Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Oddly, Tiberian Sun was the first C&C I ever played. I spent at least a year of my life obsessed with Dune 2, but Command and Conquer itself and Red Alert arrived during my dark ages – the period where I didn’t have a PC capable of running contemporary games. By 1999, I was back in the game, having built a new system to find out about this Half-Life thing everyone was talking about. When I clapped eyes on screenshots of Tiberian Sun, I was in love – how far it seemed to have come since Dune 2.
I was dimly aware of grumbling that it was not true 3D, that some felt the cutscenes weren’t as thrillingly silly as before, but I didn’t care. I hadn’t experienced the interim period between Dune 2 and Tiberian Sun, so the jump seemed enormous. I was in love. So much detail, so many units, so much unbound sci-fi, so much destruction, a true future-war: this was my dream game. First-person shooters fell by the wayside, and for years to come I consumed every RTS I could get my hands on.
It was C&C I craved more of, though. I was disappointed when the immediate follow-up was Red Alert 2, finding the campy alt-history less appealing than the (very) vaguely Warhammer 40kish sci-fi of Tiberian Sun. I was aghast when the next game was the pseudo-real-world C&C Generals, with its plainer military units and its uncomfortably contemporary war-fiction.
C&C 3 was fine but too interested in aliens, C&C 4 was a bizarre misfire, Tiberium Alliances was an insult. And then the end, or it so seems. Promise unfulfilled still. I still await a true sequel to Tiberian Sun, a game that a foolish, nostalgic sector of my brain still believes was some zenith of single player real-time strategy. It will never come. Sorrow, sorrow.