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Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations

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Command & Conquer:
The Covert Operations
Developer Westwood Studios
Publisher Virgin Interactive
Designer(s) Michael Lightner
Erik Yeo
Composer(s) Frank Klepacki
Series Tiberium Universe
Release date NA22 April 1996
Genre Real-time strategy
Ratings ESRB: T
Platforms DOS, Windows 95

Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations is an expansion pack for the original Command & Conquer, released in 1996. Like many expansion packs at the time, it did not bring any changes in gameplay or options, while new units were limited to the dinosaurs in the secret Jurassic Park mode. It did use some of the previously multiplayer-only units, such as the Chem trooper and SSM launcher in its missions.

The expansion included fifteen new single-player missions (7 for GDI, 8 for Nod), ten new multiplayer maps and seven new high quality CD audio tracks, as well as lower quality in-game versions. In contrast to the original game, the new expansion missions could be played at any time, in any order and are not accompanied by briefing cutscenes - instead they are selectable from a list. Amongst the expansion packs files are several unused music tracks that were present in the DOS version of Command & Conquer, but not in the Windows 95 (Gold) version. In the PS1 version of C&C, after completing one faction campaigns, there will be password seen in the credit part to open The Covert Operations in the start menu. From there, players can proceed to play the missions individually.

On 14 November 2018, it was announced that Command & Conquer would be remastered by Petroglyph Games and Lemon Sky Studios under supervision of Electronic Arts, along with the Covert Operations expansion pack.[1]

Missions[edit | edit source]

GDI missions[edit | edit source]

Nod missions[edit | edit source]

Secret Jurassic Park mode[edit | edit source]

Funpark mission #4, with the bug giving access to the full GDI and Nod arsenal

The expansion pack contains a hidden 5-mission mini-campaign of dinosaur missions. The actual mission files of this campaign have actually been in the game from the very first release, but the funpark command-line argument that unlocks them wasn't added until DOS C&C v1.20, the game version that came with The Covert Operations. The expansion pack also contains an update of the dinosaur missions, in the sc-000.mix archive.

The missions can be accessed by starting the game in 'funpark' mode, starting a new game, and selecting a side to play as. The actual player used in the dinosaur mission is not actually GDI or Nod; it is the gray-coloured multiplayer house #4 which adapts its tech tree to that side choice. While this choice determines which side's aircraft and construction options you get, most of the missions start with mixed tech units, and mission #2 simply has a prebuilt GDI-tech base.

The secret mode has several problems, through. In some cases, missions finished from loaded savegames go on to their GDI equivalent, despite starting the game in 'funpark' mode, and the game also becomes prone to forgetting the user's starting side choice, giving a full 2-side combined tech tree in the fourth mission, the only one where a construction yard is available.

Because of early fan-research into the game, the existence of the missions was known long before the official funpark command line option was known (or even added), but the missions were made difficult to finish by special code that made the dinosaurs invisible outside the special mode. Since this invisibility logic is tied to the special walk animation logic enabled on the dinosaur units, third party fixes available back then 'solved' the problem by disabling that option on all dinosaurs. Since the dinosaur's sprites are meant to be sets of animations in 8 directions, much like those of infantry, and not a 32-frame rotation like vehicles typically have, disabling this option messed up all their animations.

In Nyerguds' 1.06c release of the game, all special behaviour of this mode was implemented into the normal game as special mission options, and the walker graphics invisibility logic was neutralized, removing the need for the buggy 'funpark' mode altogether. The 5-mission set was instead made accessible as single item in the New Missions menu. It is listed once for each side, to emulate the original campaigns' ability to choose a side when starting the game. Unlike in the original missions, the player actually plays as GDI or Nod, though the unit and structure colours are changed to gray to mimic the original missions.

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

At GDC 2019, lead programmer William Randolph revealed that the Funpark mode was initially an Easter egg made by Joseph Bostic without the knowledge of Brett Sperry. Gradually, more people from the studio were involved in developing this hidden mode with dinosaurs. However, during a QA session at which Sperry was present, the sidebar logo with the dinosaur head (an intentional hommage to Jurassic Park) appeared in regular gameplay due to a bug. Angered, Sperry called Bostic for a direct conversation, after which Bostic initially wanted to remove all of it, but after giving Sperry some time to cool down, Randolph convinced Sperry for the Funpark mode to be included after all, but was only allowed to do it in spare time.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Names in different markets[edit | edit source]

  • France: Command & Conquer: Operations Survie
  • Germany: Command & Conquer: Mission CD - Der Ausnahmezustand

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Command & Conquer series
Tiberian Dawn Missions
  1. C&C Remastered Announcement from EA. Reddit (14 November 2018). Retrieved on 14 November 2018.