Red Alert is back! Westwood’s long running Red Alert series has just got a new addition to the family in Yuri’s Revenge, the new expansion pack for their well received Red Alert sequel.Yuri’ Revenge continues the story where Red Alert2 left off but with a bit of twist. Yuri, the evil mind controlling fiend from the first game, has returned to the fray after the demise of the Soviets an Romanov at the dRto!the arat afhands of the allied forces. Yuri’s and his army of brainwashed followers is now the greatest threat to civilization as we know it and it’s up to you to put a to his evil ways by travelling back in time and preventing him from taking over the world with his Psychic Dominator technology. The game will take you around the World to various locations like London, Egypt, Seattle and Antarctica taking famous landmarks along the way.This expansion pack is made up of 14 missions, 7 Allied mission as and 7 Soviet missions, each telling the story from a different viewpoint. The missions themselves ease the player into the game starting off pretty easy with no base building just objectives, but as the game progresses you’ll have the full might of the Soviet or Allied forces behind you. As this is an expansion pack you would expect something new to tinker with on the battlefield and Westwood have created new devastating war machines to s**e up the action.Each side now has an array of new buildings and units. New units for the allies include such gems as the Battle Fortress, a heavily armoured troop carrier that allows the troops inside to fire at the enemy, the new Robot Tank which is an effective vehicle against Yuri’s new mind control towers. The Russians have new weapons of war like the Siege Chopper which is a flying fortress you can land and then morph into a powerful gun placement, and of course, don’t forget Boris a new infantry unit that can call in air strikes on enemy targets. These are just a few of the many new additions which include more buildings and units but no point going into each one, that would only ruin the fun.Now that a third side has entered the fray you come up against the bizarre creations of Yuri. This new army will make you think on your toes, there are some great units and buildings that take some figuring out on how to combat when you first start. Yuri’s army is mainly built around mind control and the weapons and building reflect this. For example there are now mind control towers, get too close and the enemy takes control of your vehicles, likewise for the Master Mind Tank. This vehicle has no firepower but can take control of your units should they get too close, not nice when you’re going in for an attack.There are a couple of really quite interesting vehicles, the Floating Disc and Magnatron. The Floating disc is basically a flying saucer with a few tricks. This unit can render a building like Allied patriot missiles useless whilst also taking out buildings and units at the same time. The Magnatron is a new ground vehicle that can lift your vehicles off the ground and then pull them into Yuri’s mind controlling clutches. This vehicle also dishes out serious damage against buildings. I have to say Westwood have done a fantastic job with the new units, they are all very interesting to play against and we have only touched on a few here in the review.To increase the game’s strategy, Westwood have also added new neutral buildings which you can capture. There is now a building called the Machine Shop. Capture this with an engineer and all your vehicles will automatically repair while you keep control of the building. There are also Civilian Power Plants which when captured boost your power and probably the most interesting is the Secret Tech Lab, capture one of these and you’ll get the ability create a special unit which could be Allied, Soviet of Yuri regardless of which side you’re playing. These new structures really do add an extra element of strategy giving you other objectives in the field to defend.Graphically there are no real changes from the original Red Alert2, which in my book is no great shakes; this game is about playability and balance. There have been some improvements in the Ai department, most noticeably on the Russian airships which now no longer get stuck in a rotating spin, that used to drive me nuts when I was trying to sneak them round the edge of the map in the original.The game’s sound, as you would expect from the Westwood’s sound department, is excellent. The new unit sounds are great and the music is the trademark pumping rock of the Red Alert series. The game’s in-game cut-scenes pop up between every mission and are well done helping bring the universe to real life and tell the new storyline well. The acting is suitable hammed up in true Red Alert fashion which only adds to the fun of this game.Multiplayer is where it’s at. Sure the single player game was lot of fun, but it doesn’t take too long to complete if you’ve played a lot of Red Alert2. The main drawback, which in my opinion is pretty small, is that there are no single player capaign that allows you to play as the Yuri forces, but it’s a small price to pay for what you get in Multiplayer. Yuri’s full force is available in the multiplayer game when you head onto Westwood Online and be advised, practice in skirmish mode first, there are some great Yuri players out there already.The multiplayer matchmaking system has been polished up since Red Alert 2 and there are a few new features that make things a lot easier. There is now a new game type called Team Alliance which allows you to team up with others and the game now positions you close to you ally which means there’s no more hunting round the map for your buddy. The multiplayer game is key, this add-on will keep you coming back for more, it’s so d** addictive thanks to the ranking system and quick match options. A testament to the game design is the unit balancing, it’s so well done that you’ll sit their scratching your head wondering how you can get out of certain sticky situations.Yuri’s revenge is one of the best add-ons released for ages. The single player missions are challenging enough with interesting mission objectives and the multiplayer speaks for itself. With the excellent unit balancing and the top-notch Westwood Online palying this game online is painless. Yuri’s revenge is a real corker, Yuri has certainly taken control of my mind and the C&C universe just goes from strength to strength. This is one game you can’t afford to be without.
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