Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 - Yuri's Revenge
So you thought the war was over in Red Alert 2? Well you obviously weren't paying attention to a certain balding Soviet military advisor. That Mr Yuri who talks in whispers, never blinks and is just one white fluffy cat short of being a villainous stereotype. Now it turns out the whole time Yuri's been secretly devising his own plan for world domination by developing mind-control technologies. How could they not have seen that one coming? But then Westwood games have always been a haven for the unhinged and this latest expansion, Red Alert 2: Yuri's Revenge, should probably be dumped in a rubber-padded cell and fed on a diet of jelly and damp biscuits until it learns to be a civilised member of society.
Back To Basics
Red Alert 2 always had more than just an edge over the rather disappointing C&C: Tiberian Sun, and although Yuri's Revenge is not pushing any of Westwood's boundaries in the way Emperor: Battle For Dune tried to, it's still a satisfying expansion. Mainly because it has stuck to the things that have made Westwood's games so damn playable: solid gameplay, absorbing missions, genuine humour and (although we have differing opinions in the office about this), one of the best examples of how FMV can enhance a game.
Three's A Crowd
True, the majority of the work has gone into developing a more Dune-like style of gameplay by adding a third side, that of Yuri and his psychic army. Unfortunately you can only play Yuri in multiplayer mode, so you'll be forced to play through the 14 single-player missions as either the Allies and Soviets, pining for a few Slave Miners, Brutes and Virus mercenaries (who fire virus-filled darts that expand enemies to twice their size until they explode in a cloud of noxious fumes).
The missions are classic Westwood fare, although there's even more of an urban feel than in RA2, and there are plenty of recognisable cities to run amok in. There's a B-movie-style fight out over the Hollywood sign, a brief spot of Jurassic time travel and the chance to get movie heroes to aid you in a spot of loony-bashing. Other missions take you to the pyramids of Egypt in yet another Einstein rescue mission, to Sydney, Transylvania and even the moon, so you won't have much time to get bored of the scenery.
Yes it does look somewhat dated when compared to some RTS titles that have moved into 3D waters, but then it's an expansion pack so it doesn't really need to break new ground. It just needs to make the ground you're already walking on that much prettier and potholed with sudden surprises - a task Yuri's Revenge lives up to admirably. It's been a while since I last played a C&C game, but this expansion pack has renewed my zeal for the style and sheer all-round gaming experience of playing a Westwood title.
Since Half-Life and its add-on Opposing Force, games developers have slowly begun to realise the potential in telling the same story from slightly different angles, rather than completely opposite ends. Usually you play as one side or the other, but here you tight against a common enemy, Yuri.
Another trend in gaming is where a game's multiplayer component offers numerous gameplay extras. In last year's Red Alert 2, this was achieved by giving each side an exclusive multiplayer unit and in Yuri's Revenge, Westwood has taken this aspect still further. While you can play against Yuri and his psychic minions as Allies or Soviets in the respective single-player campaign, it is only in skirmish and multiplayer games that you can play as Yuri.
Well yes it is a big draw. Yuri's forces are a challenge to control, since to a man they are far more distinct than previous C&C offerings. At the centre of Yuri's strategy is mind-control, and from the most basic structures to the most devastating of weapons, it's going to take a patient strategy on your part to overcome Yuri's army.
Aside from a couple of nice new multiplayer features (six player maps, team alliances), Yuri's other big draw is its multiplayer campaign, offering ten co-operative missions. The quality of these missions varies and because the AI is as predictable as ever, it's hardly a major challenge to the experienced player, but a boost all the same. Mainly however what we have again is a fun arcade-style strategy game, with finely balanced units and a whole load of hyper-destructive weapons. So even though Yuri's Revenge is a good single-player experience, it represents superb value to the online gamer. To miss out on the multiplayer features would be a waste of your investment.
Download Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 - Yuri's Revenge
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 - Yuri's Revenge Screenshots and Media
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