You know you’re in for a strange ride when the intro sequence to a game is a Soviet flag with the anthem of the USSR playing in its entirety. Yes, this is the game everyone and his dog has been getting in a bit of a lather about, the one with the techno-dancing Stalin and the curious teenage girl bopping along between clips of tanks blowing up aliens.
The plot, such as it is, involves a secret war between the Soviet forces and Martian invaders in Siberia. As a promising commander in the Red Army, your task is to take your cannon fodder infantry and tanks into the surprisingly non-icy wastes and eliminate the extra-terrestrial threat. Then, after a few missions, the game decides to take a breather, showing a mind-boggling music video as a form of intermission.
Strip the game of all its comedy trappings and what you have is a very basic, very arcadey real-time strategy game. The action is generally frenetic and lacking in any real tactics, other than “select all, attack”. It gets boring very quickly and it seems almost certain the game was merely included to give the developers something to drape their Bolshevik-baiting satire over.
You’d have to be a real curmudgeon not to raise at least a smile at the numerous and sometimes overwhelming jokes and comedy interludes that crop up during play. Your units declare that they “like you” when you select them, the music is outlandish, the visuals are colorful and, of course, you can call upon the support of a 40ft tall Stalin to help you crush your Imperialist alien foes under his Communist feet. Stalin vs Martians really should be rubbish – and it is – but for 30 minutes or so, you’ll be having a strange amount of fun.
Jun 11, 2009