Review by Guile176
"The Greatest Game Ever Created"
The original Red Alert 2, was probably the first game that truly peaked my interest in PC games. I have always been a huge fan of the real time strategy genre and was a huge fan of the Command and Conquer series on consoles such as the PS1 and Saturn. Red Alert 2 however drew me in unlike any of the previous Command and Conquer titles. It did so much right and so little wrong. Many people cried it was too similar to the first game, and that it wasn't much of a sequel. Well, those people obviously haven't invested the time that I have into the 2 titles. Ultimately Red Alert 2 not only became my favorite PC game of all time, but I also considered it to be one of the greatest games ever made. Naturally I was as gitty as a school girl, when I first heard about the new expansion for RA2 called Yuri's Revenge. Still I wondered how they can make an already A + title any better. Well, I realized just how much when I got Yuri's Revenge when it was released.
Ok so what exactly does Yuri's Revenge add to the original RA2 that's so good? First and foremost a whole new faction to play as has been added. Yuri, who was a major character in RA2 now has his own side, along with an entire new arsenal of toys to use and buildings to build. He is also not only completely unique from the Soviet or Allied sides, but feels nothing like any other faction I have ever used in a RTS game. Yuri's main focus for play doesn't rely on brute strength and heavily armored vehicles, but rather a mix of heavy strategy and a little bit of cheapness.
For structures, Yuri has perhaps the quickest building of the 3 sides. Unlike the Allies or Soviets Yuri has no Ore Refinery structures. Instead Yuri gathers cash via mobile refineries called Slave Miners. These Slave miners have light machine guns, heavy armor and a numerous little slaves which go out and harvest the ore. If the Slave Miner should happen to get destroyed, then the slaves will fight for whoever freed them. Not too much of a bonus since their combat ability borderlines on useless.
For base defense Yuri has machine gun turrets which can hit either ground or air targets. The longer these guns shoot, the faster and more powerful they get. These guns can also save you a ton of cash since they take care of both ground and air defense unlike the other 2 factions which have to build separate structures. These turrets however, have 1 major weakness in that their range is very short and can be knocked out easily by Allied Prism Tanks.
Yuri also stays true to his psychic roots, and can build Psychic towers which will posses any unit which gets close enough to them. Yuri is not a side you care to send paratrooper units in on or attempt an Engineer or SEAL rush to.
For units, Yuri's arsenal is pretty lightly armored and not too powerful. What these units lack in armor and strength however, is made up for in cheapness. Some of the units Yuri can build are things such as light mobile machine gun tanks, similar to his machine gun towers, light Lasher Tanks, Magnetrons which can levitate enemy vehicles and draw them close, Master brains which can possess and control nearby enemy units and Flying Disk. These disk are amongst some of the most useful units in the game. They may have fairly weak attack power, but they more then make up for it if you manage to get one over an opponents power plant. By placing a disk over their power plant they will lose all their power until the disk is destroyed. This also means any type of fixed anti air power, will be taken offline. Better build some mobile AA, if you want any chance of winning.
Finally Yuri's infantry units are pretty unique as well. He can build powerful troops called Brutes, which more then resemble the Incredible Hulk. Then there's sniper units called Viruses. A Virus is somewhat similar to the British sniper, but with the exception that she doesn't instantly kill enemy infantry but rather slowly kills them with a virus cloud which can affect close by units.
Finally, there's Yuri Clones and Yuri Prime. Yuri Clones can simply only posses close by enemy mobile units but Yuri Prime cannot only do that but he can take over buildings as well. If you manage to take over the building, then its yours until Yuri Prime is killed. You can either use the building as your own or sell it for some quick cash. Yuri Prime is the Yuri Factions star unit and like Tanya and Boris for the Allies you can build only one. However if you happen to have a cloning vat then 2 Yuri Primes can be built.
Now for the Allies. The Allies have everything they had in RA2, as well as some valuable new units. First off is the Guardian GI's These cost twice as much as regular infantry, but are well worth it. They are slow and carry 2 weapons, a standard machine gun and a rocket launcher which can be activated by entrenching them. These rocket launchers have the ability to target air units and work like a charm against enemy tanks. Other new units are Robot Tanks and Battle Fortresses. Robot Tanks are lightly armored unmanned tanks which can hover over water and cannot be posses by any of Yuri's psychic units or weapons. These tanks also function off your bases power, so if you happen to get your power knocked offline then these tanks go to sleep until its reactivated. The Battle Fortress has got to be one of the most valuable new units in the game. It's more or less a big customizable tank which can roll over enemy tanks crushing them. Its customizable in the fact that you can put up to 5 different infantry units inside of it. The units attack will vary depending on what exactly goes into it. My selection of choice is 3 Guardian GI's, a Sniper (when im using the Brits), and a Chrono Legionnaire.
The Soviets have gotten a few new cool units as well, but unfortunately have lost the ability to build both Cloning Vats and Yuri Clone's. Their new units somewhat make up for this loss however but I still can't help but feel the Soviets got ripped off slightly. First off, they can build all new Siege Choppers. These are standard attack choppers, which can transform into ground based artillery. They can be very dangerous, and very annoying if you allow your opponent to take the higher ground with them. Second the Soviets can now build Battle Bunkers. Battle Bunkers can be fortified with Soviet Conscripts to give them greater attack power and higher defense. These are ok, but not a structure i'd invest too much cash into. Soviets also have the ability to send in Spy Planes to help reveal more of the map. These things are pretty limited in use though and tend to get shot down easy. The Soviets can build their own Star unit called Boris. Boris has excellent attack power, such as Tanya or SEALs, but he can also call in Air Strikes if you can get in close enough to an enemy building. These are pretty useless however, since the MIGs that arrive are easily shot down and take a little time to get there. It also tips the person off just as to what's being targeted as the structure glows red while waiting for the air strike to arrive.
Finally the Soviets are allowed to build a much needed Industrial Plant which not only reduces the prices of all units built but gives them faster build times as well.
Other new additions to the game, are 3 new civilian structures which can be taken over by Engineers. The first is a Civilian Power Plant, which can give your base a nice power boost. The second is a Machine Shop, which works the same as the hospital except it heal armored units rather then infantry. And finally theirs the Secret Tech Lab.
Capturing this lab will give you the ability to build a random unit which your side ordinarily cant build.
For gameplay, you pretty much get the same options as before. There's your single players Story mode in which you can play through as either the Allies or Soviets. Sadly Yuri is not available to use in this mode. Then there's your single player Skirmish mode in which you can chose any map you like as well as your team and your opponents. However, the Skirmish mode isn't really all that good. The CPU always resorts to cheap rush tactics and more often then not does a very poor job of it.
Finally, like the standard RA2, you can play Yuri's Revenge over the net. This is my preferred way to play as every match is different and every opponent must be played with a different strategy.
Cheaters have become somewhat of a big problem over the past 6-7 months in Yuri. It seems at least half the online games I play, im faced with either someone who likes using the President cheat, or a cheat to cause a reconnection error when their losing. These are very annoying, and unfortunately, Westwood/EA does seem to care much about these cheaters, now that Generals has been released.
To make matter worse, the game is also littered with people hacking into the game somehow. What they basically do is cause repeat messages in the lobby, and in games advertising sites where you can aquire all these cheats. Very very lame. These cheaters and seriously need to be beaten severely and jailed, as they really ruin the online experience for everyone.
Anyways, new additions to online play are not only a slew of new maps but the fact that you can now pick your starting position and team before the match begins. This is ultra helpful when setting games up. Unfortunately, a majority of the players i've seen are too stupid to understand you when you tell them to pick their starting position. The final new addition to the online part of the game is that the game now supports up to 6 human players in a single game. I however prefer no more then 2 since when playing 6 there always seems to be 1 player with a bad connection that always gets disconnected and ruins the game for everyone. Still, the 6 player option is there if you like it.
My only real gripe about the online is the tournament games. Tournaments are played via quick games which you are not allowed to set the rules on. This means that ultra cheap Superweapons are automatically set on. Anyone who's played Red Alert 2, knows that these weapons take very little skill to use, and games often come down to who can get one built first. Even the worst of players can easily take out half of a good opponents base with ease, using these.
Graphically, things aren't really any different from the original RA2. This however isn't a bad things since RA2 had already impressive 2D graphics to begin with. The only real new graphic feature that really comes to mind is being able to play the game in a higher resolution. I don't believe the original had this, and I personally don't care for it as it makes the graphics ultra tiny.
Soundwise, things have taken a turn for the better. The music is still the same generic rock/techno type beats, and the sound effects all pretty much sound the same but Westwood has added a ton of new unit voices. No longer do many of the units sound the same, but now each unit has their own unique voice when you activate them. I particularly like the voice when using the Battle Fortress. The driver sounds kind of like a Crazed Battle Dwarf.
Overall, Yuri's Revenge is perhaps the greatest video game i've ever laid my hands on. Playing online has got to be the most addictive gaming experience i've ever had. I've been playing at least 2-3 hours a day nearly every day since I got this expansion when it first came out. I highly recommend this title to anyone who loved RA2 or real time strategy games in general. Great job Westwood. I can't wait for the next expansion to this already near perfect title.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/20/03, Updated 06/20/03
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