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Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Review

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More camp conflict from the classic RTS franchise

★★★★★

Camp and corny are words rarely used in the po-faced world of real-time strategy. But in Command & Conquer’s colourful Red Alert franchise, parachuting bears, robotic samurais and jackboot-wearing female commandoes are only the beginning of the game’s cheesy delights.

Set in a tongue-in-cheek alternate reality where the Soviet Union, Japanese and Allies are battling for control of the planet – and punctuated by trashy movie clips starring Tim Curry, Peter Stormare and some bint off Hollyoaks – Red Alert 3 brings light relief to the austere business of RTS gaming, allowing players to use armed dolphins, psychic schoolgirls and tuxedo-wearing super spies to do their dirty work, rather than commanding a grumbling legion of grunts, engineers and tanks.

The co-operative structure of the battles – where you either work with an AI companion or human player – also adds energy to the skirmishes, and the ostentatious battles where the landscape is peppered with preposterous units and weapons keeps the action light and thrilling where other strategy titles would have long since sent you to sleep.

Once you delve beneath the surface, though, it soon becomes apparent that Red Alert 3 is a rather tame strategy game, its sexy, charming veneer disguising linear battles where you have little opportunity to stray from the path predetermined by the developers, and where technical issues such as poor path-finding and an occasionally jerky in-game camera taint the experience. But with characters and scenarios even the hardest of heart will find hard to resist, this ridiculous RTS is still worth a punt.

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