Red Alert 2

Short description

A game from the Command & Conquer series, specifically the cult subseries Red Alert, is discussed in this article. Red Alert 2, which was released in the early 2000s, is singled out for its humorous portrayal of a global war. The game is set in an alternate 1946 where Albert Einstein tries to prevent World War II by eliminating Adolf Hitler on the day he is released from prison, but in doing so allows the Soviet Union led by Joseph Stalin to become unstoppable. The game features two mutually exclusive campaigns for the Allies and the Socialist Bloc, both with different endings. The game play is typical of its era in real-time strategy games, with a focus on finances and energy. The game also features battle modes with countries having unique structures and troops, and each side of the conflict has a unique superweapon.

Red Alert 2

Today, I would like to talk about a game from a very popular series, which is practically in a comatose state these days. In the 90s and 00s, every gamer knew this line of games, and there probably wasn’t a computer club that didn’t have at least one of the games from this franchise installed. This series is called Command & Conquer, but I want to dwell on the second game, which has long become a cult subseries – Red Alert. Given the recent remake of Command & Conquer and Red Alert 1, the topic seems especially relevant to me. It is quite possible that the second part of “The Red Menace” is also waiting for a remake, although I hardly believe in it.

In the mid-late 90s, I didn’t have a computer yet, so I didn’t catch most of the games from that era. However, it was still possible to touch some hits thanks to trips to cousins. Then, sitting in front of the belly monitor, I didn’t really understand what I was playing, but I really liked it.

That’s how I got to know such wonderful games as Command & Conquer Red Alert 1 and Command & Conquer Tiberian Sun. I will not say that they left a huge mark on my life, because, due to age, I was hungry for something to play. But I remember perfectly the main theme music of the first Red Alert. I think this is one of the best music tracks in strategies!

But years passed, I became an adult and I myself went to gaming clubs, where Red Alert 2 was installed on all computers at the beginning of the 2000s. Tournaments were held behind the game, people gathered in teams and arranged dynamic battles full of drive, emotions and and what a sin to hide, mother. As I remember now, the basement of the building in which the most popular game club of our area was located. A dark, smoky hall, a crowd of people, an atmosphere of carelessness and an hour of play for 20 rubles… but something distracted me.

A little more time will pass, my parents will give me my first computer, and then I won’t have to wear gaming headphones to touch this masterpiece — I can play Red Alert 2 at home.

Who

For the game, it is worth saying “thank you” to Westwood Studios, which in the 90s was an icon of the strategy genre, and now, unfortunately, has passed away. This is the company that made the strategy genre what it is today. Developers of games such as Eye of the Beholder, the Command & Conquer and Dune series of games, The Legend of Kyrandia, and Nox. And if the modern generation might not have even heard of these names, I am convinced that the burned-out gamers have spent tens or even hundreds of hours of their lives in these games and remember them with warmth!

Plot

In an alternate 1946, Albert Einstein develops a time machine and uses it to travel to 1924, the day Adolf Hitler was released from Landsberg Prison. Einstein plans to eliminate the future leader of Germany, thereby preventing World War II. It would seem that the operation was successful, but Einstein did not take into account that without Hitler, Nazi Germany would not appear, and therefore, no one would stop the Soviet Union led by Joseph Stalin from expansion. As a result, the USSR makes a victorious offensive against Europe, China and India.

To stop the Red war machine, the European Union is created. According to the canonical ending of the first part of the game, democracy won, Stalin died, and at the helm of the USSR stands Alexander Romanov (yes, this is the head of the USSR, a descendant of the imperial family))), who is actually a puppet of the West. This is how the events of Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 begin.

Years have passed, and Romanov, under the influence of the telepath Yuriy, the chief adviser, pushes other members of the Government to attack the United States. In a short period of time, the Soviet army is being revived, capable of bringing the Western bloc of countries to its knees. So the world becomes involved in a new global war. The Red Army troops under your command will destroy the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, and turn the Eiffel Tower into a huge smoldering “Tesla Tower”. But no one forbids you to lead the army of the Alliance and try to protect democratic ideals from the “Red threat”.

Admit it, old-school gang?

Let this description sound like the plot of any serious strategy with an alternate history, but Red Alert 2 is not like that. There will be a lot of humor in cool videos between missions. Thank God, the stake in the game is directed towards Russia, but also towards the USA. Stereotypes are mocked, which, unfortunately, are very difficult for a Russian player unfamiliar with American culture to understand.

Quite famous actors such as Udo Kier, Ray Wise, as well as the Soviet-Russian actor Igor Zhizhikin, whose image is depicted on the game’s logo, took part as guest stars.

Time travel; the Secretary General of the USSR in shorts with a hammer and sickle; a Russian general bathing in a jacuzzi with virgins celebrating a victorious military operation; gold baths in industrial buildings. How about Ernie Frankenführer, Sally Stallion and Flint Westwood helping to fend off Hollywood from the Soviet Army (reference to Schwarzenegger, Stallone and Clint Eastwood)?

This line of games was never about seriousness! As you progress through the story of the game, you will smile many times, I guarantee it! The plot is terribly cool in its idiocy. It’s a cocktail of cranberries, banter and humor with a really interesting alternate history!

The game features two mutually exclusive campaigns with different endings: for the Allies and the Socialist Bloc. Canonical, however, is the ending for the Democrats.

Yuri looks exactly like Lenin, and Romanov looks like Brezhnev

Gameplay

It is in many ways typical of its era in real-time strategy, which has a distinctive feature that strongly distinguished the game from the background of the competition. In other games, as a rule, you need to collect many different resources to build a strong economy and army. In Red Alert 2, for the sake of dynamic game parties, you will have to monitor only the finances and energy necessary for the functioning of your buildings.

When collecting minerals that automatically convert into money, remember that they are finite on the map, so always lead an aggressive expansion! The priority will be both new deposits of minerals and oil towers, which, shaking oil, bring profit. But due to the small number of rigs on the map, expect a serious fight for such a serious advantage.

A little more and on your order, the Pentagon will be razed to the ground

In addition to the story campaign, a battle mode is also available, in which you can test your strength both with the computer and with friends.

Before starting the battle, select a country from the list. Choices affect which block of countries you’ll be in, as well as buildings and troops. Each state has its own peculiarity. It can be both a unique structure (a French long-range defensive cannon) and a type of troops unavailable to other countries (an explosive truck with a self-detonation in Libya). I will note that, in addition to differences in armies and structures, each side of the conflict has its own unique superweapon. The Soviets are masters of nukes and iron curtain, which makes units and buildings invulnerable for a short time. The alliance’s superweapon is a weather control device that sends a terrifying thunderstorm to your chosen area on the map, as well as a chronosphere that allows you to teleport multiple units to any chosen location. As for Yuri’s army, the main superweapon is the Psi-Dominator, which damages buildings and takes control of enemy units, and the secondary superweapon is the Genetic Mutator, which transforms selected infantry into a different, enhanced form. Each of the parties to the conflict is strong in its own way. The Allies are mostly fast and weakly armored, while the Socialist Bloc, on the contrary, is slow but powerful.

Do not forget that the battles are not only on land, but also on water and in the air, as aviation and navy are available for military operations.

Stealth tanks, flying infantry, giant squid, battle dolphins, flying saucers and of course, perhaps the most popular unit of the game — the Kirov airship. Where else can you find such an atypical choice of troops if not in Westwood Studios games? But as an original fan of role-playing games, I remembered the game for the ability to pump soldiers. For the destruction of enemy targets, experience drips, which increases the rank of a soldier. With each new rank, the effectiveness of the unit increases many times, and even a small squad with three “persons” can cause significant damage to the enemy.

Yuri’s Revenge Expansion

A year after the release of the game, Westwood Studios releases a new expansion, Yuri’s Revenge, which brings a lot of new things to the game.

As the name suggests, the plot of the expansion tells about the events after the end of the main campaign. Yuri the telepath returns with his new army, becoming a third party to the conflict. We are offered two additional campaigns of the USSR and the Allies, consisting of 7 missions, some of which have a certain non-linearity. Unfortunately, there is no campaign for Yuriy.

Despite this, Yuri’s army is selectable in Skirmish mode, being a completely new and unique faction with gameplay unlike any other country. Since Yuri is a telepath psionic, most of the new game mechanics rely on this. Certain troops and buildings can bend enemy soldiers to their will, forcing them to follow their orders. And Yuri himself, who is an independent combat unit, is capable of capturing enemy houses!

Yes, Yuri’s army has Flying Saucers

In addition to these innovations, units and buildings were added to the Soviets and the Alliance, the overall game balance was adjusted, and new voices were added to all types of troops.

I believe that it is definitely not worth playing without this addition. Even considering the fact that Yuri’s faction is considered too Imbo by many players.

Sound accompaniment

The music is full of energy and literally energizes, and powerful guitar strums call for battle! The author of such a cool soundtrack is the composer of the series, Frank Klepacki, who admitted that the formation of his musical style was influenced by such groups as Iron Maiden, AC/DC and Depeche Mode.

The voice acting of the soldiers has already become a classic. Each unit comments on the received orders, and not only with the banal “Yes, sir!”, but also with many other phrases that have already become memes.

You know what phrase should sound here)))

Since a large number of Russian translations were made, every CIS gamer will have his favorite voice, so I will not single out a certain one. But we must not forget about the original English, which is an example of how games should be voiced! Let each of you remember and name the one who has forever remained in his heart.

Cons

Unfortunately, the balance was never brought to the second part. It seems to me that the Soviet side is stronger than the Alliance, which is why a banal rush with heavy tanks or a squadron of Kirov airships, as a rule, cannot be stopped. And after the release of the add-on “Yuri’s Revenge”, many believed that an imba appeared in the form of a new faction (probably I’m a bad strategy player, but I didn’t have to feel this imbalance).

As with any game in my “Nostalgia Games” series of articles, Red Alert 2, due to its age, does not look too good on modern computers. But unlike other games, you don’t need to install any mods to increase the screen resolution. Just edit the ini file in the root folder.

Game in 2k resolution

Result

It’s a really solid real-time strategy with an emphasis on battles rather than economics. Yes, the mechanics are not as deep as in some Starcraft, but the sea of ​​​​humor, good voice acting and really cool cutscenes between the campaign missions give a head start to many other brothers in the genre. If you like strategies, then you must at least try this game. It is good that it is perfectly accepted even today. Well, I suggest to old-timers to dive into the past and share their memories in the comments.

I’ve been playing games for over 25 years, and I remember them as just that: soulful and addictive, with engaging mechanics and interactivity, no in-game currency, and no attempt to be anything but a game. In my Telegram channels not only game reviews are waiting for you, but also current news and thoughts about gamedev. Subscribe, it will be interesting!

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