hour.
All the games have been preserved in their release states so anyone expecting a graphical facelift will be sorely disappointed. Even worse, the cheesy yet amazingly fun install screens from the earlier games are gone and are now replaced by a standard Windows installer that requires you to enter 6 serial keys. I miss EVA. On the flip side, the DVD is not needed to play C&C nor C&C Red Alert and the convenience of having all the games on one disc is a definite plus; just for this fact, C&CTFD is worth considering even if you are only interested in the 2 latest games, C&C Generals and C&C Generals: Zero Hour.
The older games definitely brought back some memories but unless you have been living under a rock, the ancient user interface will leave you more frustrated than nostalgic. Unit queues and waypoints were not created until C&C Tiberian Sun. Pathfinding problems and low ease-of-use especially plague the original C&C. At least I got to appreciate the advances in the real-time strategy genre by slowly moving from one game to the next (excluding C&C Renegade) and the full motion video cutscenes are as full of nerdy goodness as I remember them to be.
In terms of overall value and convenience, C&CTFD is hard to beat. It’s tougher to judge it by pure gaming content though because most of the games are just too old for anything more than a brief moment of gaming nostalgia. In the end, it boils down to whether or not you enjoyed playing any of the games in this series. Getting those older games to work on Windows XP can be quite a hassle and having them run natively is a big boon. The bonus DVD with its many features is just icing on the cupcake. It’s not quite a full-fledged cake though.