At long last, after 26 years, I've finally finished the Allied campaign of C&C: Red Alert. What a roller coaster. Sometimes I had fun, sometimes I found it infuriating and often I found it just stressful. I've never found the Allied campaign to be all that fun but I've never really put my finger on why that is in a definitive manner, but now I know:
I'm somewhat of a turtler by nature. I enjoy building nice looking bases with strong static defences and units in clean formations that can take out any enemy with minimal losses and player input. I enjoy taking my time, building up my forces, exploring the map and possibly fortifying choke points. I like to have my existing units fixed instead of just being replaced, if possible. I like to feel like I'm in control and not being rushed by anything. I do like being challenged as long it's fair, I don't want to be treated like I'm an idiot but neither do I want to deal with BS that require trial and error.
Red Alert, and especially the Allied campaign doesn't really go well with those kind of preferences. Static defences, with the exception of AA-Guns, are nearly useless and you are better off pumping out tanks. Those said tanks are fairly weak and thus you need a lot of them, and they have the brains and pathfinding of a headless chicken. There goes turtling and the feeling of being in control. The game also feels faster paced and kinda chaotic, throwing all kinds of crap at you, and this in turn made me feel like I'm being rushed to pump out massive amounts of tanks to deal with the enemy asap. Constant air attacks were annoying because it was hard to tell what they attacked if you didn't see the attack and the target building doesn't look like it has seen better days. Having to check every building to find what needs fixing isn't fun, apparently the new remasters have quality of life improvements in that regard.
And the cherry on top are the two indoor missions, trial and error crap with a time limit, neat! I HATED those missions. The last mission also had a great start; you'll start with Tanya and two thieves with explosive barrels on both side you and enemy soldiers in front of you. Pretty obvious what you need to do, just kill the soldiers before they shoot the barrels and that's what I did. Then a Tesla Coil shot from the unexplored darkness at the barrels and Tanya went boom. Mission failed. The whole thing lasted like 4-5 seconds. Have I mentioned how much I like trial and error?
The farther I got in the campaign the more I noticed myself playing the game like every mission had a time limit, maximizing cash income and tank output as fast as I could, just sending the tanks to areas I needed without giving a damn could I lessen their losses in some way and just pump out more tanks till the numbers were enough to rush the enemy. Blood for the blood god, skulls for the skull throne. Even in missions where there was absolutely no reason to rush, the problem is that I feel like the game had trained me to do so, intentionally or not. As a result I started every mission slightly stressed out, expecting the worst and not being able to just sit back and actually enjoy the game, only to realize at the end of the mission that it was actually a fun mission and I've could have played it without any rush whatsoever.
Now looking back there absolutely are missions in the campaign I could play again just for fun, but I find it very unlikely I'll play the entire campaign ever again. I think I will find a save game that has all the missions available and cherry pick the missions I like going forward. I'm still glad I finally beat the campaign, this has been a thorn in my side for ages.
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