12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Come for the action, stay for the cheese,
This review is from: Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 - PC (Video Game)
Just out of curiousity I pulled Red Alert 2 out of mothballs. Especially in light of Generals, does RA2 still hold up? The answer, surprisingly enough, is yes!
The two big attractions for Red Alert 2 are its unique units and its unashamedly B-Grade Movie Acting cheese factor. Firstly - to the units. Because RA2 isn't based on any real-life scenarios (Soviet Union invades America? Please.), this gives the developers creative freedom to create the craziest units imaginable. So we have soldiers with rocket packs (Rocketeers), Tanks that can camouflage themselves (Mirage tanks), and shock troopers that fire lightning bolts (Tesla Troopers). To this very day, the units in Red Alert 2 are still my favourites of all time.
The second big attraction is how RA2 revels in its B-Grade movie roots. It was a huge surprise because so many game developers take the "grim and gritty" route. Red Alert 2 wallows unashamedly in its own cheesiness. It also introduced some very memorable characters. Udo Kier is suitably very creepy (in a cheesy way) as the Pscyhic Yuri. Tanya (played by Kari Wuhrer) - in addition to being a useful unit in the game, she's played with real charm and feistiness. There's Ray Wise as the US President, who's clearly sending up Bill Clinton. And finally, one of my favourite game characters of all time - General Carville, played brilliantly by Barry Corbin. He gets some great lines - one of my favourites is "I'm sick and tired of living in Canada. Get me my office back!". And his delivery really fires you up and makes you want to kick some Soviet [...].
That (to me) is what separates Red Alert 2 from any other game before or since. It flatly refuses to take itself seriously and invites the player to have a lot of fun. The graphics may not be as advanced as Generals, but the gameplay and memorable characters more than make up for it.