What is it?
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 is a real-time strategy game developed by Westwood Studios and published by EA Games in 2000. It is set in an alternate timeline during the 1950s (one where Hitler has been erased from history), a decade after the Soviet Empire lost the war against the Allies. However, the Reds have launched a massive invasion against the USA, and are even using mind-control tactics. As the Allied or Soviet commander, you must build bases, command armies, and complete objectives in order to liberate or claim America.
- Detailed animations and visuals; entertaining FMV cutscenes
- Story mode is excellent fun, co-op mode is available, and skirmish has lots of replayability
- Polished and balanced gameplay mechanics compared to before; many effective units and buildings to purchase on both sides
- Catchy soundtrack by returning composer Frank Klepacki
- Some units (Spies, Prism Tanks, Kirovs, etc.) are overpowered
- Co-op mode can only be played with fan-made source ports
Hot take: Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 is one of the best entries in the series. It’s fairer in difficulty than C&C Tiberium Dawn, more balanced compared to Red Alert 1, and allows you to fight on the seas, unlike Tiberium Sun. Each faction has a lengthy story mode that gradually rises in difficulty but seldom to the point of unfairness (unless you’re playing on Hard mode). Of course, battling against bots in the Skirmish mode is a great deal of fun, as there are a wide array of maps and settings to fiddle with.
What sets the game apart from the others is its sense of humour. As serious as the story is, there are some hilarious moments to be found in its campy, B-movie cutscenes. You can even expect some quirky encounters in-game, like the Soviet mind-controlled squids, and the Chrono Legionnaires that erase enemies from time. Rounding off the package is another great selection of tunes by Frank Klepacki; you’ll be jamming along to the guitar riffs and electronic beats in no time.
Red Alert 2 a blast, the kind you’d get from a detonated nuke. It’s a classic real-time strategy game.