Reviewed: July 2, 2006
Reviewed by: Jeff Gedgaud


Monte Cristo

Released: June 28, 2006
Genre: RTS
Players: 1-2
ESRB: Teen


System Requirements

  • Windows 95/98/2000/ME
  • Pentium III 1.4 GHz
  • 256 MB RAM
  • Windows Sound Card
  • 64MB Video Card (GF2, Radeon 8500)
  • 1.2 GB free space

    Recommended System

  • Pentium 4 2.5 GHz
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 128MB Video (GF FX, Radeon 9800)

    Screenshots (Click Image for Gallery)

  • Showing just how good graphics can be in an RTS, Cinemaware Marquee along with Monte Cristo has released Moscow to Berlin: Red Siege. Red Siege takes the same theme of World War II in a real time simulation and changes the focus more on the battles and tactics with no troop building and little equipment management.

    Monte Cristo puts all the focus on the battles with only a few problems in gameplay to mar an otherwise great game. The graphics are really awesome with your views being able to get so close up you can tell the soldiers do need a shave as well as a shower. Okay maybe not that detailed but youíll get the idea when you check out the great screen shots I was able to take of the action.

    Moscow to Berlin: Red Siege offers players an epic look into the strategies of real time WWII warfare on the Eastern Front. Follow the action through history from the German offensive at Barbarossa all the way to the Red Army's siege of Berlin. 20 action-packed missions put players in command of both the German and Red Armies. Historically accurate battles, equipment, and cut scenes provide a fascinating look into key WWII conflicts.

    Red Siege features:

    • Three fascinating solo campaigns featuring battles from the Axis and Russian sides with a total of 20 replayable missions.
    • Over 100 authentic weapons, vehicles, and units to unleash against the enemy.
    • Encyclopedia mode provides historic background and strategic tips.
    • Over 100 authentic weapons, vehicles, and units to unleash against the enemy.
    • Three multiplayer modes including Conquer, Capture the Flag, and Deathmatch.
    • Artillery support, air strikes, and aerial recon give armies long range support before rolling in tanks!
    • Stunning graphics show the intense detail of the Russian and German battlegrounds as weather seasons change.
    • Narrated in-game cut scenes explain objectives and historical significance of each mission.
    • Boxed version includes exclusive Red Siege dog tag and poster!
    Much of this is all too true but with some things the companies features do not talk about. The really awesome graphics and how they handled cutscenes is truly unique to gaming.

    Starting with the usual great movie intro the game takes you to a menu and if you donít do anything on your computer it will take off into more movies of the action. You start single player missions in one of three campaigns and the in game cut scene will start you off with a really good looking old fashioned movie telling your objectives and mission, but in a unique way. The movie will stop on your starting position with only the colors being added in and then the on screen controls. Then itís off to war.

    You have the usual controls of units using your mouse and some quick commands on the keyboard. The units you have at your command are realistic with a wide variety of troops, vehicles and even airplanes. The troops break down into very useful ones but many times you will have a very limited amount of time to use them. The most useful ones I found were the sappers for disarming mines before you sent in your tanks and laying mines in certain circumstances.

    The main focus of Red Siege is battle and this is best accomplished with your tanks and other armored vehicles with support from your artillery or aircraft as well as the troops. The best use for most of the troops is standing by waiting for enemy vehicles to become available and taken over for your own use.

    During gameplay at crucial points of some levels a cut scene will cut in with important information about the rest of the mission and your objectives which they do in a unique way. The screen will fade and then cut back to your own fighting and moving your units around that you had just done but in a black and white movie type scene having just been recorded by the game. Then it will show you what your next objective is while moving the camera around while still in a movie type scene. Then it moves back to your previous position and cuts back to the normal color view and you get to move on with the level.

    This recording and use of the action at a pause point with the cut scene is really cool and a neat addition that I can see being an up and coming thing in future games. This is not a great thing or even a big help while playing Red Siege but it certainly is cool.

    Red Siege makes use of realistic armored vehicles and you get plenty of them during missions. Not only useful tanks, artillery and howitzers but armored personnel carriers and repair vehicles are at your disposal to help you in each mission. There are so many vehicles and tanks that it takes a few missions to find out the best use of some of them. I did find the encyclopedia very useful not only to admire the wide variety of vehicles but to try and figure out what each one is best at.

    The camera covers such a small area that you can be rushed to do things on different parts of the same battle and have enough time to get all that you want accomplished. You can always use the time compression buttons in the setup to slow things down which I found handy. It would have been better if the camera could pull further back but they might have done this to make it harder on you.

    Another thing you really have to pay attention to is the cut scene describing your objectives. Some missions are not as simple as taking over a position or maintaining a defense at one spot. Some can be difficult and this makes the game that much better and harder.

    Some of the missions are very challenging as well as fun. They use a term called pocket and you can find your mission to be getting out of the pocket and then back to your defense line or some such. It could be confusing but it is also fun as well as a challenge to accomplish all the movements of the troops and vehicles when you donít really want to leave anything behind for the enemy to use against you further along in the same mission.

    The tutorials are not exactly necessary but it will help get used to the controls and how the game operates in general. The game comes with a very easy menu type key command changer on the start menu of Windows to change the key assignments for Red Siege.

    There are also a few multiplayer games you can try your luck at but getting someone else to play along with might be tough. I could not find anyone else to play with at Gamespy and you would have to know someone else who has Red Siege to play over the Internet with. There are three game types to play over the internet; conquer, capture the flag and deathmatch.

    Moscow To Berlin: Red Siege has some fantastic graphics and is the best real time simulation I have seen to date. The details are there from the explosions, bullets and bombs to the aftermath of the pieces of vehicles and debris littering the battlefields with an added camel running around the North Africa scene to boot. The scenes are very well rendered with very little frame rate loss on high detail only in the really big battles.

    I have a new video card, Nvidia 6600 with 256 MB RAM and had very little frame rate drop while playing on the highest detail settings of all the things like shadow, particle and texturing details. The game plays very well on these high settings and only at the very peek of action did I see any problems.

    Red Siege has some great graphics in all the wide variety of details that are in any one scene. When you are fighting the explosions and all the action looks great, even the things you donít quite see well are detailed.

    When you have a bombing run from an aircraft the bombs are great just as they are falling and you can clearly see the planes shadow on the ground even if you donít catch a glimpse of it. The planes are well detailed when you do see them but many times I could not catch a good snap shot of one as I would be concentrating on the action and not worrying about my strikes I called in a little while ago.

    The debris of the scenes is also highly detailed so you can make out parts of tanks like treads among the bodies and parts of buildings. Some of the debris stays the entire mission but others disappear after awhile. One neat part of the game is when you hit a tank or other vehicle and it is not damaged beyond use you have to hurry up to get your men into it. Or it will blow up and be unusable by everyone.

    Sound is another area that is very well done in Red Siege. The battles sound realistic and you have to play this game in surround sound to really appreciate it, not that good old stereo speakers sound that bad on their own. The explosions sound great and the men saying things or cursing sound like you rented a movie of the Russian front from Blockbuster.

    You have to get used to one thing in this area of the game, orders do not make much sense when their being given in Russian or German. You get the gist of what is going on when things heat up and you understand what you need to do to accomplish your missions without knowing what your guys are saying.

    Moscow To Berlin: Red Siege comes with twenty missions that are in three distinct campaigns but they are not played all on one side or the other. You hop back and forth from the Russian to the German side according to how Monte Cristo wanted to show the different battles of the war. It makes for a unique way to run a strategy game as you donít really get a feel for either sideís best and worst equipment or troops and you have really no particular side to root for.

    The missions will take more than twenty hours to play even on easy difficulty setting and the harder settings make for even more difficulty in the missions. They have some really good AI for the game and it takes into account things like terrain and unit types when attacking. The games campaigns can be played in one of four difficulty settings but you can also play some of the best individual missions on their own in single player mode. You also get the different difficulty settings to play these 13 missions on when you jump into them.

    Having just played and reviewed two other war type games, one an RTS WW2 game and another tank simulator I have been playing a lot at war lately. I have not been a real fan of real time strategy games until recently and have been converted by games such as Red Siege. This is a really great game and well worth the cost.

    The missions are all well made and have really good objectives with a truly unique cut scene system. I really enjoyed how the cut scenes play from the movies to the game and back while youíre playing. The movie is very realistic of the movies seen back then and to have them go from the movie to your units at the start of the next part of the game is extremely well done.

    Cinemaware Marquee and Monte Cristo can really take pride in a well-made game with many of the parts combining for a great game. Moscow to Berlin: Red Siege has some unique elements that make it original enough to be different than all the other World War II real time simulation games that have been hitting the PC scene lately.