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Command and Conquer Red Alert 2


Blue base and it's defenders
This is part of my base during a skirmish battle.
Red Alert 2 is the sequel to one of the most popular computer games of all time. The game continues the ficticious alternate history of the first C&C Red Alert, i.e. 'Mr H' never happened and the Russians took up arms against the west.
The single player game can be played from either side. Commanding the Russian forces puts you in charge of powerful mind control units, tough Tesla troops, slow but devastating airships amongst many others.
Taking command of the the Western powers gives you control over G.I.'s (infantry that can dig in and fortify buildings), laser technology units like Prism tanks and turrets, camoflaged Mirage tanks that look like a tree when stationary (yes really) & plenty more besides.
The single player game takes you through about 15 missions on either side. These are great fun to play and gradually get harder as you would expect. Missions seem varied and fresh from each other. You do not feel as if you're playing the same game over and over again like some sort of stuck record player(remember those!). This is good as many other real time strategy games have fallen into this repetitive mire.
One later mission has you near the Kremlin with orders to take out the Elite Guard surrounding it. You start by having your forces Chronosphered (beamed?) to your position and shortly afterward are under constant pressure. This is one tough mission (for me anyhow!)
Some civilian buildings, these can be garrisoned by your troops in the game
Buildings like these can be occupied by your troops (or the enemies). The hospital to the right can be captured by an engineer and used to heal your infantry units.
A lightning storm attack on the enemies base
Lightning storm attack. This super weapon is extremely potent and does massive damage to the target area. There are other super weapons such as nuclear equiped silos.
When you've finished the campaigns (or not) for the single player there is still Skirmish mode. This adds tons of replayablility to Red Alert 2. There's plenty of well designed maps to play Skirmish battles on, from built up citys to islands and open country. You can also generate a random map to do battle on. AI can give you a good pounding on Brutal level, if playing against a few computer opponents they also have a habit of ganging up on you as well.
When playing in skirmish mode you can choose between different countries, each one of which has a special unit. For instance if you play as America you get a free load of Paratroops every few minutes once you have constructed an airbase. If you play as the British you can train snipers who take out infantry and dogs in one shot at long range. There are many other nationalities with their own special unit available in the game.
Harriers attacking an enemy base
Harriers attacking an enemy base.
Unlike the majority of RTS games, Red Alert 2 has mostly different units for each side. This could have lead to a poorly balanced game where one side had a big advantage over the other. Thankfully Westwood studios have carefully designed the units so that neither side is really any stronger than the other. This gives the game much more interest in the longer term.
For instance the Russians have V3 missile launchers with great range that pack a punch while the Western forces have Prism tanks. The V3 outranges the Prism tank but is very weakly armoured and has a minimum range. The West's Prism tank has shorter range(though still long) but can hit at point blank, is faster and tougher.
Finishing the destruction of a base with Prism tanks, Mirage tanks and APC units.

Finishing the destruction of a base with Prism tanks, Mirage tanks and APC units.
Other units on the Russian side include the Apocalypse tank, a devastaing vehicle that can hit air targets and ground targets and heals itself. Downsides are slow speed and high cost.
The Flak track, a fast attack vehicle that is good anti air protection and acts as an infantry transport. It's useless against enemy armour though.
For the west there's the Chrono trooper. This strange and original unit teleports around the battlefield and deletes enemy units and buildings from existance.
Then there is the West's one man APC, this vehicle is an original concept in real time strategy games. As built straight out of it's War Factory it is a lightly armoured very fast missile weilding vehicle with an effective anti air capability. You can however load it with a single infantry unit, this transforms the vehicle into a repair vehicle(if loaded with an engineer), a machine gun vehicle (G.I.), a chronosphere vehicle (Chronosphere trooper) or an infantry sniper vehicle (Tanya unit).
There are many more great units besides these ones.
The game includes some awesome super weapons. There's the West's weather control device that unleashes a powerful lightning storm that can cripple an enemy base, then there's the Russian's Nuclear silo that launches a devastating nuclear missile. The Russians can also build Iron curtain devices to make their tanks invulnerable for short periods while the West can build Chronospheres that teleport units instantly to any point on the map. This later super weapon can be used not only for friendly unit transport but also as a means of attack by teleporting enemy units into the sea(or sea units onto land) thus destroying them. Multiplayer capability is well supported. This is similar to Skirmish mode but with added game types such as Land Rush, Mega Wealth and Meat Grinder. Like with skirmish games you can pick a nationality complete with special unit.
Red Alert 2 is such a great feature rich game that this review only scratches the surface. It may have old technology 2D isometric graphics and not require a graphic accelerator but it's still a good looking polished game that any RTS fan will enjoy.
What's more it doesn't require a mega-powerful computer to run on.
Red Alert 2 SCORECARD

Graphics 8/10
Sound 8/10
Gameplay 9/10
Originality 7/10

Computer Games score 8.5/10

Highly Recommended.