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Command & Conquer: Red Alert -- Counterstrike Review

GENRE Strategy 
PUBLISHER Westwood Studios 
DEVELOPER Intelligent Games 
T What do these ratings mean?

"Firms maximize profit."

It is only natural for companies to make money, that's why they exist. Once in a while, companies produce a bad product, and that's normal. Sometimes however, some big computer game company gets greedy, tries to duplicate some of its past success, and sells a pathetic extension of a once popular game to devoted fans. Then some game reviewer, who also happens to be a loyal fan, gets really pissed off because: 1. Memory of once awesome game now tainted forever. 2. Disappointed in company (so much for brand loyalty). 3. Had to endure playing a bad game because it's his job. Then he bashes the company and exposes its sham to everyone on the world wide web. Here goes...

Red Alert Counterstrike boasts 16 brand new missions, over 100 new multiplayer maps, 4 new units, 8 new songs, and the Red Alert Win95 Desktop Theme Pack. It all sounds good, but... Who wants to play 16 new missions when there's nothing special about them? Of the sixteen, only a few of them contain missions where you can use these "special new units". These new units are a one time deal. Once they die, they never come back. You're not allowed to build them, and you can only use them for that one mission. Sure Tesla Tanks sound cool. I remember suggesting that to one of my friends long ago. I thought it would be a bomb. Instead, Westwood made some stupid looking tank that had the abilities of the Tesla coil. Gee, that must have been real difficult recycling. Then there's this super jet that can drop nuclear missiles. Once again, it was just a picture of a Mig superimposed with a nuclear detonation (the same explosion in multiplayer nuclear blasts). Last and probably least, there were the "Super" Soldier and his "Super" K-9 bitch. Recycled pictures of your usual soldier and dog that had more life and did more damage. Oh, and the dog can jump really far when he attacks. Yeah, give them a bone for that.

What made Command and Conquer such a great success was the gameplay and the video sequences that went along with the story. In this extension, there is no story and no video sequences. You are allowed to just pick any mission you want, since none of them are related. Westwood actually claims this "free choice" as a special feature, as if it is something to drool over. What about the "over 100 new multiplayer maps"? As I recall, Warcraft II allowed the player to design the maps with a map creating feature, and it came with the game. An infinite number of new maps. Should we also be grateful for paying to play an old game on new ground?

For the die hard Command and Conquer fans, Westwood published Command and Conquer Gold couple months ago. This was a remake of the first C&C that supported Win95 and had similar graphics to Red Alert. It also came with a desktop theme pack. Maybe we could let that recycled game slide because it did have improved graphics, and it was targeted at people who never played C&C or fans who wanted to play it again and collect the nice desktop stuff. Counterstrike on the other hand, requires the additional purchase of Red Alert. The few background pics could have just been downloaded and the icons weren't so hot either. So what's the deal here? Just because we like C&C and bought the sequel doesn't mean we're going to buy 16 extra tedious missions, not like Red Alert wasn't already wearing thin in an industry where the life expectancy of a game is just as long as the latest hardware.

Hopefully this is the last time Westwood will try to milk consumers with the same C&C junk. Everyone may have loved it the first time around, but now it's just an annoying jingle that won't go away. This is an utter disappointment, much less a counterstrike. Makes you wonder who wrote this, the summer interns? What about those new soundtracks, you say? I wouldn't know since I'd actually have to play the game again to hear 'em...

D Revolution report card
  • Boring Missions for a game you ALREADY OWN
  • Limited Desktop Themes
  • Old "New" Units
  • No story, no goal, just wasting time

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