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Expansion Packs are Golden

By Brian Rubin

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When a game becomes successful, and sells lots of copies, there are one of two things that become inevitable. Either an expansion pack or a sequel. Expansion packs are usually the easier of the two because they involve only adding to existing resources, rather than creating whole new games. Today we receive word that two popular Real Time Strategy (RTS) titles will soon see expansions on store shelves, for Command & Conquer Generals and Age of Mythology, from Electronic Arts and Microsoft, respectively.

Usually, expansion packs add new content to an existing game, by way of new units, maps, campaigns, missions, features, graphics, etc. These two expansion packs are no different. The first one, called Command & Conquer Generals Zero Hour, will feature, according to the press release:

...more weapons, more power, new battlefields, three new single-player campaigns, 15 new missions, and new game modes.

Command & Conquer Generals Zero Hour features a new Generals Challenge mode which allows players to control any of the unique armies of nine distinctive Generals in head-to-head competition against computer-controlled Generals. Each General has a
unique strength and is equipped with a special army. In three new singleplayer campaigns players will continue to take charge of three different armies, the Global Liberation Army (GLA), China, or the USA. With new weapons such as the US Spectre Gunship, GLA combat motorcycles, and Chinese Helix helicopters, players will select from a surplus of new high-tech weaponry and an assortment of new units and structures in their quest for global domination.

Pretty hefty stuff, to be sure. While C&C Generals is a modern-day title, Age of Mythology takes place in the classical era, and its expansion pack, entitled Age of Mythology: The Titans, reflects this. According to the press release:

Age of Mythology: The Titans for windows adds a fourth mythology, the Atlanteans, to the existing Greek, Egyptian and Norse mythologies. A new single-player campaign will add yet another chapter to the franchise's expansive folklore with the addition of new scenarios and in-game cinematics. Atlantean players will be able to call upon the might of the Titan gods multiple times throughout the game, and may also upgrade human units to heroes. The expansion pack will introduce 12 new god powers, 18 new human units and 10 formidable myth units to the game. Age of Mythology: The Titans may also be played with others online using the in-game matchmaking service, ES Online (http://www.eso.com)
One of the problems with expansion packs is that they can be on the expensive side, and these two are no exception, ranging in price from $29.99 to $34.99, they're almost as much as the original game.

For fans of these games, however, the asking price is small compared to the enjoyment they'll likely receive from these expansion packs. These two expansion packs also signal the beginning of the fall/Christmas buying season, when new products bombard store shelves, all vying for your hard-earned dollar. To get back on topic, however, if you're a fan of either (or both) of these successful franchises, it looks like you can't go wrong with these expansions. They add more of what players already love about these games, which is what we gamers always want...more stuff.

Published on Sep 12, 2003

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