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Ground Control: Dark Conspiracy

by Tristinian

There's nothing better than an expansion pack that can prolong the excitement that one derives from a game. And for free too...now that's just unbeatable right? There are going to be people of different minds on this expansion for our runner-up for RTS of the year and i'll give you both perspectives as i run through the pros and cons of Ground Control: Dark Conspiracy.

First of all, it's free. Yes. Believe me i'm not going to forget this the rest of the way of this review. But since i always like starting with negatives first, i've got a problem with Dark Conspiracy.

What makes a good expansion pack tick is having enough new goodies. As our friend the Silver Surfer mentioned in one of his quips in our awards special, Red Alert-Counterstrike was infamous for being an total waste of time. How could just more of the same be thrown onto a shelf and sold as an expansion for an excellent game? This is partly the problem with Ground Control. 15 new missions are great and the plot is more intense this time through the lot of them. Major Parker is now infamous for her exploits in the original Ground Control and she and her crew are now the rebel bunch that's going to continue kicking ass until full justice is restored. But the missions provided just don't feel new at all. I stress the word 'feel'. Yes, there are a few newer units and even a new faction (the Phoenix) for use, but I want new toys galore. I'm never really sold on expansions that just toss you minute amounts of new stuff and then a truck load of missions. The units and extra faction feel like you couldn't have turfed them from this game and still had the same amount of fun.

So there's my negative take on DC. But now for the positive aspect.

If you're the type who doesn't care and just wants more missions to hack through then by all means, gobble this one up Ground Control fans. You simply have to pay shipping and handling to get the sucker and *poof*, you're gaming away. It's really a bargain and regardless of the negatives, i recommend that you send out for it if you own the original GC. The gameplay is fundamentally unchanged regardless of the handful of new stuff added, but IT'S FREE...see? I didn't forget.

Personally? I adored the original Ground Control and as i mentioned before, it was the runner-up for our RTS award for the year 2000. It's strange though how an expansion such as this can simply make you push back your chair from the gamer's dinner table and declare that you've had enough. The original Ground Control was wonderful-it wasn't too long really and although there was little in the way of resources and building, it was excellent squad-based fun. Now doubling that by adding 15 more missions and churning out what feels like the same gameplay as GC, you've got an addition to a game that has not changed the complexion at all (the reason that the Hitman 'slo-mo' patch beat DC out for best patch/no-cost expansion award). In other words it's good enough to get seeing as it's free. However, if this weren't the case some would probably want to pass this one up and wait for something that builds on Ground Control's initial progress as an RTS as a whole. And the original was so good that I'm hoping they can certainly do that down the road.


It's FREE FREE FREE! (plus shipping and handling)

New stuff to an extent, but doesn't give the 'new stuff' feeling. Good to just have though for your collection.

The game kind of needs another dimension added to it now...hopefully that can happen sooner or later. But it IS free! So why not just get it?