Review by Sour
"Another gem in the Command and Conquer series"
The first Command and Conquer: Red Alert took the series into an alternate time-line where Eisntein travelled back in time and killed Hitler. As a result, the Soviets instigated the second World War. So instead of playing as GDI and NOD in this series, you play as The Allies and the Soviets. The first Red Alert was a massive success and in 2002, we finally got our sequel: Red Alert 2. However the studio developing the games, Westwood, was consumed by EA and because of some contract and salary issues, a lot of the original RA2 team walked out and thus the online mode wasn't playable for a while. However it's all back up and playable now, and Red Alert 2 would be the last 2D Command and Conquer, the next set of games focusing more on graphics than on gameplay. Regardless, Red Alert 2 was a fantastic addition to the series.
Story: 10/10: It's been a few decades since World War 2, being set in the 1970's. However because of the rapid progression of technology, despite being in the 1970's, some of the technology is near futuristic but for the most part, feels like the regular modern day. The Allies and Soviets are now cool with each other. Until one day, Soviet forces begin gathering all around the United States. The President of the United States, President Michael Dougan, calls the Russian Premier, Alexander Romanov to confirm what his general told him, and it's true, the Soviets are in the process of invading the United States. The President gives the order to retaliate and the nuclear missiles are prepped. The officers at missile command receive a phone call after activating the launch sequence. One answers and a strange sound can be heard. They are ordered to open the silos to the missiles can get out when they're launched. However, with a blank look on his face, the man holding the phone shoots the other officer, and the missiles are detonated underground. The scene cuts back to Romanov and a mysterious man who identifies himself only as Yuri, holding a strange phone-like device, and tells Romanov that everything is just getting started. It cuts then to a fantastic cinematic of the Soviets invading America, getting you pumped up and ready to either invade America as the Soviets, or fight back against Romanov as the Allies.
Gameplay: 10/10: Like all of the other mainline Command and Conquer games, Red Alert 2 focuses on real-time strategy and micro-managing. Upon starting the game, you'll have to decide which side you want to play as, the Allies or the Soviets. Depending on which side you want to play, you'll have to use the Allied Disc or the Soviet Disc. Playing in the Campaign mode obviously lets you play the story mode through to the end. Upon pausing the game using the Esc button, as per usual, you can go to the Sound and Music menus to pick whatever song you feel like listening to. At the beginning of most missions, you'll get a Mobile Construction Vehicle to deploy and build your base around. You'll want to construct Ore Refineries early on to help rake in the money, otherwise you'll run out of dough and won't be able to produce any more units or buildings! However, not all missions will allow you to build a base. Some missions just have you take control of a small group and you'll have to achieve your objectives with that group. Sometimes you'll come across an abandoned base or group of people though to greatly increase your chances of victory, and this happens sometimes even in the missions where you can build bases from the beginning. So be sure to explore the shrouded map as much as you can if you're not on a time limit!
In addition to the story mode, you can play Skirmish Mode. Skirmish lets you set up a battle the way you want it to be, with your rules. You can make the AI pretty vicious if you want to test your skills, or you can make it pretty easy going if you want, which can be useful for newcomers to the franchise. In skirmish mode, you can play as either the Allies or the Soviets no matter which disc you're using. You can set the number of enemies you want to fight, pick the map, and set various rules into place, such as a re-shrouding map, giving MCV's the ability to un-ploy and move, make it so crates appear, turn on/off super weapons, etc. The game also features an online multiplayer mode, where you can go head-to-head against other human players, and even participate in tournaments to possibly make your way to rank #1, the best player in the world. You can also choose to let others spectate if you so desire and add people to your buddy list so when you're both online, you can go up against them anytime you want.
Graphics: 10/10: The graphics are now even better when compared with past games such as Tiberian Sun. Almost no scan-lines are present in cut-scenes, and the characters are portrayed by living, breathing human beings. The backgrounds are often CGI or a real location such as the shot outside of the Capitol Building in the intro video. The maps and sprites are all in 2D, because the game focuses mainly on gameplay than on graphics. Everything is well detailed though and you'll have no problem telling what's what. The actors also did a fantastic job, appearing believable and certain ones being rather awesome, such as General Carville and the Tanya we've all come to known and love (and for some, to drool over!)
Sounds: 10/10: Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 features a superb soundtrack that is perhaps even marginally better than the first Red Alert. Frank Keplacki has returned to make the soundtrack and brought about a new and improved version of the track we all loved from Red Alert 1, Hell March. Hell March 2 plays during the intro video and it's selectable in the music menu upon pausing the game. Your units and enemies will respond to commands you've given and the attacks you're doing. You'll know when you put the hurt on your enemies in this game!
Overall: 10/10: Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 is perhaps the best game in the Red Alert spin-off series. The campaign is new and fresh and you have tons of new units at your disposal, including old favorites like Tanya and the attack dogs. For a real-time strategy, eight years later, this game is still a gem that won't be soon forgotten. If you like RTSes, go ahead and pick yourself up a copy of this game now!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 06/01/10
Game Release: Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 (US, 10/21/00)
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