For long-time fans of the series, Command & Conquer: The First Decade is a bit of slap to the side of the ol' noggin that does little to drum up excitement for the next ten years. However, if C&C is new to you, TFD represents a solid value - providing you can run the games, that is.
TFD bundles every C&C game released to date on a single DVD, sans the forgettable Sole Survivor. That's nothing to cry about as Survivor was online-only and the real only clear stinker in the history of the series. You'll get Command & Conquer & its add-on C&C: The Covert Ops; Red Alert and its two expansions, Counterstrike and Aftermath; Tiberian Sun and its add-on, Firestorm; the action-oriented Renegade; Red Alert 2 and its expansion, Yuri's Revenge, and finally, the 3D Generals and its add-on, Zero Hour.
That's 12 C&C games, all supposedly tweaked to play nice with Win XP, for the princely sum of $40. But before we all get too giddy, here's the rub: the movies for the Soviet campaign in Red Alert don't play, the musical score for Covert Ops is not complete, and several games failed to launch off the new front-end interface. We encountered a few other minor bugs as well, most notably intermittent crashes. Pretty frustrating, to say the least, particularly after being forced to enter 12 CD keys and uninstall all older C&C games that might already be on your system. (It should also be noted that with the exception of the original C&C and Red Alert, most of the original releases worked just fine with Win XP.)
So while firing up the original C&C did indeed conjure up some pleasing nostalgic fun (once we figured out how to manually dumb down our widescreen, high-resolution monitor to be able to display 640x400 resolution), it also evoked memories of the technical hoops PC gamers had to jump through quite regularly with new releases in the mid-to-late 1990s. D'oh.
Assuming you can get all the games to work - we did, eventually - TFD does provide an enjoyable romp through the annals of the evolution of the RTS. An overlooked game, Renegade - the first and only first-person shooter in the C&C universe - is still relatively playable by today's standards, as are Red Alert 2, Tiberian Sun (marginally), and the Generals series. For most, the rest are really just there for nostalgia.
TFD tosses in a "bonus DVD" (read: glorified coaster) packed with trailers and interviews, including one with Louis Castle, former co-founder of Westwood and co-creator of the C&C franchise. You'll also find some concept art and a few tributes to C&C fans. This is all well and good in theory, but honestly pretty damn dull in practice. It would have truly rocked if EA just put all of the C&C games' FMV clips on the DVD for us to watch in sequence - in higher-resolutions, preferably. These clips were ground-breaking at the time of their release, and featured some pretty well-known actors, including James Earl Jones.
With some more care and ambition, Command & Conquer: The First Decade could have been the single greatest compilation of all time, a must-have for vets and newbies alike. Instead, it's actually only appealing to fans of a few of the titles that are still playable, and it's just a buggy nostalgia trip for everyone else.