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Review: The Sum of All Fears and Command & Conquer: Generals

February 18, 2011

Let me preface this by saying that the last couple of weeks have been a real suck fest. Now that the minutes have been read, here’s what is likely to be the highlight of my week.

2002s The Sum of All Fears, based on the Tom Clancy novel of the same name, begins with a short sequence set during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. As the combined Syrian and Egyptian forces close in on the IDF, an Israeli jet takes off on patrol armed with one nuclear bomb. The fighter is shot down by a Syrian SAM site, and over time, the desert sands conceal the bomb’s existence.

Nearly thirty years later, two Syrian junkers find the bomb and unwittingly sell it to international arms dealer Olson (Colm Feroe) for four hundred dollars, who immediately turns around and sells it to Austrian Neo-Nazi Richard Dressler (Alan Bates) for fifty million dollars.  Meanwhile, Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck) and CIA Director William Cabot (Morgan Freeman) travel to Russia to inspect their nuclear decommissioning facility.

This movie was pretty good. It wasn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, but yeah. Pretty good. All the tension you’ve come to expect from Tom Clancy is there, and the comedic moments are well done, never detracting from the dangerous political climate the movie projects. Plus, Morgan Freeman. I firmly believe that it is impossible for Morgan Freeman to make a bad movie. It can’t be done. You could cast Morgan Freeman in the worst screenplay ever written, get Uwe Boll to direct it, and the result would still be watchable. The man tries that hard.

If you’re stuck for entertainment one weekend, you could do a lot worse than this movie. Anything by Uwe Boll, for example.

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The thirteenth entry in the EA/Westwood Command and Conquer, Generals takes place twenty minutes in the future. The United States advances on Baghdad and beyond, a terrorist organization known as the Global Liberation Army has set off a nuclear device in Beijing, and the Chinese army is willing to do whatever it takes to stop them.

The game is a little dated, but not in a bad way. 2003 was an…unpredictable time. The US had just invaded Iraq, we had been in Afghanistan for two years, and the War on Terror was in full swing. If there was any time to make a game that pits the United States and China against a terrorist organization, that would be it.

Overall, the game is fun. Some missions, like the final China mission where the GLA spams the SCUD storm, can be an enormous pain in the ass. Others, like the GLA mission where you get the angry mob unit, make you wonder why you would ever stop playing the level.Like most real time strategy games, the multiplayer is best attempted with people who aren’t assholes, or with a bunch of friends in a LAN setup. If you have the chance to snag a copy, I’d recommend doing so.

As always, if you have suggestions or comments, let me know in the comment sections or shoot me an e-mail at gameandablog@gmail.com

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