The Russians, Tom Clancy's old reliable villains, are back. The American techno-thriller author has lent his name to several computer games, including the intricate new title from Ubisoft known as EndWar.
The video game's scenario? In the next twenty years, America deploys a space weapons system to protect the United States and Europe from nuclear attack, while a sullen Russia stays out of the missile shield club. A few years later, the world's peak oil doomsayers are suddenly proven right and all of the world's major oil producers -- except for Russia -- are found to have massively inflated their reserves. The resulting collapse of the world economy puts a remilitarized Russia on a collision course with America and Europe.
Naturally, the reasons why Russia's grown-up Nashi youth would rather level Paris than buy it are never quite explained. (On this point, a pessimistic Russian might ask: Where will Russia find enough men to maintain a powerful army in twenty years? But the game designers seem to get around this question by having most of fighting take place between robots).