Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2


Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 cover (Windows)
On the cover — hollywood actor Igor Jijikine
Developer(s) Westwood Pacific
Publisher(s) EA Games
Composer(s) Frank Klepacki
Series Command & Conquer
Engine Heavily-modified Tiberian Sun engine
Version 1.006, 25 May 2001
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release date(s)
  • NA October 23, 2000
  • EU October 27, 2000
Genre(s) Real-time strategy
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer
Rating(s)
Media/distribution 2x CD-ROM
System requirements

Windows 95/98/NT/ME/2000
266 MHz Processor
64 MB RAM
350 MB HDD space
4x CD-ROM Drive
2 MB video card
DirectSound-compatible soundcard

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 is a 2.5D real-time strategy computer game by Westwood Studios, which was released for Microsoft Windows on October 23, 2000 [1] as the follow-up to Command & Conquer: Red Alert. Set in the early 1970s,[2] Red Alert 2 supposedly picks up at the conclusion of the Allied campaign of the first game, but this has been subject to debate. Its expansion is Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge.

Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 contains 2 playable factions, Soviets and Allies which both previously appeared in Command & Conquer: Red Alert. Red Alert 2's single player campaign is structured in an alternate-ending mode as opposed to a progressive story mode.

Red Alert 2 proved to be a success, both commercially and with critics, receiving an 86% from GameRankings.[3]

Contents

Plot

Allied-Soviet War
Part of Cold War
Date 1972
Location United States, Canada, Europe, Pacific Ocean
Result Allied version

Soviet version

Belligerents
Allied:

other US allies

Soviet:

other Soviet Allies


Soviet Union Yuri (later rebelled)

Like all other Command & Conquer real-time strategy games, up until the expansion pack of Tiberian Sun, Firestorm, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 contains two distinct story lines depending on which faction the player wishes to play as. Both of the story lines differ in several distinct ways. However, the Allied story line is canon due to the way in which the expansion pack continues.

After the attempted conquest of Europe, the Soviet Union is in utter ruin. Joseph Stalin is dead, and the Soviet military has been all but destroyed. The Allies determine that a regime change would cause mass unrest in the Soviet Union, and in order to gain both support and stability in the region, the victorious Allies name Alexander Romanov, a distant relative of Czar Nicholas II, as the puppet Soviet Premier. Romanov acquiesces to the Allies' demands at first, though he builds up the Soviet military for "defense purposes" – a cover for an intended invasion of the United States of America.

The game's story line starts off with the American military being caught completely off guard by the sudden massive Soviet invasion of the USA, with Soviet aircraft, naval vessels, amphibious forces, and paratroopers coming in on both the East Coast and West Coast and with the majority of Soviet ground forces coming in through Mexico, which had recently voted in a communist government. The USA attempts to retaliate with the use of nuclear missiles, but Yuri, leader of the Soviet Psychic Corps and Premier Romanov's top advisor, uses his mind control to manipulate the personnel charged with launching the warheads and leaves them to explode in their silos. Within hours, the USA is overrun with Red Army troops. In response, the US President Michael Dugan establishes an emergency response team headed by General Carville and the Commander known as "The Ghost" (the player) to the Soviet army later in the game.

Blue: playable Allied nations
Red: playable Soviet nations

Allied campaign

The Allied story line begins with a special forces team led by Special Agent Tanya being sent to New York City to repel the Soviet invasion there. The player, with help from Tanya, successfully repels the Soviet invasion of New York City. Tanya and the Commander are then sent to Colorado Springs to liberate the Air Force Academy and the air base there. When returning home victorious from the battle, it is discovered that a Soviet mind control device known as the Psychic Beacon, a device that can mind-control the population of entire cities, has been deployed in Washington, D.C.. The Psychic Beacon manages to control the minds of the President and General Carville and several other key officials in the city, who surrender to the Soviets. However, a strike team is promptly sent in to the city and destroys the Psychic Beacon while encounting attacks by mind-controlled civilians, freeing the government and military officials from Soviet mind control and allowing them to be rescued. Despite this, Washington, D.C. still remains in Soviet hands, forcing the American government and military to relocate themselves to Canada to escape the threat of Soviet mind control.

After moving their government to Canada, Allied intelligence has discovered that the Soviets have put another psychic device in Chicago, the Psychic Amplifier, which has the power “to do to the country what the Psychic Beacon did to Washington”. The Allies promptly launch an offensive into Soviet-occupied Chicago from their Canadian base across Lake Michigan, freeing the city and destroying the Psychic Amplifier. But in retaliation, General Vladimir, the chief commander of the invading Soviet forces, declares that he no longer has much use for the city of Chicago. He quickly deploys a nuclear missile in the city and detonates it immediately afterwards, completely destroying the city.

Alarmed by the situation, leaders of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom agree to help the USA if the Americans disarm the Soviet nuclear missile silos in Poland. US President Michael Dugan agrees and sends a special forces team led by Tanya into Poland near its border with Germany. The silos are covertly destroyed, and the Europeans join the war against the Soviets. Bolstered by additional men and equipment, the U.S. military is able to launch an amphibious assault on Soviet-occupied Washington, D.C. and recapture the city. After doing so, Allied intelligence reveals that the Soviets are planning to capture the Hawaiian Islands and the Commander is sent to Pearl Harbor to defend the islands.

The islands are saved, but the United States is still in a precarious position. The Soviets, with the help from their Psychic Beacon, still control St. Louis and all of the Mississippi River south of the city, seriously handicapping movement between the western states and the eastern states. The Allies then mount an attack on the city, destroying the Psychic Beacon and liberating the city. The Allies also learn of a Soviet project to replicate the Allied Prism technology, which is a technology that creates massive beams of energy to destroy the enemy, at a research base in Tulum, Mexico. A team of Navy SEALs is then para-dropped into the area to destroy the research facility and any Soviet attempts to replicate the Allied prism technology. The mission is successful and the Allied Prism technology is not compromised.

General Carville, in a briefing to the player, says that they are being shipped off to Germany. He says that the Allied leaders are sending troops into the Black Forest to protect Albert Einstein’s laboratory in order to bring a quick end to the war. At Einstein's laboratory, there is Einstein's prototype Chronosphere, a device with the ability to transport troops anywhere in the world, and the plans for it. As General Carville is leaving his office at the end of the briefing, a Crazy Ivan, a Soviet unit which deploys explosives, was waiting for Carville and flips open his jacket, revealing and detonates his bombs, killing Carville. Despite this tremendous loss, the Commander is sent to the Black Forest and repels the Soviet invasion from across the German border. Einstein's laboratory and Chronosphere are saved and Einstein continues his work.

After doing this, Einstein personally thanks the Commander and says that he has been working to find the best place to deploy the Chronosphere. Einstein has found the perfect place, but it is "on a tiny island in the Florida Keys, just a few short kilometers from Soviet Cuba”. The Allies send a force to the island and build a base and the Chronosphere there, and then launch an offensive into Cuba to destroy the Soviet nuclear strike capability there. The Allies then proceed to use the Chronosphere's teleportation capabilities to take an Allied strike team to Moscow. Once in Moscow, the Allied forces destroy the Black Guard defenses around the Kremlin and then teleport in a strike team led by Tanya to capture Premier Alexander Romanov, while Romanov is trying to get a man to wear his uniform so as to pose as Romanov, so that Tanya will take him away instead. However, this plot is easily exposed as the man is completely different from Romanov and Romanov is caught in his underwear. The Soviets suffer a humiliating defeat and promptly surrender.

Soviet campaign

The Soviet storyline begins with the player being briefed by Premier Alexander Romanov about the upcoming Soviet invasion of the United States of America. Romanov tells the player that the first priority is the destruction of the headquarters of the American Military, the Pentagon. The Commander carries out this order, leading an invasion into Washington, D.C. and destroying the Pentagon. Another Soviet invasion is launched into Florida to destroy the American fleet there, which was threatening the Soviet invasion of the East Coast. Even though the Commander is almost fully responsible for these victories, all the credit goes to the top Soviet commander, General Vladimir. Yuri recommends that the player captures New York City with a Psychic Beacon, a device that can mind-control the population of entire cities, while Vladimir is in Moscow celebrating so that Yuri and the "Comrade General" can also get some fame and glory. The player follows Yuri's advice, and launches an offensive into New York City. After capturing the Allied Battle Lab, or research facility, at the World Trade Center, the Psychic Beacon is deployed and the entire population of the city falls under Soviet control.

To counter the ever increasing and successful Soviet threat, forces from the Republic of Korea launch an amphibious attack on Vladivostok, and the player must "defend the motherland" at all costs. The Commander ruthlessly defends the "motherland", crushing all invading South Korean forces in a brutal counter-attack. Alarmed by the situation, leaders of France and Germany agree to send troops to the Polish border to help the USA fight the Soviets. While the French Military has amassed near Poland, the Soviets send a special forces team to Paris, with special orders from Romanov and Yuri to "show the Allies the true meaning of Soviet irony" and to "leave nothing". Once in Paris, the Soviets fight to capture the area around the Eiffel Tower (called the "Paris Tower" in the game). The Soviets then use three Tesla Troopers, soldiers with the ability to destroy vehicles with electric charges, to energize the "Paris Tower" and effectively turn it into a massive Tesla Coil, a tower which uses massive electric bursts to destroy its targets. The energized "Paris Tower" quickly destroys all Allied forces in the city and devastates Paris. With this and other key victories in Europe, the nations of Europe are in a position of needing help themselves rather than giving help to the USA.

During this time, Yuri has been gaining more and more power by using his telepathic abilities to mind control Romanov. As a result, Romanov gives all military authority to Yuri, which greatly angers General Vladimir, who accuses Yuri of forcing Romanov to make that decision. Yuri discards these accusations and tells the player to establish a "Soviet presence" in the Hawaiian Islands. The Commander is sent to the islands and destroys the American Pacific Fleet and all Korean reinforcements, allowing the Soviets to easily take over the islands. Meanwhile, Romanov has become very ill and Yuri's intelligence has revealed that the Allies have constructed a Chronosphere, a device with the ability to transport troops anywhere in the world. The Allies intend to use the Chronosphere to launch an assault on a Soviet research facility in the Ural Mountains. Yuri tells the player that this research facility is vital to the Soviet war effort and that it must be defended at all costs. The player takes command of Soviet forces at the research facility and manages to repel several Allied attacks on the facility.

While the Soviet research facility is saved, Yuri has murdered Romanov in his hospital bed, but framed General Vladimir for the crime. Yuri orders the commander to go to Washington, D.C. to eliminate Vladimir, who Yuri declares to be a traitor and a "nonperson". The player defeats Vladimir's forces and captures Vladimir in the White House with the aid of Yuri's psychic technology. In another briefing with Yuri, the player is informed of Yuri's plan to mind control the U.S. President Michael Dugan and thus be able to indirectly influence the American government and military. A Soviet strike team of psy-corps troopers is then sent to San Antonio, Texas and covertly infiltrates the American base there around the Alamo and then put President Dugan under Soviet mind-control. The Soviets then discover that the Allies are developing a new super weapon in the U.S. Virgin Islands, known as a Weather Control Device, a device that can create thunderstorms with the power to devastate large areas. The Soviets launch an amphibious assault on the islands and successfully destroy the device before it gets a chance to be activated.

Impressed by the tenacity of the “Comrade General”, Yuri asks the Commander to come to Moscow so he can thank the Commander in person, with the actual plan to either kill or mind-control the player. But Lieutenant Zofia tells the player about a video Romanov recorded before his death. In the video, Romanov, with much difficulty, says that Yuri is controlling his mind and orders the Commander to bring the traitor to justice. The Commander goes to Moscow, but with a large army and the intent of apprehending Yuri. Upon their arrival in Moscow, the player’s forces engage with forces loyal to Yuri. The player then launches a devastating attack on the Kremlin and Yuri is believed to be dead. After going through Yuri’s files, it is learned that the Allies have built a Chronosphere in Alaska, which they will use to attempt to launch a final assault into the Soviet Union. Soviet forces are sent across the Bering Strait and destroy the Chronosphere and all Allied forces in the area. With all resistance destroyed, the player is now free to rule the world. However, in the end cut scene, Yuri's mind has somehow survived and telepathically communicates to the commander saying, “It would have been good to see inside your mind, General. I may still get the chance...”

Cast and characters

Gameplay

Every aspect of gameplay in the game is based on the collection of money. In the game, money can be collected by several means. The most common is using Miner trucks to gather Ore and/or Gems and transport them to a Refinery. A player can also gain a lasting income by capturing Oil derricks (neutral buildings that are present in some maps). There also are two one-time sources of money for Allied and Soviet players, namely collecting random crates which are present in the map and selling off buildings which are controlled by the player. Allied players have a third one-time sources of money using a spy to steal a enemies money. The money is spent on constructing and repairing buildings and units. In both cases one can start construction before having the full cost in one's reserves, as construction pauses if one runs short of money.

There are five types of "constructor" building: Construction Yard (for buildings); Barracks (non-mechanized units); War Factory (mechanized units); Shipyard (naval units), and, only for the Allies, Air Force Command (Harriers or Black Eagles).

The various nations are members of either the Soviet or the Allied factions. One of the major praises of Red Alert 2 over the original Red Alert game was that playing as a specific country now actually made a difference. While every country has the basic buildings and units, each nation has a special unique unit, or a unique ability or structure. This changed up the popular skirmish games, allowing for new strategies.

It is also the first C&C RTS not to include a mission select screen prior to levels that change the conditions of the next level.

Game balance

Like previous Command & Conquer games, the two factions in Red Alert 2 have unique armies with their own strengths and weaknesses. To achieve victory, a player must play to their faction's strengths and exploit the other faction's weaknesses.

In general, the Soviet faction is superior in the early game and in land wars because of their very powerful and advanced tanks, while the Allied faction is better in the late game with more advanced units, in naval warfare. In particular, the Soviets are better for early game rushes, which are very common in online games.[4]

The Allies tend to be better at longer games and/or big maps because they are more suited to "turtling" but the Soviets are usually better at shorter games and/or smaller maps because they are more suited to "rushing". While the Soviets are more suited to rushing, the base defenses they have are arguably inferior to Allied ones.

Single-player

A small Allied base at the beginning of a game. The player is preparing to place a "Pillbox" defensive structure.

In single-player mode, the player can either compete in one of three campaigns or compete in Skirmish mode where the battle rules and settings can be customised.

Red Alert 2 contains three campaigns. Boot Camp, Allied, and Soviet. Each campaign is distinct in its own way. Boot Camp is simply a tutorial campaign consisting of two missions in which the player is introduced to the fundamentals of the game with the use of Allied forces. If played, Boot Camp leads into Allied Campaign chronologically. Allied and Soviet campaigns are the two main campaigns of the game, each consisting of twelve missions in which the player faces off against one or more computer-controlled opponents. In some missions, the objective is simply to defeat all opposing forces in the area; other missions have more specific objectives, such as capturing or destroying a particular enemy structure or defending a particular structure of the player's own from enemy attacks. While fundamentally different in story and units, both Campaigns are structured similarly. Both begin with the player operating a limited base or otherwise a Mobile Construction Unit to start from scratch plus a platoon of certain units, but in few missions construction is not required not take place.

Skirmish mode is essentially the free-for-all multiplayer mode played against computer-controlled opponents. The player chooses a map against as many players the map supports. The player can also change settings such as the number of starting units, the monetary levels at the beginning, game speeds and the availability of superweapons. There are no special objectives, just eliminate all enemies units and structures.

Multiplayer

Red Alert 2 includes two different multi-player modes. One, LAN allows the player to play alongside friends and others without the use of an internet connection. The other, Online Play allows the player to play across the internet and against players from across the globe. LAN play allows for only Skirmish Mode that is available in single-player. Online Play (No longer active) allows for tournaments, private games, public games, ladder ranking games and also contains a chat system. In 2005, control of online play for Red Alert 2 and a number of older C&C games was passed over from EA to XWIS, a community-run server.

Legacy

Reception

Publication Score Notes
IGN 9.3/10[5] "Outstanding"
GamePro 4.4/5[6] Editor's Choice
Game Rankings 86% (43 reviews)[3]
Gamespot 8.5/10 [7]

Red Alert 2 received almost all positive reviews, with IGN calling it outstanding and GamePro's Editor's Choice. One reviewer on GamePro noted "It's not the most innovative game, but with its solid gameplay and alternate Cold War storyline, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 is the best 2D real-time strategy game since Starcraft.".

While Red Alert 2 was not heralded for innovative gameplay or redefining the genre as its predecessor had helped do, it generated mostly positive buzz with its "go the full distance" approach by using actors to produce "live action" cutscenes as opposed to the in-game cutscenes which were considered "standard" by the industry.

Mods/maps

Red Alert 2 is a popular game for modding. Hidden within the ra2.mix (ra2.mix\local.mix\rule*.ini) is a configuration file called rules.ini. This file can be extracted using a tool called the XCC mixer and edited after extraction. The rules.ini is constructed in such a way that it is very easy to modify; no programming skills are required. There are tags which refer to the strength of a unit, such as its hit points, which can be modified with the text program.

It is also possible to create whole new units. There are other .ini files, such as the art.ini and ai.ini, which allow for further modification, like adding a cameo (build icon) to one's units and making the AI use them.

While Westwood / EA do not provide much official support for modding, various tutorials and modding tips can be found at community sites such as C&C Guild.

FinalAlert is a map editor for Red Alert 2 that went through numerous revisions. First came FinalAlert, developed independently by Wiener. It was later replaced by FinalAlert 2, a collaboration between Wiener and Westwood Studios, which was in turn upgraded to FinalAlert 2 Yuri's Revenge to allow support for Yuri's Revenge—this version was still an official utility. Wiener later released a tweaked version which had some bug fixes and included tunnels–leftover code from Tiberian Sun—although this version was no longer classed as an official Westwood utility. A number of well made singleplayer missions, complete with storylines, were written for both Red Alert 2 and Yuri's Revenge by fans using FinalAlert. These can be found at http://www.cncgames.com/ (No longer active).

Original soundtrack

The Red Alert 2 soundtrack was composed by long-time Command & Conquer collaborator Frank Klepacki.

References

External links


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