Wednesday, 25 November 2009

JD's Videogame Hall of Shame Part 5: Command & Conquer Renegade

Anticipation is a powerful emotion. It's what makes Christmas so much fun for kids. It's what makes the time between booking a holiday and actually going on holiday pass so quickly. It's what runs half the world of game magazines and websites, the part dedicated to previews and news stories.

However, just like the train set that turns out to be a jumper, or the holiday where you get sunburned, anticipation is at the beck and call of reality. Or rather, prepare to be disappointed. Most of the games on this list are infamous because they were so massively over-hyped or anticipated that the end result was never going to match the weight of expectation.
And so to Renegade, the culmination of a brainstorming session at Westwood that produced the predictable idea of a First Person shooter set in the Command and Conquer universe. It's disappointing really, as obviously much thought and effort has gone into producing Renegade. And let's be honest, the principle idea is a cracking one with the prospect of knocking out buildings and dodging enemy tanks likely to give any gamer gleeful thoughts of Nodular destruction. The first impression, however, is an in-house engine that lacks any imagination or detail as well as weight to the weapons and vehicles. External scenes are derivative and plain; inside the buildings is just as bad except gloomier. A user interface that borders on the insane (yes I KNOW it's a Nod Buggy! I KNOW it's a helicopter!), "life" bars for enemies and - bizarrely - vehicles (which completely deflates any lingering realism) and in-game cut scenes that reveal the most sexist and cringeworthy wise-cracking game character since Duke Nukem - Serious Sam doesn't count, that was tongue in cheek - all combine to make Renegade not a lot of fun.

Apart from the above, the levels lack tension. There is always a plentiful supply of armour and health some of which - unholy of unholies - respawns! Respawning armour! My god! What next? Bad guys that commit suicide when they see how tough you look? It's bad enough that each soldier you eliminates leaves behind a gun or armour. The average gamer shouldn't have to play on the hardest level to get any sort of challenge.

There is a complete lack of puzzles of any type and stealth is only given as a choice, when to be honest blasting away is a much easier way of getting results. We all like to have a bit of flexibility in our gaming, but each method should have its own rewards otherwise it's totally pointless.

Without the C&C license this would have been a poor game. With the license it's still terrible and also an extreme disappointment.

The Hall of Shame now stands as follows:-

1:Star Wars: Masters Of Teras Kasi (Playstation)
2:Highlander (ZX Spectrum)
3:Ground Zero Texas (Sega Mega-cd)
4:Rise of the Robots (Sega Megadrive)
5:Command and Conquer Renegade (PC)


  1. To each, their own. I actually find Renegade fun. Nice piece though.

  2. if it hadn't had the licence maybe...often it's the anticipation.