Video Game: Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn
World Domination in a box
The first game in the Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series
, Tiberian Dawn
was released in 1995 by Westwood Studios
and originally known simply as Command & Conquer
, before later being given its subtitle. Set Twenty Minutes into the Future
, it is a Real-Time Strategy
game 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.
The game is now freeware and can be downloaded here
.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:
- Artistic License – Geography: Plenty, but perhaps the most striking is the city of Białystok, presented in the game as a small hamlet inhabited by peace-loving peasants. The kicker? In 1995, Białystok was the capital of a voivodship, with circa 270,000 citizens and a large light industry sector. Alas, poor Poland.
- Berserk Button: If you attack an AI harvester, the computer will send everything it has at you.
- BFG: The Commando fires a silenced .50 caliber Assault Rifle. Left handed.
- Bond One-Liner: "That was left handed."
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In the campaign, the AI can rebuild its destroyed buildings anywhere, whereas the player can only build next to existing structures. Also the AI harvester brings back about 20k of credits compared to the players 700 credits per full harvester. That way, the computer can replace one harvester that was lost if the other one (in later missions it usually has two) gets through. That makes cutting off its supply of resources a more difficult task.
- Note, however, that it rebuilds a destroyed building in the place it originally occupied. This allows the player to prevent the computer from rebuilding merely by parking a single unit, even a lowly rifleman, where the building once was. Even the sole exception (where one final GDI mission has the AI construct an Obelisk of Light in a Tiberium patch that you're harvesting) can still be blocked by parking a unit in it's intended location.
- Achilles' Heel / A.I. Breaker: The AI can actually become crippled and unable to rebuild if it no longer has a Construction Yard. A really cheap strategy that was invented to exploit this weakness is to load an APC full of engineers and make a suicide run into the enemy's base with the sole intent of capturing and selling off said Construction Yard. Afterwards, capturing/destroying the Tiberium Refineries will pretty much reduce the mission to a leisurely cleanup job.
- Another cheap tactic is to use the "wall trick" which involves building sandbags all the way to the enemy's base and then closing it off with Concrete Walls.
- Cosmetically Different Sides: Faction Calculus is present, in a stark contrast with its main rival of the time, Warcraft I/II. GDI relies on heavy, conventional platforms while NOD relies on light skirmishers and experimental weapons. A rare example of the good guys being the Powerhouse.
- Cutscenes: Once per mission and one of the innovative pilars of its appeal and success, the game filled 2CDs with FMV in a time when the floppy disk was still a prominent medium.
- Death from Above: GDI has the Ion Cannon, can call A-10 airstrikes, and build Orca VTOL attack fighters. Several NOD missions are meant to counter, steal or reverse this hardly checked advantage.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: In one of the GDI endings (if you destroy the Temple of Nod without the Ion Cannon), Kane walks down a corridor and is suddenly crushed by falling debris. Subverted because he is alive and well in the next game.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first game has no tutorial and no skirmish mode, and even when the computer is included in LAN games, they get no bases.
- Expansion Pack:
- The Covert Operations adds a pack of missions and several hidden levels.
- Red Alert was conceived to be one and it shows, but the developers realized the potential for a full-fledged standalone game.
- Flamethrower Backfire: Flamethrowers would explode when shot, which contributed to their uselessness.
- Friendly Fireproof: The problem with flamethrower infantry is that their weapon has a small area-of-effect which means that they can't be grouped with other friendly soldiers without damaging or even killing them. You can't even use a group of 5 flamethrowers without having them catch fire from one of them merely using their weapon.
- I Love Nuclear Power: The power plants are implied to be nuclear and NOD's superweapon is a nuclear missile.
- Is This Thing Still On?: After a mission in which you (playing GDI) save a town from being wiped out by Nod, there is a cinematic featuring a reporter in front of a scene of destruction saying that the town was wiped out by GDI. It then cuts to a green-screen in a studio, where Big Bad Kane begins to give orders on the distribution of the propaganda video before noticing the camera and shooting it while ordering the destruction of its film.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: In one NOD Covert Ops Mission, your objective is to use Chem-Warriors to devastate a civilian area in order to fabricate an incident where GDI was responsible for a chemical leak that killed innocent bystanders. However, if you destroy just one GDI structure, you'll fail the mission as it will provide evidence to an attack by NOD.
- Luck-Based Mission: The first Commando-centric mission. Unlike later games, the Commando fires rather slowly, doesn't regenerate health, and is kinda fragile. Also, buildings destroyed by C4 still have a chance to produce wounded infantry just as if they were destroyed normally, resulting in the very likely scenario of your Commando losing half his health before he gets off the first island. Save Scumming is very useful in these situations.
- Monumental Damage: In the NOD ending, after some Tron-style Hollywood Hacking, the player can choose between razing The White House, the Eiffel Tower, The Houses of Parliament or The Brandenburg Gate.
- Multiple Endings:
- In the GDI ending, Kane can be killed in either one of two ways. If you destroy the Temple of Nod with the Ion Cannon when it is the last enemy building on the map, Kane will embrace it as it engulfs him. If you destroy the Temple conventionally, Kane will be crushed by falling debris. The sequel reveals that the Ion Cannon ending is the canon one.
- In the Nod ending, Nod hijacks the GDI Ion Cannon, and you get to destroy one of either the White House in Washington D.C., the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Houses Of Parliament in London, or the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
- No Canon for the Wicked: GDI victory is canon.
- Retronym: Originally titled simply "Command and Conquer." Some official documents on the original discs already contained references to the name "Tiberian Dawn", so it may have been an internal project name that simply never appeared on the box.
- Scratch Damage: Averted, as seen in this video. The technician's pistol deals one point of small arms damage, but the flame tank possesses an armor class of "heavy" which reduces small arms damage by half. So when the calculation is worked out, the technicians would be dealing 0.5 damage per shot, but the game rounds this down to the nearest integer...zero. So by the end, the technicians are all burnt to a crisp and the flame tank has suffered no damage whatsoever.
- Secret Level: A mini-campaign pits the player against dinosaurs in the expansion. This add-on was created at the height of the Jurassic Park movie craze.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: A perfect example of the trope is seen in the channel-surfing video intro.
- Smart People Play Chess: Kane is holding a chess piece during the briefing of the 9th Nod mission.
- Spiteful A.I.: Here's a fun trick: build a wall of Advance Guard Towers\ Obelisks then attack a harvester. Your opponent will attack with every single unit on the map, and probably an Ion Cannon, airstrike and nuke.
- Spiritual Successor: Dune II, not IN Space. In turn, Red Alert is C&C VERSUS STALIN!
- The Starscream: Kane's second in command, Seth.
- Tank Goodness: Special infantry packs a good punch if massed, but can and will be stomped by tanks. With bulkier and mightier tanks, GDI have the drop on NOD here, more than in the sequels (GDI would rely on mechas during Tiberian Sun)
- Updated Re-release: C&C 95 Gold, a 1999 Windows 9x version with SVGA Graphics.
- It still maintains the original gameplay, but the UI graphics are adjusted to the new resolution.
- You Have Failed Me: The game indicated that this was how the Brotherhood of Nod handled incompetent officers, with Seth, Kane's second in command, warning the player that if you failed you died. Seth, it is worth noting, starts seeming wary of you (noting that "you are rapidly becoming Kane's favorite") as the campaign progresses and continues sending you on difficult missions with faulty intelligence. He eventually tries to send you on an outright Suicide Mission against the Pentagon (all the way across the ocean from the African theater where you're fighting). Then Kane introduces himself by executing Seth in mid-sentence, pushing him out of the chair, and promoting you.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Kane presents himself as a third world messiah and liberator, GDI is a law enforcement organization of the United Nations but NOD Kicks The Dog and kills civilians "who are either affiliated with GDI or don't agree with their religious dogma" from the start.