With the popularity of the Command & Conquer and WarCraft series (based on sales) and the attendance records at the Star Wars movies attesting to their special drawing power, why not combine the two? At first glance, LucasArts is doing just that with Star Wars: Force Commander.
On the surface, Star Wars: Force Commander is similar to the standard real-time strategy (RTS) genre but is actually closer to the style of SSI's Panzer General series. Unlike the standard RTS game, there's no harvesting of minerals or generating stockpiles of raw materials. Instead, by destroying enemy units, capturing important points and completing mission goals, you receive Command Points. These points can be exchanged for new units and structures, as well as repairing those damaged in battle.
In terms of gameplay, Star Wars: Force Commander offers some significant differences from traditional real-time strategy games. Instead of building huge bases to protect, the Rebels can only build six different structures, four of which are defensive in nature. The game's major focus is strategy -- your units versus enemy units. A strong base is necessary, however, as the structure allows you to bring in additional units, yet the bulk of time is spent scouting the countryside and engaging in battle.
Star Wars: Force Commander offers 24 missions, with a slightly larger number of Imperial than Rebel missions. While the two sides are relatively evenly matched, the Empire has particular advantages. Their turrets, for instance, can be automated, leaving the troops free to cause damage. The Empire also has more units from which to choose and a larger inventory of buildings.
Star Wars: Force Commander also prevents you from overloading the battlefield. If you have more units than you need to complete the mission objectives, you start to lose your Command Points, making it harder to bring down reinforcements. This is critical because, between missions, you can keep the experienced units you already have as long as there are enough Command Points left over to purchase them at the start of the next mission. For a slightly lower cost in Command Points, you can also store units you don't plan on using for future missions. Potentially, this gives you a huge edge, because you can start successive missions with an increasingly large force, giving you a jump on your enemy.
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