Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: The GameThe first game in the Red Alert series, a spin-off of the original Command & Conquer, using the same engine and gameplay as the Tiberium saga to tell a story of an Alternate History WWII fought between the Allies and, Tesla-powered communists bent on world domination. Red Alert provides a contrast with its successor thanks to a serious and camp-free tone. Released by Westwood Studios in 1996 for DOS and Windows (SVGA) platforms.The premise is simple: in 1946, operating out of a laboratory in Trinity, New Mexico, Albert Einstein uses a time machine to travel to Landsberg, Germany in 1924 and removes Adolf Hitler from history. While this prevents the Nazis from rising to power and keeps Germany docile, unfortunately it leaves Josef Stalin with no obstacle to the Soviet Union’s expansion. This sparks an even worse version of World War II during the 1950's as the Allies try to withstand the endless hordes of the Red Army, backed by deadly Tesla-based technology. But thanks to Einstein’s chronosphere and one nameless European commander, the Soviets are defeated.The game is now freeware and can be downloaded here.Please note that this page is for tropes specific to this game, the first Red Alert and its expansions. Please add tropes relating to multiple games to the Red Alert series page.
Alternate History: Red Alert being the result of Hitler's removal from the timeline. Furthermore, the game used to be a prequel to the Tiberium series, before more time travel threw in further alternate timelines.
Anachronism Stew: Although the game is set in the 1940s and features characters like Stalin and Einstein, it also features modern and even futuristic military technology.
America Wins the War: A very notable aversion (especially given the game was made by Americans), with most of the Allied cast being European and it not being entirely clear for a while whether the USA is even in the war.
It should be noted that the Allied ending features a soldier who definitely has an American accent. So it's likely that America did join in on the war effort, although just how much is not known.
A Million Is a Statistic: Stalin (to whom the phrase is commonly credited, apocryphally) throws this line out there in the first Red Alert. It can also be heard in the remixed "Radio 2" song which is included in the CD of Counterstrike and Aftermath.
Ignoring the alternate paths that history takes and the futuristic technologies that develop in the actual games (which are just Rule of Cool), artistic license is taken with the backstory. Adolf Hitler was removed from history when Einstein travelled back in time to 1924, partly explaining the lack of opposition to Soviet expansion, but how did the Soviet Union spontaneously transform from one of the most economically underdeveloped countries in Europe into a massive superpower armed with atomic weapons ready to take over the entire continent?note The aggressive Take Over the World plan is in itself already ignoring Joseph Stalin's cautious nature and "Socialism in one country" policy.
It's possible that Kane had a hand in this.
All of the countries in Europe are shown with Cold War-era borders, despite the fact that (given the lack of a war with Nazi Germany) they should have the interwar borders. Oddly, a more accurate map was shown in the opening cinematic.
It's also stated at one point that there is a United Nations, which formed as a direct result of World War II (in fact, Stalin himself often referred to the Allies as the United Nations during the war). The (laughably impotent) League of Nations was the primary body of international diplomacy after World War I, and did not dissolve in our history until 1946 (at which time the United Nations had already replaced it).
Creator Cameo: The game's music composer Frank Klepacki appeared as a guard in one of the cutscenes before he was carried away by the spy. Also, in the briefing of the final Allies mission, many of the game devs appear.
Critical Existence Failure: Infantry at one HP? Medic to the rescue. Vehicle almost about to explode? Mechanics and Repair Bays for the save. Averted in that vehicles with low health move slower and damaged buildings produce energy or units less efficiently.
An interesting variation. Some units were originally intended for the other side and later switched. The manual identifies the Radar Jammer as a Soviet unit, while in the final game it's an Allied one. The launch animation of the GPS Satellite shows a graphic of a Soviet Soyuz rocket, suggesting it was meant to be a Soviet ability and later switched to an Allied one.
A particularly weird one is that the Tesla Tank in The Aftermath expansion pack is based on the sprite for the Radar Jammer, and still works as a radar jammer, the original code having apparently been left in.
Despite being unarmed in the actual game, the spy still has a few animation frames which show him shooting a gun. The funny thing is, those frames are actually tied into the game, which gives you an opportunity to modify rules.ini so your spies can shoot and experience no graphical goofs with that.
Fog of War: Removed permanently from a zone after it is explored. The Allies can launch a GPS to reveal the whole map and their spies can reset the enemy's maps. If you want to complicate things a little bit, there's even an option in multiplayer to allow the fog of war to regrow.
Early-Bird Cameo: General Carville is pretty much one of the few things that ties Red Alert with its' sequel, although that's if you've seen the Retaliation expansion pack. For the first PlayStation.
Early-Installment Weirdness: Red Alert actually tried to play the series premise entirely straight, with subtle performances and writing. Afterwards, Executive Meddling caused the rest of the series to devolve into high Camp pretty much immediately.
Easy Amnesia: Every time the Allies launch a GPS Satellite, it "somehow" becomes lost after the mission and a new one has to be launched for the Next Mission. Either the Satellite was specifically built to only work for the current mission area that you're in OR the people in the Allied Spaced Program "somehow forget" the Satellite after you complete the mission.
Two. The first, Counterstrike, just adds additional missions, but the second, Aftermath, adds both missions and units which can be used in skirmish. Both also add extra skirmish maps.
And then both those expansions get combined into one, released exclusively for PlayStation, which is called Retaliation. If you forget about the new FMVs, remixed songs and less linear mission selection system, it's not quite different from both DOS versions of Counterstrike and Aftermath, as well as the actual Red Alert for the PS.
Red Alert itself started as an expansion pack to Tiberian Dawn, hence the many similarities and expys, but Westwood soon realized its potential as a standalone game.
Faction Calculus: The Soviets are Powerhouse, the Allies are Subversive. A neat reversal of Tiberian Dawn as far as good and evil sides (by most definitions) are concerned, and about the only C&C game where the good guys are Subversive.
Heroic BSOD: Stravros suffers this as his home, Greece, falls into the vile clutches of the Soviet Union.
I Am the Trope: At the end of the Red Alert 1 Soviet campaign, we get this exchange (they're talking to the player character).
Nadia: "Fight our battles where you must, and you will remain our loyal, and obedient servant. For the foreseeable future."
*Gunshot, Nadia falls over forward*
Kane: "The foreseeable future...? Comrade chairman, I am the future."
*Fade to black*
Karmic Death: Delivered nicely in the Allied ending onto Joseph Stalin by none other than Stravros, whose country Stalin destroyed in the war. Stalin gets to die alone and in darkness thanks to Stavros ordering away the troopers who found Stalin, putting a cloth in his mouth to keep him from screaming for help, and putting rubble over his face to hide him from discovery.
Kick the Dog: The briefing of the first Soviet mission opens with Stalin and two other Soviet leaders discussing the testing of a new nerve gas on a few hundred innocent civilians before turning to you. Then you are assigned your first mission: killing the inhabitants of Torún, Poland by strafing them with fighter planes.
Kill 'em All: The Soviet campaign ends like this, with everyone you meet dying in a convoluted series of back stabs and paranoia. Well, everyone except the adviser that is.
Klingon Promotion: Nadia poisons Stalin at the end of the Soviet campaign. Her promotion doesn't last long.
Let No Crisis Go To Waste: In the Soviet victory scenario in the first game, the entire Russian war effort was an Evil Plan by Kane to expand the USSR, then topple it, and use the ensuing chaos to strengthen the Brotherhood of Nod.
Meaningful Echo: Stalin comments on how excellent the tea is and Nadia comments that she made it herself. She said the exact same thing when she killed Marshal Gradenko. Both cups were poisoned.
Name of Cain: The first Red Alert game is where it's first implied that Kane is actually the Biblical Cain.
Nadia: "And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord... and took up residence... in the Land of Nod!"
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Einstein travels back in time and erases Hitler from the timestream in an attempt to prevent World War II. But World War II happens anyway when Stalin decides to expand his empire by launching a massive invasion of western Europe. Oops.
Nuke 'Em: Employed by the Soviets in the Allied campaign. As the Allies turn the tide of the war and are steadily advancing across Europe into the Soviet Union, Stalin decides to destroy the primary capitals and cities of the European Allies with the nuclear weapons his scientists have recently developed, while using his own forces as a sacrificial lamb to draw attention away from the missile sites. The player has to capture and then infiltrate the facility to safely dismantle the weapons.
Palette Swap: Many units are directly imported from Tiberian Dawn and given a paint job; notably the Allied tanks are the Medium and Light models from the previous game. The Soviet heavy tank is the Medium one with an added gun and the super heavy tank is GDI's Mamooth and uses the same name.
Chillingly so, from how the Allies would function in such a war (heavily dominated by European forces rather than US), to the nature of the Soviet Union and Stalin himself.
Joseph Stalin's sociopathic behavior may appear like a caricature, but Red Alert provides one of the most accurate depictions of Stalin in any fictional medium, both in terms of actions and mannerisms. note Discounting his somewhat inaccurate-to-reality voice which actually sounded like on this video. This is his actual speech made after the Nazis' capitulation, complete with his "trademark" Georgian accent. . Which gives some unpleasant food for thought.
The Smurfette Principle: Both factions have only one female character each, with Allies having Tanya Adams and Nadya Zelenkova representing the Soviets. Sure thing, this trope wouldn't even be mentioned due to the game's military nature, but when the female cast became bigger and bigger in the sequels...
Spiteful A.I.: The computer will sell off all of its structures and send everything at you when it becomes too badly damaged to continue rebuilding and unit production.
State Sec: The NKVD. In the manual, their troops alone number 7 million at the beginning of the war. Compare that to the Allies, whose regular and irregular forces number about 5 million total.
Take Over the World: Downplayed, as the Soviets' goal is somewhat more modest than taking over the entire world. It is Stalin's objective to submerge all of Europe into the Soviet Union. In the Soviet campaign, you succeed.
Stalin: Where the Romans have failed I will succeed. Russia's borders will stretch from coast to coast; for a united Russia is our destiny.
At the end of the Soviet campaign, Nadia successfully kills Joseph Stalin by tricking him into drinking a poisoned cup of tea.
At an earlier point in the campaign, Marshal Gradenko is killed by the same person in the same way. It even features the same dialogue.
You Are in Command Now: In the Soviet ending, the player character becomes the leader of the Soviet Union after a series of betrayals and assassinations leave all other high-ranking Soviet government officials dead.
Stavros: "I don't believe you heard me, private. I don't see anyone here... do you?"
You Have Failed Me: Stalin warns the player "If you fail, do not return", and later snaps an underling's neck for faulty intelligence ("You disappoint me, Kukov"). This was just after he ordered you executed, before being convinced that it was the underling's fault, not yours.