The History of Command & Conquer


If you have ever wondered what happened to the series, I found this great video on the subject:

It was my favorite RTS series of all time and it had such a sad ending. I played a ridiculous amount time with Red Alert 2 and C&C Generals. I really miss playing games like this with friends.


CnC4 was the turd sandwich of the series and killed it.

I checked Wikipedia and Tom was mentioned there!

Tom Chick of criticized the game requiring several hours of single player gameplay before being able to unlock other units or arsenal - important to winning games in multiplayer.

Also really thinking back over the course of all the games I’ve ever played, I think Tiberium is the most harvested resource of my entire gaming life.


I loved CnC back in the day, my friends and I took turns doing 1v1 across an ancient modem connection and we loved every minute of it. My favorite in the series was the third one though - I put so many hours into skirmishing vs. the AI in that game. It was the last time (and the best time) I had a grand time with an RTS, I think, until the new guard came on the scene (Company of Heroes).

I also loved Red Alert 2, but couldn’t get into the follow-ups nearly as much as I was hoping I would.


One of my favorite series ever. Great times with C&C1, Red Alert 1 and 2. After that there was a clear decline…


I’ve read comments like this very often. C&C1 and RA1 and 2 were the best of the bunch, after them it all declined, etc. I really liked C&C3 (even if patches that fixed multiplayer seem to have made some single player missions ridiculously hard), loved the Global Conquest mode in Kane’s Wrath, and even enjoyed playing the various silly campaigns in Red Alert 3 even though I think there’s too much emphasis there on fiddly special abilities (seriously, that poor F key!).

I’m guessing I like C&C3 and the later games because they were my entry point to the series (I didn’t play RTS games in the 1990s until Age of Empire), and I never got into them for some reason. So for someone who hasn’t played those older games and who likes C&C3 and later just fine, can you explain to me what makes the earlier games so much better than the later ones? And where does Generals fit into this?

And as regards the last game, I liked the idea of C&C4, even though it had, for me, three important problems:

  1. A game based on capturing and holding points works much better when the individual units aren’t so bloody fragile. In that regard, Dawn of War 1 and especially EndWar are the kings of that particular kind of RTS game for me (and I should acknowledge Company of Heroes and Ground Control/World in Conflict here, too).

  2. The counter system based on types of weapons vs armour was hardly intuitive: the cursor changing to show effectiveness alleviated that problem while at the same time shining a spotlight on the issue. It’s just not as elegant or straightforward as spearmen-beat-archers or gunships-beat-tanks.

  3. Needing to level up as a player in order to unlock units was utter nonsense (as quoted above).

The free-to-play C&C I’ve never bothered to even look at.


The last C&C I played properly was RA2. I tried generals, but the utter lack of hotkeys compared to something like Rise of Nations made me give the game up.

Infact games like Rise of Nations killed the RTS genre for me until the Relic games came out. They taught me that I didn’t have to put up with brain dead unit AI or build nothing but tank spam, which is entirely what C&C is.


CnC3 was all about the Orca spam. :)

CnC3 was also the game that didn’t have bases with walls. It was never the same after walls were gone.

NOD had freaking laser walls in CnC2. So awesome. :D


I loved the first several sets of games, then for some reason they just weren’t as fun. I definitely hated all the special abilities you needed to micromanage as the series wore on. I just despise that mechanic in rts’s unless it’s reserved for a big special unit, and then it’s fun.

Still to this day, the best of the series was not the C&C stuff but Dune 2.

You know what RTS’s should do since they’re all special power happy nowadays? Have an “auto-use ability toggle” so the AI just uses it when it deems appropriate. I bet the AI in a game like Ashes of Singularity could pull that off. In fact, special abilities is the one of the biggest reasons I didn’t get Dawn of War 3. I played the tutorial demo and the moment I saw this was more babysitting I said, “no way”.


I have a nostalgic soft spot for the original Red Alert, but Tiberian Sun has some simply fantastic atmosphere for an RTS of its era, and Red Alert 2 lives as the high point in my eyes. While the core game eventually became purely dedicated to tank spam, the foundation allowed for the excellent Mental Omega mod, which is still in active development. It brings a fourth main faction (the Foehn Revolt, the closest thing a C&C game has ever had to a quality-over-quantity faction), three Generals-style subfactions for each main faction (i.e. the Allies are divided into the USA, Euro Alliance and Pacific Front, each with a number of unique infantry, vehicles, structures and special abilities), new soundtrack (still over 50% Frank Klepacki), a rebuilt launcher that allows for modern resolutions & networking fuctionality. If you’re a masochist, it also has a brutally difficult campaign that I’ve never been able to get into, but the skirmishes are actually super fun and it has a non-dead multiplayer community. The gameplay has specifically been rebalanced to shift toward using more than just swarms of tanks and somehow managed to make infantry completely viable in the RA2 engine.

There’s other stuff like Twisted Insurrection, which is a standalone mod (thanks to the base Tiberian Sun game being freeware) that assumes Nod won the First Tiberium War. It has completely reworked GDI and Nod factions with a more accessible and less absurdly difficult campaign than Mental Omega.

It’s mods like this that actually keep the spirit of C&C alive and try to bring it into the modern age without compromising a lot of what defined the franchise. EA was entirely too quick to do that with C&C3, which was a decent RTS but gave up on a lot of the Tiberian Sun worldbuilding and is tonally inconsistent with its predecessor. Kane’s Wrath did a bit to help with this but couldn’t fully bring things back around. Red Alert 3 continued with the absurdity of its predecessors but was mechanically no longer anything approaching the earlier games.

We don’t talk about C&C 4.


3 + Kane’s Wrath is still my favorite, as well.


Don’t forget Firehawks!

That’s mostly Red Alert 3, though.

They have Obelisks of Light in C&C3.

WarCraft 3, which I would say introduced the heavy use of special abilities to RTS games (alongside other overt RPG mechanics), had that. Red Alert 3 fortunately only had one special ability per unit, even though that still made it incredibly micro-intensive.

It depends. I think the (few) special abilities in something like EndWar work well, because the overall unit count is low (in EndWar, you never get to field more than 12 units in total, so it’s fairly easy to switch to a unit of gunships and use their rockets, for example). Special abilities should be just that, “special” – used in specific circumstances. I will never understand why a designer would, for example, put a button for “heal” on a unit and then have it autocast by default; why not have it be a passive ability instead?

Petroglyph would like to have a word with you.


I still remember reading one of Tom’s reviews. “Embarrassed actors”


I know it’s heresy, but… I liked C&C 4. It was a new way to play RTS rather than peons, tech, then poppin’ bases. It was different. Sort of like a MOBA level of fresh air without being at all a MOBA. It was like Rengade being like Battlefield before there was Battlefield. For all the hate about progression, the curve was fairly flat and nowadays no game can survive without progression it seems. But times changed. And, C&C 4 gave me a video game version of my childhood GI Joe that not too many games have done.

So yeah. I liked it. I’ll head on over to my stake now, you guys get the torches.


I wen farther than you guys, and in a nostalgia attack, I installed Red Alert 1 with the C&C First Decade I had. My plan is playing the expansions which at that time I never did. Same with the RA2 expansion.

I’m having fun, though obviously the rose tinted glasses are off and some of the missions are too simple and damn, the controls aren’t as good as I remembered:

-No double click on control group to center the view on it.
-No double click on an unit to select all of the same type.
-No queue to built units. Want to build 20 infantry? Click 20 times on the icon, having to wait for each one to be done until you can click the next one.
-No attack move command.

In any case, for me the enjoyment of this type of games come in that in a way, I find them relaxing in their predictable pace: you start small, you explore and build up, you first play defensive, accumulate forces and then finally can play on the offensive against the AI.