RIP, RTS: Command and Conquer

C&C: Red Alert


Even though TD was the first C&C game, RA is the game that most people recognize as the face of the franchise. It is Command & Conquer.

While searching on YouTube, one can find hours of C&C mission videos over the span of two decades, yet not one of them is as vivid in my memory as the above intro video. The Chronosphere, Eienstein’s fictional super-weapon that he uses to eliminate Hitler before he could come to power which would leave the USSR unchecked during WWII, teleports away the logos, followed by C-O-M-M-A-N-D-&-C-O-N-Q-U-E-R scrolling across the screen to the strutting beat of Frank Klepacki’s “Hell March,” one of the most famous songs in the history of video game music. After “Red Alert” appears, a tank bursting through a wall queuing the guitar riffs to the aforementioned song, followed by several FMV clips.

That intro video still gives me chills to this day.

I have already said a bit about Allied tactics in RA, so I’ll begin with the Soviets. Being a “prequel” of sorts to the Tiberium universe and the second game in the C&C franchise, the unit diversity is notably more distinguished between the two factions. Soviet armor is particularly pronounced with the granting of the Heavy and Mammoth Tank, and bringing up the rear is one of my favorite long-ranged siege units, the V2 Rocket. Ironically, while real-life Allied Forces were quite capable, the Soviet in RA have air superiority. The Yak for strafing ground forces, the MiG bomber, and the Hind (made famous years later while featured in  Metal Gear Solid as Liquid Snake’s vehicle of choice . I never cared for the Yak or the Hind, which were only useful for squishy units, but I was crazy jealous of the MiG. As strike-craft, they could just fly in, unleash their payload, and get out, making them even more dangerous than the TD Orcas or the Allied Longbows which would hover around before exhausting their arsenal. Soviet strength does not end there, because it’s only naval unit, the Victor-class submarine, was also superior to anything the Allies could muster because of its devastating torpedoes and stealth until it surfaced to fire or would bump into an Allied vessel. Combined with the Tesla Coils as the core of their base defense, and the Iron Curtain which could be used to make one unit invulnerable or vaporize a small squad of Allied infantry (a waste), the Soviets basically beat every Allied unit in the game 1v1, forcing their Communism-hating rivals to be more resourceful, while the Soviets could rely on brute strength. 

soviet mammoth tank

The Allies are objectively weaker, but hey, they’re the good guys and I like a challenge. Besides, it’s fun building a Tech Center and launching a satellite to see the entire map. While Allied Light and Medium Tanks are of course easier to kill than the Soviet armor, they fire faster. Looking at YouTube videos, one will notice that Allied players will spam Light tanks because they shoot almost three times for every Heavy Tank double shot. This means that when there are one-hundred tanks on the screen—typical for a multiplayer game—without some extreme micro, Light Tanks would beat out Heavy Tanks, especially when considering that Light Tanks are $200 cheaper (IIRC). I have already covered the Longbows which I like to use to take out Mammoth Tanks, Harvesters, and structures. I don’t fear the Mammoth Tanks (even though one could cheese the c/d of their missiles by force attacking their turrets 1/3 a turn and then canceling) because they hit weakly compared to Rocket Infantry. I also already mentioned Cruiser and Chronosphere cheese (force attack an approximate area rather than directly target), but that is mostly useful while skirmishing the AI, which never built sea units. The Gunboat and Destroyer are hardly worth mentioning when there are Submarines in the water. One sub can take out two Destroyers by itself because Depth Charges are inaccurate.

Allied Cruiser about to bring the rain!

Allied Cruiser about to bring the rain!

The Aftermath units are…afterthoughts. The Tesla and Chrono Tanks are too expensive for what they offer in Kleenex-strength armor, and the Soviet Missile Sub is just imba, taking away one of the only pound-for-pound advantage that he Allies had over the Soviets, which was a long-range nautical-to-land unit.


Maurice Pogue

Since picking up an NES controller in 1985 at the age of 2, Maurice and video games have been inseparable. While most children aspired to be lawyers, doctors, or engineers (at the behest of their parents), he aspired to write for publications such as EGM, PC Gamer, PC Accelerator, and Edge. After achieving ABD status in English at MSU, Maurice left academia and dedicated his writing to his lifelong passion. He is currently the Video Game Editor at Geeks Under Grace.


  1. Wesley Wood on February 21, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Awesome write up Maurice!

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