OpenRA Brings C&C Red Alert into the 21st Century
Mike Sanders / 2 years ago
Command & Conquer Red Alert is back, is better, and running fantastically even on the most modern of systems. Few games dominated my time as much in the mid-late 90’s than Command & Conquer, it was one of the first games I purchased with my own hard-earned money and I was rewarded with one of the finest real-time strategy games ever produced.
From helping Einstein create the chronosphere, to sipping (specially prepared) tea with Stalin in London, C&C RA was incredible in scale, ambition and end result. How amazed I was to find someone had brought this classic as a viable modern and surprisingly good update.
OpenRA is a 100% free and open source recreation of the original classic, however (and this is the really impressive part) they have overhauled the game to both look and play brilliantly, even on a modern PC. At a glance, one of the first things they have addressed is the window size. You are greeted to a significantly larger view of the map (and that did initially throw me off), however, within 30 seconds I was back in 1996 happily base building an army of insurmountable numeracy.
Who needs walls when you can build tesla coils…
The really refreshing aspect is though that instead of lazily recreating the original, they have improved where they could, without tampering with the feel of the game. It genuinely still feels like the right thing.
Some of the improvements they have implemented include;
- A choice between “right click” and classic “left click” control schemes
- Overhauled sidebar interfaces for managing production
- Support for game replays and an observer interface designed for streaming games online
- The “fog of war” that obscures the battlefield outside your units’ line of sight
- Civilian structures that can be captured for strategic advantage
- Units gain experience as they fight and improve when they earn new ranks
I would note that the FREE DOWNLOAD also includes the option to play an updated version of Tiberian Sun & Dune 2000.
I should make it clear that that this is not the original Red Alert, you will find no cut scenes and you will not see EA’s name within a mile of this product (maybe that’s not such a bad thing). OpenRA does, however, have over 95 maps, a single player campaign/scenarios and most impressively good online capability. This is, in many ways, much better than the original by improving on that which was lacking but leaving that which was fantastic. Modern ‘HD re-releases’ could learn a lot from this project.
Available for free at www.openra.net and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. I look forward to seeing you on the battlefield commander.