I don't like Germans. Two generations of my family have shot,
Shelled and Depth Charged Germans for a mere 2 and 6 a day. They
bombed my hometown during the Blitz. They throw their towels out
at 6 in the morning just to reserve a sun bathing spot. They insist
on "European Unity". They fly their dirty flag whenever
they get half a chance. When I downloaded "Hellfire",
I told myself that my general dislike of Germans would have no
effect on the way I wrote this review. I was wrong. After playing
Red Alert 2 using "Blitzkreigers" and "Chrono-Panzers";
I've had enough.
Hellfire is a
German translated mod, yet, With my extensive German vocabulary
learned through a mis-spent childhood reading "commando"
comics, I believe I could have done better. The sloppy translation
is just the first of several niggles that make Hellfire more of
a chore than a joy to play. The fact that many super weapons are
listed as "MISSING:IONBLAST" and so on makes this theme
consistent throughout the mod - And is generally, very disappointing.
One extremely positive aspect of "Hellfire" however,
are the new buildings. These beauties could have come from the
shielded arms of Westwood themselves, and stand out as outstanding
in what is otherwise, a very mediocre mod. The buildings almost
completely replace the old Red Alert 2 ones, but the quality of the new ones
is so good, they almost blend together.
As with so many around these days, this mod is one of many
specs of light, blighted out by other crap units, and more often
than not, poor balancing. Such is life. And such is "Hellfire".
The balancing in this mod is truly appalling. Three sides have
been added - The Allies and Soviets reappear, but now have a new
adversary: The Martians. Only, they're not really an adversary,
more of a walkover.
When you play as the Martians, you must build Oil Derricks
to get cash, steep at $2000 each.
This gives you a steady flow of cash. But this flow of cash is
more like a trickle, so much so that you find yourself building
up 7 or 8 derricks just to get enough cash to tech up and build
an attacking force. More often than not, by this time you'll have
already been wiped out. The lack of a Martian engineer is also
infuriating, particularly on larger maps where Tech buildings
have added importance. Despite their burrowing infantry and strong
assault force, half the time you won't be able to spare the cash
of them; instead having to erect defences - and a lot of them
- to stem off only weak AI attacks.
the game was poorly translated, perhaps the lack of a manual is
more of a blessing than I first thought. Despite this, I believe
I can formulate part of the storyline. Due to the new side, and
the overall "space age" look of the mod, I hypothesise
that it's based around a Human invasion of Mars, or maybe a Martian
invasion of earth. Being a connoisseur of inter-war Science fiction
- I would be tempted to go with bad aliens harming our delicate
This new side, which promised so much, fails to present any
challenge to the ruling two. And with Hellfire, their rule becomes ever more bloody,
and ever more illegal :-o! Ripped units include the top half of
the Mammoth Mk.2, which becomes the "Robot Scout" a
unit which looks like a cross between a BMX and an Ostrich - The
perfect scouting unit. Other personal favourites include new and
"improved" conscript, which now looks like a skeleton,
and shoots blue fireballs, particularly reminiscent of those fired
in anger during heated games of "Street Fighter 2: Special
Champion Edition". The depth of units is so great, that
I couldn't possibly describe them all here - New aerial units
make for a new focus on splitting your forces, with the Orca making
a triumphant return. The changes on the Allied and Soviet sides
are large, but the game remains relatively balanced between these
two. While the new side looks nice, they really are only for show.
sort of modified Battle Bunker is included, perfect for garrisoning
your new infantry in. The "Blitzkreiger" (I think that
translates as "Lightning Trooper") can rain down electrical
death on your opponents, while the enormous "Defender"
packs two hands with a prism tower each, the classy way to destroy
a tank rush. Again, these units provide a sparkle to a poorly
designed and laid out mod.
Hellfire's problems are quite resolvable; sort out the unit
balancing issues, get a decent translator in and get in some beta
testers! This mod promised so much, the buildings have echoes
of something great - Yet sloppy production and no testing made
it fall on the last triple axel, and score a disappointing 4..3,
instead of a table topping 6.0. A very topical end to what "Could
have been a contender".