Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 is a real-time strategy video game by Westwood Pacific, which was released for Microsoft Windows on October 23, 2000 as the follow-up to Command & Conquer: Red Alert. Red Alert 2 picks up at the conclusion of the Allied campaign of the first game. Its expansion is Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge.
|Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2|
On the cover — Hollywood actor Igor Jijikine
|Series||Command & Conquer: Red Alert|
Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 contains two playable factions, the Soviets and the Allies, which both previously appeared in Command & Conquer: Red Alert. The single player campaign is structured in an alternate-ending mode as opposed to a progressive story mode. Red Alert 2 was a commercial and critical success, receiving an 86% from GameRankings.
Like all other Command & Conquer real-time strategy games, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 contains two separate campaigns, with distinct story lines, one for each playable faction.
After the attempted conquest of Europe depicted in Command & Conquer: Red Alert, 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 Tsar 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.
The game's story line starts off in 1972, with the United States Armed Forces caught completely off guard by the sudden massive Soviet invasion of the United States, 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, starting World War III. The U.S. 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 U.S. is overrun with Red Army troops. In response, the U.S. President Michael Dugan establishes an emergency response team headed by General Dan Carville and the Commander known as "The Ghost" (the player) to the Soviet army later in the game.
The Allied story line begins with a special forces team led by Special Agent Tanya Adams 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 go to Colorado Springs to liberate the Air Force Academy and the air base there. As they return 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 people of entire cities, has been deployed in Washington, D.C.
It is seen that the Psychic Beacon has controlled the minds of the President and General Ben Carville and several other key officials in the city, who surrender to the Soviets. However, a strike team is sent into the city and destroys the Psychic Beacon while encountering attacks by mind-controlled civilians, freeing the key 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.
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. 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, so he deploys a nuclear missile in the city, completely destroying it.
Alarmed by the situation, leaders of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom agree to help the U.S. if they disarm the Soviet nuclear missile silos in Belarus. 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. 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 mount an attack on the city, destroying the Psychic Beacon and liberating the city. The Allies learn of a Soviet project to replicate the Allied Prism technology, a technology that creates massive beams of energy to destroy units, at a research base in Tulum, Mexico. A team of Navy SEALs is dispatched into the area to destroy the research facility and any prototype prism replicas. 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 into the Black Forest to protect Albert Einstein's laboratory in order to bring a quick end to the war. The laboratory holds Einstein's prototype Chronosphere, a device with the ability to teleport troops anywhere in the world. As General Carville is leaving his office at the end of the briefing, a Crazy Ivan (a Soviet demolitions expert which deploys explosives) was waiting for Carville and flips open his jacket and detonates his bombs, killing Carville. Despite this tremendous loss, the Commander carries out the mission and repels the Soviet invasion from across the German border. Einstein's laboratory and Chronosphere are saved and Einstein continues his work.
Einstein personally thanks the Commander and says that the perfect place to establish the Chronosphere is on a tiny island in the Florida Keys, not far from Soviet Cuba. The Allies send a force to the island and build a base and the Chronosphere there, and launch an offensive into Cuba to destroy the Soviet nuclear strike capability there. The Allies proceed to use the Chronosphere's teleportation capabilities to take an Allied strike team to Moscow. Once in Moscow, after enduring attacks from nearby Soviet bases, the Allied forces destroy the Black Guard defenses around the Kremlin and teleport in a strike team led by Tanya to capture Premier Alexander Romanov. Romanov gets a man to wear his uniform and pose as him, 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.
The Soviet storyline begins with the player being briefed by Premier Alexander Romanov about the upcoming Soviet invasion of the U.S. The Commander leads an invasion into Washington, D.C. and destroys the Pentagon. Another Soviet invasion is launched into Florida to destroy the American fleet, which was threatening the Soviet invasion of East Coast. Even though the Commander is almost fully responsible for these victories, all the credit goes to the top Soviet commander, General Vladimir. While Vladimir is in Moscow celebrating, Yuri recommends that the player capture New York City with a Psychic Beacon, a device that can mind-control the people of entire cities. The player follows Yuri's advice, and launches an offensive into New York City. After capturing the Allied battle lab/research facility, at the World Trade Center, the Soviets deploy their Psychic Beacon and the entire population of the city falls under Soviet control.
To counter the ever-increasing and successful Soviet threat, forces from South Korea launch an amphibious attack on Vladivostok, and the player must "defend the Motherland" at all costs. The Commander holds off the offensive, 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 U.S. fight the Soviets. With the absence of the bulk of the French military, the Soviets send a special forces team to Paris, with special orders from Romanov and Yuri to level the city. Once in Paris, the Soviets fight to capture the area around the Eiffel Tower. The Soviets use three Tesla Troopers, soldiers with the ability to destroy vehicles with electric charges, to energize the Eiffel Tower and effectively turn it into a massive Tesla coil. The energized Eiffel 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 U.S.
During this time, Yuri has been gaining more power by using his psychic abilities to control Romanov. Romanov gives all military authority to Yuri, greatly angering General Vladimir, who accuses Yuri of manipulating Romanov for his own purposes. Yuri discards these accusations and tells the player to establish "Soviet presence" in the Hawaiian Islands. The Commander is sent to Hawaii and destroys the American Pacific Fleet and all South Korean reinforcements, allowing the Soviets to 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 teleport troops anywhere in the world. The Allies intend to use the Chronosphere to destroy 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 protected. The player takes command of Soviet forces at the research facility and manages to repel several Allied offensives.
Shortly after the research facility is saved, Yuri informs the player that Romanov was murdered by General Vladimir. Yuri orders the Commander to go to Washington, D.C. to eliminate Vladimir, whom 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 mission, a Soviet strike team of psy-corp troopers is sent to San Antonio, Texas and covertly infiltrates the American installation around the Alamo and put the U.S. President, Michael Dugan, under Soviet mind-control. The Soviets 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 powerful thunderstorms capable of devastating large areas. The Soviets launch an amphibious assault on the islands and successfully destroy the device.
Impressed by the tenacity of the "Comrade General", Yuri asks the Commander to come to Moscow so he can thank the Commander in person. However, Lieutenant Zofia contacts the player, showing 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 with the bulk of the Soviet army to apprehend Yuri. Upon their arrival in Moscow, the player's forces engage with forces loyal to Yuri. The player launches a brutal attack on the Kremlin and Yuri is believed to have been killed in the battle. From Yuri's files, it is learned that the Allies have built another 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..."
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 an enemy's 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.
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.
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. The factions follow the same trend in the previous title.
Soviet vehicles tend to be more durable and have heavier firepower than their Allied counterparts. However, they are also more expensive to build and are slower. The Soviet infantry, on the other hand, are inferior to Allied infantry.
Also, 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, such as those used in naval warfare. In particular, the Soviets are better for early game rushes, which are very common in online games.
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 a few missions construction is not required.
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.
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 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.
The Red Alert 2 soundtrack was composed by long-time Command & Conquer collaborator Frank Klepacki.
In the United States, Red Alert 2 sold 810,000 copies and earned $26.9 million by August 2006, after its release in October 2000. It was the country's 11th best-selling computer game between January 2000 and August 2006. Combined sales of all Command & Conquer strategy games released between January 2000 and August 2006, including Red Alert 2, had reached 4.3 million units in the United States by the latter date. It received a "Platinum" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), indicating sales of at least 300,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
Red Alert 2 received mostly 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".
Following the September 11 attacks, the game's cover art was hastily redesigned to remove the depiction of a plane heading toward a burning World Trade Center and to swap the American flag on the front cover with a mushroom cloud. EA offered retailers an opportunity to exchange their copies with a version that bore the revised cover art. Despite the repackaging, the World Trade Center continued to be present in the game's campaign.
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