Aftermath of a Great Game
Command & Conquer: Red Alert was a great game. It had a large selection of units and a large and diverse mix of maps. Some players wished that it had a few more maps and some new units. Partly to oblige them, and partly to make more money, Westwood released Command & Conquer: Red Alert - Counterstrike. Although the new units were nice, you could only use them in certain missions.
Fortunately, Westwood has fixed the problem and you can now use the new units in most missions, and in all multiplayer missions. C&C: Aftermath includes: 6 new units, one 'new' unit which was recycled from Counterstrike, 18 disjointed single player missions, 100 multiplayer maps, 8 songs, plus 20 MB of Windows 95 desktop themes (and a partridge in a pear tree...)
If you are feeling some deja vu right now, it might be because Westwood has done this before. Counterstrike had 4 new units, 16 maps, 100 multiplayer missions, 8 songs, and a Windows 95 desktop theme pack (no partridge). The new units in Aftermath are more interesting that those in Counterstrike. Aftermath includes the Tesla tank, an exploding tank, an exploding truck, a teleporting tank, a missile submarine, a field mechanic, and Tesla troopers. Annoyingly, the Tesla tank was reused from Counterstrike...
The 18 new missions suffer from the exact same problems as their brethren in Counterstrike. The 18 missions are not very inspired, lack a cohesive story, and fail to include any video segments. They really feel tacked on instead of like a continuation of the C&C saga. Having 100 multi-player missions may seem like a blessing, but the designers seem to have emphasized quantity over quality.
Also, C&C: Red Alert includes a mission editor. Why would you pay for 100 lame missions when you can already make as many good ones as you like? Some of the new units are a nice touch, like the Missile Sub, Field Mechanic, and Demolition Truck. Others like the Chronotank and M.A.D. Tank are less than stellar. The Chronotank isn't that useful unless your strategy relies heavily on the chronoshifting of your tanks. The M.A.D. tank feels like a lame version of the Demolition Truck, which costs about the same, I might add.
Now we come down to the big question. Should you buy this add-on pack? If you liked Counterstrike and want some more, then yes. If you HAVE to have every C&C product, then this should also be on your list. On the other hand, if you are satisfied with C&C: Red Alert, then you probably don't need this product. My colleague, Johnny Lee hoped that Westwood would not try to squeeze a little more money out of the aging C&C franchise at the expense of gamers. Unfortunately, Westwood decided to release another C&C product that cheapens the entire C&C franchise. Gamers who appreciate good products should feel insulted. I, for one, sure am.