Screen shot 2009-10-09 at 2.38.35 PMWe've been lucky enough to be able to get out hands on a preview copy of EA's Command & Conquer Red Alert. While I admit it's been at least ten years since I played the PC version of the game, the look and feel seems to be remarkably intact, but most importantly the controls in the game work surprisingly well.

Red Alert is a prequel to the original Command & Conquer and takes place sometime during the 1950's in a parallel universe following Albert Einstein's creation and activation of a time machine. Einstein erases Hitler's existence, but without Nazi Germany providing resistance and weakening the Soviet Union, Stalin's armies grow increasingly powerful and he is intent on taking over all of Europe and Asia. As a fan of alternate history fiction, the Red Alert universe has always really appealed to me.

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The iPhone version of the game is trimmed down from the original, but with so few solid real-time strategy games on the platform, Red Alert still clearly stands out from the competition. The version of the game I've been playing comes with an objective-based campaign for both factions as well as a skirmish mode. But even though the game has been compacted to the small screen, all of the features such as base building and unit micromanagement still are in game.

The screen is framed with all kinds of interface elements, and while seeming slightly cluttered, everything works well enough and I never felt like the controls were getting in the way of what I wanted to do in the game. The battlefield can be zoomed using standard pinching gestures, and to change your field of view you can either swipe your finger around the screen or touch the mini map in the top right corner.

7320_152310527345_46940027345_2617950_7415042_nLining the right side of the screen are all the buttons and menus for building your base as well as training units. Just like the PC version, units can be queued up to train multiples at once. Placing a new building in your base is as simple as tapping it from the "build" menu, at which point a grid appears on top of the terrain and your building can be placed with familiar green and red highlighting indicating valid placement.

Once you've got your army built, you can organize units in to three squads assigned to the three buttons on the left hand side of the screen. To select units, you can either tap them to select individual units, or by tapping a button on the bottom left corner of the screen you can drag a selection box around units on the battlefield. From there, another button on the bottom of the screen allows you to assign your current selection of units to one of the three buttons on the left side of the screen.

While this may all sound slightly convoluted and confusing, the initial campaign missions walk you through all of the controls and once you get used to them you will be commanding your forces almost as effectively as you would be using a keyboard and mouse.

Here is a brief video of me (losing) one of the Soviet missions, and if you're as nostalgic as I am about this game series, the title music alone will bring back memories--


[ Full HD version | Low Bandwidth version ]

Overall, Command & Conquer Red Alert in one of the more impressive iPhone games I've played lately. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any kind of multiplayer included with this release which really would have pushed Red Alert over the line in to the "totally awesome" category. According to EA, the game will be available on by the end of the month.

  • Slapshot

    Meh.... =/

    • Vikas

      This is awesome but EA made a mistake not using the same exact song that plays in the menu of Red Alert 3. That was a kickass song. But they took the skeleton of it and took out the edge, made it sound no where near as awesoem

      And not including multiplayer is a huge mistake imo. Multiplayer is the whole appeal of RTS games. You will never face the same challenge/diversity from the AI as you would from a human player.

      • tahrey

        Uh... aren't they using the C&C Red Alert music? The C&C3 theme probably being an evolution of such. I don't see why you'd use the CC3 music in CCRA, particularly when 50% of the appeal is an exercise in modern nostalgia. Uber C&C gonks like myself who have a CDDA of the game music (in all its 22khz mono 8bit glory) would quickly notice something's up.

  • Maelick

    Whoa!!! Yes!!!

    Enough said

  • Falkor

    Its got the Hell March. Instant purchase.

  • Teslanaut

    I wish they'd just do an updated Red Alert 1. Update the graphics but keep the gameplay and units they way they are. Maybe if they wanted, fix balance issues.

  • bravetarget

    extremely stoked on this one. Finally a thorough RTS on the iphone ^_^

  • James Raynor

    SLURRRRPPPP!!!!

  • reinhart_menken

    I'm gonna guess there isn't a skirmish mode :p which is where I always go to first, when I get my hands on a RTS game.

    • arn

      shockingly you neither read the article or watch the video which both indicate there is a skirmish mode

      arn

      • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

        HAHA!

  • Tim

    Yeah! I've been waiting for that for the last 2 years! The video shows potential, great graphics! Can't wait to play it.

  • Blitsie

    Instant buy if the live action cutscenes are also included.

  • Shadowsfall

    You can't just let out a raid of them lol! You need to build a army with defense first before you let out a raid, otherwise. The enemy will sneak into your base and disable your power supply, then you're doomed!!! O_O

  • http://www.hbdia.com IzzyNobre

    ONE THOUSAND TIMES YES

  • http://www.hbdia.com IzzyNobre

    Hmmm

  • http://www.wordpress.com/appsandstuff Addicted2waffle

    OH MY GOD... I CAN'T WAIT TO Try THIS... I have waited a loooong time.. Wohooooooooo yeaaa wohohohooooo iiiiiihaaaaa yippi ky yeaaaay wuhuhuuuu jabbadabbadoooooo hallelujaaaaa hihihihahahahahohoho yeppidappidooo c&c yessssssssssssss.... Is there more to say???? :) wuhuuu :D

  • http://cardeo.ca cardeo

    nice! To bad about the multi-player but still awesome. Now if Blizzard would just release star craft!

  • EatKodosDaily

    :D

    Pity it's got the EA logo, which makes it an instant "avoid at all costs" for me. I've tired C&C 3, let me tell you, WORST. RTS. EVER. The game is butt ugly, harasses you to no end about hacks, takes forever to load, and is stuffed full of useless and god units. Basically, it's just a typical EA game where they try to copy someone else's game, slap their logo on it, and advertise the hell out of it. In the case of C&C 3, it's a copy of Blizzard's StarCraft.

    Now if Blizzard wants to make an RTS for the iPhone, that'd be amazing.

    (I'm always so sad to see how excited people get over EA games... my god people, it's garbage!)

    • VoodooVyper

      How the hell is that possible when C&C series was introduced before StarCraft? Correct me if I'm wront, but C&C came out 3 or so years before SC. Dingbat.

      • John

        He is talking about C&C 3 which came out in 2006 duuh.

  • http://www.wordpress.com/appsandstuff Addicted2waffle

    Was thinking about it.. Want starcraft as well!!

  • preston

    insta buy! moar classix plz!!

  • http://www.doctorwhotv.co.uk CJ

    The text makes it sound like this is based on the first Red Alert but it's clearly a scaled down version of Red Alert 3.

  • intake66

    I will probably get this. I loved CC back in the day, it would be nice to have it on my phone :)

  • LOLCATZ

    Finally!!! A proper freaking RTS on the iPhone. Hallelujah!

    Skirmish mode FTW

  • http://jespersunivers.dk/ Plast2

    Insta-buy if ever I saw one...

  • gospel

    Hmm.. not something I would want to play on the phone at all at this point. I was hoping for an innovative approach to the controls. Will keep an eye on it.

  • LOLCATZ

    You know what would rock HARDCORE?

    An iPhone RTS with voice control along the lines of tom clancy's endwar

  • Mister Mumbles

    "Red Alert is a prequel to the original Command & Conquer"

    Wrong! It wasn't a prequel to anything. It was a spin-off. :p

    • tahrey

      It could be considered a prequel given its premise and timeline. C&C itself is set in some indeterminate "future" period in which some rather strange stuff appears to have gone down since the present day. The entire course of history from about 1930 onwards being drastically altered (caused by Einstein's removal of Hitler from the existing timeline) could certainly account for that...

  • Rad

    Looks like it will be fun !

    Is there any expected MSRP for launch?

  • Patch

    Looks amazing, I used to play the old Red Alert 1 and Aftermath and stuff.. only problem I see is that tanks can go over eachother? That's dumb.. should be like the real game, with collision intact.

  • Tres

    Disappointing about the lack of multiplayer, but I'll probably pick this up. I haven't really liked any of the Red Alert games since the first one, but this one seems well done.

  • http://www.viekoslavia.com/ Vieko Franetovic

    I have to second Tres disappointment: multiplayer is a key component of this franchise. However, I'm hoping that the tran$ition is good enough for EA to consider investing the time/money on multiplayer.

  • http://www.hbdia.com IzzyNobre

    I find that real time multiplayer doesn't lend itself so well to mobile games anyway, since you'll often be moving around/playing in short bursts of free time while on the go.

    So yea, instabuy for me.

  • monster

    looking forward to it, but what the hell happened to vanilla C+C? It was all a buzz in June that it was coming out about now, and this pops up... is it replacing it?

  • alxcoolastru

    Wow Looks Neat, interesting will it be better than Fieldrunners

  • Xanthos

    I literally said "OH MY GOD!"

  • President of Earth

    That's great news.
    Now all we need more is Age Of Empires and Starcraft!

  • http://www.bootant.com bootant

    so tired of games about evil russians
    may be we'll have to make a game about good russians :)

    • Septimus

      There are only evil Russians with atrocious accents! Don't spoil it for us!

      ;)

      • http://www.bootant.com bootant

        no no no
        now we'll have to make a game
        where good russians save humanity from evil

  • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

    I'm SooooOO o o ooo getting this!

  • Nascor

    The music at the beginning sounds like Linkin Park's "No More Sorrow" XD
    The game graphics are looking very good, I've never played a CC game, but this will probably be a look worth

    • tahrey

      Wow. I never realised LP were into ripping off Frank Keplaki (the composer for the C&C series, who got his own little section in a game music documentary at some point) as well as endlessly recycling their own material... I think the first version of Hell March was probably formed whilst Chester et al were still in elementary school.

  • Bijaaz

    They should have made the team icons smaller, only the circles with numbers because they take a lot of space on the screen

  • Moroboshi

    Good to see EA bring real pro developed titles to the iPhone, and genres which actually work well without buttons.

    Dreadful music though.

  • Chad

    Definitely checking this one out

    Just one step away from Blizzard's iPhone RTS response...right? RIGHT?

  • Slapshot

    Whoa, is that DLC I see? "C&C Store". Pause it at 0:01.

  • http://www.paulodell.co.uk Paul O'Dell

    NIIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • John

    The sounds make me cringe. I hope it is not another breast infested title which tries to lure people in with slutty dressed girls like Red Alert 3 did.

    • erik

      Unfortunately I have to agree, I was looking for RA3 for so long and when it came to me.... WTF is this? SOFT PORN strategy? I want to crash some tanks and evil russians...if I wanted to see a pussy, I would have bought porn movie not RA3. Thats poor marketing strategy of this century, just put naked slut in the front line so we will sell more.

      PLEASE dont make this another slut-will-sell-it title, we want some serious action !

  • http://www.iphonelife.com/werner.ruotsalainen Menneisyys

    Story posted to the iPhone/iPod Touch Multiplayer Gaming Bible ( http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?p=555778 ) ā€“ along with TONS of new info & videos!

  • Vikas

    This is awesome but EA made a mistake not using the same exact song that plays in the menu of Red Alert 3. That was a kickass song. But they took the skeleton of it and took out the edge, made it sound no where near as awesome. Use the original song, not this dull remix please.

    And not including multiplayer is a huge mistake imo. Multiplayer is the whole appeal of RTS games. You will never face the same challenge/diversity from the AI as you would from a human player.

    I don't think I'll be getting this game without multiplayer. What's the point? And I'm the biggest RTS and Red Alert fanboy you'll ever meet.

    • Jassen

      The song used in the video is from the ORIGINAL Red Alert. For many including myself it brings back fond memories.

  • tahrey

    I'm wondering why it has to be "trimmed and compacted" to work on the iPhone. Compared to the processing power, memory, and screen resolution of the PC I first played Red Alert on, I think the iPhone actually wins big in all areas and could maybe support a slight expansion or at least a like-for-like. Certainly one of my brother's friends got it going on an even less powerful machine.... a 66mhz 486, with 16mb RAM, having to play it in basic VGA (320x200) mode because his machine just couldn't push the pixels fast enough to deal with the (optional!) SVGA. 480x320, however many hundreds of mhz and tons of RAM should deal with it easily.

  • http://helderribeiro.net Helder

    What? Natasha? Where's Tanya?!

  • windowlicka

    TANYA SUX

    NATASHA4LYFE

  • Dvsh

    Where is it?

  • http://Macsoftwarelist.com Parker

    Uhm, where is it?

  • English

    3pm Central time and STILL NO C&C I'm getting antsy!!!!!! I've been waiting months for this game to come out and now that it's here, THEY STILL HAVEN'T RELEASED IT!!!!!!

  • Parker

    My is there not an update on where the F**k this game is. The 23rd is almost over and there isn't a release!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://macsoftwarelist.com Parker

    I have an update. I found a German site that says it is coming out on Oct 28. Thanks for the long wait EA. It is almost like waiting for BSG to have new episodes.

  • Sascha

    God... please... where is it? I can't wait any longer! Any updates? It's 5 PM here in Germany! It's about time to kick some ass!

  • Sascha

    Crap.... new release date is "early November".....

  • Tom

    Is it a difference in power at this game between iphone 2G and 3G?

  • http://mejorlcd.blogspot.com mejor lcd

    I love Red Alert, can play for hours.