We’re a bit late this week due to the outage, but we’re back. I’m gonna give you the $20 GOTW and the Lost Classics at the same time this week, as to not to overshadow aDam’s Mexican Independence day. One of this week’s featured games is one of the all time greats of the RTS genre, while the other is one of the few good movie based games of the 16-bit era. So, lets waste no further time in getting started. Click the jump and come ride with me to your local video game dealers bargain bin.

$20 Game of the Week: Command and Conquer (PC)
command-and-conquer.gifThe mid 90s saw a birth of a new genre in gaming, and Westwood Studios and Blizzard were both at the forefront. The Real-Time Strategy genre, or RTS, was a mixture of earlier strategy games such as Civlization and board games such as Risk, challenged players to manage dozens of different units and keep a working infrastructure going. These games emphasized unit management, structure building, and resource gathering. Along with Westwood’s Dune 2 and Blizzard’s Warcraft: Orcs vs Elves, Command and Conquer (also developed by Westwood) was one of the godfathers of the Real-Time-Strategy genre. In a somewhat eerie foreshadowing of modern day events, the game told the story of a conflict over a natural resource known as Tiberium. Players took control of one of two fractions: The Global Defense Initiative, a world wide peacekeeping organization similar to the UN, or the Brotherhood of Nod, a terrorist organization dedicated to the usage of tiberium. Players harvested this resource in order to fund their massive armies. You had to build various structures and make sure you admittedly supplied power to all of them. All this was done through a simple point-and-click interface. It was easy to get into, but harder to master, especially in the later missions.

Command and Conquer was the first RTS game to offer competitive multiplayer, and this increased its popularity tenfold. Ports of the game were released on Nintendo 64, Playstation, and the Sega Saturn, although on consoles, the control was a bit more difficult due to the lack of a mouse and keyboard. A sequel titled Red Alert would be released that took the storyline in a completely different direction (namely an alternate world where World War 2 never happened and the US fought the Russians), while keeping the top-notch gameplay of the first. Before long, the Tiberium storyline would be revisited in Tiberium Sun. Several other spin-offs would be released, including C&C Renegade, an FPS game starring one of the game’s units. As part of the franchise’s 12th anniversary, the original game has been made a free download from http://www.commandandconquer.com. Or if you don’t mind spending a little extra, Command and Conquer: The First Decade is available for PC for $29.99. It’s a dvd containing every game in the series and its expansion packs (with the exception of the multiplayer game Sole Survivor and the recently released C&C 3). Either way, you owe it to yourself to check out this great game. The concepts it introduced are still seen in today’s RTS titles.

Lost Classics: Hook (Super Nintendo, Genesis, Sega CD, Game Gear)
hook.jpgBefore making the Playstation, Sony was a third-party comapny known as Sony Imagesoft, specializing mainly in games based on movies. Although most of them were flops, there were a few gems, such as Skyblazer. Hook was another such gem. Based on the movie of the same name, Hook told the tale of a grown-up Peter Pan, who had forgotten about his adventures in Neverland, only to be quickly reminded of them when Captain Hook kidnaps his children. After Ocean developed an barely-above-average NES and Game Boy platformer (also published by Sony Imagesoft), Sony released this excellent platformer for the Super Nintendo, Genesis, Sega CD, and Game Gear. You hacked your way through several stages ranging from deep forests to icy mountains in order to get to Hook. With the help of Tinkerbell, you gained the ability to fly for brief periods of time. It had some good music and some nice boss battles. There wasn’t a whole lot more to it, but it was an awesome game based on a movie, something which was a rarity in the 16-bit days. Unfortunately, it goes without saying that seeing as how Sony is a console manufacturer now, and because of licensing issues this is zero chance of this game coming to Virtual Console, or even the Playstation store, so be prepared to hunt this gen down at the used bins. As you can see, the Sega CD version was also packaged with Three Ninjas. 2 game for the price of one! Also of interest is Irem’s arcade beat-em-up, where you can choose to play as Peter or one of the Lost Boys.