All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2

Score: 90%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Westwood Studios
Developer: Westwood Studios
Media: CD/2
Players: 1 - 8
Genre: Real-Time Strategy/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

While Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 doesn’t break any new ground graphically, what’s there is quite nice. When you see the Statue of Liberty get sent to Massive Statue Heaven, you know you’re in for a treat, and the game definitely provides. While the graphics are pretty much all standard 2D, the various buildings and locations are rendered impeccably. Watching a new building unfold itself is a pleasure, and wandering around the city looking at all the buildings is quite cool too. Added to this is the full motion video, starring at least one person I (think I) recognize -- the NORAD general from WarGames reprises his military role. The live-actor FMV is, as a general rule, done well, with a little bit of over-the-top acting, but a generally solid presentation. You won’t groan like you did at those horrible “interactive movies” from the dawn of CD-ROM, at least.

The sound is solid as well. All of the in-game voice acting is superb, from the real actors to the units. You’ll quickly identify a unit by their voice (in case you can’t differentiate them by sight), and it really makes for a nice flavor to the game. The music is good, if not particularly memorable, but chances are great that you’ll play the game enough to remember it anyway. And the sound effects are solid, if unremarkable. There’s only so many ways to do rat-a-tats and explosions, though, so that’s not really a fault.


If you’re expecting a Real Time Revolution in Red Alert 2, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Westwood, the makers of the first real hit RTS (Dune 2: The Building of a Dynasty, which still ranks as one of my top three real-time strategy games), have been perfecting their real-time formula over the years. Red Alert 2 is the pinnacle of that perfection (so far), bringing you rock-solid gameplay, rocking multiplayer, and balanced sides that never make you feel cheated.

In the intriguing alternate timeline of the Red Alert universe, the Soviet Union has done some Very Bad Things. They tried to take over Europe and failed (see the first game), and now they’re attempting a full-scale invasion of America. You can play as either side, either trouncing America and dealing with problems back at home or pushing back the Soviet threat and taking the fight to their side of the Pacific instead. Both scenarios present you with a dozen or so missions, ranging from the trivial to damn-near impossible. Each level generally also introduces you to a few new skills, be it new units to master or buildings to build. By the time you complete the single-player campaigns -- which will take you a while, mind you -- you’ll be ready to tackle the real meat of Red Alert 2: online play.

Using the free Westwood Online service, you can play Red Alert 2 on a multitude of maps and with varying numbers of both computer and human opponents. There’s also a Quick Match option, which supposedly teams you up with people with similar setups as you, but I never really bothered with that since it forced me to reduce my resolution to 640x480. And the game auto-updates itself when you connect if there are patches available, which is nice.

The game itself is just what you’d expect: tweaked FPS mayhem. You’ve got the U.S. with the Prism technology, the Soviets with their Tesla science, and both with psychic powers. Needless to say, the games can get frantic. There are some cool features, too; whenever one of the “Super-Weapons” starts to get built, it immediately appears out of the Fog of War and a countdown appears on the screen for the completion time of building the item. This way, you can concentrate your attacks on it, as such weapons often determine the winner of the level. Good stuff, that.


The single-player campaigns start out easy but get surprisingly difficult, requiring you to use good tactics as well as good strategy to succeed. They’re certainly not impossible, though, and you can probably kick through them in a weekend or so of regular play. The real challenge, of course, comes from playing against other humans on the Internet, where the difficulty relies on their skill. The A.I. is sharp, though, and will stomp you silly if you’re not careful as to how you play.

Game Mechanics:

The control scheme has been in tweak-mode since the last few iterations of Command & Conquer, and Red Alert 2’s got it as perfect as it gets. Ordering around troops, building buildings, and in general making a nuisance of yourself to all of your enemies has never been easier. The tutorial covers a few of the basics that you need to know, but seems to miss such important things as grouping. It’s okay, though -- the instruction book covers all of that stuff. Make sure you read it if you’re a newcomer to the genre.

While Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 is nothing more than a refinement to the series, it’s a damn fine, er, refinement. With loads of gameplay, solid multiplayer, and great units, you really can’t go wrong with Red Alert 2. As long as you don’t go into the game looking for The Next Innovative Thing, you’ll have an absolute blast with Red Alert 2.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:

Win9x/2000/Me, P2 266, 350MB HD Space, 64MB RAM, 2MB Video Card, 4X CD-ROM, Mouse, Sound Card

Test System:

AMD K6-III 450 running Windows 98, 256 MB RAM, 6x/24x DVD-ROM, Sound Blaster Live!, Creative Labs TNT2 Ultra w/32 MB RAM

Sony PSOne Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft Windows Breakout

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated