The real time strategy game is a genre of gaming that has, most likely the second or third biggest following next to the first person shooter. The RTS has players co-ordinating, usually military style games, employing base building, unit production, various tactics and in depth story and online multi player modes. The type of game is usually best played on the pc as a drag and click style of game play, as like most games increases in difficulty as you progress through the story and missions. One might even consider some FPS and TPS games to have RTS elements as strategy comes as a must, more so in games like COD online and the Battlefield series.
One particular title sticks out in my mind when you say real time strategy, and those reading this will probably agree, Command and Conquer. The C & C universe began in the 90’s as a simple base builder and attack game. In between missions the player would witness either clips of actors playing parts of both factions military hierarchy and animated scenes showing examples of the units you could command. Future titles included Hollywood actors and even UFC fighters as soldiers, intelligence analysts and even high ranking leaders.
Over the next ten years or so the story line split and variations of the games were released. One universe saw the player progressing through the Tiberium quest line, two factions The Brotherhood of NOD lead by the illusive figure Kane, and the Global Defence Initiative or GDI lead by a U.N styled government. Tiberium crystals used as a power source and currently is spreading throughout the world and making countries inhospitable, GDI seeks to destroy the green and purple alien in nature crystal, whereas NOD seek to spread it throughout the world. Kane believes the power source was planted by aliens, and through spreading the poisonous crystal, humans will achieve ascension.
The other storyline has Albert Einstein create a time machine, travel back through time to kill Hitler, but in the process the Soviet Union grows with power and seeks to rule the world. The player can either play as the Allied forces or the Soviet Union, and like the Tiberium series cut scenes are played in between missions. Westwood studios and EA even tried to create a third storyline which involved modern, more realistic game play and story. The game known as C & C Generals uses factions such as a terrorist organisation, China’s liberation Army and America as the main protagonists.
The Command and Conquer series was very popular with fans, due to crazy units such as Tesla Troopers which fire electricity from there grounding suits, and giant mechanical mech’s that walk on two legs and fire massive rounds from a distance. There are some insane defence structures such as Prism towers, Tesla towers, as well as units that use physic abilities and naval units like the mind controlled squid. The Command and Conquer series more than likely inspired other titles such as Spawn, Start Craft; even Bungies Halo Wars are in the long list. In my heart I believe that it is down to base building/design and simple game play that emphasise the gamers’ experience. Even the online multiplayer had players creating new tactics, and eventually named their forms attack. Turtle, steam roller, guerrilla warfare and others were included.
Although these are some of the greatest games I have played I’m afraid that the genre is a dying breed. There aren’t many products out there that promise the unique experience that only the RTS can deliver. Star Craft, a futuristic space game that has a very similar style to C & C continues to release new DLC and main titles is probably our last hope for the genre. We can only hope that simple graphics, unique units and buildings, and great cut scenes don’t die on us, for we are the strategists of our generation, and we need war in our lives.