Video Game / Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars

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C&C 3: Tiberium Wars (EA LA, 2007) is the third installment of the Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series.

Set seventeen years after its predecessor, Tiberian Sun 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 (which they call "Ichor"). It gets worse: turns out the Scrin are the direct cause of the Tiberium infestation, and that it's part of a massive Tiberium mining racket. 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.

Please note that this page is for tropes that feature in this game and its expansion only. Please add tropes relating to other games as well on the main Tiberian Series page.


This game contains examples of:

  • Action Bomb: Fanatics - suicide bombers used by Nod.
  • Airstrip One: The world, since it's been divided into "Blue", "Yellow" and "Red" zones.
  • Alien Invasion: Invoked by Kane with the Scrin. Except it's not really an invasion, but they try to make it look like one, to divert attention from their mining operations. Kane is aware of this, and they are not aware that they have been brought to earth earlier than they planned.
  • Aliens Steal Cable: The Scrin use a satellite news broadcast to learn English; it takes them less than 10 seconds. It comes in mighty handy when they come across a classified transmission by Kane, explaining his scheme.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: The Xbox port has a command point limit. The only example in the whole series until the console version of Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3.
  • Artifact Title: In-Universe. Plasma cannons can be modified to shoot Tiberium bullets. They're still called plasma cannons.
  • Artificial Zombie: The Marked of Kane is a Nod subfaction comprised entirely of these, based on the C.A.B.A.L. supercomputer's cybernetic experiments in the previous game. Regular Nod has the ability to deploy a Support Power that turns corpses into Awakened.
  • Attack Drone/Mecha-Mooks: The Scrin "army" (actually an escort for the mining fleet) seems to be composed of automated troops commanded by Scrin Foremen in spaceborne Motherships. All of their units and even their buildings immediately shutdown and decompose once their Relay Node is destroyed.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: GDI Harvesters, although equipped with machine guns, will abandon all offensive commands when faced with even a small deposit of shiny Tiberium crystals
  • Awesome, yet Impractical:
    • The Titan and Wolverine Mechs and Powered Armor, which is why GDI went back to tanks and jeeps in this game.
    • The Nod Avatar's ability to absorb the powers of different Nod units by sacrificing them, which puts all your eggs in one admittedly powerful basket. You're probably better off just using the units themselves alongside the Avatar.
  • Better the Devil You Know: During the recapture of Cologne, a GDI soldier comments that while he doesn't miss Nod one bit, he at least appreciates the Brotherhood militants as being humans, unlike the city's alien occupiers.
  • Book Ends: In his introduction, Ajay states how much he envies your position. In his final scene, he states he does not envy you anymore.
  • Bread and Circuses: Nod for the people in the yellow zones in Tiberium Wars. Overlaps with Villain with Good Publicity.
  • Break the Haughty: What happens to the sepratist leader in the first mission of Kane's Wrath.
    • Before:
    "Who dares challenge our supremacy? The Brotherhod is dead! Rotting with the heretic, Kane! We are the true heirs of Nod as it is written! Repent! Withdraw! Or join your fool prophet in oblivion."
    • After:
    "Brother... friend, I beseech you, cease your assault... We'll lay our weapon at your feet, and swear fidelity, in the name of Kane, the one true prophet!... I beg you... I beg you! Spare our lives!"
  • Bittersweet Ending: If GDI deploys the Liquid Tiberium bomb, they end up repelling the Scrin, but twenty five million people are killed by the chain reaction.
  • Bug War: The Scrin are the bug race of the three factions in the game, since their army is made of robotic/biological insectoid units. They came here not to consume us, but to turn the planet into a source of Tiberium, which is vital for them. It is the Tiberium itself that would have consumed us. They didn't see Kane coming, though...
  • Canon Immigrant: The Philadelphia being destroyed by nukes was first seen in the non-canonical Nod ending of Tiberian Sun.
  • Converging-Stream Weapon: A special property of Beam Cannons is that two can merge their beams together, increasing the attack power but reducing the number of targets hit. They can be ordered to Force Attack an Obelisk of Light too.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: Some mission objectives are repeated over and over again even if there is no particular time pressure, and the objectives are presented well enough as is.
  • Continuity Nod: GDI's mechas from Tiberian Sun make a return in the expansion, now fielded by one of the subfactions. This is justified by the timeline, as Kane's Wrath first act is chronologically a prequel to Tiberium Wars.
    Nod Militant: A TITAN?! I haven't seen one of those since Tib War 2!
  • Crapsack World: Tiberium's effect on the Earth are so damaging that by 2047, 20% of Earth surface is uninhabitable to humans, and most of it remains dangerous to humans. However, the game actually plays quite a bit with this trope. The Yellow Zones, comprising 50% of the Earth's surface, play this pretty straight, being heavily contaminated with Tiberium. However, the few Nod cities, all in the Yellow Zones, seem to be full-one Crystal Spires and Togas, with lots of knee-high fog, ominous red lighting, and polished black surfaces. The Red Zones actually avert this, since those areas are outright death worlds. The Blue Zones completely avert it, being almost utopic, having the crystal spires but not the togas. In Blue Zones, people have life expectancies over 100 years, incredibly high standards of living, full employment, virtually no crime, spotless cities, pristine forests and other wildlands, routine spaceflight, and quantum computers, all powered by Tiberium.
  • Decapitation Strike: One of Nod's first acts is to destroy the GDI space station Philadelphia, with almost the entire GDI leadership onboard, with the exception of Secretary of the Treasury, Redmond Boyle.
  • Didn't See That Coming: In Kane's Wrath, Kane's reaction when Alexa says she set up Kilian Qatar is genuine surprise.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The blue zones, yellow zones, and red zones more or less correlate to present-day first world, second world, and third-world regions, respectively. The colored zones are also likely a reference to the color-coded zone system the U.S. military used after the 2003 Iraq War to designate the relative safety of various locations, with "Green Zone" referring to a 10-square kilometer area in Baghdad, and "Red Zone" referring to everywhere else.
  • Dual Mode Unit: Firehawks can be armed with either bombs or anti-air missiles at the airbase.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: In the Nod campaign mission "The Defense of Temple Prime", the Nod Commander was betrayed by the Nod dissidents.
  • Expy: Scrin Tripods are basically Martian Walking Machines.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: As a result of continuity error in the novelization: suddenly, Nod grunts are using laser rifles!
  • Game Mod: Quite a few have been made. The most popular ones include...
    • Tiberium Essence, which revamps the game to be much more like an updated Tiberian Sun while keeping the general premise intact.
    • Mideast Crisis 2, a sequel to a Command & Conquer: Generals mod involving a near-future conflict in the Middle East.
    • The Forgotten brings back the Tiberium-mutated faction from Tiberian Sun, complete with its own fleshed-out campaign and full-motion video cutscenes.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In-game, Tiberium doesn't spread all over the place but only inside a limited radius around a vein. This goes not only against the mechanics of the previous games, but also against the very premise of the series, a planet-consuming mineral engulfing the landscapes.
  • Gemstone Assault: The scrin upgrade for their plasma cannons is to have them fire tiberium shards.
    • In the expansion, this is extended to Reaper-17's tanks, and the baseline Scrin's Ravager.
  • Gem Tissue: Ravagers have tiberium crystals growing on them.
  • The Hypnotoad: Scrin Masterminds and their advanced Traveler-59 cousins, the Prodigies.
  • Hollywood Science: In the novelization, radioactive rainwater kills plants and trees within minutes while leaving the rest of the landscape, including the people who live in the area, unaffected. Radiation does not work that way.
  • Humans Are Warriors: Why the harvesting operation goes bad for the Scrin. While it's true that the Scrin's "invasion" was actually just a mining operation that harvests Tiberium-infested planets when all the inhabitants are dead, they still view humanity as "warlike to the extreme" and a major threat to the survival of their entire race.
  • Humongous Mecha: GDI's Juggernaut, Nod's Avatar and Scrin's Tripod, straight out of The War of the Worlds.
    • Downplayed when compared to the previous game, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun. With the exception of the Juggernaut, GDI retired all of its Tiberian Sun-era walker units in the intervening years. The Intelligence Database gives justification for the changes—one article discusses the retirement of the Mammoth Mk. II (to the rage of Nick "Havoc" Parker) while another on GDI's Commandos gives one of several reasons why: GDI Commandos figured out how to easily take walkers down by attaching det packs to their legs. This led to concern that Nod's elite units could easily do the same—and, of course, they very much can. Juggernauts escaped the axe because, as artillery units, they're less likely to be threatened by this strategy compared to a Titan, Wolverine, or Mammoth Mk. II.
    • The Steel Talons bring back several of GDI's Tiberian Sun-era walkers in the Kane's Wrath expansion. Given the expansion is a prequel to the base game, however, it's more that they're one of the last holdouts of Tiberian Sun-era weapons rather than being a revival.
  • Hypocrite: Kane and his followers simultaneously exalt the wonders of Tiberium, while excoriating GDI for walling itself off in Tiberium-free blue zones.
  • Informed Equipment: Averted. Guns get bulkier, reinforced barrels from weapon upgrades, Tiberium enhanced Super Soldiers start exhaling green gas, tanks get bulldozer blades, etc. Moreover, the prototype version of the upgrade appears on the relevant research building.
  • Light and Mirrors Puzzle: Weaponized by Nod, by using the Viper fighter and Beam Artillery in conjunction. The Viper's special ability is to call on a nearby beam cannon to shoot at it, whereupon it uses its belly-mounted mirror to bounce the laser at a target, effectively doubling its range. This can be chained to other Vipers, until you have a beam cannon or two sitting at home bouncing its lasers off an entire network of Vipers.
  • Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!: GDI soldiers' lamentations while the Scrin raze Munich to the ground.
    GDI Soldier: And we thought we were alone in the universe! Oh, the hubris!
  • Mythology Gag: The GDI campaign has many homages to the Soviet Campaign from Red Alert 2, including a first mission involving the Pentagon and a virtually identical opening to the second mission.
  • Monumental Damage: The Scrin mission in London has the destruction of The Big Ben and of The Houses of Parliament, precisely because they are significant to the humans. After all, the Scrin campaign mentions that the Foreman needs to distract the human factions so that at least ONE Scrin Tower can be completed.
  • Mook Commander: Nod's basic Infantry squads can be upgraded to have a "Confessor" in the squad who will improve the combat power of not only the squad's members, but all nearby units. The combat buff ability was reused for the Black Hand faction in the Kane's Wrath Expansion Pack in the form of "Confessor Cabals" (entire squads of Confessors), the Purifier (a Mech with flamethrowers on it) and the Voice of Kane (a statue of Nod's leader).
  • Never My Fault: A particularly amusing example in the beginning of the Tiberium Wars Nod campaign, where Killian goes on and on about how wonderful the Brotherhood is for spreading Tiberium to those who needed it most... before bitching out GDI for leaving them with all the Tiberium-infected territory. Someone never took lessons on cause and effect, it seems.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Boyle ordering the use of the ion cannon on Temple Prime, which was exactly what Kane was goading him into doing.
    • The player character, if he decides to use the liquid Tiberium bomb at the end of the game.
    • The Scrin Foreman's rather ill-judged attacks.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted; both GDI and Nod have playable campaigns. No Canon for the Wicked is similarly averted, as both campaigns are canon and occur within the relatively same timeframe. There's also an unlockable Scrin campaign for when you've finished those two. Inverted in Kane's Wrath: The bad guys are the only campaign available.
  • Novelization: There is one , but it's full of Hollywood Tactics and other artistic license. Thankfully, there is one Fan Fic author trying to fix that.
  • Puny Earthlings: All humans have to use equipment or cybernetics to fight, the Scrin spit corrosive chemicals, control minds and fire energy out of their bodies. On the other hand, Scrin are critically dependent on Tiberium and Tiberium radiation for survival; without it they will literally shrivel up and stop moving, and they seeded Earth with the stuff specifically to harvest ever more of the precious material. Kane goes so far as to call them "a cult of addiction in the guise of a species", implicitly comparing their entire invasion to a druggie sticking up their neighbors for money.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: Following the events of Firestorm, the Brotherhood is broken into various factions (again). In Kane's Wrath, we see the Marcion-led Black Hand, who turns takes the Church Militant aspects of the group to the forefront.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: The Hammerhead Gunship from Kane's Wrath might as well be a TARDIS in the shape of a helicopter. According to the Intelligence Database, it can transport an entire regiment and still has enough storage capacity left to "operate in the field for days at a time without needing to either refuel or rearm".
  • Society Marches On: In-Universe. In the novel, GDI swear by a goddess and use Queens English swearwords (most notably "arse" instead of "ass.")
  • Special Effects Failure: Kane's mask in the first portion of Kane's Wrath is noticeably lopsided. This is most noticable if you look at the top of the mask and the part next to his left cheek; the angle of the slant on top would have been corrected if the left side of the mask actually touched his cheek instead of just hanging there.
  • Starfish Aliens: The Scrin. So alien in fact, that we don't even know how they look like. All we get is the shimmering, cephalopoidal avatar of the Supervisor during his Warp-Link transmissions.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Technology: Lampshaded by one GDI soldier during the Berne mission, when the Scrin's defenses are first seen.
    GDI Soldier 1: What the hell is that?!
    GDI Soldier 2: Looks like some kind of localized ion storm.
    GDI Soldier 1: But that's impossible!
    GDI Soldier 2: Tell that to the aliens!
  • Suicide Attack: Nod Fanatics are suicide bombers hopped up on Tiberium infusions and religious zeal.
  • Third Is 3D: Tiberium Wars makes the Video Game 3D Leap for the RTS saga, evolving the Game Engine (Westwood3D aka SAGE) created for Emperor: Battle for Dune.
  • Title Drop: Kane's Wrath has Kane title dropping two of the missions, "Persuade Him" and "A Grand Gesture".
  • Tomato Surprise: The person Kane was talking to in Kane's Wrath is a computer AI.
  • Tuckerization: One of the maps, "Black's Big Battle", is likely named for multiplayer designer Greg Black. Ingame art shows a soldier with the nametag "Vessella", a reference to associate producer Jim Vessella.
  • Useless Useful Spell: The Nod Avatar's scavenge ability, which destroys a friendly or enemy unit to get an upgrade, too bad the upgrades are woefully underpowered.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Kane after Sarajevo - "How could my own brothers believe that what transpired at the Temple Prime did not unfold exactly as I had planned. Of course I could not have planned for an ambush BY MY OWN FORCES!"
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Nod, in the yellow zones at least.
  • Washington D.C. Invasion: The first act of the GDI campaign is kicking the Nod invasion back out of the city, starting with the Siege of the Pentagon.
    • Best part? The first act of the Nod campaign (unlocked by beating Act I of GDI's campaign) is the Nod invasion of DC!
  • We Have Reserves: After that it was clear that the Scrin were fooled by Kane to attack Earth, Their leader Overlord wanted more information about him, at the expense of the portals of the Scrin towers for the invading forces. When the Scrin AI pointed this out, The Supervisor, Overlord's representative, tells her that the invading forces was "expendable" and commands Foreman to spend more time on finding researches about Kane and less time on defending the towers.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: If you use the liquid Tiberium bomb in the last GDI mission in Tiberium Wars, you end up killing over twenty million people. Granger immediately calls you out on it and accuses you of being a war criminal.

Alternative Title(s): Command And Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars

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