Command & Conquer is considered a classic of the strategy genre by many critics and gamers. Indeed, even though Dune 2, released by Westwood Studios in 1992, is viewed as the progenitor of the genre, it is Command & Conquer, released by the same developer in 1995, that was the first full-featured real-time strategy as we know it today. The difference was largely due to the opportunities of building and controlling your units which had been rudimentary or missing in Dune 2.
The first game of the series features handy controls, a clever plot with high-quality video clips, superb sound effects and music. And that was just the beginning. The single project soon transformed into a vast game universe with a sophisticated and ambiguous storyline that depended on the victory or loss of a particular faction, the GDI or Nod. The developers didn’t limit themselves to one time interval but went further in expanding the Command & Conquer universe. Without much deliberation, they chose the ever-popular Red Threat theme for the new series of games conceived as a prequel to the Tiberium wars. Drawing upon the confrontation between the communist Soviet Union and the West countries, the series acquired the telling name of Red Alert.
The storyline of the new series takes its start from Albert Einstein successfully completing his work on a time machine called Chronosphere in 1946. Einstein’s goal was to change the history by eliminating Adolph Hitler and thus preventing World War 2. The experiment succeeded, but with unpredicted consequences. Hitler and the Nazi Germany being out of the scene, Joseph Stalin, influenced by Nod agents who had arrived from the future, began his own war against Europe. Since the game offers two alternative endings, the victory of the USSR agrees with the future goals of the Brotherhood of Nod and thus links Red Alert with the Tiberium series of Command & Conquer.
The victory of the Allies leads to the events described in the second part of Red Alert where the seemingly subdued Soviet Union still harbors plans on world dominance. A massive offensive at the USA across the Atlantic makes the US government order a preventive nuclear strike, but the USSR leaders had prepared for this possibility. Yuri, the advisor of Alexander Romanov with telepathic abilities and a Lenin-like face, takes the American officers under mental control and prevents them from launching the intercontinental missiles. Thus the USSR begins a full-scale invasion of the USA and a new World War begins. Notwithstanding a number of historical and logical faults, Red Alert 2 is one of the most exciting and beautiful games of the series.
Every game has an end, however. And unlike Blizzard’s games, the Command & Conquer strategies always have several endings, one for each of the warring parties. If the USSR wins, the player becomes the new head of the state and enjoys the fruits of his victory. This storyline is not continued yet although the telepathic message from the presumed dead traitor Yuri is a promise of a continuation. And if the Allied Forces win, you can see what happens in the next game of the series called Red Alert 3. It is about this game that we are going to talk in this review. It was officially released in the USA on October 28 and in the European Union on October 31.
As opposed to Red Alert 2, the new game has become fully three-dimensional. It is based on the RNA game engine, a modified and improved version of the SAGE engine previously employed for Command & Conquer: Generals and Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars/Kane’s Wrath. The higher quality of visual effects must have affected the game’s speed, so this review is going to show you how comfortable it is to play Red Alert 3 on different graphics cards. We’ll say a few words about the game itself in the next section.