The 2-CD installation includes:
- One tutorial mission.
- 21 solo play missions divided into three 7-mission campaigns.
- Several 2–8 player skirmish maps.
- World Builder, a map editor for creating user-generated sharable content.
Command & Conquer: Generals mirrors the war on terrorism. Fans of the franchise will notice a turn away from the sci-fi & fantasy direction toward a more plausible near-future. In retrospect (as of September 2014) many aspects of the game seem eerily prophetic.
A first-time player can become familiar with basic game mechanics in the tutorial USA mission.
The player has three unique factions to choose from instead of the franchise's usual two. Each faction has its own 7-mission campaign in solo play. Early missions introduce various aspects unique to that faction. There are three selectable difficulty levels which cannot be changed mid-campaign.
Campaigns are intended to be played in sequence (China > GLA > USA); however, the first mission of each campaign is initially unlocked, making the campaigns playable in any order. Each first mission is designed to encourage experimentation, with plenty of optional things to do. The player can even discover a clever way to complete these first missions in about two minutes or less.
Multiplayer skirmish maps can be played with 2 to 8 players, either human, computer AI, or in combination. Players (including AI) can be setup into teams, with selected and/or random options. It is unknown whether or not there are still any active servers online. Skirmish maps can be played solo vs. computer player(s).
World Builder is a standalone map editor, independently accessed from the game folder. Help and documentation is minimal at best, requiring a steep learning curve for unfamiliar users. User-made maps and mods can still be found online.
Generals is officially supported only for Windows 98/ME/2k/XP, but runs great on Win7 32-bit with one minor glitch (see sidebar). Compatibility with other Windows versions is unverified. Running the game on 64-bit Win7/8 is possible, according to discussions on EA, C&C and MS forums.
The final supported patch (v1.08, Dec '05) is a rollup which includes all prior bug fixes, balance tweaks and other "addressed issues". It can still be downloaded from EA's public FTP server:
In addition to a variety of bug fixes and performance improvements etc., the updates include a number of balance tweaks that could affect gameplay strategy.
- Documented "addressed balance issues"
- Tunnel Network build speed increased from 5 seconds to
20 seconds.(Later changed to 15 sec.)
- Marauder hit points increased from 430 to 490.
- Stealth Fighter hit points increased from 120 to 140.
- Explosion damage done by Chinese Nuke Tanks when they are destroyed is reduced from 25 to 10.
- Aurora speed increased from 90 to 120 after it drops its bomb. Damaged speed increased from 60 to 120.
- GLA Bomb truck health up from 220 to 250.
- Worker health up from 100 to 140.
- Tunnel Network gun damage increased from 10 per shot to 15 per shot.
- Overlord build time increased from 20 to 25 seconds.
- Scorpion Tank now builds in 10 seconds instead of 14.
- GLA Arms Dealer build up time decreased from 50 to 40 seconds (ini seconds, not game seconds.)
- Tunnel Network Build Time improved from 20 seconds to 15 seconds (ini seconds, not game seconds.)
- China’s Gattling weapons now require Line of Sight to fire.
- China’s MiG cost increased from 1000 to 1200.
- China’s MiG Armor cost increased from 500 to 1000.
- US’s Cold Fusion Reactor Control Rod upgrade cost decreased from 800 to 500.
- Related exploit and bug fixes
- China’s Gattling Tank now correctly moves slower when it is damaged.
- GLA’s Scud Storm now has the correct damage radius when upgraded with Anthrax Beta.
- MiG damage with upgraded napalm did too much damage to targets.
- (All planes): Made sure that targets take damage correctly when multiple ordinances hit a target simultaneously.
- Made sure the Rocket Buggy and Comanche can reload reliably.
- Fixed exploit that allowed multiple Workers to speed structure build times.
- Made sure the missiles continue tracking targets after the player upgrades the Rocket Buggy.
- Lowered the number of Rangers that appear after a US Barracks is destroyed.
- Gattling Tanks can no longer force fire through buildings.
- Nuke Cannon changed so it moves the same speed when damaged, not faster.