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PC Games (Games) Real Time Strategy (Games) Entertainment Games

Top Real-Time Strategy Games of All Time? 175

Posted by simoniker
from the where's-pikmin? dept.
Decaffeinated Jedi writes "GameSpy is running a feature looking at the editors' picks for the top real-time strategy games of all time. Included on the list are such classics as StarCraft, Command and Conquer: Red Alert, and Age of Empires. The article looks at each game's significance to the genre as a whole, as well as offering some reader feedback on the editors' choices. Why not grunt rush their server, have a look at their picks, and share some of your own RTS favorites here?"
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Top Real-Time Strategy Games of All Time?

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  • C&C (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mwheeler01 (625017) <matthew.l.wheeler@gmai l . com> on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @11:35AM (#8180326)
    I was always a big fan of the original Command and Conquer. The units had a nice variety without bogging you down with too many options and the whole concept of RTS was new and exciting to me. I don't think any C&C quite lived up to the original except Red Alert.
    • by karnal (22275)
      My circle of friends has been playing Generals a lot lately, and all around agree the zero hour expansion pack adds a lot of depth to the different sides, if you will...

      The only problem we see is that the sides don't seem all that well balanced compared to something such as Yuri's Revenge (an add on for Red Alert 2). We fired up Yuri's over this past weekend and had a blast (ipx only though....) I don't know; the two games share a lineage, but since EA has the new C&C, it just doesn't feel the same.
    • Yes, I loved the original Command & Conquer. It was titled Tiberian Dawn. I bought it from Egghead in 1995 with my college friends. I was a sophomore back and had a 486 DX2/66 then. Boy, did we get addicted! Modem play so often and we never did any studying. :)

      Whatever happened to C&C:Twilight or something like that?
  • Age of Empires II (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kneecarrot (646291) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @11:37AM (#8180351)
    I am not a person prone to obsessive behaviour, but when I fired up AOEII, I would often play all night until the sun rose the next day. This is during the week and with a 9 to 5 job.

    There is nothing like building an impenetrable fortress and a huge assault force and then unleashing your army on a neighbour.

    I love love love that game. I love it. Love love love. Am I gushing? Sorry. :)

    • "There is nothing like building an impenetrable fortress and a huge assault force and then unleashing your army on a neighbour."

      I used to have fun setting up traps for my neighbour. Once I set up a Burger King-esuqe maze for him to walk back and forth through while towers picked away at his army. Heh. I had fun listening to him swear from the next cube.
      • I have only a single question for you. And here it is:

        What is a Burger King-esque maze?

        • "What is a Burger King-esque maze?"

          At Burger King , they have this maze in front of the counter that you have to walk back and forth through before getting to the counter to order your meal. The place is never busy, but you still go in back and forth and back and forth. It's like "When I complete this, can I have a piece of cheese?"

          • Ah, more canonically associated with the bank teller's line... I have seen 'em at BK, but I think I've seen some BK's without one, or at least with one that only has one pass...
          • Never busy? Man, you need to go there during lunch sometime. The BK near me has people almost spilling out the door at noon. I, for one, and glad they have the maze--it keeps people from clogging up the access to the bathrooms... And not only that, it's way fun to have BK maze races. (Just don't do it when they have those helpful "caution, floor is wet" signs out...)


    • After doing the AoE expansion pack and some other stuff, he did Empire Earth. Similar idea, but this time "done right".

      • does Empire Earth fix the biggest problem I had with the whole Age series, namely the lack of an "attack move"? AOE2 is a great looking game, but coming from the blizzard RTS school, I just found it frustrating that I would have to move my units in short increments if I wanted to be sure they would attack stuff on the way to their destinations. Incredibly annoying. 2 armies could just walk through each other, unless 1 player explicitly gave his men the stop command.

        But then again, AOE2 introduced the "f
        • EE has an attack-move command. It has find-idle-worker and find-idle-fighter commands. The only command it lacks which I find myself missing occasionally is a "unit B, escort this other unit A" command. As it is, I can tell unit A to unconditionally move to point X, and unit B to attack-move to point X, but B will not match A's pace, and if they get separated, A becomes open to ambush.

          In practice, it just means I need to split A in half and send a vanguard and a rear guard, with B between them.

        • Age of Kings didn't have attack-move, but it did have patrol (which works just like attack-move until the units reach the destination). The hotkey i "Z", iirc.
      • No, Rick left right after Age came out. He didn't have anything to do with the Expansion pack. That was all Sandy Peterson.

        • Oh. I didn't know that. Clearly there was some cross-pollination of ideas, then, since some of the expansion pack ideas made their way into EE. (Or vice versa? Dunno.)

          • Rick may have taken some ideas, but the germination of the expansion happened after we (yeah, I was there) decided that we needed to delay the production of Age of Empires II for another year. The expansion pack Rise of Rome was inserted as a way to fill the gap. Most of the ideas were new, but some ideas were ones that were cut from the original game.

            At that point, most RTS developers were thinking along the same lines and heading in the same direction in terms of featues and GUI.

    • My big gripe with AOE2 was that I would spend a devious amount of time building "The Castles of Castles(R)" and some dinky little tree would block my perspective, and all the frenchies would march through that tiny hole I never saw. I had to start wearing a football helmet 'cause everytime I played that game, I'd smash my head into my monitor.
    • Oh yes... In college, my friend and I spent many nights playing AOEII, instead of more productive things, like homework and group projects :) If we played against each other, and no one won early, it would turn into a battle of cannon towers.

      I had a 'killing zone' of 15 to 20 cannon towers mixed in with 3 or 4 castles that got destroyed by 4 or 5 waves of maxed out Samumari. :)

      Sometimes I hear that 'attack' noise in my head, as well as the 'trebuchet' (sp?) 'launch' noise. The sound of buildings being l

  • Not really sure if it fits the RTS genre ... but I still fire up the Atari emulator to put in a round every now and then.

    • Real Time Strategy? Nope, not MULE. Those kinds of games (MOO, STARS!, etc) are commonly called "4X" games (expand explore exploit exterminate). They can share some common elements with their RTS bretheren, but typically they're considered to be a seperate genre. They're definitly tons of fun though!
  • playing dune 2 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @11:39AM (#8180369) Homepage Journal
    should work quite well on dosbox [slashdot.org].

    It was just great when it came :)

    too bad I never liked the rts games that came after it as much, imho most of them were lacking in atmosphere.

    though, I'd count populous 1 as rts anyways :)
    • Dune 2 was the first RTS game I ever played in my life. It was before the first C&C game. I was still in high school when I played it on my IBM PS/2 30 286 (10 Mhz; 1 or 4 MB of RAM)?

      I also bought Dune 2000 and Emperor: Battle for Dune. They were not great as the original game. Emperor was a better game than Dune 2000. Maybe EA Pacific (formerly Westwood Studios) should stop making Dune RTS games. :)
  • Up until 4 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Apreche (239272)
    Up until #4 warcraft 3 every game on the list was crap. They should have inserted warcraft 2 at #4 warcraft 3 at #5 and warcraft 1 at #6. The original C&C should have come in at #7. The rest can stay the way it is.
    • by MMaestro (585010) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @12:13PM (#8180662)
      Warcraft 2 should've been on the list but Warcraft 1? I'm thinking you have jaded memories.

      Warcraft 1 lacked ease of use compared to Warcraft 2. Most notable point : No ability to right click movement. Thats right, everytime you wanted a group, which was limited to FOUR, you had to click 'M', and left click. Not only that you couldn't group units using the now standard Ctrl-# method, so juggling troops in the middle of a battle was a near impossibility. There was no "attack movement" either so strategies generally degraded into throwing armies at your opponent and then spending time telling each unit to engage the enemy over and over. Warcraft 1 was the equal of Warcraft 2 in an Alpha stage, a shoddy piece of crap which kept people playing because of the art and graphics. It didn't help that the only differences were their spells either, or the fact that all your building had to be connected to your town hall by ROADS... which had to be built (read : waste of money) INDIVIDUALLY (read : the computer will unfairly bum rush you).

      To say every game before Warcraft 3 on the list is crap is ignorant. Dune 2 crap? Yeah, ignorant.

      • Well, to be fair, Warcraft I was a very different game, and the interface merely reflected that.

        It was paced much slower than its successors, and I think that you could see elements from a more turn-based conception peeking out beneath the real-time gameplay. For example, you could effectively move only one unit or small groups of units at a time, and none of the interface improvements which allowed for quicker gameplay as in Warcraft II were there. Also, the idea of roads are akin to Dune II's concrete
        • Um, lets consider the context shall we? If Warcraft 1 pre-dated context-sensitive right-clicking, selecting larger groups of units, grouping units by hotkey, etc then BY DEFINITION it would not have those things. The ultimate godly RTS does not come fullborn into the world with all the features we have today. There are incremental improvements - Herzog Zvei, Dune 2, Warcraft, C & C, each adds onto the improvements that came in the last. To say that Warcraft 1 retroactively sucks because Warcraft III
          • just as at the time Warcraft I was the pinnacle of RTS

            Um, not really. The only reason I picked up Warcraft I was because a friend gave me his copy. Warcraft I was a step BACKWARD compared to Dune 2 (which was developed by Westwood, Blizzard's rival during Warcraft II) all things considered.

            At the time Dune 2 was FRIKIN AMAZING. THREE (relatively) distinctive sides, a constant threat which could f*** up your entire game (sandworm attacks were NOT alerted to the player, so you could lose an entire fleet of

            • Dune 2 sequels sucked
              I agree with what you wrote otherwise (Warcraft I was a huge step backwards from Dune2, overall), but I thought Emperor was a fun game. Some really nice, interesting unit design in that game. The atmosphere was perfect, too.
    • While I don't agree with your rankings, Warcraft II definitely needs to be on the list. I still play it. In fact, I use it as my cut off for old hardware. If a computer is too old to run Warcraft II at playable speed, then I don't keep it. My only beef with it is that the PC version doesn't support direct TCP/IP. I wish Blizzard would open up the code so that could be done. I have to use one of my old power macs if I want to play over the internet with someone. (and yes, I know about Battle.net, I prefer a
  • by ceejayoz (567949)
    Homeworld made the list, #6!

    Yay. :-)
    • Re:yay! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ParadoxicalPostulate (729766) <saapad@gmail.cRABBITom minus herbivore> on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @02:16PM (#8181773) Journal
      I actually didn't finish the single player campaign in Homeworld (I had borrowed the game and had to give it back) but I can say I was dazzled by the 3-D dimension. I mean, the did it perfectly. Once used to the system, you could send small sories on intercept routes varying at angles, and catch the enemy from three different directions, all the while maintaining an escape route.

      The one thing that bothered me was the lack of sufficient variety in units. More units, different spaceships, maybe a history to the units...that would have made it much cooler when you actually saw them in action.

      Its really unfortunate that none of the big names in RTS picked up on this idea, because I think it has amazing potential.

      Imagine rendering hundreds of ships in a raging 3-D battle in an asteroid field just outside a binary system. Wow.
  • Rise of the Nations (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Utopia (149375)
    Strategy games & adventure games are the only games I ever play.
    My current favorite is Rise of the Nations [microsoft.com].
    Before that Stronghold [stronghold-game.com] used to take a big chunk of my time.
    • I was a beta-tester for Rise of Nations.

      The poor coordination in the beta program left me with a feeling of loss. The first version they shipped out to us was horribly, horribly bugged - in terms of artwork and game playability, as well as video card driver support (I had to downgrade my drivers until I figured out how to edit the game files to make it work with higher level drivers...I don't know if the game developers fixed the problem till much later).

      Still, when I finally got to playing the game I
  • The great thing about Seven Kingdoms II was the espionage aspect of the game. Truely unique and made for interesting diplomocy. (Which was always broken in AOE and others).

    Also, the concept of character leadership and changing hitpoints was a great feature. If your General had high leadership points, his troops would get extra damage bonus.

    It's only failing was lack of single player replayability, IMHO

  • Why didn't this make the list!!!!!???!
  • Kohan (Score:2, Interesting)

    by buddy53711 (685098)
    I picked up Kohan: Ahriman's Gift on a whim and can honestly say it is one of the most interesting of all the RTS's I own. It has depth of play that other RTS's really don't even approach and allows you to actually use strategy and tactics, a concept that is slowly becoming foreign to the so called RTS genre. This is a rant for another day though. If you are interested in trying out this little known wonder, I believe there is a demo out for it. I think you can find it at Timegate Studios. Its an Oldie
    • Re:Kohan (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lonath (249354)
      Ok, you don't want to rant, so I'll rant. Kohan and Kohan: Ahriman's Gift are now my favorite RTSes. Timegate did an amazing job turning the clickfest/mircomanagement RTS into a real strategy game. Here are some of the features I like:
      • You buy units in companies and those companies have great AI and fight well together. If they've lost units in combat and can escape to near a friendly city, they will eventually regenerate all of their units.
      • Cities don't consist of 50 little buildings on the screen. Ci
      • Agreed. Kohan: Ahriman's Gift was a truly evolutionary game for me. It really made all the other RTS games seem like micromanagement clickfests. I still agree with TA being a top game - I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    • *Cough* Demo is here [timegate.com].

      But I don't work there or anything. ;)
  • by TwistedGreen (80055) <twistedgreen AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @12:01PM (#8180549)
    Warcraft II. It's still a fantastic game today, and it's going on what, 9 years now?

    I can't say I developed much of a taste for Warcraft III, though. Adding that whole 'hero' aspect just wasn't my style.
  • Not a bad list... (Score:4, Informative)

    by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @12:04PM (#8180581) Homepage
    ...though if I'd put it together, I would have boosted Rise of Nations a bit and pulled Warcraft III back a bit.

    RoN is a truly amazing game once you get the basics down. It takes a while to get to a point where you feel "in control" of what is going on--for example, there are five different resources to juggle, and your military strategy needs to change significantly as you progress through the ages. What makes it stand apart from the other games in this list is that there is so much to juggle that you've got a lot more control over how to play out the game than you do in other games. There simply isn't a recipe for "how to win a game"; once you've gone beyond a few basic opening strategies, it's wide open. What's more, there's far less unit micromanagement than in other games in the genre: you send your armies into battle and control formations, but you rarely need to do the "now you attack this here" bit. Some people like this; to me, it goes against the nature of the RTS, changing it from being a game of strategy to being a game of who can click which units the fastest and most accurately.

    Warcraft III was pretty and engaging, but it eventually boiled down to the classic Rock-Paper-Scissors style combat that dominates the genre. It's more of an action game than a strategy game, IMHO--gameplay relies on developing and guiding your heroes to determine the outcome of the battle, making it more of a dungeon crawl than a strategic title.

    TA deserves that first place award. It's one of the few old-school RTS games I can still play and thoroughly enjoy. I'd love to see the engine updated to take advantage of modern hardware and UI enhancements...

  • The computer is actually hard to beat. Plus, as far as I can remember, its the earliest WARGAMES for any system. The inclusion of a time restriction was a great idea.
  • How could they make that the first pick! I played the game and I have to say that I have never been so bored in my life. I think that the hallmark of a great game is that you're immersed by it from the very first click. To put that game in and not include Warcraft 1 or 2 is offensive.
    • by forged (206127) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @12:59PM (#8181052) Homepage Journal
      Hey I was going frenetically thorugh the list, searching for TA... Not 10tjh, not 9th, and so on. I was already thinking, "how could they NOT include TA in the top 10" until I finally clicked o nthe last link almost in desperation.... and there it was !!!!

      I don't know if I would have ra,ked it 1str, because the others listed in there are serious competition. but it's cool to see my best game ever as #1 ! For once things go my way, heh :) Some of you must know the feeling..

      TA and extension packs (TA:CC, TA:BT) are the last games that I bought, and I still have them installed on my current computer, 2 generations later. I'm still playing it occasionnally, although not quite as much as I was in '97/98 !

    • "Me Too" for TA. Smooth fluid animation, dozens of units, an intuitive control system, an expandable and hackable system, and my god the awesome music... Nothing quite like seeing hundreds of twisted burnt metal wrecks amidst the scorched landscape after a fierce battle while the Mahler-esque orchestra blares bombastically. Starcraft had nothing on TA.

      I'd call it a tie with Myth.
    • by mstorer3772 (526790) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @02:07PM (#8181675) Homepage
      How could they make it first pick? Because it rocked.

      They're right. It was WAY ahead of it's time. Games today STILL don't give you the level of control that TA did.

      Controls TA pioneered:
      Order queuing: Hold down shift and you can give a unit a giant stack of orders. No limit (save memory I'd imagine). Warcraft 3 had it, 2 didn't. Starcraft didn't either.

      Factory orders: You give an order queue to a factory, and every unit it produced would get those orders. This feature has yet to be duplicated (to my knowledge).

      Factory groups: If you assigned a control group to a factory, every unit it produced was also in that group. I haven't seen this duplicated either.

      Seperate move & shoot behavior controls: Some games give you the option of having a unit be agressive or passive or whatever, but TA seperated movement and firing options. For movement you had "hold still, tether (follow enemy a short distance and then return), and free roam". For attacking, they had "hold fire, return fire, and fire at will". In warcraft three you can order a unit to hold still, but you can't order it to hold it's fire.

      Select all of *: TA had LOTS of keyboard shortcuts to let you select all of a particular group of units. Some of those groups included "all units that can attack", "air units" "ships", "construction units", "all the units on the current screen", "all units of the same type as the ones currently selected", stuff like that. Oh, and "all units".

      Production Queues: You could order a factory to keep producing a given unit forever. You could order 5 fighers, then 10 bombers, then 5 more fighters, then 3 scouts, THEN keep building fighters forever.

      Foritifications: You were allowed to build little barracades called "dragons teeth". They could be shot over with indirect-fire weapons, but direct fire hit them, and it took quite a bit of damage to destroy them. You could build your own walls.

      Pay as you go production: Producing units drained resources over time, rather than paying for everything up front.

      Unlimited resources: There was no limit on how much of a given resource was present. A "metal patch" with a miner on it would continue producing X-metal-per-second until it was destroyed. More of a gameplay descision than a control feature, but still noteworthy.

      If you didn't like TA, you either :
      * Need to take another look
      * Don't have the same tastes as right-thinking people (me).

      And it was REALLY mod-able. Quite a few total conversions floating around out there. Sadly, many were based on someone else's IP and shut down (star wars, various other RTS's duplicated in TA, stuff like that).

      Incidentally, Chris Taylor did quite a bit of "new spin on old ideas" in Dungeon Siege too. Sadly, he seems to have removed some "fun" stuff, along with many of the hassles. And I pray that he goes back and does that sci-fi RTS he's threatened to do on occasion.
      • Age of Empires II did do many of the production queues that you mentioned, as well as the keyboard shortcuts and fortifications. TA was first however. I'm surprised that other games haven't done the unit commands as TA did.
      • You make some good points, however alot of the depth that you mention can only be found after playing for a while. If the game is no fun at first, then how could you find out?
        • You mentioned that one of the things you didn't like was a lack of "immersion". I say "how could you NOT be drawn in with that awsome music"? And I thought that the voice acting of the single-player campaign was quite good.

          There wasn't much of an in-game personality, I admit. *craft has always had a more detailed 'unit personality'... particularly when you start clicking on the same unit over and over again (FUNNY stuff in there).

          But I was immediately hooked on it... the sheer scope of TA was great. A
      • The designers at Big Huge Games obviously played a lot of TA, as many of its innovations can be found in Rise of Nations. The inexhaustible resources, along with a pretty intelligent infinite queuing system, and lots of useful shortcut keys (not as many as TA, but to be honest, the game is also a little more elegantly designed, so it doesn't need them). A really fun game - it also features some great innovations that would be appreciated in a TA-style game (you fight over cities, for example, but can't des
  • No Myth? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xzzy (111297) <setherNO@SPAMtru7h.org> on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @12:18PM (#8180705) Homepage
    I know the game was always sort of a "sleeper" that never broke it big like heavy hitters such as Starcraft did, but Myth was still incredibly well done, and I've never come across a person who flat out didn't like it.

    It's strongest quality was mostly the fact that it cut out all the annoying resource gathering and just let you work on the strategy part of killing your enemies.

    I was hoping the ideas it brought to the genre would catch on (I think maybe Sacrifice is the only game I've played since that comes close) but it never caught on.

    Doesn't change that it was an awesome game though.. I would have replaced that stinker 'Age of Empires' with Myth on that list any day. ;)
    • Yes! Myth and Myth II were so much fun. I always loved the "big" maps like creep on the borderlands and desert between your ears. What a great game. It's unfortunate no one has attempted to copy them and improve on the formula (myth 3 felt too much the same by the time it came around).
    • Myth was never really fully accepted as a 'real time strategy'. They considered it more a 'real time tactical', because you worked mostly at the tactics of battle, not resource consumption and building, etc...
  • I always liked C&C: RA2. With the wonderful actresses [exp0sed.com].
  • by GregWebb (26123) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @12:44PM (#8180924)
    Honestly, just play it - superb atmosphere, superb gameplay but never really took off - seems people weren't so hot on first person perspective for these things. Personally, I think it just makes it wonderfully immersive.

    Also, I tend to get annoyed with the number of RTS games where you're winning wherever you go, mopping up every last unit of resistance and levelling the battlefield. Battlezone isn't like that - you're constantly battling to get out of the level alive and achieve the objectives before you get overpowered. That crucial difference leads to a very different mindset that I find more enjoyable in the long-term because you don't tend to end up with levels where you're hanging around for ages desperately trying to build up the army for the last final push, knowing you'll make it eventually just by storming the base and killing them all. You have to get it right just to live, and that's a victory in itself.

    Superb game - if you can track it down, do.
    • Battlezone was more of a hybrid than a pure RTS.. it definately had some great elements of an RTS but the combat was very FPS/Simulator than RTS combat.

      Reminds me of Command and Conqueor Renegade. cept a hell of alot better.
      • I know what you mean but I (personally) find it difficult to think of something where you're:

        * Gathering resources
        * Building bases
        * Commanding units
        * Attacking enemies

        and all in a mission-based structure, in real-time, as anything other than a descendent of Dune 2.

        Stuff genres, though - I don't care whether something fits or not and it's very, very good.
  • Where is Advance Wars for the gameboy?

    Sure, I've played tons of hours on PC based RTS games and I did my time with the original C&C and Starcraft, but these guys didn't even give a nod to the million+ selling Advance Wars series (which by the way started well before the Herzog Zwei on the Genesis).

    Sure its not as 3D pretty as PC based ones, but its portable and majorly addicting. I've killed more flights with that game .. actually that game has caused more stewardesses to ask me to "please turn off y
  • The List (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    1. Total Annihilation
    2. StarCraft w/ Brood War
    3. C&C Red Alert
    4. WarCraft 3
    5. Age of Empires
    6. Homeworld
    7. Close Combat 2
    8. Rise of Nations
    9. Medieval: Total War
    10. Empire Earth
    Honorable Mention: Dune 2
  • Although I can see why TA: Kingdoms didn't make the list, I never understood why it was so badly received by the gamer community. Of all the RTS games I ever played, this one ranks top on my list. It was incredibly fun. There were many interface improvements over TA (which says a lot) and I found the fantasy theme to give us much more interesting and distinguishable units. One thing I disliked about TA was how hard it was to visually identify specific units.

    As I recall, the biggest complaint was that
  • by DJayC (595440) *
    Dune 2... 'nough said. This was the first RTS game I got into, and by far my favorite. I remember playing it for hours upon hours. Perhaps my worst memory is inviting my best friend over (with his computer), and playing the game all night on different computers... pretty sad!
  • Dune II only getting a honorable mention?? Without Dune II where would the RTS genre be? I remember playing this game and being in complete awe over its originality. It only left me wanting more. This game belongs in the top ten with its fellow RTS games. Screw honorable mentions give it the respect it deserves as one of the top ten RTS of all time.
  • Warcraft II was basically the benchmark for all RTS games that followed. It was the first RTS game I ever liked and its still one of my all time favorite games.
  • I know it's labeled a "simulation," but that's just an easy label to give based on its name. (What is the definition of an RTS anyways? You could take the term several ways, and the article doesn't really define it...)

    If it counts, it'd be the only game on the table that's not about battle in one way or another.

    SimCity was great. SimCity 2000 was better, because its gameplay was considerably deeper. (SC 3000 went a bit too far, I thought, into micromanagement; and so the first sequel in the series re
    • I believe that the definition of "RTS" that would be the closest to the truth is this:

      A game wherein two or more sides, each of which has a base on a single battle map, build facilities and units in order to destroy the opposing base(s) while defending its own in real time.

      This definition excludes games where you don't build units or facilities on the battle map (e.g. the Total War games) or at all (e.g. Myth). Both of those examples would be real-time tactics (within a turn-based strategic shell, in the
      • I just noticed that they put Medieval: Total War on the list. I'm not sure why; even they admitted that it wasn't all that strategic in the real-time component. This also brings up the question, "Why not include Myth?" Myth is just as worthy of being on an RTS list as Total War is.

        Rob (Note that I didn't use the word "begs," grammarians)
  • by freidog (706941) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @02:39PM (#8181973)
    Dear god.
    They put out a half finished game and made you wait 6 months before it was playable.
    The AI was laughable. It was so poor at resource management it cheated on every difficulty level, evey easy. It was totaly incapable of building an army, it would simply spam buildings and vills with the occasional military unit thrown it.
    Nealry every age was hopelessly unbalanced, for a game that stressed how important counter units were, Persian cavarly would dominte everything on the battle field for 3 or 4 ages only to finaly be replaced by another unstoppable army.

    Maybe they fixed it in 2.0 patch/Expansion pack but i never stuck around to find out. There were far better games out there, like ones that a person could stand to play.

    To put EE on there and snub good games like Warcraft II or Stronghold Crusader or even Cossaks, is inexplicable.
  • by Ceyan (668082) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @02:40PM (#8181987)
    Rise of Nations and Homeworld.

    Any other RTS I've ever played I've been able to consistently use overwhelming numbers to beat the other players, be it online or off. Problem is that, yes, there is some strategy involved, and in an evenly matched battle the one who can effectively micromanage special abilities or troops will win. But in all the games I've played (sans the two mentioned, and I've played just about every game called an RTS out there, and some that weren't but still qualified) if you have at least 1.5 times more troops than your enemy, nothing will save you. (I'm talking equally skilled players here, an idiot will lose no matter how many troops he gathers)

    Rise of Nations really took the idea of borders to the next level, which made it incredibly hard to effectively attack enemy territory because you could never affect the economy directly (before an assault) of any player with decent skill.

    Homeworld because the concept of specific units being effective against other specific units actually mattered. Yes in other games it's been done, and using that to your advantage could mean a win, but it wasn't a critical factor. In Homeworld even basic fighters never really lost their effectiveness against more advanced ships (Fighters ate Ion Frigates for lunch), and combine that with future releases like the Beast infection beam or the cannon you could add to the mining ship, you really had to stop and consider how to make an attack.

    I'll throw in two honorable mentions:

    #1: Total Annihlation. Although not revolutionary in terms of the engine, the modability and the diverse units (Land, Sea, and Air in a Sci-fi setting) really made this game shine.

    #2: Dune 2 and Warcraft 2. These I only mention because they were the games that sparked the RTS industry. Yes others came before them, but these two became so popular that they made the difference. (Just like Half-Life/Couter Strike for FPS, Diablo for dungeon crawls, Falcon series for Flight Combat Sims, etc...)
  • It had the basics of any modern RTS: unit production, real-time movement, multiplayer(only two though).
  • Got the Warcraft II box set several years back (it includes WC, WC2, and WC2:expansion). Honestly, I thought it was okay but hadn't really had the urge to play more RTS after that. The fact that they didn't make it...well maybe the RTS genre is worth more credit than I gave it.
  • TA reigns supreme!

    I can honestly say that I don't understand how StarCraft could come in at #2. I'd been playing and hacking around on TA for a year when StarCraft came and did nothing better than TA. I gave up the SC campaign on the third of fourth map and never went back.

    TA I played again a couple of weeks ago and had a good time. Works very well on newer faster machines, though it's a little hard to play over the internet due to the way network play is implemented and the problems with NAT.

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