Command and Conquer 12th Anniversary

Command and Conquer was one of the truly iconic games of the mid 1990s. Initially developed in 1995 by the Las Vegas firm Westwood Studios, C&C went on to become the touchstone for real-time strategy games, claiming the throne jointly with Warcraft.

12 years on, C&C is a successful franchise, now run by EA Games. In celebration of the anniversary, EA Games is offering the original game free to download as CD images. Here are the files: GDI95.iso if you want to play as the good guys, and NOD95.iso if you want to play as the evil Brotherhood of NOD.

Their servers are taking a bit of a beating, so you might want to try a Google search for the filenames NOD95.iso and GDI95.iso.

For those of you who were too young to remember the game, it’s something like real-time chess. You are in control of an army, either the UN’s Global Defence Initiative or the shadowy terrorist organisation, the Brotherhood of NOD; your goal is to build up troops, vehicles, weaponry, and other structures, then use them in attacking your enemy. When your armies are well developed, the action becomes very fast and furious. None the less, the games can take a long time to complete — I distinctly remember four hour gaming sessions from my childhood!

Now for a bit of a history lesson. Westwood Studios created the first modern real-time strategy game in 1992 when it released Dune II. Based on Frank Herbert’s novel Dune, the game involved the mining of ‘Spice’ (effectively used as a currency in the game) by vehicles called Spice harvesters. Spice is used to buy troops and to build on your territory. C&C offers a very similar vision. Spice is replaced with a mysterious extraterrestrial crystal called Tiberium. With both games, the gameplay is much the same: harvest Tiberium, fortify your base, create a powerful army, and finally destroy your opponent’s base.

Finally, if you dowload the ISOs from a source other than the EA Games website, you still need the following instructions to properly carry out the installation on a Windows XP machine:

INSTALLING AND RUNNING C&C GOLD ON WINDOWS XP

Follow the instructions below to install and play C&C GOLD

Preparing to Install

  1. Insert either C&C disc into your CD drive
  2. Open My Computer and explore the CD
  3. Right click either the install.exe or setup.exe
  4. select PROPERTIES
  5. Select the COMPATIBILITY tab
  6. Check the check box for “Run this program in compatibility mode for”
  7. Select WINDOWS 95 from the drop down menu
  8. Click APPLY then OK
  9. Double click the .exe file you just modified to launch it

Installing the Game

  1. When you’re prompted to update DirectX, uncheck the check box so you won’t install it. It is extremely important not to install this DirectX update
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation

Note: Installing Westwood Chat is not required, it can be canceled if you desire

Installing the Patch

  1. Download the patch file.
  2. Unzip the files and copy thipx32.dll into the install directory of the game (default path is c:\WESTWOOD\C&C95). You may overwrite the old version of the .dll file

Preparing to Run the Game

  1. Go to the install directory of the game (default path is c:\WESTWOOD\C&C95)
  2. Right click C&C95.exe
  3. Select PROPERTIES
  4. Select the COMPATIBILITY tab
  5. Check the check box for “Run this program in compatibility mode for”
  6. Select Windows 95 from the drop down menu
  7. Check the check box for “Disable visual themes”
  8. Check the check box for “Turn off advanced text services for the program”
  9. click APPLY then OK

Playing the Game

  1. Select Start > All Programs > Westwood > Command & Conquer 95 > Command & Conquer Windows 95 Edition. Or double click C&C95.exe located in the install directory (default path is c:\WESTWOOD\C&C95)

Additional Setup — Playing as non-Admin

If, like me, you don’t like to play games whilst logged in with an Administrator account, then you need to make a few simple changes to be able to play C&C. The simplest approach is to navigate to the install directory (by default C:\Westwood\C&C95) as an Administrator and make sure that your ordinary user account has Write access to the directory (as well as Read & Execute, List Folder Contents, and Read). To do this, right-click on the C&C95 folder, select Properties > Security. Choose Add from the dialog box and type in your username. Return to the previous dialog, select your username from the list, then click the appropriate checkboxes.

Another alternative (and the one I use) is to create a Gamer group using the management console, add my ordinary account to the Gamer group, then carry out the above process but for the Gamer group rather than for my own account.

N.B. Make sure you set Compatibility mode for each account you want to run the game under, as described above.

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