Tribute Thursday: Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2

It's Thursday, which means it's time to celebrate part of gaming's wonderful back catalogue. Today we're turning the clock back to the turn of the century and the start of a new millennium with Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2.

Westwood and EA shipped their high-profile real-time strategy game during the middle of the chaotic AAA season in 2000, a time that held the genre in much more reverence than is the case today. There was a tonne of buzz for the sequel, with the Cold War setting, FMV-driven narrative and the penchant for rushing six tanks striking a chord amongst gamers; the original C&C and Red Alert earned an estimated US$3.4 million for Westwood in the first six months of 1998.

It was also the first RTS game Dustin Browder, who would later become the lead director on StarCraft 2 and Heroes of the Storm, ever worked on. "It was absolutely fearless in its creativity and did not take itself too seriously," Browder said in an interview with me last year.

A striking image.

Of course, part of that fearlessness resulted from the massive reshuffling of staff within Westwood. EA acquired the studio in the middle of 1998 for US$122.5 million, a buyout that resulted in a lot of the old Westwood guard handing in their resignations.

But for all intents and purposes, it worked. From a multiplayer perspective, Red Alert 2 has always been upheld as the most playable of the series, although for me it's difficult to go past the DOS-based magic of the original Red Alert.

Also, Tanya was a hell of a lot cooler. I still remember that FMV scene where you rescue her from the prison and she ends up shooting her captor while tied up in a chair as the camera fades away. That said, Yuri did a pretty decent job of being creepy. And you have to enjoy the ridiculousness of those red phones.

The amount of ways you could mess with people was fantastic, from stacking Crazy Ivans into a flak track or using the Chronoshift ability to put enemy units into inconvenient locations. RA2's rock soundtrack was great as well — although nothing has quite matched the heights of that original Hell March song — and was composed by RFrank Klepacki, who has since worked with Petroglyph Games on the soundtrack for Grey Goo.

What are your memories of Red Alert 2 like? Have you loaded it up recently by any chance — and were you more a fan of the multiplayer or the single-player campaigns?


    I friggen loved RA2. I remember my friends got my into Tiberian Sun at the time, and I played that a lot (along with Firestorm), and was massively hanging out for RA2 when it was on its way. Got the collector's edition and everything, still have my little pewter Tesla Trooper. Actually, tried to see if anyone had the Chrono Legionnaire a couple of years ago and got one response, but then the guy never showed up again. Dangit.

    I never actually played the multiplayer [edit: against humans] though. Never had a chance, I don't think I was ever in a situation where there was more than one computer capable of playing it available, and online gaming wasn't yet a thing for us at the time. Wouldn't have had a clue how to go about doing it.

    Last edited 20/08/15 7:53 pm

    Red Alert 2 has one of my all-time favourite video game quotes.
    My wireless router even has it as a name:
    (because NBN)

      Oh, also it was a really good game too. I would say, not having played Generals, that Red Alert 2 is the best game in the series. Red Alert was also great too, because it kept the whole "Cold War" theme really well and didn't dip into the zany humor that showed up in RA2 and is what RA3 became.

    RA2 was amazing, and i loved the videos that they had in it.

    Oh man I don't even know where to begin. 'Twas the time of rts and what a time it was. I loved all of the Westwood rts games

    Big fan of RA2, but my rose tinted glasses still hold KKnD in higher regard.

      I loved KKnD, the difficulty just kept going up in that game. You would mass a huge army and the enemy would do the same, only times ten.

    Red Alert 2 is still available for purchase for those who have yet to try it. It holds up very well.

      Does it work on Win7? I couldn't get the one on the original C&C Decade compilation to work.

    One of my favourite games ever. It's just fun and that's exactly what games should be

    A childhood favorite, fond memories of an entire summer when my cousin and I binged this.

    RA3 wasn't that great though unfortunately, we pre-ordered for some nostalgia but yeah, bit of a let down.

    Last edited 20/08/15 8:37 pm

    Red alert 2 was really really fun to play, they absolutely nailed it

    I just really wish the was a sequel to it, as well as a sequel to c&c2

    Last edited 20/08/15 8:44 pm

      CnC3 was decent

        Tiberium Wars and Kanes Wrath were more than decent, they were rather excellent. Red Alert 3 on the hand just didnt have the same feel as RA1 and RA2 and it put it down to the tone. Its like Saints Row 2 vs Saints Row 3, both were deliously cheesey and hammy but while 2 new when to be serious, 3 was just over the top all the time nonstop.

    Gap generators, the fastest way to hide a group of units while at the same time screaming "there's something here"

    Does the multiplayer still works? I heard the servers were shut down years ago.

      For CnC 3 Tib Wars and Kane's Wrath, there is currently a work-around solution that keeps multiplayer working.

      If anyone is still interested in seeing a bit of high level Command and Conquer play:

      There is a still a small but active community, especially for Kane's Wrath and Red Alert 3.
      I'm subbed to Green Zero, he and Sybert are still casting recent and old pro-level games to this day!

    There's still a lot of love being thrown this games way. The mental omega mod gets so much work put into it from unique units being created as well as voice acting and campaigns. Does alot to even out Yuri as a faction too.

    Building a armada of Zeppins and humming Flight of the Valkyries as the approch the emeny base. That and Prism Tanks love thoes guys.

    Who the hell implemented an automatic page refresh on kotaku? Makes watching videos frustrating.

    Yuri is master!

    Epic game, still one of my fondest gaming moments ever reaching rank 3 on the ladder.

    So sad to see what EA did to C&C and red alert series.

      RTS genre used to be strong but left behind it's child: MOBA gaming. Unfortunately EA didn't follow the example of the Civilization games. Just check how glorious CiV5 is now, always improving the gameplay experience as the years pass by.

    The year is 2001. The place: IT class. My classmates and I did not get taught a single thing that entire year in IT - we managed to get our teacher to start playing RA2, and spent every class playing the game and refining our multiplayer strategies.

    It was a different time. A better time.

    The being said, Prism Tanks OP. Nerf plz.

    Edit: Also, Yuri's Revenge is one of my favourite expansions of all time (up there with Brood War, Beyond the Dark Portal and The Frozen Throne)

    Last edited 21/08/15 10:02 am

    Oh for heady days of Command & Conquer. And Age of Empires. And Total Annihilation. My teenage years seem so long ago now.

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