So the demo for C&C 3 was released today and I tried it out.

First…1.2 gigs for a demo. The equivalent of two CDs for a demo. Just insanity. And I know at least a third of that was taken up by those lovely, lovely high-res movies that they just couldn’t bring themselves to downsample. You know, the ones you’ll watch exactly once and then become dead bits on your hard drive?

So I got it up and running and snickered through the opening FMV (look, guys, when you’ve got Michael Ironside for your game, you are obligated by law to give him cool dialog). But once I got into the game, I was very, very pleasantly surprised.

For one thing, the game ran at full frame rate on my computer, unlike some other games named Supreme Commander that I won’t mention. I didn’t have to tweak nothin’.

And the other thing I didn’t expect was to recognize the buildings and units. The Red Alert series had done all kinds of strange and freaky things with their units (dolphins with guns on their backs, anyone?). Unfortunately that stuff snuck back into the “real” C&C series in C&C: Tiberium Sun. In C&C 2 the units were really esoteric and it was hard figuring out what you should attack with what. I mean, go on…tell me, without looking it up, what units a GDI Disc Thrower unit should be used against.

So I was very surprised when I started the first mission and was presented with an MCV, which deployed into a Construction Yard, which I then used to build a Power Plant, Refinery, and Barracks, which then allowed me to construct Riflemen, Rocket Soldiers and Grenadiers. It all felt very familiar and very welcome. I think at one point I may have said something like, “Oh, baby, I’ve missed you so much”…but I can’t be sure.

After playing through the included demo mission and a skirmish game, it feels to me that C&C 3 is basically C&C 1 remade using the C&C: Generals engine.

And you know what? I could not be happier. There is nothing wrong with just taking an older game, tweaking it a bit, giving it a fresh coat of paint and fixing whatever minor problems it had. Especially when the original game is widely considered one of the best ever.

Reminds me of the middling reviews Dungeon Keeper 2 received. Most reviews said something like, “It’s just Dungeon Keeper 1 in 3D with some fixes and new units, traps, room types and a new campaign.” Um…yeah, that’s what made it one of the best games released that year, idiots!

I mean, jeez, that’s like saying, “They’re just M&Ms, only now they have peanuts in them.”

To sum up, unlike the other game named Supreme Commander that I won’t mention, this demo actually made me want to play this game. And I’m sure I’ll be picking it up…eventually.