Blast From The Past
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 was a great, absurd and comedic RTS
“Kirov reporting.” Terrifying or gratifying words to hear when playing Westwood Studios’ cult classic Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2. This real-time strategy was a follow-up to the original 1996 Command & Conquer: Red Alert that focused on an alternate history of World War 2. It was with Red Alert 2 that Westwood decided it wasn’t just going to acknowledge its ‘B movie’ appeal, but run with it and really ham it up. It worked brilliantly.
Much like its predecessor we choose between the Allied or Soviet campaign – this being a time for the C&C series that a third faction wasn’t really part of the formula. Usually you have a favourite campaign with a story-driven strategy game like this but honestly both are so great thanks to its over-the-top comedic drama and amazing cast. Alexander Romanov as the Premier of the Soviets and his Russian-accented performances are paired great with the cold and almost alien Yuri.
”Is it done, Yuri?” “No, Comrade Premier. It has only begun.”
The Allied and Soviet factions were much more diversified than in the original Red Alert as each tended to specialise more within certain areas. The Soviets favoured bulkier and harder hitting ordinance while the Allies preferred more sleek and efficient designs. There are always go-to units you must have as each, with the Kirov airship probably the one unit to always steal the show because if you were producing them then it was basically a victory fleet, but if you weren’t then it was time to check the skies anxiously because they could overwhelm you.
Red Alert 2 also let you garrison any civilian structure on the map with troops, which was a first for the C&C series. This made urban fighting real dirty as you could quickly plot your next building to scramble over to and hold out a while longer. It made cities death-traps for infantry which hadn’t really posed much more of a threat than any other kind of terrain before. This coupled beautifully with the new and improved veterancy system and meant infantry really were a force to be reckoned with, and not just fodder for tank treads – a favourite move to quickly wipe out squishy squads.
”I’m tired of hangin’ out in Canada. Get me my office back!”
Missions would range from your more typical ‘build base, defend, expand and destroy enemy’ to specialised missions with perhaps limited resources or only unique units to accomplish a task. Thankfully all these were accompanied by the most hammy mission briefs that should induce teeth-sucking cringe, but in Red Alert 2 they were always something to look forward too. Where would the next betrayal come from? Who is Yuri going to mind control next? How mad is General Carville that he’s still stuck in Canada? Excellent questions to which it’s hard not to want the answers to, so just one more mission before bed at 2am.
It’s worth mentioning that Red Alert 2 did so well that an expansion called Yuri’s Revenge came out and began the new tradition of having three factions within the Command & Conquer franchise. As you would have guessed, Yuri didn’t quite like how things turned out and decided he’d take over the world. If you thought Red Alert 2 had gone full B movie, then you hadn’t counted on the awesome performances of actors like Udo Kier as Yuri and Ray Wise as President Dugan turning it up a notch. The units and tech from Yuri’s forces made them appear as alien as the mind manipulator himself. He had friggin’ flying saucers! Oh, sorry, a Floating Disc.
Where to get Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 today?
Awesomely stupendous news comrade! You can easily get hold of Westwood Studios’ Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 online, in fact you can get it as part of Command & Conquer: The Ultimate Collection that’s available through EA’s Origin store.
If you’re an Origin Access subscriber then you already have it! Otherwise it can be as much as £24.99 when not on sale but that does includes all Command & Conquer titles to-date, which is 17 games in total. Don’t forget that EA and former Westwood veterans at the indendent studio Petroglyph Games (who made the excellent Star Wars: Empire at War series) are busy remastering the original Command & Conquers.