How could your favorite PC, console and mobile games news site not talk about mods? The lost art of modding is a weekly series on Gamebuz about the best mods for both older and more recent games. I hope that every week, you will be reminded of a great game that you’ll want to play again.
Zero Hour is another game I’ve spent way too much time playing when I was younger. There is a lot of great mods, so we’re cutting the intro now and diving right in.
To say that Contra is a huge mod is an understatement. It adds a ranking system that makes it so that certain buildings and units can only be built if you get to the needed rank for the general they are associated with. This adds a lot of layers to the game and gives a sense of progress.
It adds 3 entirely new generals and redesigns the original ones so that every single general has completely unique gameplay. Every general also has his own hero unit that requires rank 5 to be built, they’re limited to one per player, and it’s for the best because they are strong.
There’s brand new graphics and sounds. You can even have each factions unit speak in their native language instead of English. Micro-management is simplified so that you wouldn’t get lost in your units.
Finally, you’re not the only one who now has access to completely different tactics from the base game. The AI has been “enhanced,” this means any victory is going to be fought tooth and nail. It’s a huge jump from the vanilla games AI, be ready for a challenge.
This mod isn’t as all out as Contra, it tries to enhance the base experience and give players more options. The base factions and their core gameplay stay the same, but they are significantly improved.
Currently, it’s missing one of the generals (It just so happens that it’s the one I like the most, Dr. Thrax), but the rest have brand new units and expended tech-trees.
Each general has a unique tech-tree of 23 abilities and active effects. Some units have to be unlocked at different levels and are limited in how many can be built, specifically super-heavy tanks and heavy artillery.
There is no over-specialization, which means that no general is cut-off from certain types of units, everyone has tanks, planes (GLA players, rejoice) and artillery. There are some small restrictions on them.
Besides that, the graphics are updated, there’s new audio, HD textures and all units from the base game are rebalanced to fit the mod theme.
I would consider this an unofficial expansion really. It keeps the vanilla games style and builds onto it. It adds 3 new generals and more than 100 new units to play with.
The original particle effects have been updated, and new ones have been added. Nuclear weapons will blind you with the flash of the explosion, particle cannons become unstable as they get damaged and explosions are generally nicer to look at.
General’s powers have been redesigned, rebalanced and new ones have been added, specifically things like B52s, V1 rockets, and napalm strikes. If you played Zero Hour, you could guess which ones are in which faction.
Bug fixes, lots and lots of bug fixes too.
Rise of the Reds
Video source: Mod DB
I always felt something was missing in the vanilla game, it’s weird to have the US and China in a modern conflict without the EU and Russia. Thankfully Rise of the Reds adds both.
The Russian faction is very tank-oriented and the European Continental Alliance focuses on defensive strategies. The original factions weren’t forgotten either, don’t worry. They have brand new units and structures and have been rebalanced so that all of them are viable.
Some of the gameplay changes are technological advancement through tiers, redesigned combat between anti-air and air units, stealth tactics are now viable and obviously scouting units have been added to combat the stealth ones.
Besides all of that, there are both audio and visual overhauls for every unit and structure too.
Cold War Crisis
We looked at a bunch of modern and futuristic mods, why not talk about some past conflicts.
CWC puts you in the middle of a US-Russian conflict. It features time appropriate units and changes the pace of the game.
You can play as either the tank and artillery focused Russians or the aircraft and the technology-focused US. Each has its own unique playstyle and counters to each other.
Another cool change is that infantry is actually useful now. Obviously, you aren’t going to send rifleman to charge a tank division, but a few well-placed soldiers with RPGs just might do the trick.
The graphics are actually amazing considering the age of the engine and its limitations. I hope the mod team decides to make a game of their own in an engine that can keep up with their pace.
Blitzkrieg II: The Finest Hour
Video source: Mod DB
As a Company of Heroes fan, I couldn’t stop myself from adding a WW2 mod.
Blitz II is another total conversion mod, and it’s amazing. When you start playing you’ll completely forget that you’re actually playing Zero Hour.
Every match starts as if it was 1939, you have access to units appropriate to the year and as the game progresses, and years pass, you gain new units.
You can play as the Allies, Germans or USSR. Since every match plays out through the years of WW2, every faction will adapt and change tactics on the fly.
There’s also a lot of new mechanics, mostly related to tanks. Things like certain shells being unable to penetrate certain armor or bouncing off of it and critical hits on essential parts of a tank.
A week can’t go by without mentioning a wacky mod, so this is the entry for Zero Hour.
The Crazy mod is precisely that, it adds ridiculous units and mechanics.
Some of those units are the Demo Ballista (Lunches suicide bombers on gliders), a 105 barreled Gatling gun, Pancake tank (It has a huge pan instead of a gun and it pancakes other units), a tank that blows enemies up. And no, I don’t mean blow up as explode, it literally blows them up with a fan and a tank that swings a huge sword around… Do I really need to go on or do you realize how awesome the mod is?
There really aren’t any bad mods for Zero Hour, all of the mod developers are really passionate and put a lot of effort into their work. Some are still around, others moved on, but I definitely won’t forget the many hours of fun I had because of their work.
If any mod catches your eye, you can use the Mod DB source linked to the media to get to it's page.