It's true, sometimes playing an RTS on a console is more frustrating and futile than attempting to tie shoelaces whilst wearing mittens, but if you can navigate your way past the usual pitfalls of clunky interfaces and poor controller support there's a lot of fun to be had. Sometimes. Red Alert 3 continues the classic base-building tactical gameplay of its bolshy predecessors, set in a parallel universe where WWII never happened and Einstein was a time-travelling loon. This third instalment sees the rise of a new faction - the Empire of the Rising Sun - and more absurd units and hammy acting than ever before.
You can pick up a copy of the Xbox 360 version of the game for just £3.95, saving you over 20% of the nearest competitor's price over at MyMemory (£4.95), essentially making it less expensive than a footlong Subway sandwich.
Red Alert 3's big gimmick is that now you can play with a friend for a fully featured co-op experience, although to be honest I'm not entirely sure exactly why you'd want to. Red Alert 3's main appeal still comes from the over-the-top plotting and cutscenes, the accessible gameplay and, most of all, the ridiculous combat units.
Essentially going about it's business by smacking the question 'What if...?' in the face, this game sees you take command of squads of amphibious Tesla-pimped stingray boats, Sonar attack dolphins, platoons of energy rifle-toting, lightsaber-wielding samurai, and psionic schoolkids. The cut-scenes are decked out with a stellar cast on top melodramatic form, with such luminaries as George Takei, J. K. Simmons, Jonathan Pryce and the irrepressible Tim Curry all making an appearance.
The control system is actually not as offensive as you might think, and carrying out your duties as an armchair commander is more fun than a console RTS really has a right to be. It's not as tactically rich as some of the rather more serious-minded strategy games out there, and it still suffers from lacking a mouse, but for under £4, this is a thrilling console RPG that's not afraid to have a little laugh at its own expense at times.