Command & Conquer: Red Alert (1996)

Video Game   |  Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Command & Conquer: Red Alert (1996) Poster

In an alternative Earth, where Hitler was eliminated from history, you play either side of a new war of the Soviet Union vs. the Allies.


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3 May 2007 | TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews
| Lucas, are you paying attention? *This* is the way to do a prequel
After the success of Command & Conquer, this nifty number was created... Red Alert. The prequel to the war depicted in aforementioned game. Each of these games bring something new and interesting to the franchise, each has a running theme, and I would say that the theme of this is time traveling. It is used for two very interesting purposes, one story-wise and one for game-play. The first is a take on what would have happened, had someone not only answered the ethical question of "if you could go back in time, would you kill Hitler?" with a "heck yeah!" but actually went on to do just that(although, admittedly, the intro does leave it somewhat open to interpretation exactly *what* happened); from the very start of the game, we are in an alternate reality. The world where World War II never occurred. However, Hitler was not the only threat to world peace back then... and in the story-line presented here, "The Man of Steel"(no, not Superman) fills the void left behind. This is where you come in... will you render the world "red", and take your place at Stalin's side as ruler of the planet, or will you wipe out Communism and the Soviet Union as the Allies? The game-play use of time travel is interesting in more than one way... the very idea behind the Chrono-Sphere, a machine that through manipulating the time/space continuum can instantly move a vehicle from any point in the level to any other point is an excellent piece of science fiction, and that's coming from a man who is a considerable fan of the genre, and the actual use of this in-game is a real treat, tactically speaking. I'll leave it up to each player's individual imagination what the effective uses of it are. This game takes all that Command & Conquer was and expands upon it. There's a whole slew of new features, and additions to old ones. When ordering groups of units around, there is now a new queue system, one that removes a lot(though not yet all) of the need of watching over your units. The few bugs that are left are now for the most part minor, and can be solved by fiddling a tiny bit with whatever is causing trouble. Keyboard shortcuts give you the opportunity to order units to guard, scatter, etc. New units include the Field Medic, which means that all units can now have their health restored to maximum in-between battles(though said unit is only available to the Allied side). Fighting by sea is now an actual option, as both sides get transport ships(think the ones that provided reinforcements in the first game, only less open, presumably for the protection of the units inside). The Allied get three ships of increasing usefulness(culminating in the oh-so-freakishly-awesome Cruiser), and the Soviets get Submarines. The name of the game this time is "fairness"... where the first game had several units and special attacks that were incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to truly guard yourself against, this doesn't. There is a "Nuke", but it's not going to level your base as the bomb of the original C&C did. The two sides are reasonably leveled, with the Soviets being big, strong and slow, and the Allied being fast, tactical and good at hiding(quite literally... Gap Generators, anyone?). These superior tactical opportunities are represented through, among other things, the Spy, a new infantry unit who, in spite of looking and sounding like a Lothario, can infiltrate enemy buildings and provide new features for the player, such as the Sonar Pulse acquired by sending a Spy into the enemy's Sub Pen(the building supplying them with, yep, you guessed it, Subs(as in Submarines, not substitute teachers) as well as transport ships), which detects and reveals any submarine on the map for a brief period of time. The Spy can fool any enemy into thinking he's on their side, save for the also new Attack Dog, which is only on the side of the Soviets, and who can sniff out any enemy Spy and make short work of him. It'll also take out other infantry, but it's somewhat weak. The Allies also have the Thief, who, whilst looking like Zorro, can lift funds from the enemy's ore deposits(both Refineries and Silos). The Allied also have useful mobile air defense, in the form of Rocket Soldiers. More is done with airborne units, as well. The missions are extraordinarily well done, and, by my count, almost fourteen of them have several choices of level(sometimes with up to three possibilities). There are almost thirty in total, both campaigns combined. The multi-player is marvelous. There is now also a "skirmish" mode, which allows you to battle only computer enemies. The maps for multi-playing are plentiful and well-done. The music is utterly magnificent, continuing the trend of the first, but I would say improved upon. This one also has the incredible "Hell March", one that the team clearly realized the grandeur of, evidenced by the fact that they put it on the track-list for both sides, as well as in the introduction of not only this game, but also its successor. Story-telling is improved upon, and the cut-scenes are more well-directed. The briefings are efficient; they never fail to make you feel like you are part of this story, not just a spectator. The commando is now Tanya, and I have to admit that the role could have been better cast. The presence and attitude just isn't that strong with the actress. The in-game voice is a lot better. This is also the only negative thing I can really say about this, and it's not going to bring it down from a perfect score. The graphics are great, in-game and cut-scenes alike. The characters, apart from Tanya, are all well-cast. The game also features an excellent level designer. This is quite simply among the best RTS games ever made. I recommend this to every fan of this kind of games. 8/10

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Release Date:

22 November 1996


English, Russian, German

Country of Origin


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