Command & Conquer: Red Alert

“Training. Unit Ready. Training”

Red Alert is a stand-alone product, an upgrade of the original C&C engine, with new units and SVGA graphics. Essentially based on the movie Red Dawn and skewed until it was deemed absurd enough, C&C Red Alert pits the Western Allies against the expansionist Soviet Union, spearheaded by none other than comrade Stalin himself. Peppered FMV sequences between missions outlay the story much like it did in the previous game.

The Reds Are A Commin’

10_1But even though the storyline takes place before its predecessor, the game has also been reworked to allow you to fight on land, air, and sea. The Soviets rely on heavy equipment, and they have Tesla Coils, bombers, submarines, V2 Rockets and mammoth tanks. Their infantry include grenadiers and flame throwers, while they field heavy Hind helicopters and Badger bombers. The Allies are more geared toward stealth and speed, with light tanks, spies, cruisers, and gunboats.

Strange new technologies are available to the warring sides. The Allies can employ Chronosphere, which allows you to teleport a unit, and a Gap Generator, that covers an area with a black shroud, making it impossible for the enemy to determine what is beneath it. The Soviets have the Iron Curtain, which gives a unit temporary invulnerability, and a Missile Silo, which can reign unholy destruction on enemy structures.

You now have a much wider variety of strategies available to you. You can thoroughly defend your base with concrete walls, sandbags, gun turrets, pillboxes, anti-aircraft guns, Gap Generators and Tesla Coils, while you build up a potent offensive force. Mine-laying trucks also add an element of mobile defense, as you can mine the heck out of key passes, creating dangerous conditions in the ore fields.

The missions themselves are slanted far more heavily towards base-building missions rather than puzzle missions, as that’s what fans asked for, and Westwood has listened. Still, many of the base-building missions do have a puzzle element: for example in one of the earlier Allied missions, you start with a spy, liberate Tanya, airlift her out, and then come in with a small invasion force to take over the enemy base.

You can build naval units, including transports.

Gameplay has been tweaked as well. One example: engineers cannot capture an enemy building in one fell swoop. You must now knock a building down into the red zone before you can take it over, eliminating those pesky engineer raids where an enemy human player captures every building and proceeds to sell your entire base. On the other hand, one engineer can now fully repair a building on your own side. Along those lines, the two sides are more evenly matched without being complete clones of each another.

While the look and feel of the game isn’t a massive leap forward in technology, this is nonetheless one mammoth tank of a game in terms of gameplay and weight. Overall a fine continuation from the original.

System Requirements: 486DX/ 33, 8 MB RAM, SVGA, MS-DOS

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