If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Learn more.

Have You Played...Command & Conquer: Red Alert?

Giant. Ants.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert asks one question: what would happen if Hitler never existed? As a sort of side project/pseudo-sequel to the original Command & Conquer, Red Alert begins with Soviet scientists going back in time to assassinate the uber-fascist. The consequences are felt throughout the series but in the original, war breaks out anyway, and you can either side with the Allies (who are admittedly a little dull) or with the Soviets and Stalin himself.

As early RTS games fare, C & C was popular because of the asymmetric faction design. One army would specialise in fast, lightly armoured units, while the other built heavily armoured units with greater firepower but which were significantly slower. Red Alert carried on this trend of asymmetry, with Soviets gaining access to Tesla Coils, the Mammoth Tank, and other unusual technology, while the Allies specialised in more conventional vehicles and the Longbow Helicopter.

But the thing I loved were the FMV cutscenes. The live actors brought a B-movie quality to things, which only got better as the series progressed, culminating in possibly the greatest Tim Curry performance ever. It made playing as the Soviets fun, with their awful Russian accents and (more) eccentric take on Stalin. It's not just the cutscenes that got in on the B-movie theme. There is an entire campaign where the allies must defend civilisation against a horde of giant ants. It's as ridiculous as it sounds.

With a remastered version of Red Alert being worked on, which will include all three of the classic expansion packs, you'll have a chance to play soon (or you can play a free version called OpenRA). It's unclear if the original cutscenes survived for the remaster, but I sincerely hope they did. We should at the very least get 4K ants.

About the Author

Dave Irwin avatar

Dave Irwin

Former Guides Writer

When Dave was guides writer for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, it was his privilege to understand how to play certain games well, so that newer players can understand the more complex things about them.

Support Rock Paper Shotgun

Sign up today for access to more supporter-only articles, an ad-free reading experience, free gifts, and game discounts. Your support helps us create more great writing about PC games.

See more information

Comments

We love having a friendly, positive and constructive community - you lot are great - and we want to keep it like that. Our main commenting rule is "be excellent to each other". Please see our code of conduct, where you can find out what "be excellent" means. TL;DR? Respect others, think before you post, and be prepared for puns.

More Features

Latest Articles

We've been talking, and we think that you should wear clothes

Total coincidence, but we sell some clothes

Rock Paper Shotgun Merch