I mentioned this before, but I think it’s worth mentioning again. You know the iPhone has grown into something more than just a mobile device when games like Command and Conquer: Red Alert come to the iPhone. We’ve seen some other AAA titles also, but Command and Conquer seemed to be one of my most anticipated ones.
Being a puzzle and strategy fan myself, real-time strategy games are a genre that the iPhone needs more of, and we’ve seen it work through Vogster Entertainment’s Robocalypse. This doesn’t seem to be the case with C&C for iPhone, and while it does feature the name, it doesn’t have the punch to back it up.
Graphics: Graphically, I’m quite impressed. The camera angle is somewhat unique and provides quite a different viewpoint towards the whole game, and the graphics are crystal clear when zooming in. Moving through the map is very smooth, and visually, C&C is very appealing. I believe EA did a great job with the zoom in feature, and it’s definitely one of the better looking games on the App Store.
Enemies: There are a lot of different enemy types to battle, and the number of troops you get to control are quite extensive. While your troop types are very limited in some levels, it’s definitely cool to see attacks through the air from the balloons to the ground from your tanks and the foot soldiers. Along with foot soldiers are war bears and flak troopers, a.k.a. the people with the rockets.
Sounds: Normally, I’m not really a “sounds” type of guy. I don’t recognize all the bass sounds and the whammy bar squeals here and there, but Command & Conquer’s music and sound effects really appealed to me. C&C is generally known for generating quite a following when it came to soundtrack, and the iPhone version is definitely no different. Sound effects were well implemented, and the background music is very well conducted.
Difficulty Levels: It’s a lot easier for a gamer to chose what difficulty level he or she wants to play on rather than having a difficulty level chosen for them. Personally, I found the “campaign” mode to be slightly difficult but doable, and the skirmish mode was beyond my skill. It felt a little bit unbalanced, and it would have been much better if EA implemented more of a difficulty level system.
Crashes: It’s definitely not acceptable when a game costs $9.99, and the game doesn’t even work consistently. I’ve had Command and Conquer crash on me multiple times even after a hard restart, and it can only be seen that EA went a little sloppy when it came to memory management.
Building Troops: This is somewhat of a minor issue and more of a personal preference, but I’m sure most of you would like this method better than the method that is currently implemented. It would be nice to have units waiting in a waiting queue, and you should be able to add a different unit to the building queue also. Once you build a unit, you must stick with that unit and wait until it is also finished before building a different unit. It does start to get frustrating after a while, and it’s definitely a lot less convenient.
Touch Detection: Touch detection is a major problem in this game, and it’s pretty bad when you’re trying to select a unit or a building. The sensors and touch area in this game seem to be a little off, and there would be times when I would have to tap the screen multiple times for the game to finally register where I’m trying to attack or move. It’s definitely an inconvenience that came to me, and even with my small fingers, the touch detection was absolutely horrible. I had a ton of trouble trying to select the right unit and the right building, and even with the building out in the open, it would still be difficult to finally capture and conquer that particular building.
Short: I’m sorry, but when a $9.99 game is short, you know something is wrong. We’ve seen App Store treasures like Rolando 2 and Real Racing originally released for that price, but Command and Conquer doesn’t seem to be worth the asking price at all. The campaign mode should take the average gamer around 3 or so hours, and with only 6 chapters, it’s extremely short. It’s definitely disappointing to see such a stripped down version of Command and Conquer: Red Alert.
Command and Conquer: Red Alert is yet another game from EA that disappoints. While Rock Band was very well made, C&C is a game that still needs a ton of work. The difficulty levels and AI needs to be balanced out along with the touch detection that needs to be improved. Those with rather large hands may find this game frustrating, and again, it is still a work in progress. The short campaign mode doesn’t quite help either, and when RTS wonders like Robocalypse cost $0.99, C&C will have a tough time competing.