March Break is fast approaching and though entertainment choices abound, it's worth having a quick glance at what's on the menu. The main course is, of course, C&C 4 as well as the oldies that Westwood Studios made available for free download.
The first RTS game I have played was Nether Earth, on my old Speccy (Sinclair Spectrum compatible). You had to build robots, take over factories, destroy enemy robots and take over their bases. Today’s games have evolved, but they share a basic common premise. You build a base, use peasants and drones to mine resources, then use those resources to build an army which you launch into battle, taking over or destroying enemy bases.
On the PC, the very first game played was Command and Conquer, which continued the legacy of Dune with Red Alert. Red Alert 2, with its fun units, including Tanya, the crazy Russian command woman, the dolphins equipped with bombs, weather control labs and mind-controlling Lenins was a far better game than the competing Starcraft (or its predecessor, Warcraft). The *craft franchise seemed soulless, arid and dry in comparison. Westwood Studios came out with numerous sequels, but by then my taste was formed and fully satisfied and no longer had time to invest in learning new games, especially when they usually required upgrading computer hardware. It’s hard for me to motivate the upgrade when my first game machine, the Speccy, ran on 16K of memory
I thus missed Red Alert 3. I downloaded the free version of Red Alert on my iPhone, but didn’t have time to play it yet. And since January 2010, Westwood made publicly available the beta of C & C 4. Before getting it, make sure you can play it..
Recommended System Specifications for Beta Testers
Command & Conquer 4 Beta requires DirectX 9.0c. You can install DirectX 9.0c by following the onscreen prompts during the game's installation process.
- Operating System: Windows XP, Windows Vista
- CPU: Any Intel Core Duo machine, AMD Athlon 3500+ or better
- RAM: 2 GB
- Disk Drive: 8X or faster DVD-ROM drive
- Hard Drive: at least 10 GB of free space
- Video: DirectX 9.0c compatible video card. 256 MB with Shader Model 3.0 support. NVIDIA GeForce 8800 or better, ATI Radeon HD 3850 or better
- Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
- Multiplayer: 2 to 10 players, network or Internet connection required (Cable, DSL, or faster connection
- Internet connection required at all times.
If you meet these requirements, head-on to the Gamespot Beta Page, log in (or register), get the key, then go to C & C and download. Make sure you read the Readme file to optimize performance.
If strategy games (more specifically, RTS) are not your thing, Empire Theatres is running their famous Toonie Matinees, where if you live in a major Canadian city you get to see selected movies for $2. The list is rather large, but they have an iPhone app you can use to buy tickets. In Ontario it runs March 15-19 and the nearest theatres to Toronto are:
- MISSISSAUGA - Empire Studio 10 at Square One
- NORTH YORK - Empire Empress Walk 10 Cinemas
- RICHMOND HILL - Empire Elgin Mills 10 Cinemas
If you’re more of the silent type who likes to make beautiful noise, you might be interested in the free music sheet library. Or even Skype’s five artists all around the world waiting for your mobile messages to transpose them into masterpieces!