COMMAND & CONQUER - RED ALERT
"Command & Conquer - Red Alert" is Westwood's sequel to their best selling (well, one of them) game Command & Conquer. What! I hear you cry, how can you make a sequel to a game that brilliant and make it even better that the first...? Well, it may seem like an impossibility, but it has been done, and Westwood deserve a good pat on the back for doing so.
Of course, like most quality games, the game was initially designed on PC for PC, which means that it takes almost an eternity to be converted to Playstation format. I personally have been waiting a year to buy it as my PC could not handle such a demanding game, but it's finally here. The basic or not so basic plot is that after the second world war some dodgy scientist going by the name A. Einstein decides to build a time machine and go back in time to kill Hitler before he got to power.
The result of this is catastrophic as instead of a twisted power dominated german bloke causing mass destruction and grand death over Europe, we get a russian one - Josef Stalin. The effect he has on Europe is, well, the Soviet Empire is Europe. There are a few countries left that have not been conquered, and that's where you step in as the player. You can either play as the good guys - the Allied forces, or if you really want some fun you can play as the Soviets. The objective of each side is to remove the other from existence.
Don't get me wrong, playing as the Allies is fun, as they are not as squeaky clean as the Allies in C&C, (thank God) but you don't get to destroy whole (inhabited) villages with Mig planes, rip apart Allied spies with attack dogs, use the IRON CURTAIN, and of course - instantly vaporize any allied force that comes within a mile of your base with a 5000 Volt zap from a Tesla Coil. But the Allies have some great weapons as well, naturally.
The types of mission that you will play on either through out the game is quite varied. You have the missions where you build your base and have to attack the enemy base on the other side on the map, which is what C&C was mostly about, but Red Alert is much more than that. There are also timed missions, escorting missions, indoor missions (which provides nice optical relief from green grass or snow) and several other types.
The cut screens also contain more commanding characters, so you're not taking orders from the same ugly mugg every mission, although some of the acting is comical at times!
Overall, there is a more in-depth feel to Red Alert than its predecessor, and it provides a better array of weapons, better soundtracks, and it does have a major upper hand over C&C, and that's the ability to link up. This option of the game is a real social killer. Once you start it, you'd better cancel any appointments for the rest of the day, and the day after that. Link up games between two human players, especially two GOOD human players can take an eternity. You'll probably come to some rational agreement, stalemate or draw. Playing with the computer is quite the opposite, it seems that not five seconds after establishing your construction yard and are half way through building your first power plant, that you are being attacked. It takes some quick thinking and a bit of patience, but the blainent assault can be survived! And don't think it will be a one off, the computer does the same thing every time!!
There is no need to go and buy two copies of the game for link up, each disk holds the infantry of five countries, although their technology is similar, so you don't have to play as Allies (e.g. England) and the Soviets every time.
So. If you liked C&C, buy Red Alert, it has all the improvements you'd expect, and if you haven't played C&C, go straight to Red Alert. It's definitely worth the money, (two games in one) but beware... it will render your social life to a no go area (trust me). Watch out for the dodgy ore truck (especially on turbo), and a special surprise from Cain, that will get you thinking...
Reviewed by Kevin Gwilliam, firstname.lastname@example.org
(c) Virgin Interactive