RTS games are defined as a real-time strategy. The RTS genre is all about tactical warfare with a 3D bird’s eye view of the entire game. The principle simply involved protecting your base while destroying your enemies at the same time. The concept of an RTS game involves 3 basic steps which include harvest, build and conquer. Harvesting is the first step where the player needs to harvest minerals and resources to sustain and maintain their army. The building is essential for you to form your base as well as the structures you will need for upgrades and creating soldier units. Then finally conquering is the step where you need to battle other players whether they’re people or compute AI. RTS games have always been on the neutral side of the industry as they don’t tend to break out but there are a lot of titles that have been established in the RTS genre.
1. Battle Realms
Battle Realms was released in 2001 developed by Liquid Entertainment and published by Ubisoft. Battle Realms took place in a mystical realm inspired by Asian culture such as Japanese and Chinese heritages. The playable factions were the four clans made up of the Dragon, Serpent, Wolf, and Lotus. Each clan had its own specialty, heroes, and unique unit abilities. Battle Realms was unique in a way where the players could only create 40 units and they could upgrade in various ways including teaching them various skills.
The resources involved water and rice which were vital for making your army. A campaign mode depicting the game’s lead character Kenji was also available for solo and non-skirmish-type battles. One other aspect of the game was the advantage and disadvantage system where you could place on enemy computer AI or other players for a challenging game experience.
2. Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty
Dune II was released back for various consoles in 1993 and it was a sequel to Dune I. Dune I wasn’t a complete RTS genre game as it had other sub-genres making up the game. Dune II on the other hand is considered by many as one of the earliest and best RTS game adaptations although not the very first.
Considering that the game was simple back in the day it didn’t feature much content. The 3 basic principles of harvesting, building, and conquering were heavily implied. The back story of Dune II was what made the game a success along with its simple and traditional gameplay.
3. Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne
The Frozen Throne was an expansion pack from the original Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos game. It was released in 2003 and published by Blizzard Entertainment. Reign of Chaos was successful enough so the expansion pack made it even better. The concept of Warcraft III expanded on the past Warcraft games including the new playable races like the Undead and Night Elves. Frozen Throne brings a different feel to the RTS genre as it is more on quality control rather than mass production and rush attacks.
The soldier units in WC3 have a variety of attacks and skills along with their racial heroes for added action. The campaign continued where the Reign of Chaos left off and it added a lot of lore to the Warcraft universe. Warcraft III would be the last game in the series as the new stage would be set in the online sensation which is World of Warcraft.
4. Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 Yuri’s Revenge
Red Alert 2 elevated the first game in the series by giving the countries a certain distinction from each other. The clash between the Soviets and Allies are still present in this game but each country has their own special weapon. Just like Russia having the Tesla Tank, United States having the Paratroopers, Iraq having the Demolition Truck, France having the Grand Canyon, and so on.
Yuri’s Revenge was an expansion pack to RA 2 and it added a lot of gameplay elements to the game. Red Alert 2 was the last in the original game to be made by Westwood Studios as the progenitor of the series. Red Alert 3 was good in its own way but the original developers have since closed its doors.
5. Starcraft: Brood War
Starcraft is undoubtedly the most popular RTS game in the world. The original game was released in 1998 with the expansion following in 1999. Starcraft was set in the 25th century as humans from earth have since inhabited other planets and other intergalactic ventures. Two alien races namely the Zerg and Protoss fight against the human race under their name the Terrans. These three served as the base playable races in the game.
Starcraft was more on quantity yet quality units and speed is essential to winning. Then again tactics and exploration also played a vital role. Starcraft is so popular that even after Starcraft II was released, people still preferred to play the Brood War version. The game is also used in international competitions and remains a cult phenomenon in Korea even to this day.
RTS games may not be one of the leading genres in the industry. Then again it has served its purpose as one of the most strategic types of games in the industry. People may not appreciate it but there are those that enhance their mind through these games.
Real-time strategy games or RTS is a genre that not everyone may probably understand. The genre requires a lot of tactical and strategic ways of thinking. It’s something that isn’t fit for those who prefer high-paced action and rapid button mashing. The start of the RTS genre dates back to the early 1980s with the game called Utopia. Graphical wise it may not have been a good representation of the genre but it incorporated the classic elements of the RTS genre. Harvesting, building, and conquering are the basic elements of any RTS game. There are those that offer a different variety of gameplay just to be distinct from each other. In order to have a fun-filled experience with the RTS genre is to play it with a lot of people together. Playing one on one is good but inside a room with friends all screaming and having fun is just what an RTS format should be played as.