Thursday, 4 December 2008

Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3

Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 is set in the future. And the future means cleavage exaggerating military uniforms. Viva la revolution!!

The game starts as an insane Tim Curry entices his General into an experimental Time Machine that sends them back in time and knocks off poor old Albert Einstein. This is meant to ensure that much of the technology used by allied forced to defeat the Soviets never get invented. However, lesson 1 in the laws of science fiction tells you over and over not to mess with the fabric of the space/time continuum, and sure enough, an alternative future results. One where the Soviets stayed together (not just for the sake of the kids) but bizarrely the allies are no weaker as a result. That said, picking holes in a plot so unashamedly over-the-top is like two bald men fighting over a comb, but I digress. The surprise you discover soon into the game, is that without Einstein's existence, the allies didn't have the technology to beat the Japanese either, and the Empire of the Rising Son has, well, risen complete with ownership of Pearl Harbour.

You take control of all three factions, each with a unique storyline and outcome. The accents change but the premise remains largely the same. You are a rookie commander who works his way up by completing missions, and capturing the hearts of the gorgeous intelligence officers who brief you in HD cut scenes before each mission. The latter are played by a buxom looking Gemma Atkinson (my you've grown), stunning former Bond girl Ivana Miličević and some plain looking Japanese woman who claims to be a former MIss Teen USA, but compared to the other two looks like as rough as the proverbial badgers arse.

The missions grow in difficulty as you progress, but the road to victory is always the same; build a base, build mines for credits, build up your military and destroy the enemy targets. I haven't always been a fan of the C&C series, particularly on consoles where I find they don't sit quite right. But try as I might not to like this game, it proved impossible not to be engrossed in the mayhem. In gaming, there aren't that many feelings that can top the moment your 30-deep cavalry come into view on screen to assist your battered comrades. You find yourself getting quite worked up.

The units themselves are easy to get to grips with, and it doesn't take long before you learn their strengths and weaknesses. The Allied vehicle infantry is weaker than the Empire's for example, but excels in the aircraft department over the other two. But perhaps the best feature of this version, is that you can choose to play each mission in co-op play. You can also take the battle to Xbox LIVE for 3 missions of co-op scrimmage.

The game is definitely worth a shout, if only for the cut scenes that also feature George Takei, a gorgeous Jenny McCarthy, former Bond villain Jonathan Pryce and UFC legend Randy Cotoure.

Review by: Mark Richards

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