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"Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath" should make quite a few people happy.

"C&C" fan will enjoy further encounters with the sinister Kane, as well as some interesting new twists to the story line and available units. Fans of real-time strategy will enjoy the tweaks that help bring a PC series further into the console world.

The T-rated game from Electronic Arts opens with Kane licking his wounds after the Second Tiberium War. Most foes and friends think he’s dead, but those who’ve followed the series know that he’s just biding his time.

However, the rumors of his death are enough to splinter his quasi-religious Brotherhood of Nod into a number of competing factions. This strife propels the story line and provides the excuse for creating a number of factions with different special units and abilities. For example, the Black Hand leans toward human warriors but also deploys large flame-throwing combat mechs to deliver its heavy blows, while the Marked of Kane relies on ruthless cyborg soldiers and stealth tactics.

Just to keep things interesting for Nod’s foes — the Global Defense Initiative and alien Scrin — they’ve a few new factions and goodies, too. However, Nod is at center stage in the campaign mode.

The best part of "Kane’s Wrath" is the improved interface. The biggest problem with converting an RTS game from the computer to the console is translating the commands available on dozens of keys to a few buttons and knobs on a console controller. Frankly, changes in this area tend to be evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. "Kane’s Wrath" improves on the original "Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars" by displaying command options on a large radial display in the center of the screen, rather than a small, hard-to-read box in the corner. Using the joystick to quickly move around the "clock face" is far more efficient and accurate.

In addition to the campaign, "Kane’s Wrath" offers the traditional skirmishes and online competition and adds a mode called "Kane’s Challenge." The latter involves selecting a faction and then going through 10 missions concocted by Kane.

Another bonus for this title is that EA has priced it like an expansion pack — $39 — even though the original "C&C3" isn’t required to run the game on the Xbox 360.

Platform: Xbox 360On the Web: www.commandandconquer.com


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