Turn back the clocks! Turn them back, and let’s see what Command and Conquer games there are to love. Today’s pick is Red Alert II Yuri’s Revenge, as you may have read in the title. I’m reviewing this one specifically because as far as I know, it is the only game that implements unit mind control without creating an overpowered faction. I won’t talk about the campaign, because unfortunately, I do not play RTS campaigns. Everybody rags on me for that, but you know what? It’s all about the skirmishes, babe. That’s the core of the game. That’s the purest of pure, all the buildings at your disposal, all the units ready to kick some ass for their great commander.
So you have three primary factions, the Allies, the Soviets, and Yuri. I’m not speaking Japanese, by the way, you don’t control a faction of mind-controlling lesbians, even though that would be pretty hilarious. I’m sure EA will resort to that eventually, when they have nothing left but their shitty realistic sports video games… Anyway, Yuri is an actual Russian name, and he’s the “cheap” faction. Mind control and such, lots of special units. I’ll cover each faction, and the related subfactions.
Allies are the fellas with the impossibly advanced level of technology and some of the most annoying/badass units in the game. I personally find fighting them to be a chore because of their ability to mass-produce cheap units and swarm people to death. The Soviets can do that as well, but those goddamned Robot Tanks. They’re only 600 credits, and they hurt like a bitch. Break pretty easily, but when you’re dealing with a squad of ten, you die faster than you can defunc them. And while you’re facing off the bots on the front, the Chrono Legionnaires are teleporting into undefended portions of your base and erasing very important structures. Maybe they’ll even send some spies in to steal your money or disable your power. They even have Mirage Tanks that look like trees! Pretty sneaky for the so-called good guys.
The sub-factions are more or less the same thing as the original, but with a perk. America gets the Paradrop support power, France gets a huge defensive cannon, Britain gets snipers, Korea gets special bomber jets… Yuppers. Good stuff.
Time for the Soviets! Yes, that’s all I’m saying on the Allies. Soviets are more of the swarm to kill, overwhelm with extreme force sort of guys. Their units and tactics may be a little more raw, but don’t let that deter you from having a heyday with Apocalypse Tanks or Siege Choppers. The first is just mean; missiles and double cannons. The second is mean at times. In the air, they pepper things with machinegun fire. When deployed, they become painful long-range cannons. Ouch. Or, if neither of those appeal to you, why not try Kirov blimps? They’re huge, durable, and can carpet-bomb anything to death in seconds. The only vice is that they’re a bit slow. If you manage to whittle your enemy down enough, you can send in a Crazy Ivan to plant high-damage bombs on everything. Or, why not just rig a standard infantry up with a bomb then send him for a stroll? Soviets: Simple, yet explosive. A good faction.
Their sub-factions are much more… varied, in regards to usefulness. Libya gets Demo Trucks, Cuba gets Terrorists (uh, okay), Russia gets Tesla Tanks, and Iraq gets Desolators, which are basically like radioactive railgunners that can make an area of effect that murders everything.
Finally, Yuri’s faction. He doesn’t have a lot of units, or even any sub-factions, but this guy is the subject of so many tournament bans it isn’t even funny. It’s pretty funny. His standard units are psychics that shoot brain-fire, his snipers cause a chain reaction of unit explosions with poison clouds, his heavy units are big tough punchy guys that wreck tanks… Then there are the Yuri clones. And psychic towers. And Masterminds. These guys can take over enemy units, which can either be used against their former commanders, or simply run into the grinder for loads of cash. Yuri faction also specializes in gatling anti-air, so he’s generally fairly defensible against heavy air units like Kirovs. I suppose he could be seen as a little overpowered, considering his cloning vats build two infantry units for the price of one. What this means in the long run is that when you build a Yuri Prime (who can take over buildings), you either grind one for a full refund or you have two commandos. Okay, Yuri’s side might be more than a little overpowered, now that I think about it.
This review is far from in-depth. I’m not writing a book on Yuri here, I’m just giving you a feel for the game, albeit a rather loose one. I can guarantee that Command and Conquer fans love this expansion on Red Alert II, and that if you like technical RTS games at all, you will as well. So procure a copy and have fun trying to make online play work! Or just play offline and have fun that way. It’s your call, really. Have fun!