Steam had a crazy Command & Conquer sale this weekend which – though it didn’t have every C&C title ever in it – had great handful of the newer stuff for only £3.75 each. Included was Red Alert 3, the third (do ya think?) installment of the outstanding Red Alert spin-off universe from the original C&C game And let me tell you, if you haven’t played it in the years since it was released, then you are in for a treat, just as I was. This wasn’t exactly meant to be a review, because I haven’t even finished the game yet, but after putting around 8 hours into it already and still not being the slightest bit bored, I’m quite happy for this to be considered a huge amount of raving and cheering about something you most definitely should play (in effect, a review… but not).
The first game in the series was essentially exactly the same as the first C&C; same engine, same style of cutscenes, and same gameplay. It was simply an entirely different assortment of units, buildings, and crazy but brilliant storyline involving time travel. As the sequels progressed, the amount of insane involved in the game increased by about 500%, with Red Alert 2 introducing a completely different, far more cartoony look about everything, with a slightly less serious and far more imaginative take on concepts for weapons and technology.
I loved both games, and have always been a great fan of the whole C&C series (I even loved the fps Renegade, and that had very little at all to do with the way C&C was ever played before), so I surprised myself when I never made any effort to get my hands on Red Alert 3, despite having already played (and loved) C&C 3: Tiberium Wars. The cheap bastard that I am, the moment I saw RA3 for only £3.75 in the Steam sale this weekend, I jumped at the chance to grab it, and even bought another copy for a friend, as well as convincing Matt he should get it too.
Unlike any of the earlier C&C games, this one has a fully-fledged coop campaign to play with a buddy. The entire single player campaign, in fact, is built around the idea that you fight every battle and every map with a ‘co-commander’, usually controlled (and possible to influence in simple ways) by an AI player when playing alone. This meant that the entire game was made available for those of us who love playing coop games together to get involved in some crazy, utterly ridiculous, but ultimately fantastic multiplayer RTS action; not to mention the live-action cast includes Tim Curry, Jonathon Price, Peter Stormare, and George Takei. Crikey!
Now, we’ve only played through about 4 missions together (I’ve done 7 by myself in single player), but so far I can tell you that there is absolutely very little to dislike about this game. While it retains a whole bunch of the typical C&C RTS gameplay elements that we all know and love, the added dynamic of both coop multiplayer gameplay as well as the hilariously fun new units, story, and live action sequences, this particular installment in the franchise is probably the most fun one I have ever played.
So I keep going on about the ‘crazy’ or ‘insane’ units, abilities, and gameplay, but I haven’t actually mentioned any of them. Well, first off, there’s Warbears. Yep, bears that you use for war. A huge, hairy, angry beast covered in armour and ready to maul any infantry units to death instantly. Oh, and it can swim. Ah yes, it can also be fired out of a mobile cannon vehicle (think circus act) across the map, along with any other infantry unit, up to a certain range, where it will fly across the sky to its destination before it then parachutes (yes, parachuting bears for war that can swim) to a safe landing, where you could then use its special ability to roar, stunning every infantry unit in the area, and then devour them all one by one. Sounds crazy? It is, and thats only one of the units available. There are tanks that can turn into boats, boats that turn into tanks, boats that turn into planes, planes that turn into giant walking robots, infantry with laser rifles who burrow into the ground like a drill, metal-covered soldiers with electricity rifles (a classic RA unit), space magnets that suck metallic units (even battleships) into space, after which you can then use another satellite to fire those same units back down to the surface, destroy anything they come across, and there are honestly, literally dozens upon dozens more units and powers that can be used to achieve hilarious and yet effective results.
I’ve only been through a small part of the game so far (I’m still part-way through the Soviet campaign, a mere third of the available campaign content), but I simply can’t wait to make a start on the others. If the Soviet campaign is anything to go by, there is a whole lot more fun to be had with the rest of the game, and its probably the best ever Steam sale purchase I’ve ever made. Keep your eyes open for it incase you see it cheap, because it is such a blast, the only thing you should ever regret is not having bought it in the first place.
Oh yeah, and there’s lots of women with skimpy and revealing clothes on. If you weren’t sold already, there’s the kicker!