Tiberian Sun: Firestorm is such a badass top-down RTS game. It was back in the crappy blocky pixelly 2.5D days, mixed with incredible bot difficulty even at the lowest levels. Without the ability to select spawning locations or limit superweapons, every match is a pulse-pounding Earth-shattering nuke fest. I’m serious. It’s that epic.

One of the things that I like about Tiberian Sun is that the maps were all freakin’ huge, and since nobody knows where anyone spawns, a major portion of the early game is building up a general defensive force and scouting the map for enemies. Of course, when dealing with bots, the first scout they send will always find the front of your base, and once that happens, you’ll inevitably hear “MISSILE LAUNCH DETECTED.”

That was like getting a phone call where a guy tells you he has your dog and is going to shoot it, then he makes you wait for a few seconds before actually shooting. Dealing with GDI isn’t so bad, because they only have drop pods, a satellite laser, and a hunter seeker bomb. None of these are good at destroying massive portions of your base in one fell swoop, so if you’re up against GDI, you can breath a sigh of relief.

Nod, on the other hand. While drop pods, ion cannons, and hunter seekers appear out of nowhere, unannounced, Nod superweapons let you know that you’re going to die horribly. And die horribly you shall. They have a cluster missile that damages terrain in a wide area, making it unusable, and a chemical missile that deals damage over time to anything touching the green clouds. Plus Visceroids. Oh god, the Visceroids. Those little blobby mutants aren’t so tough when infantile, but if they fuse, prepare to die.

Tiberian Sun: Firestorm

I suppose it’s about time I explain each side’s offensive and defensive capabilities, since talking about their nukes is a simple matter. I’ll start with GDI, since they’re likely the most straightforward and versatile. They have a fair selection of air, ground, and hover units (hover travels over water), and their defenses are well-suited to taking out all of these. Their component towers can be upgraded to SAM (anti-air), vulcan (anti-personnel), and RPG (anti-ground). The firewall defense is, as far as I know, the ONLY means to stop missiles and hunter-seekers, so that’s a major boast to the GDI’s defensive capability. Someone with even slight micro-management skills can overwhelm an enemy with a multi-sided attack using the simpler GDI forces.

Nod is a lot sneakier, focusing on stealth and swarming tactics. I suppose it would be fair to say that while GDI plays standard, Nod plays gimmicky. They have a small pool of air and hover vehicles, favoring burrowing flamethrower tanks, drill-in turret tanks, stealth tanks, and incredibly resilient high-tier infantry. The major plus to Nod is that they can strike from virtually any side, any position, at any time, making an all-round general defense an absolute necessity.

Tiberian Sun: Firestorm

Worth mentioning are the super-units on either side. The GDI’s Mammoth mkII, a quad walker reminiscent of the Star Wars Battle of Hoth mechs, has a slow-firing extremely high damage and long range laser. The Ghost Stalker is an infantry with the same capability for a little less of a cost. Easier to transport, easier to sneak about. Nod get no massive tank, and instead receive a Mutant Hijacker that can lay claim to any tank it gets close enough to. Even the Mammoth mkII. Their other trump card is the Cyborg Commando, an impossibly powerful moderate rate of fire infantry unit that regenerates HP while standing on Tiberium. Add a mobile stealth generator, and you’ve got one of the deadliest sneak attacks in Tiberian Sun: Firestorm.

This isn’t a game you can just pick up and expect to win with no prior RTS experience. This takes a load of skill, because as I previously stated, even low level AIs can nuke you then swoop into your base with a small task force and wipe you out. It’s free on the EA C&C website, in any case. It has been ever since they slaughtered the Tiberian legacy with Tiberian Twilight. You can go get that and forget that retro-playing is basically pretending that all the crappy sequels that came out never came out. It’s free, so why the crap not?

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