Why I kick ass at Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge
For real time strategy, there is no substitute for Command and Conquer. Get that Age of Empires or Starcraft baloney out of my face. Yes, I know this game is more than a few years old. I actually stopped playing for about a year as everyone seemed to use trainers. Takes the fun right out of it.
Westwood was the company that put Real Time Strategy games on the map with the ground breaking Dune II (the actual very first RTS game was Hertzog Zewi for the Sega Genesis, and it's not too bad for a game of it's time.) Sucks that since Westwood got bought out by EA games it looks like we'll never see another C&C game that's any good (C&C Generals, while decent, just doesn't do the series justice in my opinion.) So it looks like we're stuck with the pinnacle of the series, Red Alert 2: Yuri's Revenge.
A few months ago I was surprised to see that a lot of people still play this game on-line (I play under the moniker 'hol3iday," as that's the name my brother choose when he set up the account.) Not the several hundred you could find a few years ago, but enough to get a game going in a decent amount of time. Looks like a lot of them are from Europe, the far East, etc (the game must still be semi-new there or something.) So I was overjoyed that I could go back to kicking whiney noob booaty like a year had never passed. And I found that all the players are pretty new, as they all consistently fall for the same tricks over and over again. And so, I'd like to give you all some helpful hints as to how you can too kick some major ass at Yuri's Revenge.
The following tactics could conceivably be used in any RTS game but apply specifically to C&C Yuri's Revenge. If you don't have that game you are a loser.
1) The Best Defense is a good Offense: Half the time in games like these whoever attacks first usually wins. Most people either rush straight out the gate and hit you with everything they've got, or turtle up and try to build a massive force to steamroll over you later. Move your tanks within striking distance of his base early on. If it comes down to you defending your base against his 30+ tank rush chances are you're going to lose. Bring the fight to them, force him to defend and usually he'll stay that way the whole game.
2) Annoy, annoy, annoy: From the Art of War by Sun Tzu: "When the enemy attacks, we retreat. When he is idle, we attack. When he retreats, we pursue." If the other player is the turtle up type, take the opportunity to pepper him with hit and run attacks. Attack any lone units wandering around the map. Nothing is more annoying than hearing "Unit lost" and not knowing where it came from. Scout out his base early (this is usually done with attack dogs or Brutes) and use quick units to attack any unguarded buildings. Attack just enough to get his attention, then withdraw to your larger force. Chances are he won't take the gamble and engage your army if he isn't up to speed yet.
3) Paper, rock, scissors: Every unit has advantages and weaknesses. Tanks are very susceptible to air attacks, anti air units (such as IFV's, gattling tanks, or Flack tracks) are vulnrenable to tanks, troops are vulnrenable to everything and are pretty much worthless except in large numbers (more on that later.) Never attack units that have an advantage over your own. Keep units of like grouped together, but also have a few groups of mixed units for those special situations. Most of those morons on-line just build 50 of the same tank over and over again. It is highly satisfying when one Battle Fortress and a squad of Rocket troops decimate a whole column of undefended Rhino tanks. Noob.
4) Never chase a Battle Fortress: You could have 20 tanks ready to kick butt, the BF will kill them all. Same goes for Yuri's Mastermind, which you should only attack with robot tanks, terror drones, or by air. The only way to kill BFs or Masterminds is to surround them and cut off their escape, if you chase them they'll pick off your units one at a time.
5) The Ol' Bait and Switch works every time: This has got to be the oldest trick in the book, but I tell you I use it every game and still manage to pull it off 90% of the time. Distract your enemy with some weaker units (like IFV's or Flack tracks) and pull away his tanks from his base, then attack while his guard is down. I made a little illustration here for you. It's a very accurate rendering of the battlefield:
1)You (the circles) send your weak units to attack the enemy's flank (the sides, for those of you who don't know.) Be prepared to sacrifice these units.
2) The goofy noob idiot will think "easy kill," type some crap like "lol flck trcks!" and send his whole force out after them. At this point you should retreat and get him to follow you.
3) In the meantime, send your heavy units (Prisims, Rhinos, or even GIs) to attack his base. 90% of the time the fourteen year old kid on the other end has never seen this maneuver and will be taken by surprise, then accuse you of cheating. Resist the temptation to defend your honor. Proceed to blow up his War Factory instead.
4) Don't ignore base defense: Nothing is worse than when you've got the other loser on the ropes and he sneaks an engineer or Navy seal into your base and messes you up. Build a few towers/turrents and place a few troopers around key structures, not enough to stop a huge attack, but one or two will usually discourage sneaky crap like the above. Surround your conyard with other structures (like power plants) so that engineers can't invade it. Don't bother building walls as it's just a waste of money. If at all possible (and if you know the map) try to position the entrance of your base as to bottleneck any potential tank rush. Use the map to your advantage, place units with long ranges on cliff tops overlooking the entrance. The idea is to force the tanks into a small corridor you can effectively defend (while you decimate them with air units.) He might have 50 tanks but only 1/4th of them will get through (this is especially evident on the most popular multiplayer map everyone plays, Tour of Egypt.)
5) Always try to put some distance between your base and your enemies'. Usually this isn't a problem but with certain maps (like Land rush maps, or Desert Heat) your opponent will only be a few screens away. This will stop "cannon walking" and allow you to build up a bit before he rushes you.
6) As a rule, build your buildings close together as they are easier to defend with fewer units/turrets/towers/whatever, unless of course Superweapons are enabled, in which case you should build as far apart as possible. Keep in mind your Conyard can survive a direct hit from a super and build other vital structures away from it (as 90% of the time your conyard will be the first target.) The person who builds the first superweapon usually wins, however most of the time you can pump out 10-20 tanks as he's wasting time building the weathermachine or whatever.
7) Don't underestimate troopers: Your common el cheapo troop unit (conscript, GI, Initiate.) will usually be ignored by the other player, which you can use to your advantage. As they are cheap cannon fodder you can attack with them an not have to worry if they all get killed. While they aren't very effective against enemy vehicles, they are highly effective against buildings. If you can manage to sneak a squad of GIs into your enemy's base it's all over. Soviets and Yuri are at a disadvantage here and will have to use mixed units (standard mixed with Tesla troops or Brutes/Yuri clones.) As most people don't prepare for attacks by troops (unless they build a seal because somebody chose America) you can usually destroy a few buildings before he can stop you. Mix this with the Bait and Switch technique for good results.
8) Naval Superiority is the key to victory: If the map has water, get your behind in gear and get some naval units. All it takes is one or two aircraft carriers/Dreadnoughts/Boomers and it's all over. There is no defense against a naval bombardment from multiple killships. Yuri has the advantage here as the Boomer doubles as the standard and killship. For the allies and Soviets their options are lower. Once again, build as many weak units as possible (dolphins/Squids) and secure the area, make sure your enemy doesn't build a sizable naval force. Then move in with the killship as soon as possible. (Naval superiority is an absolute must on maps like Bay of Pigs.)
9) Know the battlefield: If you keep getting owned on a particular map play a few skirmish games on your own against the computer. Take note of the strategy your opponent used to beat you and try it against the computer. Remember the locations of key areas, like tech oil derricks, bridges, cliffs, gems, etc.
10) Anger is a weapon only for your opponent: Don't get mad when your plan fails. It's only a game. Occasionally (like say, 5% of the time) I have managed to retreat with my conyard, sell off the other buildings, and start up another base (close to an ally) and come back. But usually if the bozo's tank rush gets through your defenses it's all over. Take it like a man and surrender (don't just disconnect, because that screws up the game for everyone. Who gives a shit about ladder rankings, get a life for Christsakes.)
Of course, by all means taunt your opponent when your plan works. Piss him off so he starts calling you names. You're effectively distracting him from the game, so feel free to send in your squad of rocket troops to blow up his base while he's frantically typing and trying to think up better insults than "noob." Just like the Bait and Switch, but with insults.
Another effective distraction is to try and ally with your opponent right before you attack. Sometimes the idiot will actually accept, whereupon you can march your tanks right into the center of his base, declare war, and proceed to lay waste to man, woman, child, and beast. A dirty way to play I know, but this is war. I didn't make the game. Don't look at me.
11) Surround, divide, and conquer: You don't need a sizeable force to be effective. A small number of mixed units can be just as effective as a large group of 20 Rhino tanks in certain situations. Make a small squad of mixed tanks with emphasis on speed:
Allies: Medium tanks, Mirage tanks, IFV with guardians or Chronos.
Soviets: Rhinos and Flack track (for air defense,) Telsa tanks if you're playing as Russia. A few terrordrones as support.
Yuri: Lashers with Gattling tanks, maybe a few Chaos Drones
Use this as your "Hit and run" squad to keep the enemy busy as you build up your main attack force. Great for eliminating miners or the stray unit walking around without protection.
If at all possible try to move your teams in clumps, not single file (as the computer automatically does.) If they attack in single file they will be picked off one at a time, while in a group they have a better chance of concentrating fire. There used to be a way to create formations in earlier C&C games but sadly this was not implemented in Yuri's Revenge (anyone know how to do it?)
A Trap: Place a number of heavy units in a well defended area, use your hit and run squad to draw out his main force and lead them right into your trap. BFs, Rocket troops, Levitators and Masterminds, or Armageddon tanks are good here. Half the time the enemy will chicken out and you'll be able to pick off a few of his force.
11) War of attrition: Later in the game when the ore gets scarce every unit counts. It's not just a tank you blew up, it's $700 your opponent lost. When the ore runs out and it takes longer and longer to build more units, that is the perfect time to attack. The allies have the advantage here with the Ore Purifier. Soviet Industrial Plant saves money on Tanks but not much else. Both are best to ignore until the game gets going. At this point the enemies harvesters become top priority, take them out so he's got no money, then pick off his units one at a time. Most noob imbeciles put their eggs all into one basket and build the majority of their force of all one unit type (Rhinos, Siege Choppers, BFs, or Masterminds being very common.) All are vulnerable to a combination of air and ground attacks (bait and switch works fine here.) Try to preserve your units as much as possible, attack with cheaper units (Ifvs, troops, gattling tanks) and keep the firepower for the final thrust.
One final word of advice: Learn how to play without trainers. Yes it's neato that you can make presidents and win without any trouble, but people will remember your name and kick you out. Plus you're screwing it up for the rest of us. Get a life. It's just a game.
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