Review by CrazyIvan
KA BOOM!!! That word certainly describes the most stunning visual features of Command & Conquer Red Alert 2. Whether it is blowing up a building with Crazy Ivan or watching a Rhino heavy tank snuff it under brilliant laser fire from nine prism tanks, the explosions in CCRA2 are superbly rendered with not a hint of pixilation in sight. That leads directly in to the next category, graphics.
While the explosions may be superb, and the rest of the graphics in CCRA2 are equally amazing, there are a few minor flaws that prevent it from earning a ten in this department. One of these things is the lack of faces on most infantry units. From Tonya the spy having a peach oval for a head to the Russian conscript having some stupid gas mask on his head, nobody has a face. Westwood could at least have given them eyes. The other thing that bugs me is the lack of double barreled tanks. I know the Apocalypse has two barrels, but they take a while to build, don't belong to the allies and usually aren't used much (by me, at least)
Good: explosions, lasers, Tesla bolts, buildings, mostly everything.
bad: no faces, and lack of double barreled tanks
The music used in this game matches the setting very well. It is mostly upbeat, which makes sure that the hectic gameplay pace is never lost. The sound effects are also superb, with my favorites being the comments made by either Crazy Ivan or the Libyan Demolition Truck when they are selected. Again, only minor complaints here. And those is those nerdy engineers and the allied armor. My brother said the engineers sounded like Steve Urkel, and he was right. Nothing is worse then selecting a unit to head in to combat, only to here him say, in a self pleasing sort of way, ''I've got the knowledge.'' That drives me crazy, especially hearing it twenty times over the course of twenty minutes. And as for the armor, oh my goodness. Just about any time you move any Allied armor, from the Grizzly tank to the IFV, they say ''High speed, low drag.'' Gal, they say that about 1/2 of the time they move, and it gets very annoying, very quickly.
Good: Voice acting for Crazy Ivan and the Demolition Trucks, music
Bad: Voice acting for the Engineers and the Allied armor
Gameplay is one of the most crucial factors of any game, and CCRA2 has game play coming out of its ears. The game is extremely easy to pick up, but most people will probably never master it. One of the best things is the incredible amount of variety in challenge levels. Another good thing is how overplayed the units different strengths and weaknesses are. For instance, conscripts are cheap, fast to build, and can kill infantry relatively shortly. But the more expensive guard dog, which is slower to build, can kill infantry in one attack. Yet the conscript has much better range. So the strengths and weaknesses are dramatically overplayed to facilitate easier gameplay, and shorter online matches.
Another favorite feature of mine is the superweapons. There are two kinds: superweapons and more of superdevices. The superweapons do the obvious thing: deal out damage. LOTS of damage. But the superdevices are more interesting in terms of strategy. The Allies have a Chronosphere, which every seven game minutes can warp up to nine units anywhere on the map. This is useful not only for a sudden attack, but for other things. Say your opponent is approaching your base with nine Apocalypse tanks. If your Chronosphere is ready, you can warp any of those tanks within a three by three radius of your target tank into the ocean, thereby ending the tank threat. The Soviet get the Iron Curtain, which can be used to temporarily make their units invulnerable. This can be used to facilitate an assault, or to kill infantry, although the latter is a somewhat gross overuse of its power. All in all, the game play is perfect. Now on to the three sub-sections
good: superweapons, superdevices, varying challenge levels
SINGLE PLAYER CAMPAIGN
The single player campaign missions range from stupidly easy to teeth grindingly hard. And yet the best part is that some of the missions that are hard are hard because you actually have to *GASP* think. That's right, better whip out the ol' noodle, because some of the missions in here are hard to just plow through. The one mission that comes to mind is mission number 5 with the Allies. This mission requires the player to bring the Allied unit Tanya through the Russian base almost singlehandedly, destroying infantry and buildings galore. Doesn't sound to hard until you encounter two obstacles. One of theses is walls, and the other is Tesla coils. Only with thorough exploration will the player find the necessary ways to destroy walls and coils. But fun isn't lacking, either. I've kinda always wanted to destroy the pentagon... Plus, the ability to customize the dificulty in your campaign is incredible. I'm not a very big RTS fan, so I'm still working the campaigns through on Easy. But I'm sure this game will give a good challenge even to any of you die hard RTS players on the hardest setting And if that doesn't satisfy you, there is always the
SINGLE PLAYER SKIRMISH
This mode pits you against the computer on any map you choose. This is where the different countries come in. Each country, besides the building the standard soviet or allied units, can build/train its own unique unit. My personal favorite is Libya, with it's demolition truck. It has some of the best voice acting in the game, plus it lets you detonate a small nuclear charge right in the middle of the enemy base :-) And with nine different countries, the sheer amount of variety is staggering. Certain strategies will only work with/on certain countries. And determining these strategies is half of what makes this game so darn complex and fun.
I can't say too much about this mode yet, as our modem will not operate with Westwood online right now. So, this does not bring the rating down or up.
CONTROL : 9
The control in this game is what the control in every game should be like. The mouse is quick and responsive, and the hot keys are placed extremely well and are extremely well employed. My personal favorite is the cheer command. By pressing the 'c' key, the player can force their units to audibly exult over their glorious deeds. Needless to say, a severe ego booster. But again, there is one small flaw that prevents me from giving this game a ten. That is the scroll. I find that the game will not scroll fast enough with the arrow keys. And personally, I like to do most of my scrolling with the arrow keys. It's not a major flaw, but is enough to bring the control score down to a nine
good: fast and seamless response, good hot key usage
bad: arrow key scrolling
With an incredible campaign game, great skirmish options, and a (hopefully) addictive online multiplayer support option, this game will continue to please for a long time to come. Maybe even till Gamecube.
To Buy or Rent:
Buy. BUYBUYBUYBUYBUY. Considering the tremendous value, plus the fact that I don't think it can be rented, this game deserves a definite purchase. Prepare to be separated with both your 50$ and your life.
OVERALL: 9/10 (NOT an average)
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 01/06/01, Updated 01/06/01
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