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Command & Conquer: The First Decade is a compilation of the Command & Conquer series' games published from 1995 to 2003, all bundled into one DVD and updated to run optimally on Windows XP. It was released on February 7, 2006 and sold for the price of one retail game. Also included in the compilation was a bonus DVD which took a look behind the scenes of the successful franchise, including interviews with producers, old concept art, various soundbites, as well as a montage of the winning fan videos of the "Are You The Biggest C&C Fan?" competition held prior to the compilation's release.

Other items included in the compilation included an A3 poster with high-quality C&C renders on both sides, one of which has been confirmed to be a teaser image for EA's Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, as well as a 65-page manual that only includes unit descriptions and hotkeys for each of the included games.

Command & Conquer: The First Decade was announced on November 4, 2005 and was released on February 7, 2006. The First Decade is a compilation of all Command & Conquer games on PC from Command & Conquer to Command & Conquer: Generals - Zero Hour (Command & Conquer: Sole SurvivorTemplate:Why? and Command & Conquer: Red Alert - Retaliation were excluded). The game had 2 DVDs, a 70-page manual that only includes unit descriptions for each of the included games, and an A3 poster with high-quality C&C renders on both sides of the Ion cannon and Predator tank from Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars. The old games have been updated to run on Windows XP but has several Bugs. The bugs were usually on some of the old Command & Conquer games.

Included games and expansions

Features & Omissions

  • Internet and LAN play for the older games, including Command & Conquer, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, as well as their expansion packs, were not provided.
  • In Command & Conquer, the game crashed if some units went to the top left corner of the screen. (This can be worked around by turning off advanced text services; this is a bug present in Windows XP and later)
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert was not updated to the latest 3.03 version. EA has explained that 3.03 was only a beta patch, and for this reason it wasn't included in Command & Conquer: The First Decade, although it would possibly be implemented through future patches to the compilation.
  • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert, the between-mission videos (which give a detailed explanation of what the player is expected to do) were not shown when playing the Soviet campaign (this has been fixed in a patch).
  • The soundtracks for the older games' expansion packs, Command & Conquer: Red Alert - The Aftermath, Command & Conquer: Red Alert - Counterstrike and Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations, were incomplete; this was fixed in a later patch.
  • The install path registry entries for Command & Conquer, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun and Command & Conquer: Renegade had errors (this has been fixed in a patch).
  • The map editor for Command & Conquer: Red Alert failed to detect The First Decade disc as being a valid Red Alert disc, hence it couldn't be used. (This can be worked around if the user creates a shortcut on the desktop directed with the command line with a space after " and input -cdcovert)

Since The First Decade's release, EA has released two patches, namely 1.01 and 1.02. Because The First Decade did not come with an auto-update program, the patches must be manually downloaded and applied. The first DVD provided game content. While the second contains Five fan tributes and an interview with Louis Castle.

Game DVD

New game content

The first DVD delivers each of the games with their most recent patches applied (except Command & Conquer: Red Alert which wasn't delivered at the latest version due to the latest patch being a beta version), all of which are bundled into a single installer. Many fans were disappointed that the original installers for the games, which were known to be very immersive and graphically pleasing, were not included. They were replaced by a single standard InstallShield wizard installer. The installer does enable the player to pick and choose what to install and what not to install, but assuming that all the games are selected, a total of 7 separate serial keys need to be entered.

The compilation comes as its own program, with a launcher which allows to choose between the installed games. A third-party shortcut installer has been made to create shortcuts for each of the individual games.[1]

Internet multi-player

Many fans have been disappointed by the fact that internet multiplayer did not work in the first two games upon The First Decade's release because the separate "Westwood Chat" program which they relied on had not been updated. There is a sticker stating this on the box, but it was not made clear in the pre-release publicity and as a result some users bought the compilation believing that the games, including all online capability, had been updated. While an official solution has not been introduced, a third-party patch is often used to provide a two player C&C Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert internet game, but it is not especially reliable. The unofficial patch 1.03 provided a more stable fix for this issue.

Bugs and Patches

Many bugs have been reported to be present in Electronic Arts' The First Decade pack, including some that didn't affect the original releases of the games. EA responded by releasing two patches: 1.01 and 1.02;[2] and the possibility of a third was suggested by the C&C Community Manager, Apoc. No official third patch was ever released but an unofficial 1.03 patch was created by NathanCNC and presented on EA's CommandAndConquer.com website. Currently the latest version of the 1.03 patch is officially available at CNCSector.net and CNCNZ.com.

The official patches mainly fixed bugs with The First Decade software while the unofficial patch fixed bugs in the Command & Conquer and Red Alert games. It also removed unnecessary video files (freeing a gigabyte of space), integrated downloadable Westwood map packs, fixed online and LAN play for all games (except Renegade and Generals, which already had fully functional online capabilities), and included PDF manuals for each game. Apoc claimed "This patch is a MUST-HAVE for any C&C: The First Decade Owner! [sic]".[3]

Although the company featured the unofficial 1.03 patch on a site that they owned, EA only provides support for their official patches and have stated they will not support the unofficial patch.[3] However, no issues have been reported and many of the fixes it contains have been used in previous third party additions without caveat.[4]

Bonus DVD

The Bonus DVD included in the compilation pack is a video DVD including the following video items:

  • The First Decade
  • Louis Castle Interview
  • 10 Years of Command & Conquer(TM)
  • The Future
  • The Community
  • A Tribute to Command & Conquer(TM)
  • Bonus Features:
    • The First Decade Trailer
    • Concept Artwork
    • The First Decade Credits

As the bonus DVD is a video DVD, it can be played on any conventional video DVD player.

"A Tribute To Command & Conquer" controversy

The "Tribute to Command & Conquer" item, a five-minute montage of all the winning fan-submitted videos was the most hyped feature to be included in the Bonus DVD, but many found it disappointing. Instead of being a whole section containing the six fan videos, it is just one montage of short extracts of each of the videos.

EA has said that the reason the videos were not included in their entirety is because of infractions to copyright laws concerning the audio the fans used in their videos. The short movie extracts in the montage video do still have their original audio, but they are hard to hear over a Russian-accented voiceover, supposedly from Joseph Stalin. The video also mis-spells and mis-credits several of the videos.

Bonus poster

Also included in the compilation is a single A3 double-sided poster, showing teaser high-resolution renders for the then upcoming Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars. One side is a highly upgraded version of the new GDI Ion Cannon, the other render is an image of the GDI's new Predator tank.

Compilation manual

The manual in the compilation unfortunately does not contain any backstory of information on the Command & Conquer series. Instead, the 70 page booklet only contains unit and structure descriptions for each of the games, as well as the standard pages such as warnings for epilepsy and the obligatory 'notes' section. Only Command & Conquer has its original manual provided which is in PDF form in its installed folder. However, the unofficial 1.03 patch installed PDF files for each additional game.

References

  1. XCC TFD Shortcut Installer - XCC Forum. Olaf van der Spek (2006-02-25). Retrieved on 2008-09-27
  2. The First Decade patches. Electronic Arts (April, 2006). Retrieved on 2008-09-27
  3. 3.0 3.1 The First Decade Unofficial Patch 1.03. Electronic Arts (November, 2008). Retrieved on 2008-12-01
  4. Nyerguds' TFD fixes page. Nyerguds (November, 2008). Retrieved on 2008-12-01

External Links

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