While you sit there at your Cray X-7 supercomputer with it's T3 Hard line connection and ping of 3, spare a thought for me - The Pentium II is really starting to show some wrinkles. And so, with the problem of over clocking my aging processor, mixed with the joys of a dissertation and specialist study, this article has been "In the pipeline" for quite some time now. Thankfully, nobody seems to have noticed. Or nobody cares. Anyway, I hope you like it - Jim.
So, you've got Yuri's Revenge, but you still have to get it running on an internet connected PC. How will you survive without your weekly dose of WOL action? Easy - Run the original game!
One fact that has been overlooked with the release of Yuri's Revenge is that the original Red Alert 2 is still playable over Westwood online. While you don't have Siege Choppers, Guardian GI's or come to think of it - The entire Yuri side; The original is still great fun to play, and of course - To win on.
The chat channels are still buzzing, quick match is still quick matching, and the usual suspects of one-map wonders are still lurking. But despite its shortcomings, the un expanded Red Alert 2 remains a superb and finely balanced game. Some argue the addition of the Yuri side undoes this delicate balance, and while I can't comment due to the fact I don't play YR online; the general consensus seems to be that the recent patch has ironed out these problems.
For me however, while Yuri's revenge has undoubtedly opened up new horizons for strategy - There is nothing like a good old tank rush. And there is only one way to do that: Against the Allies without a Guardian GI in sight. The tank rush isn't the only casualty of YR however: The delicate (some would say perfect) balance of the original RA2 has undoubtedly been destroyed by Yuri's Revenge - In my view, going back to the original, even if only for a few matches; is a nostalgic and worthy experience.
As part of this article, I had the opportunity to interview "Jacko", who allegedly thinks he knows something about it, he is a Top 100 player. But he's Australian. Well, one person can't have all the luck:
Jim: Which do you prefer, YR or RA2? Jacko: RA2
Jim: Why? Jacko: Yuri's Revenge has a few issues; units such as the magnetron being too powerful and annoying. Another issue is the fact that there is no cost-effective counter to the boomer rush.
Jim: Many top players have shunned Yuri's Revenge in favour of Red Alert 2; do you think that this is because they miss RA2 or think YR is crap? Jacko: It's not easy to get used to the change in speed. Also, as a result of the last patch, the grizzly tank's build time is messed up as a result of the build time of the rhino being decreased.
Jim: If you had the power to change Yuri's Revenge, what would you do? Jacko: Decrease tank build time & shorten the range of the magnetron.
Jim: Do you think the level of play in RA2 is better than in YR? Jacko: Yes. In YR you don't have to think as fast due to the increase in tank build time. It's a lot easier to just turtle and build a superweapon as a result of tank build time being increased.
Jim: Do you think Yuri's Revenge was created for newbies as opposed to the top players? Jacko: Well, the new unit voices are taking it a bit far ;)
One must take note of the basic fact that more people play Red Alert 2 than Yuri's Revenge; evidence of this can be seen in the player ladders.. Red Alert 2 is more commonly played - this could be due to a variety of factors of course.. not simply players referring Ra2 to YR - it could come down to people saving up enough money to buy the game etc.. Whilst many top players abandoned Yuri's Revenge for Red Alert 2, the recent release of XWIF with Yuri's Revenge support (available from the XCC Utilities Site), should certainly help to win back a lot of players.
In regard to which game people prefer, it seems that the majority of people prefer Yuri's Revenge over Red Alert 2 (remember, preference is different from amount of players participating in each game) - one of recent polls proves that there is a fairly large gap in the preference quarters, in terms of YR being preferred to Ra2 - however, there is still a large margin of support for Red Alert 2, as the poll shows:
Which is better: RA2 or YR?
63.7% Yuri's Revenge!
36.2% Red Alert 2!
Total Votes: 386
So, in conclusion, one must note that Red Alert 2 is still a very popular game - many Yuri's Revenge players have forgotten about Red Alert 2.. it's still alive and kicking! Playing the original Red Alert 2, just for a few games even, is still great fun - if you haven't touched Ra2 in several months, then I would suggest that you do - getting used to the quickmatch resolution (640 x 480) will take some time after being allowed to use higher resolutions in Yuri's Revenge.. however, I think you will be surprised to see the step up in pace from Yuri's Revenge; Red Alert 2 is still a great game - and will have thousands of followers for several years to come.