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"Just get me close enough"
Sniping has been around for many, many years. It has become prominent due to the ability to take out targets at long distances through precision. It has become an important part of modern warfare because of its ability to take out an enemy without being spotted or being in as much danger as one would be in a close quarters situation. It is an integral part of war, having a very important role in history - as well as in other areas such as movies, television, and, more recently, gaming.

With the introduction of the sniper into gaming, it has helped to modernize and shape war-games in the industry. It has been introduced into most gaming systems such as the PC and the Nintendo 64 amongst many others. It has grown rapidly in popularity in a short amount of time. Many first and third person shooters have snipers or sniping in them, which is one reason for their tremendous popularity. Games such as Unreal Tournament, Counter-Strike and Metal Gear Solid are all well known for the sniping modes which are a vital part of the plot's progression or the course of the gameplay.

Sniping in Renegade

Sniping has increasingly become important in the newer Command & Conquer games. The first sniper to come into a Command & Conquer game was seen in Red Alert 2: despite Red Alert 2 being a 2D RTS game, the sniper could still play an important role. The sniper in Red Alert 2 and the virus sniper in the Yuri's Revenge were used to take out infantry at great distances and to take out a large amount of infantry without sacrificing a lot of money. Used with skill, a paradrop could be squashed in seconds, or the threat of an engineer rush quelled almost instantly. Obviously their most popular use was for destroying desolators - they were the most effective ground-units for the task; capable of outranging the radiation created by the Iraqii special unit. Yet, as the unit was part of 2D RTS game, the computer controlled it more than the gamer did. The gamer could just put the sniper in a spot, and the sniper would fire upon what ever came into its path instead of the actual shooting having to be controlled by the gamer. Obviously this is the key difference between an RTS and FPS game; and we are yet to see a true hybrid of both genres. Little skill in the area of sniping was needed to take out the enemy infantry - meaning that the sniper always hit its target, instead of missing occasionally - a more realistic effect one could argue. Although sniping was not an integral part of Red Alert 2 nor Yuri's Revenge (due to the fact that they had practically no effect on vehicles), it could, at times, play an important part and the game - certainly being the best remedy to desolators.

Bang. You're dead.

In the newest Command & Conquer game, Renegade, the sniper has quickly become one of the most popular units in the game. It has risen in popularity because it has added a new challenge, bringing with it excitement, to the Command & Conquer series. In contrast to the sniper in RA2/YR, the sniper in Renegade is controlled exclusively by the gamer instead of the computer. For the shot to hit the enemy one must depend on their precision, accuracy and speed. Sniping isn't an easy art -it's hard to kill units because of the oft-seen inability to predict the other player's movement, which in turn results in more missed shots and fewer kills. Obviously through practice and perceverance, one becomes far better at predicting movements of the opposing player. One of the reasons why sniping in Renegade is so popular is due to the fact that it's challenging. Obviously sniping in Renegade comes with many a tact - some players opt to nuke the other side's barracks/Hand of Nod and then standing in the other persons base so as they can kill the person as soon as they begin a new life.

Sniping is very precision focused - hence there are certain places on that body that can be hit, that are more fatal than other parts of the body - as per real life. Shooting someone through the middle of the forehead is far more likely to kill them than firing a bullet into their left hand for example. Shooting from a great distance, or an unexpected hiding place, is one way you can earn more kills- as well as more points. Sniping adds another dimension to Renegade as well as to other games that is is featured in.

The use of snipers, be they controlled by yourself (as with Renegade) or appear only in the form of a sprite (as with Red Alert 2), have provided an enjoyable experience to fans of the Command & Conquer series over the past few years. We can only hope that future games in the series will include sniping aspects - they help to further the longevity of the games as well as providing more tactical options.


» Jeremy

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