Red Siege is a tactical World War II game developed by Monte Cristo and published by Cinemaware Marquee. The game covers the Eastern Front from the initial invasion of Russia by Germany in the summer of 1941 and ends with the Red Banner being unfurled atop the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany in 1945.
Please pause for a moment or two and turn your attention to my previous review of No Surrender: Battle of the Bulge. I am sorry to report that Red Siege is an almost identical replay of No Surrender. On the plus side is the attention to detail and references to historical fact. But therein lie major problems. It seems to me that this is strictly an exercise in digital “cut-and-paste” to get on the market quickly. The instruction manual gives lip service to new AI element changes but these changes did not effect game play, or at least not as I played Red Siege.
With similar music, voiceover verbalizing background information, and the same overhead playing view as programmed into No Surrender, is it any wonder that I consider it impossible to get involved in this game? Even the terrain, buildings, and railroad tracks that served no game play purpose are back again. One could hardly be blamed for having the distinct feeling of having played this game before.
Furthermore, I buy and recommend PC games for a variety of reasons. In this particular case, I felt cheated. The Battle of the Bulge and the fighting on the Eastern front were vastly different battles in many ways. The Battle of the Bulge was fought over several months and served as a wake-up call to the Allies to the fact that the war in Europe was far from over. The final tally of casualties, though horrendous enough, was “only” in the thousands and the battle was fought over a relatively short period of time.
"In this particular case, I felt cheated."
In comparison, Hitler believed that once the Wehrmacht invaded Russia, the two-front war his Generals feared would be over in a matter of months. Twenty million Russian deaths later – by the end of the Eastern Front war – of the 650,000 Germans invading Russia, only twelve hundred made it back to Germany alive.
Given that, all the designers of these two games could come up with are two almost identical strategy games. I’m sure that with a little bit more effort the Kursk scenario could easily be expanded into a lengthy game in and of itself. For those 2404 members who are not aware, the mere mention of Kursk brings to mind the largest tank battles ever fought.
Instead, what did these designers do? They expanded a small battle into one large title and condense an epic conflict into a twenty game mission experience. It is my opinion that the designers of No Surrender and Red Siege were conceptualized and designed by the same core staff. Only the company names have changed to protect the guilty.
They seem to have several other strange ideas as well. Am I mistaken or aren’t Stalingrad, Leningrad, and Moscow rather large cities? Red Siege shows them, what little you do actually see, rural villages?
The battle for Stalingrad is seen above (first on the left). I’m kidding, right? I’m afraid I’m not. What you see above is the environment that you’ll play the Battle for Stalingrad in.
With such a wealth of material and rich historical documents available, why degrade the virtual Eastern Front of WW II into less than a mediocre experience?
"...why degrade the virtual Eastern Front of WW II into less than a mediocre experience? "
The last mission purports to take place in the rubble-filled and bombed out Berlin. Red Siege gives gamers a bridge a-la No Surrender; taking the Reichstag is the ultimate objective. Was that all it took for the Russians to win the war with Germany? I think not. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t some of most savage fighting of the war fought in the streets of Berlin?
Since this review is very harsh on those associated with the commercial production of Red Siege, the following comment is for them. The last laugh was on me because I never totally completed this title. Playing the last mission, I had control of the left and right side of the Reichstag and cleared the center. When I sent my troops in to hoist the Red Banner in victory, the program crashed. I played the mission again but saved right before sending my troops in and the program crashed again and at the same point. After a third try and more of the same, I uninstalled Red Siege.
Allow the lack of creativity and feeble effort in producing this game be your guide.
Summary scores are as follows:
Story/background: 2 Missed the heart, soul and meaning of the Eastern Front.
Gameplay: 4 As exciting as history class given by an instructor who lectures in a monotone.
Graphics : 4 Sheer laziness in failing to upgrade and update game engine.
Sound: 0 Inappropriate for this theater of the war.
Replay Value: 0 The first time shame on Cineaware. The second time shame on me. A third time, I think I’ll pass.