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Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge (angolul)

2001.12.03. 00:00 | szerző: BladeRN | Ismertető/teszt

The events of September the 11th intruded even into the relatively innocent world of gaming with the release date of Yuri’s Revenge delayed due to a need to alter the cover illustration on the packaging. Instead of scenes of ravaged New York silhouetted in the background we are regaled with lurid yellow psychic waves like an evil halo surrounding the cranium of Transylvania’s arch-villain. Westwood intended to make Yuri the common hated enemy, but I feel marginally sorry for him much of the time during the missions as he never lives up to the promise of the opening film sequence as an adversary with an AI still badly in need of an IQ overhaul. On the other hand, diehard fans like myself do not regard the missions as anything much more than a comfortable opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the new hardware, to get our eager mitts round the steering wheel of the various vehicles and drive them straight into the middle of the fray. Multiplayer rules and Yuri’s revenge is not a disappointment with several improvements, which go beyond the merely cosmetic, allowing Westwood to catch up with some of its rivals in terms of ease of use, more of which later.

Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge (angolul)

One of the first changes the player notices is the pleasant surprise that all units have distinct voices and phrases when you issue your orders. Allied units were always too blandly cheerful in RA2 and monotonous in their compliance whereas in Yuri the designers have incorporated a refreshing sense of humor. For example, the Mirage Tank proclaims itself to be “Mean, green and unseen” and tells us “There’s nobody here but us trees” whilst the Prism Tank’s voice is more sinister and technocratic with its detached “Focusing light trajectory”. Likewise the Soviet tanks, my favourite being the Apocalypse, which puts your average post-millenial doom monger to shame with his biblical solemnity heralding that the end of the world is nigh for the foe. Although he is a new kid on the block, Yuri does not lag behind. His blindly obedient, brainwashed minions, the Initiates, make Stalin’s most sychophantic supporters look like rank amateurs with their total adoration. The Brute (who looks like the Incredible Hulk wearing a hippy headband, although it covers his eyes) is appropriately dim – no point entering him as a contestant on The Weakest Link, though he would quickly rid the planet of Anne Robinson to the delight of many (why the heck did they not put this in the Activision game?). The Yuri Prime, as you might expect is not one for hiding his light under a bushel, enough to give even Narcissus an inferiority complex with his “Yes, my exquisite mind” in the dulcet tones of a fin-de-siecle Viennese psychiatrist (I keep expecting him to ask the perennial “Tell me about your mother”).

Each side has its own elite unit of which only one may be made at a time (unless, of course, you have a cloning vat, which gives you a spare Prime), putting an end to spectacles such as Tanya’s annual Military Academy reunion where the girls chew the fat over the merits of Uzis rather than Tupperware.

Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge (angolul)

The tech buildings are more interesting in Yuri’s Revenge with machine shops, which auto repair all damaged vehicles, civilian power plants, enhanced hospitals, which auto heal all infantry and secret tech labs, which allow you to build units from other sides, such as Desolators, for example alongside the oil derricks and paradrop facilities. Taking possession of them whether purely for the improved efficiency they bestow or as a site for extra ore refineries or fallback base can make the difference between success and failure.

New Allied Units and Tactics
As far as your basic infantry is concerned we start with the Guardian GI, no stranger to the gym with his brawny physique, which he needs to lug his large gun about. Although vulnerable to dogs, when deployed he surrounds himself with plastic casing preventing enemy vehicles from unceremoniously running him over. He is also good (and cheap) air defence, particularly good for placing strategically in ore fields to protect ore miners from both air and ground attacks.

Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge (angolul)

Ready availability of the gung-ho Navy Seal alters the tactical landscape as, with an airforce command, you can basically build as many as you can afford. The Seal rush is quite popular amongst Allied players online, so be ever vigilant against a flying visit from a Seal-loaded nighthawk transporter that can devastate your base in minutes and watch the water as he is a gold medallist standard swimmer as well. The Seal also provides excellent base defence against paradrops and engineers.

As for vehicles, the two innovations are the robot tank and the battle fortress. I found the robot tanks (albeit only in large quantities) invaluable during missions, as they are completely oblivious to Yuri mind control, so they can take out as many Yuri clones as the megalomaniac cares to brew in his vats. Oddly enough I have not seen online players make much use of them at all, though they could stave off Mastermind assaults designed to steal all the forces idling around your base to pulverize you with them instead. The drawback of Robot Tanks is that they go offline if their Robot Control Centre is destroyed or if there is not enough power in your base, for example if you resort to using a force shield as protection the tanks will drop helplessly to the ground spitting pathetic sparks.

Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge (angolul)

The Battle Fortress goes some way towards compensating for the main Allied weakness, namely that their units are relatively lightly-armoured and cannot withstand pounding. With its cheerful and slightly unhinged Scottish belligerence it is like Braveheart on wheels and puts on a frightening display of prowess without even having to lift up its kilt – stand aside Mel Gibson! The Fortress can hold up to five units (my preferred mixture includes Guardian GIs, Chrono Legionaires and a Seal), which take pot shots at the adversary as it thunders along relentlessly. If you enjoy battering your way across painstakingly constructed walls and effortlessly squishing Apocalypse Tanks then the Fortress is definitely for you! As in RA2 the Allied strength lies in its combination of weapons able to stay out of the range of fire and stealth.

New Soviet Units
That Yuri made off with the plans of key Soviet technologies such as the cloning vats and psychic radar should was not exactly out of character for such a devious, slippery customer, but Soviet ingenuity has produced some compensations. Enter Boris with a fur hat that owes more to Davy Crocket than harsh Siberian winters, a real hard-liner if ever there was one with his cries of “Die, treacherous dogs!!” I bet he has stashed a gold-framed photo of himself beaming beside Romanov somewhere in his locker. Boris has razor sharp reflexes when it comes to mowing down any GIs, Brutes or initiates unwary enough to cross his path, but the real fun is to be had by making him call MiG strikes, which he does by “painting” structures with a laser targeter. This is where he is vulnerable: the enemy can see which building is about to be hit, as it comes up a most patriotic shade of lurid red. It takes a while for the jets to arrive, during which time Boris can be blasted to kingdom come unless he has backup. The MiGs are good at taking out irritating defensive structures such as concrete bunkers stuffed full of grunts guarding crucial base entrances whose life span on exiting is severely curtailed by the advancing Hero of the Soviet Union, a real Stakhanovist in the killing trade.

Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge (angolul)
Tanya (Kari Wuhrer)

The Siege Chopper fills a gap in the Soviet arsenal by providing an air force beyond the effective, but excruciatingly slow, Kirov. Personally I find its firepower somewhat weak and IFVs in sufficient numbers can cause them to drop like flies. Its primary advantage is that it can be deployed and used as medium range artillery, good for starving the enemy of cash by keeping them away from ore fields.

The Spy Plane, available as soon as you have radar, allows scouting without sending ground forces and as such can be useful, although it is fairly easy to shoot it down.

Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge (angolul)
Tanya (Kari Wuhrer) és Eva (Athena Massey)

To my mind the most useful of the Soviet innovations is the battle bunker, an excellent passive defence against Seals, paratroops, engineers and nosey mutts. They need to be intelligently placed and are conscript hungry if they are to be effective. Beware Prism Tanks, however, as they can destroy the bunkers with impunity, although the bunkers can be repaired if necessary.

Finally there is the Industrial Plant, capable of churning out units at prices that undercut even the Japanese, whilst the cream of the proletariat (élmunkások) tirelessly hammer away for Mother Russia at a rate of production that cannot be matched by their less ideologically-motivated counterparts on any other side.

Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge (angolul)
Eva (Athena Massey) a forgatáson

With Yuri’s mind control the humble Terror Drone was never more important – remember to keep a few hanging around your base in case of a Prime catching you unawares or a Mastermind or Magnetron onslaught.

Although there are no Yuri missions since Westwood somewhat high-handedly decided to make him the loathed enemy of both Allied and Soviets you can play your way through Yuri cooperative campaigns online, which will earn you badges of honour to decorate your name tag with when you enter the lobbies (a bit like veterans parading their combat medals). Not designed for staving off a sustained, siege-like pounding, Yuri is deadly if used with a bit of circumspection and with its striking blend of retro and futuristic styles, Yuri’s architecture is definitely the most aesthetically pleasing.

Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge (angolul)

Yuri Structures
Bio Reactor
Basically identical to Soviet and Allied power plants with the bonus that infantry and captured civilian units can be placed inside them to boost output. If destroyed or undeployed from the reactor the military units can be used for fighting again. If you have stuffed bamboozled GIs in them though recall that they will be somewhat upset on release!

Slave Miner
Yuri’s harvester can be build either as a structure or in the war factory at exactly the same cost. Once a patch of ore has been depleted even those originally placed as structures will trundle to the nearest alternative source of their own accord. The beauty of Yuri slave miners from the war factory is that they can be immediately be ordered to the gem patches to exploit the more valuable ore, giving the shrewd Yuri player an immediate edge. On urban maps, do not forget to garrison all buildings surrounding ore deposits as an omission of this kind could lose you the battle. Slave miners copy their Soviet counterparts in that they shoot at the enemy and when deployed can be repaired by engineers. Sniper IFVs can slow down the Yuri economy to the point of collapse: although slaves who have shuffled off this mortal coil are immediately replenished if they cannot dig Yuri quickly goes bust. If a slave miner is destroyed, its workforce shifts allegiance to the liberator and can be used for scouting or even attack, as the shovels are effective against all comers (Norman Bates in his latter years probably took lessons from a newly freed slave). Always have some form of escort or protection for your slave miners.

Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge (angolul)

The Submarine Pen is fairly self-explanatory, manufacturing Amphibious Transports and Boomers.

Psychic Radar
This combines the function of radar with early warning system, functioning exactly like the Psychic Sensor once the monopoly of the Soviets. It also endows Yuri with the capacity of Psychic Reveal, an excellent scout substitute, particularly if you know the map and the starting positions.

Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge (angolul)
Tanya & Eva

Yuri has no service depot, but the Grinder permits him to build a new MCV should the mission go pear-shaped. The real fun of the Grinder, however, is to be found in its marriage of functionality and bloody-mindedness, one that was truly made in heaven. To use a comfortable euphemism, it “reprocesses” captured units whether they be Grizzly Tanks, sunbathers or overweight beach bums for cash. Mincing cows into Big Macs never fails to brighten up my day…and whilst on the subject of mind-controlled animals I have not yet tried it out, but on the Wild Animal Park map it could yield some amusement to send vicious monkeys on the rampage like a combat scene from Planet of the Apes.

Tank Bunker
When strategically positioned and occupied by Lasher or Gattling Tanks the bunkers are capable of averting even the most determined Terror Drone infiltration not to mention severely hampering base penetration forces. Best used in a composite array including Psychic Towers and Gattling Canons.

Gattling Canon
You might as well admit it because you know as well as I do that from the minute you clapped eyes on that preview of Harriers dropping like flies you were itching to get your hands on the formidable Gattlings. I am Yuri, your mind is weak and betrayed its secrets to me! In every C and C outing I have suffered a faiblesse bordering on the manic for certain defensive structures and Yuri’s Revenge is no exception. With my surround sound and volume turned up I bask in the racket of the guns picking up speed as they rip the presumptuous encroachers apart, although if you share my obsession be warned that it could ruin your family life as spouses do not always demonstrate the same appreciation of the more refined pleasures life has to offer.

Psychic Tower
A mainstay of the Yuri defensive capability, the Tower automatically reduces any unit foolish enough to stray too close into a follower of the Great Master, turning them against their former comrades. It cannot control more than a few at a time, however, and requires protection in order to achieve its true potential.

Yuri Units and Tactics
Yuri’s humblest disciples, the initiates, are not quite as useless as they may appear at first glance, particularly if you fill empty houses or skyscrapers with them on urban maps. They promote relatively quickly and are excellent against structures and tanks though dogs can reduce them to mincemeat depressingly quickly. Indeed, it is only when you play as Yuri that you realize how useful man’s best friend can be. As they focus their psychic energy, flames appear around hostile vehicles and infantry burn – a must for all friendly neighbourhood pyromaniacs!

The Brute is not a misnomer for this walking mountain of muscle who could easily arm wrestle the most battle-hardened Guardian GI into submission. Brutes are given a (sensibly) wide berth by dogs and are deadly against ore miners and tanks, though Mirages and Prisms can dispose of them if you do not have enough handy. Brutes afford an inexpensive means of shattering the enemy economy if you send them to play with “big toys” in an ore patch. They are also reasonably good against structures such as tech centres.

Kitted out in a slinky, off the shoulder number, the Virus is a sniper happy to inoculate the victim against the tribulations of life, the universe and everything with a single shot. They bloat worse than a patient with irritable bowel syndrome before exploding to release poisonous gas so noxious that it causes other hapless fighters in the vicinity to expire. The virus should not be underestimated for defence purposes, especially good at thwarting a shuffling army of Yuri clones, paratroopers, Seals and Boris due to her skill and range.

Yuri Prime
The Yuri Prime is no longer the supreme reward for infiltration into enemy Battle Labs, but the crowning glory of Yuri’s fleshly hordes. The most lethal use is to sneak two of them (cloning vats, remember!) around behind the base of a distracted or inattentive adversary and capture key structures, preferably the Con Yard or Prism Towers to use aggressively before selling. It is useful to have a Psychic Tower ready to build near any captured building as a means of foiling any retaliation against the Prime and giving you extra firepower for swifter demolition.

Lasher Tank
More effective against vehicles and structures than infantry, the Lasher is Yuri’s bog standard assault tank, which travels fairly quickly, but has the drawback of light armour plating.

Gattling Tank
A compact unit, the Gattling is excellent against infantry and aircraft of all descriptions. Like the stationary Canon it revs up the longer the weaponry is in use. Needless to say I am rather fond of them, although they are easily destroyed and best when accompanied by Lashers, Magnetrons and Floating Discs. If you can manage to get two or three inside an enemy base during a bigger tussle they can peacefully ravage the Con Yard and power whilst the enemy is preoccupied by defending against the main strike.

Chaos Drones
Insidious little gadgets that can cause a lot of grief and frustration the Chaos Drones make turncoats of the most loyal. Employed to their best advantage in guerilla-style actions, the Drones set allies against each other with their hallucination toxins, unburdening you of the need to waste resources in sending them to meet their maker. Good for deploying in ore fields, near tech centres you have your eye on or around your base, ore miners are immune to their charms.

This is the Yuri unit with the longest range, equally dangerous to vehicles and structures. Together with Gattling tanks, the Magnetron can wreak havoc, levitating helpless enemy units for the Gattlings to dispose of, or consigning them to the bottom of Davey Jones’s locker (Magnetrons can even lift submarines). On cliff edges they can turn the tide of warfare and against bases their rays reach further than Gattling canons. Their Achilles heel is infantry, against which they are completely impotent.

Master Mind
As its designation suggests this vehicle resembles nothing more closely than a refugee from a paranoid 50s sci-fi B movie about cannibalistic brains, a sluggish, relatively flimsy, though versatile, vat on wheels with the express purpose of taking over enemy minds. I tend to use them in pairs or threesomes along with other units to defend them as they cannot help themselves but exert their influence over numbers of units that vastly exceed their capacity, triggering a “brain wave overload” and their own demise.

Floating Disc
The classic saucer shape of the collective imagination (sorry ET), the Disc is a huge asset to Yuri if the enemy has neglected anti-air provision. Place it above a power plant and the entire base loses its supply whilst the disc continues to fire its laser beam, place it above a refinery and you skim the profits, place above a defensive structure and it ceases to operate. It is an excellent weapon for disabling the enemy prior to blasting him with all you have got, though once again it is prudent to have several discs go in at once unless they are going to be needlessly decimated by efficient air defence.

Boomer Submarine
Play against Yuri opponents can be slightly monotonous when their lateral thinking does not stretch beyond a Boomer rush, but there can be no doubt about its effectiveness. Boomers fire torpedoes (dolphins still reign supreme provided that you have plenty of them) and ballistic missiles against land targets. Gather three or four before launching your attack on the unsuspecting victim, forcing him to scramble frantically for better air defence, spending all his credits on it whilst you ready yourself for a ground rout.

Yuri’s Superweapons
The Genetic Mutator metamorphoses all friendly and hostile units in its area of effect into Brutes under Yuri’s control whilst slaughtering dolphins, squids and dogs. Unless the enemy has kept large numbers of troops in his base this weapon is fairly puny. The Psychic Dominator performs the same function on vehicles (apart from those that are immune anyway such as Terror Drones) and damages surrounding buildings. All three sides have a Force Shield at their disposal, which renders structures temporarily invulnerable, although it knocks power for six for what can seem like an eternity in the heat of battle afterwards. I am a traditionalist myself, preferring more tried and tested weapons of mass destruction than Yuri’s…Nuke em, nuke em I say!!!

Multiplay and Missions

Yuri’s Revenge is the first multiplay experience from Westwood with which I am reasonably happy, although the server remains unstable and cannot easily cope with the demands placed on it, especially at peak hours. It incorporates all the innovations of RA2, adding easier paging options from lobby and games and – crucially – letting players select their allies and starting positions in advance. These simple changes are still paltry when compared to the ease with which other games can be played, but finally make Westwood user-friendly.
Alongside the cooperative campaigns, a new Team Alliance mode places allies close together on new and old maps alike adding a new dimension and at long last players can take part in 3 against 3 matches whilst observers can watch 2 on 2s.
Many of the Yuri maps were previously available as free downloads, although it never ceased to amaze me how few gamers actually bothered themselves to install them. This means that the addicts, such as yours truly, have a competitive advantage knowing from experience where tech centres and hidden entrances are to be found.

As far as the missions are concerned I would not want to spoil your fun by revealing the plot, but as always with Westwood the storyline is compelling and witty with Allied and Soviets taking on Yuri in seven apiece at truly exotic locations such as the moon (for me the soaring cosmonauts were one of the high points) and Yuri’s home of Transylvania. No replicas of Vajdahunyad Castle here, no crags and mysterious peaks or men in long cloaks with greased back coiffure and suspiciously pointed incisors, but there is still enough to keep the fan busy. Neither London nor Hollywood ever looked quite like they do here, the latter boasting an assortment of action idols to be recruited in the war effort, such as Arnie Frankenfurter (sound familiar?).
The missions give good entertainment value, as do the movies with good old General Carville putting in a welcome appearance thanks to the joys of time travel. The depiction of Yuri’s comeuppance at the close of the Soviet campaign parodies Spielberg whilst it is refreshing to see Lieutenant Eva let her hair down, revealing bounteous feminine curves to upstage Tanya.
All in all, Yuri’s Revenge is much more than a simple add-on and is the most satisfying exploration of the genre Westwood has yet released, one that I wholeheartedly recommend to long-standing, highly-decorated veterans and newbies alike. ■


Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge

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Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge
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