Mental Omega introduces a wide selection of features unseen in the original Red Alert 2 or Yuri's Revenge, a large amount of which can be attributed to the Ares Expansion DLL - an engine extension currently developed and maintained by AlexB. This article will highlight the biggest differences from the original game, to inform the newcomers about the most important new logics and rules added to the play.|
Instead of relying on the very limiting menus of the base game, Mental Omega utilizes a brand new client, originally created by Rampastring, to let the players launch into any of its many singleplayer missions, skirmish, LAN, or even online multiplayer on CnCNet servers. This client retains the customizability of the original game, and expands on that with numerous new options. Some of its key features are as follows:
- All of the new missions are selectable from a list from the very beginning, meaning that unlike the original game you don't have to beat the campaign on your own first, and maintain your save files.
- The skirmish screen contains a selection of new features: you can make it pick the map randomly for you, you can adjust more options such as Tech Level, Ore Growth, the availability of Stolen Tech Units, minor/major Superweapons, Garrisons, Tech Defenses or even Naval Combat.
- If you seek additional challenge, and are not afraid of the enemy AI cheating, you can enable the Mental AI Boost to let it get money boosts, and build more factories, all capable of unit cloning.
- You can play a sandbox-like mode, by not choosing any enemies. It is also possible to launch and observe an AI-only skirmish. In multiplayer, multiple spectators can now observe the same game.
- A set of alternative graphics renderers will let you adjust the game's performance if the default is causing you problems. There are currently 8 different ones available besides the default setting, which you can additionally combine with a Windowed/Borderless setting. We highly recommend testing what works best for you, as it varies from user to user, depending on their setup and OS.
- High Resolutions are now unlocked by default, and are adjustable for game and client separately.
- Global Soundtrack option allows you to enable all faction-specific ingame music at once if desired.
- A Statistics window will track and summarize your skirmish/multiplayer battles with lots of details.
The Skirmish/Multiplayer portion of the game comes with a lot of different game modes, classic and new:
- Standard - skirmish in its purest form, no special enforced settings.
- No Bases - everyone starts with a set of randomized units and no MCVs.
- Tech Share - all of the subfaction-specific tech is shared by a faction.
- Infantry Only - only infantry is available for combat, misc tech changes.
- Unholy Alliance - 4 MCVs and all of the tech is available to any faction.
- Ultimate Alliance - in addition to the above, ecoboosters unlock Stolen Tech.
- Free for All - no in-game alliances can be set before or during the battle.
- No Defenses - all of the defenses from the armory are permanently locked.
- Assault - the objective is to destroy the enemy flag and protect your own.
- Capture - the objective is to capture the enemy flag and protect your own.
- Islands - all player home locations are on islands, misc tech and AI changes.
- Fortress - multiple players form a team, to destroy one or two in a fortress.
- Land Grab - all player home locations are in the center of rather small maps.
- Oil Control - no ore is available on the maps, only capturable Oil Derricks.
- Bounty Hunt - players can get money for killing objects or collecting crates.
- King of the Hill - whoever holds the special Psychic Beacon long enough wins.
- Tournament 1v1 - enforces rules, removes Reinforcement Pads and Stolen Tech.
- Tournament 2v2 - enforces rules, removes Reinforcement Pads and Stolen Tech.
- No Rush - no weapon can be used and no MCV approached in the first 10 minutes.
- Challenge - special maps, where 2 players fight 3 AIs in a very unusual scenario.
- Cooperative - special missions, designed explicitly for 2 human players to play.
There are 12 Subfactions, new Stolen Tech Units and Tech Buildings in the game, which are described in detail on the Factions page, but there also few differences to the gameplay itself, which are as follows:
There are certain differences to resource and power maintenance compared to the original to note. First of all, the ore to gem value ratio has been modified from 1:2 to 2:3, to partially deemphasize the strategic importance of gem fields on maps. Additionally, each and every map in the game now has an amount of Oil Derricks divisible by the amount of players, so deploying your Engineers early on is now a necessity. Furthermore, you must pay attention to the power supply in your base, as going low on power is now much more punishing, since it decreases your production speed by 50%. Last, but not least - the economy-boosting buildings now generate money like a single Oil Derrick.
- Support Powers
Unlike the original, which limited itself to several superweapons, paradrops and scouting powers, Mental Omega introduces a wide selection of new support powers for both support and offensive purposes, akin to the more modern Command & Conquer titles. These powers are all accessed from the Armory tab, come at different prices and prerequisites, and can heavily affect the flow of battle.
- Stat Modifiers
Undoubtedly the biggest game changer compared to the original game, Mental Omega introduces buff/debuff weapons and support powers. The units and structures affected by stat modifiers will have color-coded icons attached to them for the duration of the effect: red for firepower, green for hitpoints and blue for speed; buffs on the left, debuffs on the right side of the object. Other effects include weapon disabling marked with an X, and firepower value reversal marked with a sad face.
- Alternate Unit Modes
There are various units in the game, which can switch into an alternate mode by using the Deploy function, by double-clicking on the unit or pressing the default 'D' hotkey when selected. Some can switch between two different weapons or activate shields, while others have additional 'hold fire' modes to complement their design, usually utilized by the more aggressive melee or cloaked units.
- Enhanceable Defenses
Defenses are worth preserving - in Mental Omega they can gain additional enhancements just like the units do, as they gather combat experience by destroying the enemy objects. Comparable to the veteran and elite stages of the units, the defenses can gain two additional boosts: first will increase their hitpoints, while the second will enhance their firepower and grant them additional self-repair.
- Multi Engineer
Rushes with a single Engineer are a thing of the past. In skirmish and multiplayer one Engineer can capture any Tech Building, Tech Vehicle or Empty Vehicle, but for player-owned faction structures more effort is required. An Engineer can only capture one when it's at 33% (red) health, 2 Engineers are required to capture a structure with 66% (yellow) health and 3 Engineers are required to capture a structure with 100% (green) health. This setting is permanent, but does not apply to missions.
- Expanded Stolen Tech
In Mental Omega each of the four factions has its own infiltration unit. Like in the original, these special infantry can steal blueprints from the enemy bases, to grant you access to special units. However, you are required to infiltrate both the ConYard and the Lab. Each of the factions can steal tech from one of the four, resulting in 16 possible combinations and 16 stolen tech units to acquire.