Granted the new AI is good, but even it can't survive a Nuke up the jacksie.
Red Alert 2 and Yuri Revenge have most definitely sidetracked since the release of Renegade, with the community focusing on this, and also turning a sly eye to the eye candy of C&C: Generals, we decided to take a step back from this 3D mayhem and start playing Yuri's Revenge again, this time however, with "a little help from our friends". Those friends, were the boys over at Eagle Red, who for the past age, have been churning out quality enhancements for our favourite strategy dynasty.
Eagle Red boasts an impressive array of modifications, yet amidst this crazy band of new units and structures, the infamous balancing problems of Yuri's Revenge seem to have been resolved. One of the first things to strike me about Eagle Red, is just how professionally presented it is. There is no clumsy .ini installation, no conflicts over .mix, just a clean, easy installation, followed by a splash screen from the XCC Mod Launcher. If only some developers could learn from the Eagle Red camp"¦
Yuri has a bunch of brand new structures to toy with
Firing up a game presents a bewildering amount of options and tweaks for your gaming pleasure: The starting units and credits can now be turned up, classic for a quick skirmish on some of the smaller maps. Going deeper, and you're presented with a whole host of new, and dare I say original game modes. The "Online only" modes, such as Naval War and Megawealth work very well with the computer, but it is the new ones which truly caught my eye. "Industrial Revolution" gives you all buildings from the start of the game, great to stop the perennial debates over the best Battle-Fortress combo. "Greed" forces you to count every credit you get in, allowing infantry a much larger role. My personal favourite however, must remain "Tech War", where you get every exclusive country unit in your army. Finally, the might of the Korean "Black Eagle" can stand side by side with the Dutch "Missile Frigate""¦Hold on a flipping minute, where did they come from?
Yes, patriotic sentiment has invaded Eagle Red. It would appear the head of the mod is Dutch, and so sadly, felt the need to throw his country's hat in the ring. The country changes are not extensive, with the Netherlands and China making a debut appearance at the expense of Germany and Cuba. These new countries also come with their own special units: The Dutch having the perfect naval support ship in the shape of the "Missile Frigate", while the Chinese can boast the devastating Multiple Launch Rocket System among their forces. The changes, nice as there are for the Dutch and Chinese, have little more than aesthetic impact. Aesthetics shouldn't make a bit difference, but in Eagle Red they do.
The Allied Cruiser
One of the finest examples of this is in the modified sidebar: The receding line of time is now replaced by a percentage count: Enabling you to see pricelessly how much has been constructed so far. This becomes even more important as you build up just some of the huge variety of new units. Take the "Blackbird", a stealth plane that fires a huge stand-off missile at its target. Without complaining that the SR-71A is actually a reconnaissance, this emphasises how much Eagle Red has changed Yuri's Revenge. Previously, only the Harrier and Black Eagle took to the skies, now Tesla Attack Aircraft, Kamikazes, and F-15s join them. The Soviet's new airfield is also well made, eliminating the previous need of one airfield per aircraft. There are a total of 37 new units scattered across the three sides - a massive amount.
New defensive structures provide the turtles among you with another thing to dream about. Mines make a fateful appearance, having been absent since the original Red Alert. But again, Eagle Red integrates them without disturbing gameplay, the Soviets have a "Radiation Mine", the Allies an "Anti-Tank Mine", and Yuri has a "Chaos Mine". These are nothing short of a joy to use, and alongside the new "Missile Batteries" and "Advanced Tesla Coils", "Advanced Prism Towers" and "Advanced Psychic Towers" provide deadly efficient defenses.
The Revolutionary Sidebar
Everyone's favourite naval ship returns, as the Cruiser's big gun antic return to Eagle Red, complete with all-new prism cannon. Again however, this is balanced out with the power of the "Missile Sub" for the Soviets, and the sheer speed and power of the Boomer for Yuri. Has the Boomer rush finally been stopped? You bet your ass. Don't think Yuri's naval forces are undermined however, with hovercraft versions of the Lasher and Gattling tank now piercing the silent waves.
Eagle Red's Launcher
But perhaps the biggest advance over the original Yuri's Revenge is in the Skirmish game Artificial Intelligence. Previously, it was more of Artificial Stupidity, yet now the computer will rally forces together, counter-attack, and send in air-strikes against your forces. If you give it even a few minutes, it will come and bite you in the arse. You must strike early, and strike fast. Otherwise you'll be joining a vast slugfest of attrition, relegated to picking off a bit of the enemy at a time. Oh, and try playing any more than 4 Brutal computers, and you simply will not win. Yet, the fact remains that with reasonably odds, you can beat the computers. We're not looking at the indestructible "Deevious" AI of Deezire, but instead of real and beatable opposition who will exploit your every weakness. This update comes at a cost though: You'll need plenty of MHz to comfortably play the big maps against Brutal opposition.
Eagle Red 1.6 has arrived and firmly put the spotlight back onto Red Alert 2. With every release, small updates have been made: A new unit here and a new structure there. But with the 1.6 release, Eagle's team have really out-done themselves, and in my view, finally over-come Deezire to be: "King of the expansions". Put in simple terms, you must download this mod. Plato claimed everything on earth was a poor version of what it was in heaven. If true, I eagerly await the Almighty's response to Eagle Red 1.6