Video Game: Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series aka: Command And Conquer Tiberium
The possibilities of Tiberium... are limitless.
The Tiberium saga is the "main" Command & Conquer series, the continuation of the story introduced in 1995 involving the multinational Global Defense Initiative, the shadowy Brotherhood of Nod, and an alien substance known as Tiberium, which arrived to Earth in a meteor crash in Italy, 1995, and began spreading throughout the world; it's rich energy properties and ability to leech minerals out of the ground make it a highly valuable asset.The first game, later given the subtitle Tiberian Dawn, was set Twenty Minutes into the Future with a smattering of sci-fi elements such as alien crystals, stealth technology, and orbital lasers. A terrorist organization operating from various Third World nations known as the Brotherhood of Nod harnesses the power of Tiberium to challenge the rest of the world on equal footing, under the leadership of the charismatic and enigmatic Kane. The UN-backed Global Defense Initiative, a military coalition dedicated to restoring order and containing the spread of Tiberium, manages to hold the line and defeat Nod, killing Kane in the process. The game was followed by a plot-free expansion pack, The Covert Operations, a multiplayer-only sequel named Sole Survivor, and Renegade, an FPS that boasts an active modding community and a small but dedicated fanbase.Tiberian Sun, the second installment in the series, is set in 2030. Tiberium is now spreading unchecked, forcing humanity to flee to the arctic or desert regions that can at least slow the substance's progress. As governments break down and GDI does its best to bring order from the chaos, Kane reappears to lead a reunified and invigorated Nod into battle once more. A crashed alien spaceship and an extraterrestrial artifact called the Tacitus hint at a larger purpose behind Tiberium, but ultimately Kane's attempt to use a missile to increase Tiberium's spread is thwarted with the man's death (again). The game was followed by the Firestorm expansion, in which Nod's battle AI, CABAL, revolts and leads a cyborg uprising, forcing GDI and the remnants of Nod to unite to defeat him.Tiberium Wars is set seventeen years later in a starkly stratified world. GDI has succeeded in containing Tiberium in areas dubbed Blue Zones, which are bastions of civilization and relative paradises compared to the rest of the planet. Yellow Zones are lawless wastelands where daily life is a struggle and Nod is seen as the last hope of the common man. Red Zones, meanwhile, have been wholly xenoformed by Tiberium and are stormwracked hells lethal to humans. Kane reemerges once more to launch a surprise attack on a complacent GDI, whose retaliation has an unintended side effect - an alien race called the Scrin suddenly invades, seeking to harvest Earth's Tiberium bounty. The aliens are narrowly driven off, while Kane succeeds in his plan to acquire their technology. An expansion pack, Kane's Wrath, introduced sub-factions to the three sides and had a Nod-centric campaign telling the story between Firestorm and Tiberium Wars, and what came after. It also details Kane's reacquisition of the Tacitus artifact from GDI, who had taken possession of it in Tiberian Sun.The fourth and final installment, Tiberian Twilight, is set in 2077. In the aftermath of the Third Tiberium War, the alien crystal mutates and becomes almost impossible to stop. Faced with human extinction, Kane and GDI struck an unholy alliance to build a "Tiberium Control Network", using information from Kane's Tacitus. Though this brings about an uneasy peace, contains Tiberium's spread and begins a new stage of harnessing its potential, GDI reactionaries and Nod separatists once more plunge the world into conflict. The story ends with a triumphant Kane finally achieving his millenia-old ambitions and the Tiberium menace ended once and for all.The future of the series is uncertain, given that quite a few plot threads are left dangling in the last game. The latest release in this canon was a browser game called Tiberium Alliances set between Tiberium Wars & Tiberian Twilight, but it didn't have much of a story.Please note that this page is for tropes that cover multiple games in the Tiberian series. Please add tropes relating to one specific game to that game's page. Also place character specific tropes to the Character Page.
A God Am I: Kane plays with this a fair bit. He concedes that he is not God Himself, but certainly a good runner-up. More often he calls himself "The Messiah" and the Brotherhood of NOD "the chosen people". Kane has been alive and unaged for over a century now, and has successfully deflected shots from an orbital laser cannon with his face, so why not? Not even the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens know what he is. In Renegade, it's hinted that he may be, or at least may lead his followers in believing that he's thatKane.
McNeil: You're not God, Kane! Kane: No, I'm not God... but I'm a close second.
CABAL in Tiberian Sun. Seemingly Slavik is the only one quite aware of this that he is the only one of Nod's leading officers to never use cyborgs as personal bodyguards.
Invoked by the Supervisor in Tiberium Wars when he demands that the Foreman reformat his mothership after it starts showing signs of insubordination. In the meantime, the Mothership AI actually looks out for the Foreman's best interests, snarking about the Supervisor's "questionable directives" and forming exit strategies once it's clear the entire operation is in danger.
Subverted with LEGION in Kane's Wrath. Alexa is absolutely certain that LEGION will go rogue like CABAL (understandable as LEGION's code was built on CABAL's) but this never happens.
All There in the Manual: The novelization, game manuals, various developer blogs, in-game database entries, and official website provide information that wouldn't be revealed during the cutscenes or gameplay.
Ancient Astronauts: Kane has been on Earth for thousands of years, since "humans lived in caves and mud huts". He's been subtly and not-too-subtly guiding humanity since then and helping it advance so he can get off this rock.
Anti-Villain /Anti-Hero: Kane becomes a very bizzare kinda-sorta case of both in Twilight. At the end of the game one could even call him an all-out good guy, because his designs and GDI hardware create a win-win situation both both sides: the Tiberium Control Network turns Tiberium from a direct threat to the existence of life on Earth into a tightly controlled, effective, regenerating resource, Kane gets to finally go home after being trapped on Earth for thousands of years and takes his most loyal followers with him, thus giving them the promised "Ascension"
Artificial Stupidity: The computer's ground units will take the shortest route when it is retaliating against your ground units and will shoot through any walls that are between them.
The Avatar Warmech from Tiberium Wars is powerful, but to fully upgrade it requires the sacrifice of four other units and a commitment of credits, time, and micromanagement that could be better spent elsewhere. Unless you're fighting another Nod player, in which case you can just use their units to upgrade it.
The Scrin Mothership from Tiberium Wars could quite possibly destroy an entire base with a single shot, but its excruciatingly slow speed makes it an easy target, though there's a tactic that lets you deploy it in your opponent's base.
The Tiberium saga's signature Mammoth Tanks are typically a waste of time and resources better spent on smaller, more cost-effective tanks.
The Mammoth Mark II in Tiberian Sun. Absolutely devastating if it reached your enemy's base, but cripplingly vulnerable to massed air assaults or tank assaults under the control of an inexperienced commander... though it did have its own SAM bank at least.
The Crawlers count. In addition to being a Base on Wheels, they can produce units on the move and unload them once deployed, although already deployed units can't go back in.
GDI's APCs in Tiberium Wars are some of the most versatile units in the game. They're dirt cheap, much stronger than the other guy's equivalent units, they tear through infantry and aircraft, they can garrison in any sort of infantry and have it shoot out from the portholes and if you mass them they're a serious problem even against buildings. Add to that the ability to lay down minefields and the armor piercing ammo upgrade in Kane's Wrath, and you have one of the best units in the game.
Nod's Reckoner APC isn't powerful, but is nonetheless very useful for ploughing through GDI Zone Troopers and other heavy units with its Dozer Blades, since it's much faster and durable that the Scorpion Tank. The upgraded model in Tiberium Twilight can even burrow.
In Tiberian Sun both sides get a Commando-like character (Ghost Stalker for GDI, the Cyborg Commando for Nod), both of whom annihilate anything that isn't airborne, and regenerate health in tiberium.
The Tiberium Wars versions lose their anti-vehicle strength, but are still deadly against infantry and buildings. Nod's one is also stealthed. It carries over to the other games as well; basically, there's very little that can stand against a heroic Commando in C&C3... and the Black Hand can train two of them at once.
Technically in Tiberium Wars. Kane got what he wanted when he started the Third Tiberium War; the technology of the Scrin, including their portal tower so that the Brotherhood of Nod can ascend thirty years later, not the ultimate defeat of GDI.
Several times by Kane, including against his own side (the sacrifice of millions of his own followers at Sarajevo in Tiberium Wars being a horrific example.
GDI pull one off in Tiberian Dawn, tricking Nod into thinking that infighting has killed off their funding, crippling them. This allows them to position themselves in such a way that they can wipe Nod's Temple/leader off the face of the earth.
Attacking an AI player's harvesters or ore trucks in the 2D games tends to make them very, very mad. As in, they'll send their entire force to protect their income machines. May also fall under Artificial Stupidity.
Havoc in Renegade does not like Nod hurting civilians.
The Tiberian Dawn Commando fires a silenced .50 caliber sniper rifle. Left handed.
The Commando in Tiberium Wars fires a rapid-firing miniaturized railgun. Probably left handed. It's still mostly useless against vehicles, though. The Zone Troopers, on the other hand, use semiautomatic anti-tank railguns, and make short work of basically anything on the ground.
Ghost Stalker in Tiberian Sun also used a railgun. The Zone Troopers in Tiberium Wars also had railguns that were effective against pretty much everything, but they didn't hit units in a line like the Ghost Stalker's did.
In Tiberian Sun, The Cyborg Commando's weapon fires a big, green ball of plasma that heavily damages anything that it directly impacts and does splash damage.
Biblical Bad Guy: Kane is implied to be Cain (in Renegade, you actually find Abel's tomb), or at least the person who inspired the story, which certainly puts an interesting spin on the whole "anyone who kills Cain will have retribution brought upon them sevenfold" thing. Makes sense, if one realizes that Nod has brought back even bigger forces every single time GDI "won".
Body Horror: Tiberium has a tendency to do this to living things. Assuming you survive exposure to Tiberium at all, the best case scenario is you spend the rest of your life as a deformed mutant. In the worst case, you become a horrible blob of flesh and mouths, called a visceroid.
Kane to Seth: "Yes, power shifts more quickly than some people think."
The Commando is full of 'em. "That was left-handed!" "KEEP 'EM COMING!" "Real tough guy!" And, of course, "Gotta present for ya!"
Book Ends: The intro to the first Tiberium game, Tiberian Dawn, is you zapping between TV channels, which delivers exposition from news channels between other shows. In the last game, Tiberian Twilight, the final cutscene has an epilogue that wraps up the story by zapping between news channels again.
Bottomless Magazines: Ground units only, for the most part, though Hammerheads and Venoms in Kane's Wrath are aerial units that have them.
Bowdlerise: Until Tiberium Wars, The European version of these games, were subject to some changes to avoid an M rating in Germany. Most commonly was the tactic of calling all infantry units cyborgs and changing/removing sounds and effects that would suggest otherwise.
Cain and Abel: Literally. In Renegade you can find Abel's tomb deep underneath a Temple of Nod.
Canon Discontinuity: Sole Survivor, not having a Campaign mode or story, and being so poorly received, has been pretty much ignored in official re-releases. Seems the canon holders themselves have ejected the product from existence.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Ignoring stealth, knowing where you are at all times and more. Thankfully in C&C 3 skirmish you can handicap the enemies by up to 95%, making their attacks somewhat pathetic.
(Get it? Nod! Haha.) The Database entries in the Tiberium Wars are rife with references to previous games, even Renegade.
A certain Nick Parker has issues with GDI retiring the Mammoth Mark Two - that is, the big AT-AT wannabe. And there is a statue of Nick in at least one city in the USA. He's a Big Damn Warhero! There are also billboards that show the other members of Dead-6.
There was also a six player multiplayer map titled "Dead Six"
Renegade itself has quite a few nods towards the original Command & Conquer. From EVA to the first real mission starting with a shot of a tactical overview that looks exactly like the first GDI mission. There is also a song titled "Got a present for ya", another Catch Phrase of the Commando in that game.
In Tiberian Sun some of the later maps feature the decaying remains of bases from the original C&C, while wrecked Mammoth Mk. IIs and Titans can be found on the battlefields of Tiberium Wars.
Also in Tiberian Sun, working Mammoth Tanks and other units from Dawn are used by the Forgotten mutants, and in one GDI mission you can find some and use them yourself.
invoked At the start of Tiberian Twilight, a new mutation of Tiberium threatens to completely overrun the planet. This was caused by that Liquid Tiberium Bomb that went off in Tiberium Wars.
The GDI Mastodon from Tiberian Twilight is actually the updated, reconditioned Mammoth Mark Two walker.
In one of the earlier GDI missions from Tiberian Sun, the map features a couple of buildings resembling an abandoned GDI base from the first game.
Contractual Immortality: Kane never stays dead for long, which his followers take as proof of his divinity. Even after the series' end a news report shows how people are unconvinced he's gone for good.
Cutscene: One of the early games to use live-action FMV to advance the game plot, the series at least does not overwhelm the game itself. Continues to be a key element in the Tiberium and Red Alert games, if only for tradition.
The cinematic introducing the original incarnation of the Ion Cannon has its wiping out a small base, while in-game it can't even one-shot a Construction Yard. However, as of C&C 3 it has been beefed-up considerably.
Probably the most egregious example of this is from the cutscene directly after the first GDI mission of Tiberian Sun. Two cyborgs have just destroyed a pair vulcan cannon turrets in a few shots each. As badass as cyborgs units are, they just can't pump that kind of firepower in game. However, after this, a light infantry in an orbital drop pod falls from the sky and takes out both cyborgs with one shot each. In-game, a single full-health cyborg can successfully take on a group of about 6 light infantry and kill them all before succumbing, not to mention that cyborgs have lose their lower torso if their health drops low enough, which doesn't happen in the cutscene.
While Banshee aircraft is conveniently powerful against armor, the way three of them easily obliterate a Mammoth M.K. II in a Nod cutscene seems a bit too much.
The Mammoth M.K. II also gets its share of overpowering in a GDI cutscene where it's depicted getting hit repeatedly by Obelisks of Light, with no significant damage. In game, while the Mammoth could survive a direct encounter with a Obelisk, it would still take serious damage. This scene gives the Mammoth an addtional weapon they don't sport In game: a dual autocannon.
Another cutscene also shows Orca Fighters acrobatically evading SAM Sites' fire, and then blasting them with a single missile. The in-game Orca had comparatively weak missiles, needed to hover over its target to attack and was easily taken down by anything that could target aircraft.
Occurs a few times in Tiberium Wars. The GDI reporters survive. The Nod reporter doesn't.
In Tiberian Sun, Oxanna shoots her Hassan loyalist colleague, Maycheck, on live TV.
Death from Above: Pilots in the series say it word for the word. The Ion Cannon also counts.
Death World: In Dawn, Tiberium's just a few patches of crystals growing in scattered fields. In Sun, humanity has relocated to a few isolated safe zones while the world is wracked by ion storms, monstrous mutants, desertification, and the unstoppable advance of Tiberium. By Wars, only 20% of Earth remains safe, and portions of it are completely uninhabitable to non-mutated life. And then the Tiberium Control Network in Twilight suddenly and miraculously reverses the trend, though the landscape still resembles a mostly barren desert after decades of Tiberium irradiation.
The situation by Tiberium Wars is not quite so bad as that makes it seem, however — the worst off regions of Earth are worse off than in Sun, but not only are the best off zones better off, GDI is suggested to be at least holding Tiberium at bay or even slowly pushing it back. Then the game's conflict tramples all over the best off zones, and as Twilight indicates the events leads to tiberium 'mutating' to be immune to the method GDI had used for Tiberium control.
Determinator: Kane. No matter what setback he suffer, he always finds a way to come back with a even greater forces then the last ones. In Tiberian Twilight, he finally reaches his goal, despite the fact that it took him thousands of years and four of the bloodiest wars in history.
Commander Michael McNeil, the field commander of GDI during Tiberian Sun, makes it very clear that he will win whatever means possible. Its makes him Kane's arch enemy.
Captain Nick Parker, the best commando of GDI in the Tiberian Dawn / Renegade era.. He wouldn't let some fanatical terrorists, mutated freaks of nature, psychos for hire and one of the greatest Magnificent Bastard in history stop him from defeating the Brotherhood of Nod and win the war.
Do Not Adjust Your Set: Kane likes to announce his return or have a heart-to-heart with an enemy commander this way.
Anton Slavik in Kane's Wrath. After helping save the world and rebuild Nod in Firestorm, he ends up assassinated. Thought to have occurred to Michael McNeil in Firestorm, but shows up alive in the novelization of Tiberium Wars.
On the other hand. in Firestorm Umagon ends up mutating out of control, and the crash of the Kodiak kills Lt. Chandra, McNeil's second-in-command. Firestorm was not kind to McNeil.
Firestorm, where the remnants of Nod and GDI have to work together to stop the renegade Nod AI, CABAL.
In Tiberium Wars, Nod general Kilian Qatar allies with GDI to face off against the Scrin, until Kane reveals himself to be not quite dead, flips out, and orders GDI nuked.
Evil Virtues: Kane - ambitious, determined, hard working, patient and resourceful. It's also particularly evident in Tiberium Wars and Kane's Wrath that he really appreciates his followers.
Evolutionary Levels: Nod strongly believes in this interpretation of evolution, and sees Tiberium as heralding humanity's next step in it.
Flesh Versus Steel: Though both sides are super hi-tech, Nod is definitely on the side of steel with their use of morally questionable technology like free thinking computer AI and cybernetics.
Frickin' Laser Beams: Nod's signature weaponry. It started as early as the first game with the Obelisks of Light, defensive towers that melted tanks with ruby rays of death, Tiberian Sun featured laser fences, and by Tiberium Wars many Nod vehicles can be upgraded to use them.
Futuristic Pyramid: During Tiberian Sun, NOD was in love with this trope, having their major headquarters within pyramids. By Tiberium Wars, Nod largely went back to their original awesome base, but they did deploy their Epic Unit from a pyramid-shape structure.
Gray and Gray Morality: With Tiberium Wars Nod went from clearly villainous to the only group caring about the people trying to survive in the Yellow Zones, which also undermined GDI's status as the only good guys. Director Boyle also tarnished GDI's image with his misplaced priorities and lack of field experience, resulting in the deaths of many civilians and indirectly the scrin invasion.
Green Rocks: Tiberium, one of the original Green Rocks, is a particularly nightmarish example. For one thing, it can turn you into a green rock if you get too close.
Harmony Versus Discipline: GDI wants to harness and exploit tiberium as a resource while Nod wants to embrace it as a new way of life.
Hostile Terraforming: The series centres around humanity adjustments to a world being transformed by the eponymous Technicolour Crystaltech - which not only convert the atmosphere and the ecosystem, but also extract useful minerals from the Earth's crust for easy harvesting when the invaders finally arrive in person.
Human Resources: CABAL in Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun is an artificial intelligence that stores human in vats so it can use their brains' processing power. Its name is an acronym for "Computer Assisted Biologically Augmented Lifeform".
Tiberian Sun gave GDI the Wolverine and Titan walkers, and the AT-ATlookalike Mammoth Mk. II. Firestorm added the Juggernaut, an artillery platform on legs, and CABAL's "defense protocol" the Core Defender. In Sun there seemed to be a conscious design choice that GDI only used mechs and floating vehicles.
Tiberium Wars and Kane's Wrath had GDI return to tanks except for the Juggernaut, although the Wolverines and Titans are still used by the Steel Talons sub-faction. Nod, meanwhile, gained the Awesome but Impractical Avatar, Redeemer, and the Black Hand-only Purifier. As for the Scrin, if it doesn't float or fly, it walks.
Twilight has a few new and old ones in the roster of the Offense class.
I Am Not Left-Handed: But the commandos shoot with that arm anyway, being Bad Ass and all. Referenced in Renegade, when asked if he's gonna fight against the whole ship's crew all by himself, Havoc casually replies, "Just don't seem fair, does it? Maybe I'll shoot left-handed."
Icon of Rebellion: The scorpion tail of the Brotherhood of Nod. In addition to their emblem (a scorpion's tail) , the motif includes tank names, their Obelisk's of Light shaped like a Scorpion's tail, and their Temples designed to look like a scorpion. In addition, Kane himself is just a ubiquitous icon for Nod.
Illegal Religion: The Brotherhood of Nod (as much of a religious organization as a terroristic one) is considered illegal in all territories under GDI control or influence. After the Second Tiberium War, with the world's division into Zones, the GDI-controlled Blue Zones enforce their ban on Nod's teachings, while the Yellow Zones not under GDI occupation are effectively a Nod theocracy.
The Tacitus device is a sort of ancient alien data drive that holds everything one might (or might not) want to know about Tiberium, ever, including how to control it, destroy it or use it as a power source.
The Scrin Threshold 19 tower also counts. By the end on the Third Tiberium War, it was the only alien tower completed (and hence indestructible). It was meant as a massive Tiberium mine and a wormhole to transport it to other worlds, but the aliens never got to use it. In Tiberian Twilight, it's at the center of the Tiberium Control Network, which basically extends its power to mine all the Tiberium on the planet. Kane also wants to use its wormhole to Ascend, along with his entire Brotherhood, which he does.
Is This Thing Still On??: Early in the first Tiberium game, after shooting a propaganda video, Kane walks onto the set and gives distribution orders... "Is that camera still running?!?" BANG.
Karma Houdini: After starting four wars that devastated the planet and cost millions, if not billions of lives, Kane ascends at the end of Tiberian Twilightin both endings. That's right, whether you side with GDI or Nod, Kane still gets away clean. Granted, he does sort of help to clean up his mess by helping to create the network.
Kill Sat: The iconic Ion Cannon. Unusually for the trope it's used by the good guys, and used intelligently - GDI builds a lot of them, and is generous with the missile defenses.
Kill It with Fire: At first, Nod Flamethrowers and Flame Tanks. The Black Hand runs with this lategame, as all of the units will have some sort of fire-based weapon (either they were fire based to begin with, or they gain a Black Disciple, a Black Hand Squad commander with a flamethrower). Not only that, but the upgrade "Purifying Flame" makes all flame-based weapons extremely damaging to all unit types.
Klingon Promotion: Nod commanders in every game. The most prominent example shown is when Seth attempts this against the player character in the original game, but Kane steps in. After giving you your orders, as an afterthought, he mentions "Oh by the way - congratulations on your promotion."
Knight Templar: Both GDI and Nod. This actually causes civil wars in Twilight between die-hards who refuse any sort of Nod-GDI cooperation.
Large Ham: Kane, and several of his associates, such as Marcion.
Mobile Factory: The Mobile Construction Vehicle from Dune II was imported to the series. The Expansion Pack for the second game also added a Mobile War Factory to both factions. This was finally taken to a conclusion in Tiberian Twilight, where the entire base became a mobile factory.
Name of Kane: In the original game's manual, Kane's dossier is listed as "Global Net Interpol, file #GEN4:16." The Bible quote in question is "And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and took up residence in the Land of Nod."
N.G.O. Superpower: At first, the GDI were a covert military arm of the United Nations and the Brotherhood of Nod were a secret Ancient Conspiracy. A conspiracy that can take on military forces from the world's powers. By the start of the first game, both have gone public, and the world is divided by allegiance to one or the other. As the series went on, and the spread of tiberium worsened, both gradually become world governments - the GDI for the still-peaceful largely First World "blue zones" and Nod for the poorer, more chaotic "yellow zones" rest of the inhabitable world.
No Canon for the Wicked: GDI victory is the official ending for every game until the Firestorm expansion, when C&C caught on the idea of opposing sides' campaigns telling parts of the same story.
In Tiberium Wars, Kane thanks the commander ("The Legendary Insurgent") for his efforts in Honduras, Jericho and "The Great Rio Insurrection," though the later is the first mission of Kane's Wrath.
In Twilight, where the commander is given some backstory as a scarred war hero that lost his eyesight, instead relying on implants that also serve as commanding interface, among other things.
Non-Entity General: Well, what could you expect? It's Command And Conquer, after all, keeping the fourth wall demounted since 1995!
As much as the series love exploiting this trope, though, the original Tiberian Sun washes it off, by letting the player know that he controls Mike McNeil (as GDI) or Anton Slavik (as Nod) through the cutscenes. Becomes somewhat symbolic when, at one point of the game (or two, actually), you get to neutralize the enemy faction's commander. Firestorm gets back to the old routine, however.
Furthermore, Tiberian Sunretroactively establishes that the player character in Tiberian Dawn was Solomon.
Not Quite Dead: Kane has been supposedly killed so many times that he is widely believed to be immortal, having evidently died at least once in almost every game in which he appears.
Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Only Nod will ever justify nukes - though the Ion Cannon GDI uses is a fair equivalent, minus the fallout.
It is also explicitly stated that GDI still retains its nukes, they just don't need them anymore on account of the Ion Cannon.
The Plan: Kane's strategies tend to hinge on these, bordering on Gambit Roulette at times - though in Kane's Wrath we get to see just how much planning and effort went into making Tiberium Wars unfold the way it did. In the first game, however, Kane gets played by GDI, which faked having its UN funding cut in order to lure Nod into the open, before hitting them with their latest wave of weapon technology.
Powered Armor: GDI's Zone Troopers start wearing it in Tiberium Wars, and by Twilight most of its infantry are wearing it. Nod is a bit more selective, regulating theirs to the Black Hand.
Previous Player-Character Cameo: General Solomon in Tiberian Sun was the player character in the GDI campaign of the original C&C (in that he is stated to have led the attack on Kane's Sarajevo temple, which was the final mission of the first game). In Tiberian Dawn itself, the player character is a Non-Entity General.
Psycho for Hire: Carlos Mendoza, General Gideon Raveshaw's personal bodyguard from Renegade, was too bloodthirsty even for the most "extreme extremists" and was kicked out from a Columbian separatist movement before he joined the Brotherhood of Nod. The guy always laughed madly and screamed death threats during fights.
Radiation Immune Mutants: Tiberium-induced mutants (from visceroids to partially mutated humans to cyborgs made from harvested mutant body parts) are not only unharmed by tiberium radiation and dust/spores, they're outright healed by it.
Revive Kills Zombie: Walking through Tiberium depletes normal infantry's health and will eventually kill them and turn them into Visceroids. On the other hand, mutant and cyborg units (as the human part of cyborgs is also derived from mutants) actually heal while walking through Tiberium. In Renegade this is extended to Tiberium-based weapons like the chem sprayer and flechette rifle, which mess up regular infantry good, but heal visceroids (which they occasional turn regular infantry into, rather than killing them normally) and mutants. Sad, too, because the majority of these weapons you don't get until you're fighting almost nothing but mutants.
Ridiculously Fast Construction: Justified, since Tiberium allows almost any material to be harvested in the field, and its energy properties enable microfabricators and nanofactories to be used in the production facilities.
The Scrin also construct things with nano-assemblers, and teleport most of their forces from their fleet at the edge of the Solar System via wormhole portals.
Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Scrin, who, in Kane's own words, are "a cult of addiction in the guise of a species". During their cutscenes, one gets the distinct impression of either a civilian mining collective or a mining corporation, which for some reason makes them that bit more frighening.
They are obviously made out to be a mining operation and not an army, with a very formal, almost computer-like speech pattern.
There are many references in the series to Biblical lore, most obviously the Biblical Bad Guy Kane/Cain. Then there's the Brotherhood of Nod itself, referring to the Land of Nod where Cain and his descendants were forced to live after the murder of his brother; Seth, Cain and Abel's brother; Kane as a Messianic Archetype; referring to the followers of Nod as "the chosen people"; and others. Kane's speech at the end of Tiberian Sun where he declares Tiberium to be "the way and the life" almost directly mirrors one of Jesus's statements: "I am the truth and the way and the life".
The "funpark" levels in Tiberian Dawn where the player faces off against Dinosaurs, a la Jurassic Park.
Tiberian Dawn's cutscene of the Ion Cannon firing is titled "AKIRA" in its .MIX files. It's not the only reference to AKIRA in the original game. Take a good look at Nod's Recon Bike.
The Mammoth MK.II's FMV is a near-perfect homage to the scene with the AT-AT walkers in Star Wars. Here, look.
Tiberian Sun also had a subtle shout out to Aliens (aside from, you know, Michael Biehn). It's stated in the game's instruction manual that the standard-issue weapon for both sides is the "M16 Mk II Pulse Rifle." CG Renders of the gun even look like the prop from the film. Renegade continued this shout out, wherein its standard-issue weapon for both sides basically is the original pulse rifle.
Alexa in Tiberium Wars / Kane's Wrath screws with Kane's plan, by framing Kilian and trying to destroy LEGION, out of "her loyalty to him".
James to her GDI superiors in Twilight. Having lost her sons in the previous war, she isn't willing to believe Kane.
Spreading Disaster Map Graphic: This is the nature of Tiberium, and is illustrated during a briefing in the first game which shows a map of the earth with spreading green patches representing Tiberium growth.
State Sec: Nod's Black Hand subfaction fits this trope to a T.
Strange Bedfellows: GDI and Nod team up in Firestorm to fight CABAL, and briefly team up in Tiberium Wars to hold off the Scrin.
Super Drowning Skills: Destroying a bridge will cause all infantry that were on it to fall in the water and die.
The offense class in Twilight is all about tanks (with a few mechs sprinkled in for good measure).
Technology Marches On: invoked The original game plays around with this with the weapons presented in game - then-new weapons like the M4 rifle and F-22 Raptor had been effectively abandoned by the US military in-series, allowing Nod to get their hands on them.
Frequent justification for units switching around or changing between games. For example, in Tiberium Wars, Zone Troopers and their variant are Elite Mooks. By Tiberian Twilight they're just mooks, but there are a number of variations, at least two of which are still elite mook-grade.
Themed Cursor: When you have an unit selected, your cursor becomes a sonar-like pattern when hovering over passable terrain, a "no" symbol when over impassable terrain and a crosshair when over enemies.
Toxic Phlebotinum: Tiberium is radioactive, releases toxic gases, acts as a mutagen, and is slowly depleting the Earth.
Additionally, the GDI (official name: UNGDI), while originally founded as a UN-sponsored black-ops unit, is not only reformed into the UN's de facto military branch, but eventually either outlives the UN itself while assuming its original functions, or subsumes the parent organization outright.
The Unreveal: Kane's true nature and motivation? Tiberium's origin? The Scrin's history and overall intentions? Don't expect Tiberian Twilight to give a satisfying answer.
Unwitting Pawn: Anyone in the series of any faction or race who isn't Kane, including the entire GDI command (Redmond Boyle in particular), the player characters of both sides in Twilight, and the Scrin.
Videogame Caring Potential: Once you get a heroic unit, you are going to want to keep them alive. Plus, you definitely get attached to the commandos, given all the one man (or woman) army missions you'll go through.
Videogame Cruelty Potential: Especially if you're playing as villains, but destroying cities and sending dozens of tanks against a single rifleman never gets old.
Villain Protagonist: The Nod campaigns, at least at first. Over the course of the games Nod gets inceasingly more sympathetic and less villainous, and GDI gets increasingly more corrupt and less heroic.
Villain with Good Publicity: Kane, of course. "The world only believes what the media tells them to believe... and I tell the media what to believe. It's really quite simple."
We Are Struggling Together: A genocidal alien invasion was enough to make GDI and Nod stop killing each other for about two days, in Australia. This also drives much of the plot in Twilight.
Wetware CPU: CABAL the evil supercomputer apparently is the "Computer Assisted Biologically Augmented Lifeform"; it draws some processing power from human beings. At the end of Firestorm CABAL is apparently keeping Kane alive. More specifically, the Biological Augmentation appears to consist of a roomful of Kane clones all hooked together. At the line "Our directives must be reassessed," the individual Kane appears to have merged with CABAL.
Occurs in the first game, in which Nod uses a green screen and a reporter to frame GDI for a massacre.
According to the manual, averted in Tiberian Sun: GDI actually does consider the possibility that Kane's hello message was faked, so they have it thoroughly analyzed. The report concludes that while there are some anomalies, they're not sufficient for it to be an actual fake (they theorize that the anomalies are the result of some sort of amplification). The implication is that the anomalies are there because Kane is consistently faking half his face when he sends his messages — when he's shown in person at the end of the GDI campaign, there's a metal plate over half his face, and some scarring still visible just beyond it.