|Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review|
RED ALERT RETALIATION
No.1 No.2 No.3
|Distributor:||Electronic Arts||1-2 Player Link-Up|
|Game Type:||Strategy War Game||Memory Card|
|Review Date:||October 1998||Mouse Compatible|
Setting the Scene
Shhh! Listen everybody! As part of my therapy I am now standing up and wish to relay this message. "I am addicted to Red Alert link-up mode! I must have my weekly fix of skirmishing with the enemy or else I will go completely insane." There... I said it! The truth is now out. Boy, do I feel better. One vice down, two to go (mind your own business!). The Command & Conquer strategy war series has been around for ages on the PC having accumulated a hard-core set of fans. Transition over to Playstation was always doubtful. I mean... these type of war games were for geeks, not the thoroughly modern man that was being portrayed as your 32-bit Mr Average. Wrong! The original PSX title sold in it's millions and was considered a fair challenge. Last years sequel, Red Alert, proved far more formidable but was forgiven due to the inclusion of that wonderful link-up mode which has taken up so much of my recent life. The third in the series begins where Red Alert ended. If Retaliation was Doom it would be a Cyber Demon. If it was Tekken 3 it would surely be Heihachi Mishima. If it were Gran Turismo it would definitely be Stage 11, A-International. Retaliation is rock! Dare you accept the challenge. The Command & Conquer world is a different place. There never was a World War II - as least not yet. Hitler never rose to power. Instead, Joseph Stalin's Soviet empire storms Europe and the Allied Forces fight to hold on to their sovereignty. While the war rages on, Allied and Soviet scientists are hard at work perfecting forbidden technologies. What they are about to unleash is so devastating, the entire strategy of war will have to be rethought. It is time for you to harness these new technologies to bring the enemy to his knees. Now you decide the ultimate fate of the struggle between the Allies and Soviets. It is time for Retaliation.
Retaliation is a strategic war game that contains 34 Red Alert missions never before seen on the PlayStation, more than 100 Multiplayer maps, seven new units and 16 new battle songs. Retaliation will also have 19 new video mission briefings, half of which star Barry Corbin (Northern Exposure, WarGames), who plays the Allied general. As with Red Alert for the PlayStation game console, Retaliation will support the Mouse and Link Cable. There's also a skirmish mode, so you can practice new strategies against AI players before using them on your next victim. Players will be able to save their games at the start of a mission by using a memory card.
Anyone who has witnessed or played a Command & Conquer game before will have noted that the graphics are usually termed as 'functional'. I completely disagree with this terminology. You name any other game that can cope with a couple of squadrons of rifle infantrymen, grenadiers and rocket soldiers on the screen at the same time! Let alone when there's also half a dozen tanks, rocket launchers, artillery, a couple of ore trucks and a fleet of ships or subs constantly moving around. Regardless, they are very similar to those seen in Red Alert. If you haven't cast eyes over over a C&C game then I'll attempt to explain. All of the vehicles, troops and building are constructed from sprites. They still manage to have their own individual look and personality, making it easier to tell the Infantry from the Engineers and the Rocket Launchers from the Mammoth Tanks. Everything moves smoothly and at different speeds, carrying out attacking and defending maneuvers independently of each other. All of the building have their own individual design and shape, although team colors remain constant throughout. After playing the game for only a few hours you will quickly be able to determine which is your war factory and which is the barracks. The visual effects are excellent, especially when a trooper is electrocuted by a tesla strike. When tanks sustain near-maximum damage a small puff of smoke warns of it's impending demise. Total destruction of a vehicle leaves a small crater in the earth from the resulting explosion, while the surrounding area of ground remains burned by scorch marks. Each shot fired in anger can be seen to move towards it's intended target, whether it be a grenade lobbed by hand (a small flash) or a nuclear warhead smashing down on an enemy base (a huge mushroom cloud). Retaliation has it's fair share of FMV movies dispersed throughout the game immaculately presented and well acted out. Before most missions your commanding officer will sit in front of the screen and explain your orders in detail. After a successful mission an accompanying movie is shown, which although high in quality, is very short in duration. Sadly these visual treats have now become so scant that a blink of the eye would miss them.
Sounds and Effects
To be perfectly honest I always prefer to switch off the music when playing these type of games. The reason being is nothing to do with the standard of tunes, more that I would rather be instantly alerted to my troops cries for help than be distracted by a foot tapping rhythm. For those interested there are 13 pieces of high quality techno music to accompany your march across the battle field. The game sound effects are brilliant and bring a little humor into the morbid world of warfare. Each trooper and vehicle responds with an instant "Yes, Sir!" or "Vehicle reporting!" to your every command in an accent that will bring a wry smile to your face. The sound that a trooper makes when he is killed depends on the means of his death. A bullet will provide a short, sharp, "Uggh!". An exploding rocket offers a surprised "Blugghh!". While death by flamethrower sends out a lingering scream of pain as the fire bubbles up the flesh... sort of a "Yeeeaarrhhfuggaaahh... uggh!" There is also a sort of in-game 'commentator' who warns you when your base is being attacked and when each building under construction is ready to be located. A most helpful chap!
For those new to the Command & Conquer range of games I'll attempt to convert you by describing the style of gameplay (the rest of you can skip the next few paragraphs). First you get a choice of playing a campaign, a skirmish or a link-up skirmish. Then you must decide which side of the fence you prefer to fight on - Soviet or Allied. Actually you will end up playing both because each side has their own set of missions on a separate disc. Dependant on the side you choose will decide on your selection of weapons. Campaign is the single player mode involving varying missions and tasks. Before the level begins your commander will brief you on your main objective which must be completed to win the battle. This could be as 'simple' as destroying all enemy presence in the area... to single handedly sneaking a spy into their camp and stealing secret documents. Retaliation missions offer more variation than past C&C game with many interesting fresh tasks such as poisoning the water system by dumping the contents of a supply truck into a waterfall. There are also occasions where Soviet civilians speak out against their countries involvement in Western Europe, therefore you are ordered to slaughter the dissidents. It doesn't matter that these happen to be men, women and children... orders are orders. When your mission begins you usually start off with only a couple of troops and trucks alongside a mobile construction vehicle. Decide where you wish to build up your base and then press the action button to see the mobile vehicle unfold into a construction yard. This building is the heart of your operation and must be protected at all costs. Within the immediate vicinity of the yard you can now begin expanding your camp. First you need to construct a power plant to provide electricity to your buildings. Next you require an ore refinery which sends out a truck to collect valuable minerals - these precious stones bring in the money to finance your construction. Barracks allow troops to be trained. War Factories produce tanks, rocket launchers, artillery. Naval bases provide ships and subs. Airfield planes and choppers etc. Obviously once your base is established you will need to protect your investment. For this purpose there are various forms of immovable weapons and structures that may be placed around your base such as gun turrets, tesla coils, mine fields, concrete walls and wire fencing. At any time the enemy may wage an attack on your base and you won't have a clue when this is about to happen. This is because all of the terrain that has not been crossed by your troops is completely blacked out. This encourages the sending out of small hit squads to see what danger lies up ahead. Once an area has been revealed it will remain visible for the remainder of the game. Not all the missions take place in the open. Several involve moving a number of troops through a maze of underground bunkers (I hate those levels!) while avoiding getting slaughtered. Controlling each troop or vehicle is simply a matter of pointing your cursor on them and then clicking at the point you wish them to move. By dragging your cursor a group of vehicles and men may be all ordered to move to the same position. A mouse is preferable, but the game works fine using a standard control pad. Skirmish mode can be played as a single player game against up to three CPU controlled opponents, or by far the best experience is to link-up two Playstations and take on a mate with up to two CPU opponents. There are 105 maps within skirmish mode (including the same maps from Red Alert) which should allow you to wage each war in unfamiliar surroundings for many, many months. Those who have already been converted to Command & Conquer strategy games will be wondering what's new about Retaliation. I'll tell you! There are 34 brand new missions that take place in the snow, mountains and fields across Europe. Apart from the now standard aircraft, helicopters, paratroopers, repair bays, turrets, tesla, mine layers, transporters, ships, subs and ore tucks there are many new units that will be available for solo and multiplay: * The Tesla Tank, which fires long range electric blasts. The electric discharge also scrambles enemy radar. Taking the Tesla Coil's destruction into the field, the Tesla Tank is a valuable addition to the Soviet arsenal. With its long range and powerful electrical discharges, the Tesla Tank is effective in both offensive and defensive roles. As an added bonus, the electrical discharge from the Tesla Tank also jams enemy radar. Used in conjunction with normal Tesla Coils, Tesla Tanks provide added security against Allied assaults, and ensure that low-power conditions won't hurt Soviet defenses. * Shock Troopers, who carry portable Tesla generators capable of giving the enemy a deadly jolt of power. They can't be run over by enemy vehicles. Another use of Tesla's inventions, Shock Troopers are sturdy (if somewhat slow) infantry units that carry a portable Tesla generator, capable of delivering large jolts of electricity to any unit or structure. Well worth the price, Shock Troopers can not be run over by enemy vehicles. * Missile Subs, which can cruise underwater without notice, then surface and attack land targets with long range missiles. Realizing their navy lacked first-strike capability, the Soviet Empire has developed a new class of submarine capable of launching attacks on inland targets. The Missile Sub's weapons are nearly as powerful as those of the dreaded Allied Cruiser, with the added advantage that they can submerge and surface before the enemy knows what hit them. * The Chronotank, capable of teleporting anywhere on the battlefield. It's armed with heat-seeking missiles. The ChronoTank is the latest advancement in Allied technology. When fully charged, the unit has the unique ability to Chronoshift itself, allowing it to appear anywhere on the battlefield. Its missile launchers are accurate and fast, adding punch to any assault. Unlike the regular Chronosphere ability, the ChronoTank will not automatically return to its original pre-shift location. * The Demolition Truck, your own portable nuclear bomb. These drone units carry an atomic bomb triggered to detonate on impact or destruction. Targeting a Demolition Truck on any unit or structure, or force firing on terrain will make the truck move to its destination and detonate. Care with their use is advisedmany a foolish commander has lost his base when an air strike destroyed the Demolition Truck before it could leave the confines of the base. * The M.A.D. Tank, which sends out a shockwave that damages vehicles and buildings. The M.A.D. Tank, or Mutually Assured Destruction Tank, is a final-solution weapon. Once activated, it builds up a powerful harmonic shock wave. When fully charged, it detonates, destroying itself and damaging every unit and structure within a large radius around it. However, infantry are unaffected by its detonation. If the unit is destroyed before it detonates, the destructive effect is neutralized. * The Field Mechanic, your best friend when your legion of tanks is in need of a tune up. A new trooper for the Allies, the mechanic can repair vehicles in the field. Slow and unarmored, he is an easy target for Soviet infantry and tanks. However, his ability to repair any nearby friendly units more than makes up for his lack of defense. Like the medic, the mechanic takes time to repair a unit to full strength. * In Retaliation, a new ranking system allows mission progression through four theaters of war for both the Allied and Soviet missions. Access to each theater depends upon the your rank, and as your rank rises so does the difficulty of the missions. After beating all of the missions for either side, you achieve the rank of general and get to see a new final Allied or Soviet movie. The missions in Retaliation are divided into four theaters of war for both the Allied and Soviet sides moving across Ukraine, Austria, France, Spain and finally England.
Value for Money
If you are already a convert to the Command & Conquer strategy war games then Retaliation is a must buy title. The difficulty begins at the point where Red Alert finished and with four secret missions as your reward for completion, Retaliation will takes an age to complete. For the uninitiated among you I would suggest that you first purchase Red Alert before even thinking about Retaliation. No point beginning at the top of the ladder. Enjoy the journey up.
the missions, Retaliation is worth it's weight in gold for the link-up
mode alone. For those who are concerned about the slow down when
including two CPU controlled teams into your own private war then I
believe we have worked out the reason. Apparently if any of the CPU
vehicle becomes jammed inside it's base then the game virtually grinds
to a stop. It may be risky.. but if you can manage to get a few troops
near the blocked vehicle and launch a few shots then the game should
return to normal speed.
The mission are more of the same, only far more difficult to complete. Thankfully those annoying password saves of the past have been replaced by the more gratifying Memory Card system. Should you finish the game in it's entirety then you are rewarded with four new missions where the enemies are Giant Ants. Brilliant!