"Just as good, if not better than, the first Red Alert"

Real-time strategy games are among the best genres of gaming there is. But sadly, there are very few out there. Red Alert 2 made several, but much needed changes from the original Red Alert. Such changes include graphics, completely different units, a better navy for the Soviets, and the removal of the Soviet air force. The game is set after Red Alert, the United States and Soviet Russia are allies. Suddenly, the President of Russia sends everything he has to invade the U.S. You can choose to defend American soil from the maniacal Yuri, or assist in the invasion of the U.S. and her allies as the Soviets.

Gameplay: 10/10

This game is a brilliantly made real-time strategy, with over ten levels and two campaigns to choose from. Most of the units from the original Red Alert either had a name-change, or was taken out. The only thing I didn’t like about the new units is the fact that the Soviets can no longer command MiGs. Instead, the navy for the Soviets was much improved; with missile-boats (called Dreadnaughts), Hovercrafts, and Sea Scorpions. The allies can now use Harriers, and still have a whoop-ass navy consisting of Destroyers, Air-craft Carriers, and Aegis Cruisers. Infantry and vehicles are well-balanced, contrary form the navy and air-force of the two sides. Also, some features were added, these consist of rally points for newly built units to follow when they exit a building, and waypoints for units to patrol. Super Weapons are still there, and improved highly. The Commies still have nukes and Iron curtains, and the Allies get a weather control device, which creates a destructive electrical storm over the desired location, and of course the Chronosphere is still around, and much more useful this time around. Overall, this game is fun to play, and is hard to get tired of.

Graphics: 10/10

MUCH improved from Red Alert; the level of detail was very good, at least for 3 years ago. I really can’t complain much here, the graphics never slow down, and pretty much any somewhat-recent video card can support this game. My favorite thing to see is the nuclear missile or electrical storm completely obliterate the opponent’s base.

Sound: 8/10

Realistic sound-effects, music to fit the mood, what more could you ask for? The sound-effects are above-average, even the “ARGH!” sound of a dying soldier was captured beautifully. The music fits very well into each level, whether it being eerie and dark, or action-packed rock tunes, the music is quite catchy and doesn’t get annoyingly repetitive. Heck, I even find myself humming the tunes sometimes while I’m waiting for my forces to build.

Story: 4/10

Yuck. I didn’t expect much, and I didn’t get much. The acting is so corny, I expected to see outtakes after I beat this game. The actors are so cheesily(is that even a word?) dressed, like Yuri for example, it would be hard to not crack up while watching these cutscenes. Thankfully, there aren’t many of these and you have the option to skip them.

Replayability: Moderately High

The online features and skirmishes will keep you going if the campaign mode doesn’t. It’s quite satisfying to just play endless skirmishes against other AI players, and nuke their asses repeatedly. The AI quickly gets predictable, so playing online is the best choice here anyway. This game will take but 4-5 hours for each campaign to beat, depending on how good you are at real-time strategy games.

Final Recommendation: Buy

This game isn’t hard to find; go out and buy it with its expansion. Or just go ahead and buy Theater of War (which includes all 4 original C & C’s) for $15-20 at any PC-gaming retailer.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/27/03

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