The secret to making a good expansion set isn't a well kept one. After all, hordes of Command & Conquer fans frothed at the mouth as they filled newsgroups and chat channels with wish lists of things they hoped would be provided in the previously disappointing C&C mission discs. Seemingly, Westwood was listening: Red Alert: Aftermath is the definitive expansion pack by which all others in this genre will be judged.
At long last, Aftermath provides brand-new units to the Red Alert franchise in both the single-player and multiplayer modes of the game (Counterstrike only had some new single-player units). There are seven new recruits in all. The new, Soviet-only units include Shock Troopers, Tesla tanks, missile subs, and M.A.D. tanks. The Allies can now produce mechanics and missile-bearing Chronotanks. Both sides can also build the suicidal and speedy demolition trucks that can easily level structures upon collision.
These units dramatically change the strategy in the game, as they serve to strengthen both sides' weaknesses. For example, the missile sub gives the Soviets some much-needed seafaring offensive power by allowing the sub to fire onto land. On the other side, the Allies' mechanic repairs tanks during combat, thus giving them the ability to stand up to the better-armored Soviet counterparts. The M.A.D. tank and demolition truck make base defense all the more important as those units can destroy buildings if allowed to get close enough. Also important to note is that Aftermath changes (or rather, corrects) some structure attributes to balance the once lopsided factions. Allied turrets now fire twice as fast, in addition to having stronger firepower. Also, building more than two factories no longer speeds production (designed to stop multiplayer tank rushes), and the Allied Gap Generators aren't quite as strong (fewer hit points, and Soviet Spy Planes can see through their black shroud for longer).
In addition to improving gameplay through unit additions and alterations, Aftermath includes 100 multiplayer maps and 18 new single-player missions of varying difficulties. There is also the introduction of "mega" sized maps, which can comfortably house an eight-player battle. Unfortunately, these cannot be made in the map editor (though it's a safe bet that someone on the Internet will make an editor that can). Fans of Red Alert's excellent musical score will be happy to know that Aftermath comes complete with eight new techno tracks to listen to during the carnage.
At a low price of around twenty bucks, the Aftermath expansion pack is a heck of a deal that practically turns Red Alert into an entirely new game. If you're bored with Red Alert, or want to breathe some new life into your multiplayer matches, this is an outstanding add-on that shouldn't be passed up.