Although the series is generally quite campy, It does have its many moments of scary things that will put you off from playing a game or two for some time. Most of these comes from the sudden realization about the various mumbo-jumbo in each series and imagining yourself to be caught up in one of these.
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- Tiberium, as summed up by one of the developers:
"What happens if you're exposed to Tiberium? Nothing good. If you come into direct contact with Tiberium, the green matter will start to fuse with your skin within about 20 seconds. You'll feel an intense burning sensation, similar to touching a hot pan or spilling acid on your skin. A full blown infection will manifest if you aren't treated immediately. Your flesh will begin to take on a glassy-greenish appearance as it begins to crystallize; eventually your internal organs will shut down as Tiberium extends rigid crystalline runners throughout your body. If you breathe in the crystal, then it will become embedded in your lungs. You'll lose the ability to process oxygen as your lung tissue crystallizes. Eventually you'll start coughing up blood and will hemorrhage to death."—Mike Verdu, "Living with Tiberium".
- Tiberium is horrifying once you learn of exactly why it has its properties. It's more or less a terraforming agent. However it leeches valuable minerals from the soil into a concentrated amount, growing crystals that can be easily harvested. The gas is toxic to most lifeforms and generally devolves them as well, but is easily contained. Bordering on Fridge Horror, you realise that this thing is made to capitalize on greed. Every single society will fight tooth and nail for control of this stuff, as there is literally no better way of extracting valuables. They will also purposely cultivate fields of the stuff, because it's far more easier to plop a crystal in the ground than digging through a quarry. But it leeches away nutrients for growing food and degenerates (and poisons) local fauna. This ensures that whatever species left when the Scrin arrives is completely crippled, with but pockets of unmutated stock left and mostly worn out from war and starvation. And Nod keeps wanting to spread this stuff over the planet, and starting in Tiberian Sun they practically have a religion based on it, which Tiberium Wars takes to an extreme with stain-glassed window paintings depicting Tiberium mutations. It's not till Tiberium Twilight where this interest DOESN'T make them come off as insane.
- Speaking of the Scrin, lets look at Cult of Reaper 17. The Cult of Reaper is stated to be set of armies that are supposed to forcibly subdue any planets that offer resistance to the Scrin, and Reaper 17 is described as being bloodthirsty even for an army meant to strong arm planets, and are described as using Tiberium like an addict overdosing on drugs.
- Visceroids in Command And Conquer. They're disgusting enough in the RTS games, but the Renegade FPS gives them a whole new level of scary, seeing as you can see how disgusting they are up close and personal.
- Not enough? Then go for the Nod Mutant army, which is anywhere from dumb Initiates to clever Acolytes to really tough Templars.
- By the Third Tiberium War, Visceroids have been tamed by the Forgotten and used as suicide bombers and, on occasion, as food. Remember what the Visceroid use to be, and remember that the Forgotten are also Tiberium Mutants...
- Buzzers. Swarms of thousands of tiny Scrin bladed organisims whose sole purpose is to flow through the cracks and gaps in your armor and shred you to tiny pieces.
- Sonic Emitters. They work by broadcasting the resonate frequency of your opponent over a large distance. This is meant to deal with Tiberium, but what about when you use them against Nod militants? This means that the Sonic Emitters are literally shattering every bone in the opponent's body.
- Or worse yet, liquefying their insides.
- When Cabal took over the Cyborg Army, he employed Reapers to collect humans for conversion into cyborgs. While the graphical limitations reduce the process to simply emitting a gas and a cyborg popping out from the corpse, you can see that they hold soldiers and civilians alike in pens. And the first step to conversion is to infect the patient with tiberium... Thankfully said mission has you destroying the facility, but not before Cabal obtains a sizable force.
- The brotherhood's cyborg program was started by the Soviet's Super Soldier program, which only had one successful prototype; Volkov and his dog Chitzkoi. When the Allies were victorious, it was stated that both Volkov and his dog were "decomissioned". Not imprisoned, not granted amnesty, not executed, just "decomissioned"...
- Volkov and Chitzkoi's creation is nothing short of horrifying either. Both of them some how have metal endoskeletons. Not Metal-plated, full on metal skeletons. Volkov also has part of his skeleton modified to have a grenade launcher built into it. And this was done with WW2 era soviet surgical knowledge. No wonder there was only one "successful" prototype.
- The Yellow Zones and Red Zones of Tiberium Wars are horrifying to behold. Yellow zones are an all-to-close reminder of some of the poorer 3rd world countries that exist in our time; decrepit infrastructure housing billions of starving, desperate people while global superpowers war just over their heads, and running water and food is considered a luxury. On top of all that, they have to deal with the very real possibility of Tiberium contamination as they go about their daily struggle for survival. And then there's the Red Zones; an apocalyptic wasteland where the earth itself has been gutted by tiberium. Giant "glaciers" of tiberium run so high and deep that it's impossible to harvest them with conventional means, while any man not thoroughly protected from the air itself will find himself either dying an agonizing death or horrifyingly mutating into a visceroid. Within minutes. Anything that managed to survive in this environment has been mutated beyond recognition; your soldiers will occasionally remark how it feels like an alien planet and they're right; tiberium has mutated the place so much that it is an alien world.
Red Alert Series
- The Chronosphere technology proposed by Einstein in this series has a horrifying side effect that is only seen in the first Red Alert: Every so often, the abuse of Chrono technology will cause a Chrono Vortex to form. An enigmatic swirling distortion in the fabric of reality itself, the Vortex will tear apart any troops, vehicles, and buildings that happen to be in its path as it meanders around the map. This unstable Chrono Technology also exhibits the side effect of killing all passengers inside any APC transports when you teleport them, in a parallel to the mysterious deaths attributed to the urban legends of the Philadelphia Experiment that were the inspiration for the Chronosphere.
TO: Field Commander S7
- Later "stable" versions of the Chronosphere seen in Red Alert 2 have an offensive bent that will terrify enemy commanders: Besides allowing a canny commander to teleport vehicles around, you can also use the Chronosphere to pick up enemy vehicles and send them whereever you please - it is entirely possible to drown tanks and shatter ships upon dry land with this technology wielded as a weapon. Furthermore, the effect of the 'stable' Chronosphere is deadly to infantry not in the safety of a vehicle.
- Modified versions of Chrono technology as wielded by Chrono Legionnaires and the IFV with a Legionnaire passenger allow them to invoke the power of Retgone upon enemies, erasing them from time in the same fashion as how Einstein accidentally started the Red Alert timeline in his all-too-successful attempt to eliminate Hitler. The Paranoia Fuel invoked by a white-armored teleporting figure who erases things from existence could potentially cause some real freakouts.
- One of the penultimate Soviet missions in the Counterstrike expansion, Paradox Equation, has you being assigned to capture a Chronosphere in a region badly warped by the effects of experimentation with it. How badly are we talking here? Try having every unit's weapons being altered into something completely different, like tanks with Tesla and Flame cannons, Artillery pieces firing oversized rounds, and V2 launchers suddenly finding their payloads boosted to near-nuclear levels. The mission briefing itself adds to the surreal horror:
FROM: Soviet Command
We received this garbled transmission from a scout group sent into a suspected Allied test site:
All... te.t area di..overed! Chronos... test g... crazy! Weapons... effected by... air units inop... Area unst.able! Ch...osphere must be affect...
You are to investigate this. If the Chronosphere is indeed behind it, this is a perfect opportunity to capture it. See that it happens.- Mission briefing
- Soviet Terror Drones. They could make instant mincemeat of most infantry, are annoyingly fast, and can burrow into vehicles to mutilate their crews. The fact that the latter is only shown on screen as said vehicle rocking only makes it worse...
- Terror Drones are actually dismantling the vehicles, the crew just dies from the resulting explosion (that's why you have to repair them to get the drones off). However, note that the Drones were designed with Dismantling Vehicles in mind and was only suppose to do that. The butchering of infantry was when the Soviets realised the same tools used to cut through metal and sever cables can be used to do the same to human flesh and limb.
- Attack dogs and war bears. Imagine trying to fire your weapon like crazy at them before they lunge for your neck.
- Soviet Desolators would be a horror to face in battle. No soldier is safe from the lethal radiation beam cannons they wield, and the Red Alert 2 incarnations of these deathbringers can slam their cannons into the ground and make a large patch of land so toxic infantry die rapidly. Their sadism and the sickly-green glow makes them seem even more inhuman.
- Yuri's Mind Control is rather frighting, considering the tactics of mind controlling enemies, civilians and what else to send them into a grinder or to increase power to your bio-reactors. Could cross into And I Must Scream when you think if they're completely aware of being mind controlled before being turned into a Living Battery or ground up for spare cash.
- A lot of Yuri's ideas for units are downright cruel and unusal along with exploding into a virus cloud, going berserk and killing your allies, being mind controlled, having your vehicle pulled to your imminent doom/mind enslavement, irreversible mutation into a muscular brute or just outright being enslaved to dig up ore and gems from the ground until hopefully some capitalist/communist comes along and destroys the miner you're enslaved to.
- The Red Alert 1's portrail of Soviets in general and Joseph Stalin in particular. The very first thing you see in the Soviet campaign is the aftermath of a Sarin gas test, with Stalin and his attaches going over the results. The first *mission* they give you involves burning a Polish city to the ground and killing everyone and everything inside. It *only* gets worse from there.
- Another example of his unpredictable nature comes about during the mission he instructs you to capture the Chronosphere. When you do finally capture it, there is a cutscene showing it going unstable and then exploding. Cue Stalin angrily ordering that you be be executed, until the secretary informs him that one of the other officers gave you incomplete/faulty intel, whereupon he personally strangles the man.
- During the Allied campaign, there is a tense series of missions whereupon you are tasked to rescue an officer who wished to defect from Stalin's regime, whereupon he confirms Stalin's plan to launch nukes at the Allies. It's the desperation in which he begs you to stop his former Premier that will unsettle you.
- The worst part of the portrayals are when you realize that, unlike Red Alert 2 and 3, these were rather accurate and, more importantly, realistic.
- Yuri in RA2. He's not as scary as Stalin, he's still a huge Knight of Cerebus amongst amongst a bunch silly villains. He's extremely stoic, controls people's minds, and his voice alone just screams "this guy is evil, don't trust him you idiot." Of course, by the time you heard his voice trusting and obeing him is no longer up to you... Probably the worst in the RA2 vanilla soviet ending is when we see him with his calm attitude when reduced to a Brain in a Jar. His faction has some of this with his Grinders, they break stuff down into material components...Including people.
- Yuriko Omega, she's a Person of Mass Destruction whose dialogue points to her not being completely mentally stable.
- The effects of the freeze beam and shrink beam. Imagine getting frozen alive, and can only watch in horror as a man with a shotgun comes up to finish you off. Or imagine you're in an apocalypse tank, crushing Capitalist pig-dogs, when all of a sudden you're shrunk to the size of a kitten, and see guardian tanks coming up relentlessly as your shells ping off their armor harmlessly.
- Death by Anthrax intoxication, Nuclear radiation, burning alive, etc.
- Along with the aforementioned Anthrax, radiation, and napalm, there is also the fact that the "good guys" have the most horrific weapon in the game: the microwave tank. It will fry any enemy infantry who gets too close to it. If you know how a microwave works, that means that literally every cell in the victim's body bursts.
- Running desperate from the Particle Cannon as it relentlessly pursues whichever poor soul was chosen to die, even worse than the magnetic Satellite because just as you think you got away the damn thing can speed up.
- Everything about the Global Liberation Army just got a lot more unsettling now that an actual real-life counterpart to them has made its impact on the world: the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria.
- Given how at least alleged extremists have hit places as far as Canada and Australia, this is one nightmare that looks like it's coming slowly close and closer to reality.