Red Alert


Issue 24

Nov/Dec 86

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Antic Software

1 Player

Red Alert is a combination game of arcade style action and strategy involving a theme that seems to be one of America's favourite phobias, nuclear attack from the dreaded Commies.

The initial scenario is an outline map of North America which you must defend for as long as possible against missile attack from the East, either across the Atlantic or over the North Pole. To add further interest the Ruskies have managed to slip the occasional submarine into the Pacific so you need to watch your back. At the beginning of each game you are given free range to deploy laser bases and silos for ground to air missiles as well as cities to defend. This is where the strategy comes in, in building the best defence to protect your cities from destruction for the longest possible time. Laser bases are computer controlled automatic weapons and if cleverly placed will earn you high scores without intervention on your part. Any missiles that do get through must be destroyed by using the mouse to launch ground to air missiles. You also have a Space Cannon which is satellite mounted to be used as appropriate. At the beginning of the game, at least on level 1, you can relax while your laser bases, if properly deployed, look after incoming missiles but as time progresses these missiles come faster and more thickly. There are 3 levels in all requiring more action and quick thinking on your part.

Generally a game does not last long, at least until you become an expert, but there is always a new high score to strive for as each successive high score for each level is saved to disk. Once you become expert in defending North America you can redefine the map to show Europe with the missiles coming from - guess where? Yes, it's those Commies again. Europe seems to be harder to defend as it is more congested and there is a danger of blowing up your own bases if they are sited too closely together.

I have to say that Red Alert is not a particularly spine tingling game and would probably appeal more to the less experienced game players. The main objective is to simply build a high score by lasting as long as possible before annihilation. It doesn't seem that you can actually beat the Russians, maybe there's a message there somewhere.