We're deep into the C's now and with 'C' comes C&C, one of my favourite franchises. I think I have all of them except the terrible FPS and the latest one which seemed a bit weird (walking bases that respawn sounded interesting, but I think I had other games to focus on). With three campaigns which can be played co-op or single player, this game is going to get a LOT of time between the three of us, so here's my first run at the solo Soviet campaign.
Red Alert is the C&C offshoot which openly revels in it's hamminess. It was always wildly over the top, and it's storyline was ridiculous. Unlike C&C which was accidentally cheesy, Red Alert piles it on with time travel, massive stereotypes, altered histories and insane machines of war. Already in the opening 3 minutes of video we have Tim Curry, Peter Stormare, George Takei and an Albert Einstein lookalike paraded in front of our eyes, through a series of grandiose B-movie scenes, which set up the 'battle on three fronts' back-story on which to hang the game.
The Soviets have gone back in time and killed Albert Einstein in order to turn the tide of a war they were losing against the Allied West. They're successful and the new future Russia is in a victorious position astride Europe, only for George Takei's Empire of the Rising Sun to suddenly crash into the Soviet's exposed East flank. Cliches and accents abound, and YOU are chosen to defend against this new and overpowering threat.
The first mission is to protect Leningrad. I'm given a sniper, Natasha, who can kill soldiers from a distance with one hit, and also call in air strikes. We bomb the gates of Leningrad to get access to the fortress there, and Natasha quickly dispatches the guards from the safety of a nearby building.
I'm then tasked with building 5 flak troopers, who are well equipped to deal with any armour or air units we come across.
|Flak troopers doing their job|
The Empire arrive with 8 huge gunboats, but Natasha can basically airstrike them without fear of reprisal so it's not that scary. I'm then given access to a GIANT ORBITING SPACE MAGNET that can pick enemy vehicles up and fling them out of the atmosphere.
That finishes off the last of the gunboats and it's cheers all round!
|Success! AND I rinsed that noob Oleg|
It turns out that this was just a feint by the Empire though, and they've 'thrust into our soft netherparts'. Off I go again to save the day!
This time, the AI commander gets control of Natasha, and I get to control some Sickles. These are three-legged pods with machine guns which can jump long distances and squash troops. We're tasked with moving into an old abandoned Soviet base which has been taken over by a circus (for some reason), so we can launch a satellite and then crash it into some Empire goons.
Things start off well and I move cautiously around the map picking up bonus troops (Tesla Troops and War Bears) and collecting secret power-ups.
I approach a slope with some unsuspecting Imps at the bottom, and select my units and set them to target the troops they will kill most easily (troops for Bears, vehicles for Tesla Troops with a surprise, flanking, jump attack from my Sickles). What I'd really like is to edge closer and closer with Natasha and take them out with airstrikes from range, but the AI has control of her, and she only moves behind my troops so I'd trigger the fight before she got to fire. Which is a shame.
Anyway my boys charge in and I expect a swift resolution, but no! The AI has moved Natasha right into the melee without firing! She is killed and the mission is over. I rail against the fact that a mission-reliant unit is under AI control for a bit, but then I realise that at any time I can give the AI orders, and that I should probably have done that.
In gaming, as in programming, it's ALWAYS MY FAULT.
|I think that guy's a bit annoyed that I let Natasha die...|