Interesting times for fans of what’s usually considered Command & Conquer’s Godfather III moment. In a minute, I’ll politely introduce you to a free game. First though, the bit you probably already know about. C&C: Renegade, the awful-singplayer-but-quite-interesting-actually-multiplayer FPS is, rumour has it, to receive a sequel.
I can well believe that someone at EA has presumably ferreted around in the dustiest dungeons of the spreadsheets and re-floated the idea of a C&C FPS, but an actual sequel to Renegade and its Battlezoney first-person base-building somehow seems unlikely. With Team Fortresss 2 and Quake Wars currently fuelling class-based teamplay fever, and EA already holding tight onto Battlefield’s reigns, I’d guess at that being the likely approach.
That’s dim-and-distant stuff if it even happens, but available right now is C&C Red Alert – A Path Beyond, a total conversion of the original Renegade. Somehow, it’s standalone and free too – i.e. you don’t need Renegade to play it. Its shtick? Why, Renegade but in Red Alert’s alterna-history 1950s universe, with Tesla tanks and everything.
Right now, it’s purely multiplayer, but as that’s where Renegade was always best, this is fine and proper. The basic mechanics – earn resource by damaging the enemy and waiting for your AI-controlled harvester to do its thing, spend resource on changing your character class and buying driveable vehicles – are similar, but it’s now with Red Alert’s knowingly silly units as opposed to Tiberium C&C’s geekier sci-fi. None of Red Alert 2’s mind-controlled squids yet, but here’s hoping.
The mod’s given the Renegade engine a bit of visual upgrade too – it’s still blatantly yucky-old, but some of the vehicles are impressively detailed. More importantly, it’s free, fun, and will start downloading almost as soon as you click on the next appearance of the word ‘sausage’ in this post. According to a recent blogpost, the creators reckon only a few hundred installations of A Path Beyond are in the wild, so let’s change that, eh?
Oh yeah. Sausage.