Archive for February, 2008

Red Alert 2 (Soviets) Spoiler Warning!

February 25, 2008

This would be my quick review of the Soviets in general.  I just finished their campaign and I loved it!  The hardest mission for me was Chrono Defense without a doubt.  Picture this, for those who have never played it:  You’re in charge of protecting a small plateau with 4 ways in for ground forces (5 if you count a small loop at the top) and very little room to place much in the way of good defenses.  The Allies don’t have a formal base on this map, but send waves of troops over via their Chronospehere.  The first few waves aren’t so bad and allow you to set your base up and get some basic defenses and some troops in place to deal with their onslaught, but it gets nasty quick.  They start adding more troops to their assault, including Snipers, which kill infantry in one hit.  You’re doing your best just to hang on and hold off their advances while protecting the one building that you need to keep in one piece.  They’ll throw everything at it to try to either knock it out or take it over, either of which earns you an immediate loss.  After six assaults, you can finally rest easy as they will give up.

The second last mission for them has you taking out the Kremlin with a small starting base and some new toys to play with: Kirov ships.  These zeppelins with large bombs take a crapload of damage and dish it out… when they can eventually fly to their target.   They have the ability to heal the damage they take given enough time (which is nice because they can’t land on a service depot to repair themselves).  The forces he threw at me were much bigger than I thought, so I lost my whole base except for the 2 Kirov’s that I started with.  I Moved them down and east, taking out whatever I could along the way.  Given enough time, I hoped to at least make it worth their while before I would have to restart.  I slowly made it to their eastern base and wiped out the tanks and Conscripts on their way, which brought them to Elite status.  When Elite, their bombs look like they throw out electric sparks and seem to be larger.  Very nice!  Between giving them some time to repair their damage, I managed to take out the flak cannons in the area and then destroyed the small base, knocking out their Nuclear Reactor.  At this point, it seemed like I might have a chance, so I continued my march toward the Kremlin.  I took out another base of their’s and set my sights to the northeast, where my target lay, protected by flak cannons, Tesla Coils and Psi-Corp Troops.  I took out enough reactors in the Northwest to offline the coils surrounding the area, so I wiped out everything there.  I sent one ship to the east to see what else was there and it was finally shot down by flak fire.  It didn’t matter much, really.  My other Kirov hovered over its target, opened up the bomb bay doors and destroyed the Kirov, driving Yuri into hiding.  The final mission against the Allies wasn’t too hard.  Once I moved into position with my base and held off the initial assaults of Chronoed troops, I built up the Navy (which was nice, but not as crucial as the briefing would have you believe) and some Kirovs to help me move inland.  This took time, but my losses were fairly small.  I took over a position of his to the southeast of the island.  So many of his troops seemed to want to take out the Air Force Command that I appropriated and the Harriers on it, which baffled me.  After shuttling in Apocalypse tanks and a few V3’s, I set up with my Kirovs to take out some defenses.  Between them bombing things and acting as spotters for my Dreadnoughts to shell further inland, I wiped their main hold on the island out, but I reached a point to close and he started Chronoing in sets of Prism tanks, IFV’s, and Grizzlies.  I held my own and let the Apocalypse Tanks go to Elite status.  I ended up winning by accident when some Dreadnought missiles hit the Chronosphere instead of the Patriot Missile that I thought I was aiming for.  Still… a victory is a victory.  Now it’s on to Yuri’s Revenge for me!  I’m a bit disappointed ion that because it doesn’t sound like Yuri has a campaign of his own.  I was looking forward to playing as his units in a story, but it sounds like you can only do that in multiplayer.

As for a unit comparison, let’s see….  once I could build Apocalypse Tanks, the Rhino’s had little use for me.   I never built and Psi-Corp Troopers, rarely built dogs (except for the Chrono Defense in which they came very much in handy).  Flak Troopers were useful once in a while (usually around cannons for added oomph).  Tesla Troopers weren’t built as often as they could have been, but when I used them, they were great!  In the final mission, I stole their barracks in the Northeast and had it long enough to build a Tesla Coil and I stationed 2 Tesla Troopers there.  Onme went to Elite between juicing the coil and firing into tanks that came by.  After a bit, he was tough enough that between him and the coil (the other was killed), they could take on six Grizzlies at a shot with very little damage (and target the Prism Tanks before they could pass the area).  Flak Tracks were fun as troop transports once in a while, but their mobile support against Rocketeers was quite valuable.  Groups of them around Flak Cannons made for quick Elite trips and a lot of dead Allies.  I almost never built Terror Drones.  When I got them I would use them a bit, but they always seemed a bit too hard to use quickly and aggressively.  Sea Scorpions would be used as anti-Rocketeer defense very nicely and supported my Subs.  I never used a single Giant Squid, though.  By the time I could train them, I didn’t really have many large ships that a wolfpack of Subs couldn’t deal with.  Neat idea, yes, but I never got the hang of using them.  I also never used (or built) the Iron Curtain.  I only launched one nuke, so that wasn’t a very important building for me either.  I built the Psychic Sensor by mistake in the last mission, but was very glad I did so.  The intel it gives you on what will be attacked was invaluable in the early part of the mission.  It’s a shame that it will be lost as Yuri stole it. 🙂  I also only built the Cloning Vat in the last mission to play with it.  Not terribly useful when I built it (especially in that mission when garrisoning buildings would have been useless), but I can see its uses elsewhere.

Overall, an excellent game.  I’m very satisfied.  Who knows… maybe one day I’ll get through Yuri’s Revenege and move through CnC Generals and actually get to play CnC 3!

Now playing: Westwood Studios & Digital Media House – Grinder
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Red Alert 2 (Allies)

February 10, 2008

In an effort to get this blog moving a bit forward, I’m going to talk a bit about Red Alert 2.  I beat it last night with the Allies for the first time.  I rather enjoyed it overall, though I always had trouble coordinating my navy.  Since you rarely use them in the campaign (or at least I did), I never had the chance to put them to their full potential and I never got used to which ships could attack which targets.  I know the carriers can attack things inland and would make good use of that, but towards the end you would get the dolphins to counter the Soviet Squids.  I would try to get them to shake the squids off but wouldn’t always be successful.

Other units that didn’t get as much use are the Mirage Tanks.  Since I don’t play online (at least not yet), they never seemed to have the same punch against the A.I.  I can never be sure of how much the A.I. is “fooled” when he would see a few tanks sitting amongst a bunch of trees, only to have the mirage be lifted and ten more tanks appear.  They seemed to have a decent enough attack ability, but once I was able to make the  Prism Tanks, that was all I needed.  Staggering their placement allows for a virtual continuous firestorm of light to be launched at anything that comes around.  The only good counter to that is either a quick air assault or a bunch of Conscripts streaming in at once.  The more Prism Tanks around, the better my chances are of doing additional damage to anything surrounding the units I was aiming at (great for taking out base structures).  I would usually have a few Grizzlies nearby for support, but a healthy number of Prisms (around 10 or so) could typically support itself long enough to go Elite.

Thoughts on Infantry:

I would pump out a number of G.I.’s to garrison buildings in key locations.  The A.I. seems very suicidal when it comes to dealing with these buildings.  I’ve seen them throw good ideas at me once in awhile like a good V3 Launcher assault, but typically they like to stream troops past the building and get carved up.  I loved building Spies, but my first use would be to hit the Barracks or War Factory so I could get Veteran units.  That plan, of course, is put on hold once I know they have Nukes on board.  The best way of stalling for time to get Nukes out of the picture is to sneak a Spy inside and reset the timer for the launch window.  I used to use Rocketeers heavily until they seemed to make more Flak Troopers to counter that.  A nice fast way of keeping their economy low was to send in 10 or so Rocketeers against their War Miners.  Unless they were really close to base, I wouldn’t let one get away.

Thoughts on the final mission:

Rocky start, to say the least.  the Seals landed and cleared the area for me.  Instead of having the Seals wipe out the Tesla Coils, I let the IFV’s take care of them.  A few of them would become Veterans from their destruction, which would be a help once the stupid Kirovs came floating into town.  Anyway, I pumped out quite a few G.I.’s and garrisoned the bunkers outside and a building just to the east.  I took the reinforcements that arrived and grouped the IFV’s into one group and the Prisms and Grizzlies into another.  While fending off their small attacks which always seemed to be timed with keeping me busy long enough for them to get a Nuke Ready, I tried to build a Spy to deal with either the Nuke or the Iron Curtain.   When the first Kirov showed up, I was ready for him and sent the IFV’s in to swat him down.  I can’t wait to play with those blimps… they take so much damage!

Not long after the Kirovs were destroyed, they launched their Nuke.  Around a minute left in the window, I moved everything away from the Construction Yard and let them nail it.  They took out a Power Plant and my Barracks because of how close they were clustered (when will I learn?)  I went to work rebuilding what was lost and tried to continue to bolster my troops.   Once the res of that was back, I built the other buildings needed to bring out the Chrono Legionnaires.  I built a few of them and sent them off to do their various dirty work.  I first tried to single out their Nuclear Reactors when I could find some and would zap them out of existence in an effort to cut their power down.  After a few attempts, I was able to stop the timers on the Iron Curtain and the Nuke by taking enough of their power out.  During this focus, however, the Soviets Iron Curtained a few tanks and wiped out the Derricks that I picked up early on, cutting my economy down a little bit (I still had a refinery and an Ore Truck, though).   Several of my bunkers were wiped out, but they kept a lot out of my base, so it was a good trade off.  Somewhere in my Chrono power trip, a Kirov or two snuck up towards my base and wiped out my troops (all of the vehicles and everything not in a building, except for the 3 Chrono Legionnaires  and 2 Navy Seals)  He also took out my Barracks, War Factory and Construction Yard, so I was quite alone.  When the dust cleared, he was killed, but I had nothing left but what I mentioned above.  I thought about restarting, but I wanted to see where I could go with this, so I marched onward.

The Chrono Legionnaires  became my best friend.  Slowly and very carefully, I would take everything of theirs that I could, starting with the remaining power plants and eventually moving toward the War Factories and Barracks.  I had nothing else to produce, so each move was carefully thought about.  Any troop that was lost could not be replaced.  I managed to wipe out most of everything on the map, saving as I went.  I found the Navy Seals (I thought they were killed at first) and had them join up, using their one shot kill against Infantry to be a big help (especially later on).  By now, these five troops that were left were all Elite, which was a major help.

I found (the hard way) that Seals can’t destroy the Terror Drones before they get killed, so I had to stage traps to remove them.  At this point, I remembered that I had troops in building just waiting to shoot stuff.  I pulled them out and moved them south toward the Kremlin.  One of the large Cathedrals was sitting mostly empty (with an un-powered Tesla Coil and a V3 to keep it company).   They moved into the building and I had the Seals get close enough to trigger the Drones to attack.  They would get close and the G.I.’s in the Cathedral would destroy them.  At this point, the only thing left to get rid of was the small base surrounding the fortress of the Kremlin.  The Legionnaires would clean most of it up, but I found they could not get rid of the Yuri that was sitting there.  It took a few tries before I realized that the Seals could still kill them in one show (but only if there was one of them.  If there were 2 together, one might get killed and the other would mind control the Seal’s, removing a lot of my effective crowd control.  Eventually, I figured out that my Terror Drone trap would work against the Yuri’s too, so I eventually wiped them out and was able to take care of the entire base surrounding the Kremlin.  All that was left was the small green forces.  4 Apocalypse Tanks, 2 Sentry Guns and a Tesla Coil.  This, oddly, would be the hardest part of the whole damn mission.

I moved some troops around to test how powerful the Tanks were and was surprised that one volley was enough to kill any troop I had on hand.  (for those that haven’t played the game, infantry can’t damage tanks very easily, but tanks also have a hard time damaging infantry.  Kind of a balance of sorts).   I found a spot below the Kremlin that I could Chrono in my 3 guys in an effort to wipe out the Sentry Guns.  It took quite a few attempts to figure out where to put them, however.  Every time I placed them in the middle, thinking that they would target a separate gun before they would get killed,they always went for only one and would get wiped out.  Finally, I found a spot on the right just far enough away from the left gun but not too close to the tanks that I could hit one and then the other afterwards.  After many efforts or trying to figure out a timing for taking out 2 of the 4 tanks safely using the Chrono Legionnaires, I gave up.  I couldn’t seem to figure out a timing for swooping in and snagging one while the other was tied up and hitting both at once wasn’t working either.  Then I remembered I had one last troop that might help… my Chrono Miner.  I moved the big truck down to the gate of the base and moved all of the G.I’s that I had left outside as well.  Suicide run in transit… I sent the truck in and the Tanks took aim.  I also moved all of the G.I.’sin, hoping they would keep the Tanks busy while my Legionnaires approached from behind and zapped both of them out of existence.  With only 2 Tanks left, I sent the remaining G.I’s forward and repeated the strategy.  With the green forces removed, Tanya landed and finished the mission.  So that is how I beat the majority of the final Allied Mission with 3 Chrono Legionnaires, 2 Navy Seals, 1 Chrono Miner and about 15 G.I.’s (in a pear tree).  That was a hell of a fight.  Now it’s on to the Soviet Campaign!

And for anyone that wants to know more about the units, please check out planetCNC.

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Contest Winner!

February 6, 2008

I took part in the contest involving the Blizzard podcasts that they started making and I won one of the grand prizes!  I’ll be getting a Starcraft II hat and a set of Logitech 5.1 speakers.  Not bad at all!