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Video Game / Command & Conquer: Generals

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In the modern world... great leaders resolve their conflicts... with words.note 

C&C: Generals is a Real-Time Strategy game set 20 Minutes into the Future, using more-or-less existent, in-development, or theorized technology. The Global Liberation Army, an Arab-ish terrorist organization Ripped from the Headlines after 9/11, has declared war on the People's Republic of China and the United States of America, forcing the two superpowers to cooperate against the militants. An expansion pack followed, Zero Hour, which introduced more missions, more units, and three specialized generals to choose from within each main faction. The game is canonically unconnected to the other C&C series, and in fact bears more resemblance to Ensemble's Age of Empires and Blizzard's Starcraft and Warcraft series.

Generals was met with instant controversy from both Media Watchdogs, who objected to the national stereotyping and the fact that you could play as totally-not-Al-Qaeda, as well as longtime C&C fans, who objected to their franchise's name being associated with an RTS that more strongly resembled a Blizzard game than traditional Command & Conquer gameplay. Despire all that however, the game earned good reviews from fans and critics for delivering a solid, action-packed RTS, and was particularly praised for the General system, which allowed players to rise in rank during battle and unlock unique and possibly game-winning units and special abilities.

The sequel was being developed by Electronic Arts and a new division of BioWare, "BioWare Victory" (headed by Jon Van Canegham), in a world where all of the politicians and diplomats got Board to Death at a Peace Conference by a newly reawakened GLA. However, alpha testing of the game didn't turn up the positive feedback the team was hoping for; on October 29, 2013, the game was officially canceled and EA Los Angeles, as well as all subsidiaries, was shut down for good, thus putting the entire series' future into question.

The game provides examples of:

  • A Commander Is You:
    • The GLA is Guerilla and Ranger. By far the fastest faction on land, and with pretty good offense, their units' armor also tends to be made of tinfoil. They have also quite a bit of movement, stealth, Combat Pragmatist, Hit-and-Run Tactics and "survivalist" capacities. However, their lack of airforce tends to hurt. Their army is also generally better against infantry and air than tanks.
    • China is weird blend of Generalist and Brute Force. They do have the most damaging and powerful units in the game, as well as the best artillery (Overlord Tank, Nuke Cannon). They also are the slowest faction overall, although you don't want to have a Chinese tank blob next to your base. China is also in deep love for the Rule of Cool, due to Stuff Blowing Up, Kill It with Fire, Nuke 'em, and Gatling Good. They strike a very nice balance between anti-infantry, anti-air and anti-tank (hence Generalist).
    • The USA, however, is generally Elitist and Technical. The USA has by far the best economy (which may or may not be game-breaking) and air force in the game, with plenty of combined arm tactics. Their ground forces are pretty adequate, and their support powers are mostly China-like (eg. "bomb the hell out of everything"). They tend to fare well against tanks and air force, but poorly against infantry. With the exception of the Pathfinder, which is just as good as the Chinese Dragon Tank and Gatling Tank.
  • A.I. Breaker: The skirmish AI always, always sends a wave consisting only of vehicles first, so building only anti-armor troops is always enough to keep them at bay until artillery is available.
  • Alphabet News Network: The Americans have BNN, the Chinese have BCTV and the GLA have ARC News.
  • Alternate Continuity: Totally unconnected to the previous games, whereas Red Alert leads to both the Tiberium and Red Alert timelines.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Construction dozers have lines where they apologize for running over people, but there's structures that need building.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Any player unit being shot at from outside its guard range will simply stay in the same spot and be killed, unless you activate retaliation in the options menu. Then, they'll chase after whatever is shooting at them and generally run into more enemy units.
    • GLA bomb trucks can disguise themselves as any other vehicle of any size and shape as long as there's no detector around. While stealthed, enemies won't auto-attack it, so you can not only leave a few around as scouts, but run over enemy infantry with no fear of retaliation.
    • Even on Brutal difficulty, one of the Chinese AI's attacks is a wave of Red Guards and Tank Hunters without any vehicles, making them depressingly easy to kill.
  • Artistic License – Geography: The game flubs quite a few geographic details.
    • In mission 3 of the base USA campaign, Lieutenant Eva's briefing tells you that the location is the Hindu Kush mountains (which are spread across the Afghanistan/Pakistan border) and also mentions that your base is located near Salang. However, the onscreen map display says "Northern Kazakhstan" and has an image of that country, and the opening cutscene text also says "Northern Kazakhstan."
    • The İncirlik Air Base in Turkey is made out to be located in a snowy mountainous terrain with some tiny villages and dirt roads in the surrounding area. In reality, the base is nestled in the eastern suburbs of Adana, a major city and provincial capital with a Mediterranean climate and a relatively close proximity to the sea. Although there are plenty of mountains to the north, the city itself is fairly flat and flanked by lush farmland. There are mountainous, insurgency-ridden and sparsely-populated areas in Turkey resembling what is shown in the game, but they are further to the east. The map showing the location of the base also puts it near Antalya, a resort city further west.
  • Artistic License – Military: The standard infantry of China are referred to as "Red Guards", and its icon invoke the stereotypical Chinese Communist soldier of the 1960s-70s. In reality, the Red Guards were a group of Mao-era radical students with little connections to the Chinese military. Curiously, the in game model of the Red Guards more resemble a modern PLA soldier, as did the original icon.
  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics: Several examples:
    • Nuclear Fission Reactors and nuclear-upgraded tanks of the Chinese explode (and, of course, leave radiation behind). The Nuclear General has the "Isotope Stability" upgrade to prevent tanks from going prompt-critical when destroyed.
    • Weak nuke example with the Nuclear Missile which is the worst superweapon in terms of timer and power (and since it's only one big explosion a single one is effectively useless against the GLA Holes left behind by structures). The Nuclear Cannon on the other hand is fairly powerful for an artillery piece, but realistically would be much stronger still.
    • Cold Fusion reactors (itself not possible under current physics understanding) can be set up to raise their Control Rods. This costs money. Fusion Reactors do not HAVE Control Rods (the reaction is controlled through manipulating magnetic fields and lasers, instead of absorbing neutrons).
  • Ascended Meme: One often quoted line from the base game was the GLA Worker's "Can I have some shoes?", implying that they work barefoot. Zero Hour introduces the Worker Shoes upgrade, which lets them move faster.
  • Attack Drone: The Battle Drones and the Hellfire Missile Drones. The Sentry Drone, too, when you give them machine guns.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: A lot of units can go under this, due to Crippling Overspecialization.
    • The PRC Overlord tank and its elite counterpart, the Emperor tank. Armed to the teeth, they are literally landcruisers, but hey, these babies don't come easy: they cost a lot, are hard to maintain and are typically the first on any opponent's target list, are often slow and prone to Zerg Rushes. The GLA has rocket buggies that can remain outside of their attack rage, while the USA has access to Raptor jets before the Overlord is unlocked. In fact, even the basic rocket troops of either faction can be massed to make short work of them.

      The Emperor version, though, is a bit better since it comes with a built-in Propaganda Tower (that automatically heals itself and all units surrounding it), and can be upgraded with a gatling cannon, effectively turning it into an all-purpose weapons platform. General Tao's Overlords are equiped will all of the nuclear upgrades by default so they're a bit less impractical thanks to improved speed and cannon damage without expensive research from a Nuclear Silo.
    • The Nuke Cannon. Pretty much the ultimate artillery unit. Slow, high-tier, rather expensive, no real defense, needs a bit of time to deploy, poor against fast units... but when it hits oh BOY does it hit. Textbook example of Difficult, but Awesome as well : if you master the micromanagement aspect of it and anticipate the movement of your enemies, you will kill lots of stuff with it and generally ruin your opponent's day. The micromanagement is somewhat aided by the "Force Fire On Ground" option, where the Nuke Cannon will lob shells at the preset even with no enemy units to target, creating a localized hell on earth, effectively blocking passage to smaller units. With the "Neutron Shells" upgrade, it will kill infantry and vehicle drivers without destroying the materiel itself, letting vehicles accumulate so they can be hijacked, or left as a roadblock.
    • And by extension, some of the Support Powers. Here's one: the USA Propaganda Leaflet Drop. It makes enemies stop fighting for a mere minute, and it's not a total surrender. More often, pragmatic players would rather spend the Generals point on a MOAB. The B-52 dropping the leaflets, on the other hand, is quite the bullet sponge, which comes in handy if you need a distraction.
    • The Chinese Nuke general can equip his MiG fighters with Area of Effect nuclear missiles. The problem: These MiGs don't cope very well with the damage they make, meaning that every now and then, your MiGs might shoot down each other... or other friendly aircraft caught nearby.
    • Also applies to some degree to the USA's ultimate weapon, the Particle Cannon. Sure, it's fun to be able to break it out, but at the same time it is a very narrow-focused beam of light that doesn't do a lot of area damage compared to China's Nuclear Missiles or the widespread infantry-killing of the GLA's SCUD Storm. However, it does have the shortest cooldown timer, and the fact that it can be redirected after firing makes it ideal for punching burning holes in defensive lines or to be unleashed on a tank blob at the most opportune moments.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier:
    • The GLA Battle Bus. A 10-ton unarmed, but heavily armored rustbucket with seats for eight soldiers. If you think that's not enough, it can even apply scavenged vehicle armor scraps to itself for additional protection. The Battle Bus revolves around the concept of "there's no such thing as taking too many hits", for it has Two Life Meters. On its second Life Meter, the bus loses its tires and becomes an immobile bunker.
    • Furthermore, you can load the Battle Buses into the GLA Tunnel Network, even when full, meaning that you can theoretically send up to 90 units through the tunnel network at a time, including the Battle Buses themselves.
    • Literally, just about anything with these four traits: plenty of seats, some decent off-road speed, a robust fire-support (or self-defense) weapon and most importantly, fire ports for passengers.
    • Humvees full of Missile Troops. Ask any competitive player.
    • The Chinese also have an APC unit with 8 passenger seats (and if you count it, it only costs 200 credits if you count the eight soldiers it comes with). It's rather unimpressive, as it's slow, lacks a weapon, lacks fireports, and is not strong enough to make up for it. However, General Shin Fai's version comes with minigunners that can chop up light vehicles and infantry in seconds and allows the passengers to fire from it, as well as the Assault Helix helicopters.
    • General Granger of the USA has a special version of the Chinook with a point laser defense system (that makes it missile proof) and built in fire ports as well.
  • Back from the Brink: The GLA pull this off twice. The first, after getting their asses handed to them by the Chinese, and then again, after the United States does the same thing. They return the favor to both superpowers.
  • Background Music Override: Each stage in the Generals Challenge in Zero Hour uses music designated for that stage, themes that belong to that general's faction, no matter which faction you happen to be playing as.
  • Badass Army: Everyone. Except the Europeans. Apparently they don't even have armies.
    • While all the armies count, the USA's forces are by far the best on a unit to unit ratio, and have a ton of technology and money. The downside is that their units are very expensive.
    • The GLA deserves a special mention for battling two superpowers at the same time and damn near winning, despite completely lacking an air force or navy, and using mostly outdated Cold War and WWII-era weaponry.
    • The reboot/sequel meanwhile suggests that the Europeans will finally get their due.
    • China meanwhile also deserves some credit. Compared to their American allies, the Chinese make extensive use of Cold War-era technologies and their offshoots, as well as human wave tactics. Still, it takes a lot of gravitas to make use of them in modern combat...and succeeding.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Guys like Col. Burton and Pathfinders have the knack of constantly telling you how well-experienced they are in their fields. Sometimes even in campaign set piece triggers.
    • Some of the generals in Zero Hour tend to do this as well.
    General Granger: Bombs away, punk!
  • Black Comedy: The GLA provides plenty of this.
    • The Bomb Truck refers to itself as the GLA Postal Service and comes across as a demented deliveryman.
    Sorry, no tracking numbers.
    • When Technicals explode, the gunner in the back has a strong chance of being sent flying, his corpse bouncing along merrily.
    • The lunatic in the Toxin Tractor (and his like-minded counterpart in the Dragon Tank) is just a bit too happy about piloting horrible-death-to-infantry on wheels.
  • Bombardier Mook:
    • The Aurora bomber goes so fast it's effectively invulnerable until it drops its payload, at which point it becomes very fragile indeed. It's also the single most expensive unit in the game.
    • The Americans can drop different payloads via specialized bombers such as propaganda leaflets to stop enemies from firing in an area or a Fuel Air Bomb (essentially a nuke).
    • The GLA can use a Generals power to call in a massive anthrax bomb at a target point.
  • Book Ends: The original game begins and in Zero Hour ends with a Chinese Military Parade.
    • Both the first and final Chinese missions (also the first and final missions period) are called "The Dragon [something]" ("The Dragon Awakens" and "The Dragon's Destiny").
  • Bottomless Magazines: As usual for RTS games to simplify gameplay, with the exception of fighter jets who need to return to base to reload on missiles. Lampshaded by one of the Gatling Tank crewman's quotes.
  • Beam Spam: The American AN/TWQ-1 Avenger Humvee is nothing but lasers. Let's have a look, shall we? Two anti-aircraft lasers, four point-defense lasers for shooting down missiles, and one ground-only targeting laser, which are colored red, yellow and blue, respectively, for your viewing convenience, of course. Now, take note: the Avenger can use all of them at once at multiple targets.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: The GLA, for all their talk, are horrible people and arguably the most evil faction in the series. But on the other hand, the "good guys" aren't entirely altruistic on their part. The Chinese don't seem to have second thoughts about torching or nuking their way to victory if they have to, nor do they have second thoughts about blowing up large portions of their own cities or handing tactical nuclear weapons to terrorist turncoats. It's even mentioned in the Zero Hour campaign that the Europeans eventually forced the Chinese to back down from nuking towns and cities infested with GLA terror cells. Also, one has to wonder how they're running their occupied portion of Kazakhstan if a general there defects and the GLA was able to convince mobs to burn down Astana and recruited several anti-China militiamen from an occupied fishing village in the first mission.
    • Though the Americans are fighting for freedom, peace and democracy around the world, they tend to come across as a tad myopic and arrogant. By Zero Hour, it's strongly hinted that they're really doing this more out of self-interest than anything else. Especially since they revert to isolationism after their humiliating defeat in Europe.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Both the GLA's Quad Cannon and the Chinese Gatling Tank serve this role considering that both are cheap, quick to produce, yet surprisingly effective counters to General Granger's King Raptors (which have point-defense lasers that can fend off missiles, but not bullets). Plus, both units are availaible pretty early in the game.
    • The USA's Humvee. It too is available early in the game. Also, the infantry it transports can fire out of it. Using the right combination of infantry inside, a group of Humvees can destroy a poorly defended base (more details under the Humvee's entry on the Characters page).
  • Bowdlerise: Among the C&C titles, Generals was hit worst, which was 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. With Generals this was done for everyone, even the generals and the reporters (but not all their clips were altered). And the terrorist was replaced by... a bomb on wheels. That can drive cars.
    • In addition, all real-world nations, cities and locations were renamed. For example, America became the "Western Alliance", China became the "Asian Alliance" and Baghdad became "Twin Sword City".
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: The GLA uses tech that has been outdated for decades, and yet still manage to put the Chinese and American armies on the ropes multiple times.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Most of the generals in Zero Hour are at best just Ax-Crazy, and worst, well...
    • Alexander, Townes, Kassad, and Leang are the closest that come off to normal people, though they're still egoistical, and Kassad is something of a narcissist. Granger is absurdly arrogant (but then again, he is a fighter pilot), but is otherwise fairly sane.
    • General Fai and Kwai are very taken in with infantry and tanks, respectively, but not in an obsessive way for the most part.
    • Tao's sanity is questionable given his fondness of all things nuclear.
    • Juhziz and Dr. Thrax are Laughably Evil, Juhziz is obsessed with explosives. Dr. Thrax is obsessed with toxic chemicals, and also believes that radiation gives people superpowers.
  • Butt-Monkey: The GLA workers get no respect.note 
    • Also, the vehicle that is blown up the most often in cutscenes is technicals, since they have such little health and have a tendency to go airborne when destroyed (most vehicles stay on the ground). The guy on the back in particular gets to be used as a projectile.
    • The Chinese army is frequently being battered up in the intro to almost all of their missions in the base game. It's up to you to return them Back from the Brink.
  • Car Fu: Crushing infantry with vehicles is featured as always. Conversely, hero unit are otherwise are immune to this. Then there are Overlord tanks which can crush smaller vehicles.
  • Character-Driven Strategy: The game has three Generals for each faction, each of whom had particular bonuses and limitations compared to their generalist equivalents. Their AIs attempted to play to those strengths as well:
    • For the US, General Malcolm Granger uses no tanks, only airfields and infantry, and likes to rapidly overwhelm the enemy base through any gaps in their anti-air defenses. His own base is prone to sprawling. General "Pinpoint" Townes relies on laser technology and information superiority, dividing his attention between missile troops and armoured groups, and protecting the reactors he needs to power them remotely. General Alexis Alexander focused on superweapons, with advanced technology and base infrastructure that was critically dependent on protecting her supplies of money and electricity. Prone to turtling and picking off enemy targets from out of reach.
    • For China, General Shin Fai benefits from well-equipped infantry, utilizing large waves of footsoldiers supported by expensive specialized combat vehicles and computer hackers. General Ta Hun Kwai overspecialized in Tank Goodness, and sends out groups of them that are powerful and durable but slow. General Tsing Shi Tao provides his conventional vehicles and weapons with nuclear power, making much of his equipment faster and cheaper but hazardous to his own forces or ironically less effective at its original purpose.
    • For the GLA, Prince Kassad has stealth everything, buildings included, which gives his forces a a lot of survivability and sneak attack potential but doesn't actually protect his base much. General Rodall Juhziz specializes in high explosives, and uses them extensively to demolish enemy buildings, booby-trap his own structures, and let his own troops destroy themselves as a parting gift. Doctor Thrax equips all his troops with toxic anti-infantry weapons, supplemented by scud missiles, but has very limited means of defending his base when not on the offensive.
  • Cherry Tapping: It's possible to fend off infantry as USA and China using their unarmed Worker Unit thanks to this.
  • The Chessmaster: "Pinpoint" General Townes likes to pride himself on this nearly as frequently as he boasts the superiority of his laser technology. Of course, given that he only has this personality when facing you as a computer ...
  • China Takes Over the World: By the end of Zero Hour, the Chinese are pretty much running the show as the world's superpower, bringing war-torn Europe into its Eurasian alliance, while the US reverts to isolationism.
  • Civil Warcraft: GLA turncoats cooperate with PRC troops in an attempt to backstab their former comrades. The GLA mission in Zero Hour, where the player must hunt down Prince Kassad and take his stealth technology. Also, technically, the last USA mission in Zero Hour as well, where you get GLA supporters against Dr. Thrax.
  • Cold Sniper: GLA's Jarmen Kell and USA's Pathfinders.
  • Colonel Badass: Col. Burton. He sets explosive charges, easily kills many targets (yes, including tanks) with an advanced automatic rifle and to maintain stealthiness, stabs infantry with a knife (and before patches fixed it, could even stab grounded aircraft too). And as is the custom for all Generals hero units, he knows how to stay out of plain sight.
  • Color-Coded Armies: Even though more house colors are available in skirmish/multiplayer games, every faction looks best with a distinct color: blue for the USA, red for China and green for the GLA
  • Combat Medic:
    • The USA's ambulance can heal troops inside and decontaminate radiation/anthrax.
    • With a speaker tower installed, Overlord tanks heal themselves and others (and make them attack faster).
  • Competitive Balance: China is the Mighty Glacier, GLA is the Fragile Speedster and USA is Jack of All Stats.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The AI relentlessly takes advantage of the aforementioned Artificial Stupidity with its ground-based AA vehicles by positioning them just outside of your air units' response ranges where their AA guns will fire with impunity as your helicopters just hover, doing nothing.
    • When playing against the U.S. in skirmish mode, the AI's Missile Defenders will use laser-lock on your buildings (opposed to the player, who can only use them against units), and from long-range (beyond range for the player's weapons), being next to impossible to counter.
    • In General's challenge, the AI can blatantly target airstrikes through the fog-of-war on certain buildings you decide to start building, and in the worst case with General Alexander, automatically know where your valued tech buildings are and target them with surgical strikes. Fortunately, you can get revenge by using this behavior against them setting up a decoy outpost with stonewall defenses and they will be happy to die on your suicide-wall.
  • Converging-Stream Weapon: If you look closely at the American Particle Cannon when it's charged, you'll see that there's several beams pointing towards one large dish.
  • Cool Bike: The GLA's Combat Cycles in Zero Hour. They have the speed of a Technical and the ability to climb up and down cliffs like they aren't there. A Rebel is the one riding it when it comes out of the Arms Dealer, but they can have the rider swapped for a Worker or any GLA infantry unit, even Jarmen Kell. The rider can leave the cycle if necessary, though this is irreversible, as the abandoned bike self-destructs.
  • Countrystan: Aldastan is a union between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzistan. It's located next to Kazakhstan.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: The tutorial has you blow up a GLA chemical factory. The ending cinematic shows Rangers parachuting into the bright blue clouds of death.
  • The Cracker: PRC's Hacker, Black Lotus and Super Lotus. By the way, they work for the good guys.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: In Zero Hour, most of the generals suffer from this:
    • Gen. Granger's air power is second to none, but he can't build even the basic American tank.
    • Gen. Fai's infantry hordes can chew apart armor or aircraft, but will fall quickly to napalm, anthrax and flash-bangs.
    • Thanks to patches after release, Dr. Thrax is only effective against infantry, leaving him up a polluted creek if he has to stop a tank rush.
    • Speaking of which, General Kwai loves to use Tanks so much that he can't even use any artillery. So he's pretty much screwed if the enemy has built a very formidable defense line.
    • General Townes will laugh off any attacks with missiles and vehicles. On the other hand, base defenses and infantry rushes are what gives him big headaches. Unplug his power grid and all of those fancy lasers become sitting ducks.
    • In both offense and defense, General Alexis is not much in a straight up fight. But if she is given the chance to amass a lot of Aurora Alphas and Particle Cannons, then her victory will become a foregone conclusion.
    • Prince Kassad is excellent at hiding and sneaking into enemy positions but totally sucks at fighting big battles out in the open and besieging enemy bases that are sealed up very tight against infiltration. He also has to steal tanks if he wants them.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted. Vehicles and buildings will start looking worse for wear and catch fire when their health gets low, and any foot unit will limp instead of running. Pretty much all units except the Technical, Rocket Buggy and aircraft will also move at about half the usual speed when badly hurt.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Getting shot up by bullets is probably the least nasty way to go out for the average infantryman. Getting poison by anthrax, burned in a firestorm, popped by microwaves... not so much.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The first mission of any campaign. First, the Chinese, after suffering a nuking by the GLA, launch an armored assault that wipes out the GLA forces around Beijing and takes their nuclear weapons stockpiles with very few losses. Then, in the GLA campaign, they launch their own armored assault, first destroying a small Chinese base mostly staffed by infantry with two bunkers with suicide bombers and technicals, then destroying a large Chinese base (complete with infantry, bunkers, tanks, and minigun turrets) in an armored assault, then finally blowing up the nearby dam, which drowns an entire Chinese armored battalion. In the USA's first mission, a large group of American tanks engages a large group of GLA ones and destroys all of them with zero losses on the American side. When another, equally large group of tanks starts moving towards the Americans, they're all instantly destroyed by an airstrike. note 
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: While the original Generals still uses C&C style left-clicking, the expansion added in the option to swap control to Warcraft/Starcraft style right-clicking. As expected, this can prove a bit confusing.
  • Death from Above: Besides the Kill Sat below, the artillery bombardment/airdropped explosives/faction-specific superweapons.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Granted that you will lose several infantry, you can destroy any ground unit and building with swarms of rifle infantry. Even the GLA's Angry Mob is a very good example of this.
  • Defiant Stone Throw: The angry mob unit, except with MolotovCocktails.
  • Determinator: Even after going through several civil wars and having their asses handed to them by the two superpowers four times, the GLA just. Don't. Freaking. Die.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells:
  • Destructible Missiles: Missiles that are smaller than the PRC Nuclear Missile superweapon can be destroyed mid-air using an American point-defense laser, or shot at by base defenses.
  • Dirty Bomb: The GLA uses anthrax instead of radiation, but the effect is the same: a cloud of near-instadeath to infantry, while vehicles last only slightly longer. Their Bomb Trucks can be upgraded to do more damage, leave a cloud of anthrax, or both.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: The GLA Bomb Truck can disguise itself as an enemy vehicle in order to get close to its target.
  • Easy Level Trick: Oh, there's several;
    • The 3rd Chinese mission is supposed to involve the player blowing up a dam to cut off a GLA base and give themselves time to rebuild, but the attacking GLA forces and their base have no stealth detection, making it easy to sneak the super-hacker Black Lotus into the GLA base to capture it causing the GLA troops to destroy their own base.
    • The 6th Chinese mission requires moving Black Lotus onto a train bridge; a bridge guarded (on lower difficulties) by a single anti-armor defense that can't kill her quickly enough. Not viable on higher difficulties owing to the nearby Quad Cannons.
    • The Aral Sea mission for the GLA can be made much easier via the Rebel Ambush perk after the Particle Cannon's location is revealed (right next to the airfield). By having the rebels capture the airfield, a powerplant, and the Particle Cannon, you can produce at least one Comanche before enemy troops arrive. Even when the choppers arrive and kill the buildings and rebels, you now have a deadly attack unit immune to everything but missile troops (who die quickly and are far away) and missile sites (which are on the outside of the base, while the power plants needed to operate them are on the inside).
  • Easy Logistics: The PRC somehow gets thousands of troops shipped to Germany in hours. Although in the decades since the game's original release, China has focused on opening up overseas military bases precisely to be able to do these kinds of long-range deployments across the globe.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The Americans you're allowed to use are made up of nothing but elites or hi-tech regulars.
  • Ejection Seat: When a USA combat vehicle expires, a Pilot will be ejected from the vehicle, assuming the vehicle's Pilot has seen enough combat to gain ranks.
  • Enemy Exchange Program:
    • Notably the only game in the entire C&C franchise that doesn't use an Engineer to seize a building. Instead, you train your basic infantry to place flags on a building for a set amount of time until it becomes yours. The Black Lotus special agents can also do what the grunts can, only better, faster, and from a distance.
    • The developers also seem to encourage a lot of hijacking, seeing how the GLA have specialist Hijackers for the job and Jarmen Kell's ability to kill a vehicle's crew. Zero Hour ups the ante on hijacking sprees with China's crew-killing Neutron Bombs.
  • The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend: The USA fighting a rogue PRC general who allied with the GLA. China supporting the USA on numerous occasions. GLA defectors working with the USA. GLA making use of USA hardware. The list goes on.
  • Energy Weapon: American laser technology. It's used for a lot of things. Took off on a humble start with the Paladin Tank's dual-purpose point-defense laser and the Missile Defender's Laser Sight in Generals. In Generals: Zero Hour, laser technology matured to give all American factions the anti-aircraft Avenger Humvee. Specialist Laser Army faction commanded by Gen. Townes uses Laser Turrets, Laser Crusaders and procured Avengers, while USAF Gen. Granger dumped Paladins for aircraft with multiple point-defense lasers.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Most of the GLA considers Dr. Thrax's war doctrine to be beyond the pale.
    • In the final level of the USA Campaign, a group of GLA Defectors will aid the U.S in stopping him, deciding that his plans have gone too far and don't want to let him put an end to the world.
  • Evil Laugh: Dr. Thrax has a wheezing, phlegmy chuckle, while Shi Tao "the Nuke" has a dangerous giggle once his missile silos are ready to fire.
  • Evolving Weapon: Several GLA vehicles can upgrade their armaments by collecting scrap dropped by enemy vehicles. For example, Technicals go from pickup bed-mounted machine guns to tank cannons to missile launchers, Marauder Tanks go from one main tank barrel to two, and Quad Cannons and Toxin Tractors just get bigger guns.
  • Excuse Plot: This game has the least development to its story of any game in the C&C series, with only some cutscenes explaining what happens and no characters. Zero Hour however has video clips in the form of Alphabet News Network live feeds with announcers and reporters describing the situations before missions.
  • Faction Calculus: The USA is somewhere between Balanced and Powerhouse, featuring a large number of above-average units with various special abilities. The GLA is Subversive, favoring stealth and poison. China fits the Balanced and Horde, with a variety of anti-infantry, anti-tank and anti-air units and their basic infantry and tanks receiving bonuses when in large numbers.
  • Fake Town: The GLA Demolition general can build "Decoy Structures," whose special ability is to explode.
  • Fast-Killing Radiation: China's nuclear missile leaves behind radioactive fallout that kills almost any infantry and even lightly armored vehicles that survived/avoided the blast in mere seconds. China also has the Nuke Cannon and the Chinese General Shi Tao can upgrade MiGs and Helixes to fire tactical nuclear missiles and drop small nuclear bombs respectively, and the radiation from these has a similar level of near-instant lethality to infantry (though considerably smaller in scale). It does only Scratch Damage to heavily armored vehicles, though.
  • Fast-Roping: Using this method, the USA's Chinooks can lower a number of Rangers into an occupied building to clear out anyone garrisoned inside. It can also be used on the ground, but is actually slower than just landing.
  • Final Boss: In the Generals challenge, PRC ubergeneral "Tigress" Leang, who has a base combining all three factions' units and structures. You start the mission racing the clock before she hits you with a simultaneous Nuclear Missile, Particle Beam, and Scud Storm.
  • Flat "What": One of the US Dozer's reactions to being told to sweep for mines, repeating the instruction as if to confirm it.
    You want me to clear that mine.
  • Foreshadowing: Defeat Gen. Kwai in Zero Hour and he'll mention the Tigress squashing you like a bug.
  • ©* From a Single Cell: ... a reduced GLA building can be rebuilt. See Multiple Life Bars below for a detailed explanation on that.
  • Game Mod: Quite a number of have been made for it.
    • Shockwave is one of the most popular out there, restoring almost all of the content cut from Zero Hour. And it's GLORIOUS.
    • There's also Rise of the Reds by the same people that made Shockwave, which has its own page. In a nutshell, Rise of the Reds is an unofficial sequel to Zero Hour, adding two new factions (the European Continental Alliance and Russia), as well as a plethora of new and redesigned units for the pre-existing factions.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: One Chinese mission has you take out Stinger sites so a chemical warfare factory can be firebombed, preventing the chemicals from flowing into the river (and are even prevented from destroying the factory with conventional weapons). Except that during the cutscene, you clearly see the resulting anthrax clouds in the river.
  • Garrisonable Structures: A very important mechanic that helped infantry be a lot more useful in this game than in prior installments.
  • Gatling Good: The PLA has several units and base defenses equipped with Gatling weapons, which spit lead faster the longer they've been firing.
    • The USA A-10 Thunderbolt II and AC-130H Spectre also have Gatling weapons, but their firing rates are consistent, unlike their Chinese counterparts.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Angry Mobs deal horrifying damage against anything but air units, but die from a single hit of anything (including anti vehicle weapons infantry are resistant to) and even die slowly when told to move long distances.
    • Also could apply to the GLA Stinger Sites. They are highly lethal against aircraft and so-so against vehicles (especially with AP rockets). However, the Stinger Site is maned by three GLA soldiers with stinger missile launchers. This means that if they get killed, the Stinger Site itself is useless and helpless. Toxins, radiation, snipers, and flames are quite common counters. Even Technicals and Quad Cannons can pick off soldiers from a Stinger Site. And, the Sites themselves aren't very tough to destroy.
  • Healing Spring: China's Speaker Towers can heal infantry and repair vehicles. Capturing hospitals and repair bays allow, respectively, the former and the latter to regain their hit points no matter where they are on the map.
  • Hero Unit: The USA has Colonel Burton, the GLA has Jarmen Kell, and China has Black Lotus.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In Zero Hour, the GLA hijacks an American Particle Cannon installation in the Mediterranean Sea to sink the USS Ronald Reagan.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: The GLA's Rocket Buggy is made for this, unloadin a Macross Missile Massacre from artillery range before running off (and can fire, in any direction, while moving). Humvees, while not as fast, can still outrun tanks and infantry while allowing troops inside to shoot at enemies.
  • Hypocrite: The GLA are this in droves. At first, they scream incessantly about oppression, imperialism, and how just they are. Other comments, however, underscore that they're basically ill-tempered, sadistic, sociopathic low-lifes to a man. Except for the lowly Workers, who are some of the single most hilariously down-trodden, abused schmucks in gaming history. This is prevalent in the 2nd mission where they steal relief aid from some peasants. Another mission cut from the game (but available for download) has them flat-out committing genocide.
  • The Hyena: Dr. Thrax punctuates his mustache-twirling evil one liners with frantic giggling.
  • In Name Only: The gameplay is more like Starcraft than traditional Command & Conquer gameplay, although it draws a lot of elements from the C&C series, particularly Red Alert for actual units.
  • Invaded States of America: During one mission, the GLA send a strike force to attack the US west coast, partially to steal chemical weapons from an American base, and partially to trick the Americans into pulling their forces out of Europe on the basis of strengthening homeland defense.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Among some of the things: Stealth Fighters (invisible while moving), Pathfinders (invisible when holding still), Radar Vans, Demolition Traps, and a whole Stealth General army. Every army's hero is invisible while moving, but Jarman Kell is able to hide in buildings and attack from there without being spotted.
  • The Juggernaut: Some maps have a train running around that can One-Hit Kill absolutely anything in front of it- infantry, vehicles, Overlords, buildings. It can, however, be destroyed if shot at long enough.
  • Just Plane Wrong: The USA's usage of the F-22 Raptor as its main combat aircraft is rife with this. The Raptor was originally meant to be purely an air superiority fighter, but its main role in the game is to act as a ground attack aircraft hitting targets on land. The second USA mission in Zero Hour also features an aircraft carrier with a squadron of Raptors on board, when the real Raptor is not a carrier-capable plane. Ironically, the depiction of the plane in the game would be much more appropriate if it was an F-35 Lightning II instead, as that plane is designed to be a multi-role fighter and the C variant is a carrier version. It likely was not used because the Lightning was still in early development during the game's production and didn't even have its first flight until 3 years after release in 2006.
  • Kill Sat: The Particle Cannon, subverted. The Particle Beam actually fires up from a ground installation and reflects off an orbiting satellite. Then, it hits the battlefield.
  • Kill It with Fire: The PRC have flamethrowers, incendiary shells and napalm missiles. They're capable of walling off approaches with constant firestorms.
  • Knight Templar: The GLA troops call themselves "liberators of the poor oppressed peoples of the world" while stealing humanitarian aid from those very people and slaughtering entire villages and cities. The GLA tries to excuse the former by claiming they'll find a "better use" for those supplies.
    • The GLA news anchor from Zero Hour, Omar bin-Gazali, ramps this up by praising the GLA and demonizing the USA and the PRC.
  • Landmine Goes Click: Careful, now. Make sure that you have your surroundings checked before capturing that building, because it's probably going to be set up with traps, and it'll be too late to fall back when one of these things beep.
  • Large Ham: In the Zero Hour Generals' Challenge, you face against (nearly) all the specialized generals in succession, and in each mission they constantly taunt you with radio messages.
    General Alexander: Oh? What's that sound? And look, there's a light in the sky!
    General Tao: The glow! The wondaful glow! Can you no see it, general?!
    Doctor Thrax: See, you can tell when it's *Nnn* just right, when the flesh falls off the bone!
    General Kwai: Aaaah... can you feel the thunderous song of approaching armor, general?
    Prince Kassad: Now you see me... ... you're dead. (laughs)
    General Townes: There ya go general, I've drawn the line in the sand, now I dare you to cross it! Come and get me, general. (chuckles)
    General Granger: Be advised, this area is under the control of Air Force General Malcolm Granger. Withdraw now, or prepare to be bombed back to the Stone Age!
    General Fai: I have enough men to crush you without even firing a shot...!
    General Juhziz: It's quiet out there, general... you know what "quiet" means right? BOOM! HAHAHAHA!!
    General Leang: Two warriors meet on the battlefield. Who is to say who will win? I do, that's who! Me! You will fall, general!
  • Laser Sight: The Missile Defender's special ability to give him More Dakka.
    • The Avenger Humvee's blue laser pointer does the same for helping other units rather than itself.
  • Laughably Evil: Dr. Thrax, despite being a murderous sociopath that only seems interested in inflicting pain and misery on others, manages to make everything he says a Funny Moment.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Maximum veterancy units get red muzzle flashes, tracers, explosions and/or jet trails for their weapons.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Humvees allow infantry (of any faction) to fire out of the windows. Cue mobs of humvees filled with Missile Defenders and Pathfinders ravaging everything in their path, then running away ravaging everything that tries to chase them. Killing one takes the passengers with it though.
    • Technicals don't allow firing out the windows, but passengers survive the vehicle being destroyed. A favorite trick of the AI is to send technicals filled with terrorists inside your base.
  • Light Is Not Good: "Behold, the bringer of light" is the Nuke Cannon's first line.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Even if you discount troop transports filled to the brim with missile troopers, you still have the Missile Defender's laser pointer that increases his firing speed, the Comanche copter's Rocket Pods, and for taking this up to eleven, the SCUD Storm.
  • Mad Bomber: The Terrorist and the Bomb Truck. GLA Gen. Juhziz is this take to the extreme: everything he owns has bombs strapped to itself.
  • Mad Doctor: Dr. Thrax. If you defeat him, he'll admit that he got his degree from a mail-order college.
  • Made of Iron: Chinese Infantry can actually survive an anthrax attack if they're next to lots of Speaker Towers and speaker-equipped Overlords.
  • Master Poisoner: The notorious Dr. Thrax, one of the GLA's generals. Under his command, almost all of the units that normally use high explosives instead use a biochemical cocktail called Anthrax Beta/Gamma. He got his degree in bacteriology from a mail-order college, by the way.
  • Meaningful Nickname: Dr. Thrax, Gen. Tsing Shi "Nuke" Tao and Gen. "Pinpoint" Townes.
  • Metaphorgotten: One of the Tigress' taunts.
    You find yourself at the end of your rope, and only now do you realize that the rope is on fire!Gen. Leang
  • Mighty Glacier: Most Chinese units, especially the humongous Overlord tank. Battlemasters and Overlords can be upgraded to be nuclear powered, which makes them a lot faster (able to keep up with their own light tanks), but leave radiation when they die.
  • Molotov Cocktail: GLA's Angry Mobs throw them.
  • More Dakka: More or less what Chinese Gatling operators want the longer they're putting their weapon in action. The Gatling Tank crewmen invoke More Dakka. Hell, it's even in their selection quote: "Need a bullet barrage?"
    Kick it into high gear!
    Rapid fire!
    Spin them up!
    Don't stop till it's over!
    — Gatling Tank crewman
  • Motive Decay: The GLA's self described purpose was to drive the Americans and Chinese out of Central Asia and the Middle East; any "religious" motive came second as opposed to heavy-handed "anti-imperialist" rhetoric. They then proceed to invade Europe for no real reason. Yes, Europe. Not even the formerly Muslim held lands that religious extremists would want, like southern Spain or Greece, but frickin Germany.
  • Multiple Life Bars: All GLA structures, except the Demo Trap, has two layers of Life Meter: the first is its original functional form (like most buildings) and the second is the remaining foundation (called a GLA Hole) that's still standing. If a GLA building's left unharmed long enough at its second Life Meter, it'll slowly restore itself into its functional form for free. Needless to say, this feature gives the GLA a lot of tactical leverage to survive attacks that only last long enough to level buildings without Multiple Life Bars.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Dr. Thrax, Gen. Tsing Shi "The Nuke" Tao and Gen. Leiang "Tigress" Leang. The first one threatens you verbally, the next does it by demonstration of force and the third goes with a combination of both and a little hinting from Gen. Kwai.
  • Noodle Incident: The Zero Hour manual is chock full of these. General Tsin Shi Tao (the nuke general) was the head officer in Mudanjiang when an unspecified disaster occurred that almost cost him his career. General Shin Fai (the infantry general) participated in the "Taiwan Conflict" and General Alexis Alexander (the superweapon general) was a logistical staffer in the "Second Korean War".
    • The conditions that led to the creation of Aldastan (from the union of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) are also unknown.
  • Nuke 'Em!: The PRC, as a whole, and Gen. Tsing Shi Tao in particular. He specializes in nuclear warfare, and when he isn't spamming nuke silos, he's steamrolling you with nuclear-powered tanks firing depleted uranium, or MiGs and Helixes dropping tactical nukes.
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: In-universe, all factions except the GLA are nuclear powers, yet only China actually uses their nukes on a regular basis
  • No Kill like Overkill:
    • While it's understood that anyone can pull this off, there's one in-universe case where Tsing Shi Tao starts off his scenario by routing most of your advance guard with his artillery. When the two surviving tanks try to flee, he drops a nuke on them.
    • Tao has nothing on The Tigress. When you knock on her door, she warns you to leave. When you don't listen she unleashes a Particle Cannon, Scud Storm and a nuke to vaporise your vanguard. Those who still haven't been scared into quitting this General's Challenge at this point have fifteen to thirty minutes (depends on the difficulty) before she does it again.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Terrorists on bikes are slower than other bike variants for no reason other than balance.
  • Occupiers Out of Our Country: What GLA claims to be their motive.
  • Oddball in the Series: While remaining in the RTS genre, this is one of the games in Command & Conquer that stand out.
    • The most obvious one being that in terms of unit selection and base construction, it follows more in line with the Blizzard games such as Warcraft and Starcraft, with Worker Units constructing buildings on site without having to concede to the proximity of existing buildings. The UI bar is on the bottom rather than on the right, showing off unit abilities and actions.
    • Similar to those Blizzard games (or at least the more recent ones), the campaigns take place chronologically in order, rather than being separate timelines or ocurring simultaneously akin to Tiberian Sun: Firestorm and Tiberium Wars.
    • One faction has absolutely no access to aircraft (the GLA). In no other game would a faction be denied a whole category of units (even in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, where the Empire of the Rising Sun had no aircraft production facilities, they got their air forces from transformed units from the Mecha Bay and Imperial Docks, or special units from the Instant Dojo).
    • This is the only game where the army in red (China) aren't antagonists.
    • Live Action Cutscenes are relatively scarce in this game, not showing up at all in the base game and taking form of news reels in Zero Hour.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • Every faction has a way to instantly kill all units in a Garrisonable Structure: The USA uses flashbangs (or Fast-Roping Rangers via Chinook), the GLA uses a toxin-spewing tractor, and China uses the napalm-squirting Dragon tank. The killing unit often goes up several experience levels in one shot.
    • Pathfinders and Jarmen Kell insta-kill any infantry they target. Just one can neutralize a Stinger Site (without damaging it), and building/capturing Humvees lets them attack from inside, giving them the mobility they lack on foot. Kell can also one-shot an enemy vehicle by Sniping the Cockpit, though that ability takes a while to recharge.
    • What happens to any hapless infantryman on the wrong end of Colonel Burton's knife. To boot, it doesn't break his cloak.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Angry Mobs contain up to ten mobbers, any of which die from any attack and even from moving too far.
  • Once an Episode: Each of the three campaigns in Generals features a dam getting destroyed and the water flooding some poor schmucks downriver. Seems the developers liked showing off the effect.
  • Organization with Unlimited Funding: Any side can be this, even long after the supply docks run out:
    • USA has UN Drop Zones, which give a burst of cash every 2 minutes, although the plane that brings them can be shot down if the enemy knows where to look.
    • GLA has Black Markets, which give a slow stream of cash, provide some tech upgrades, and can be camouflaged. Also, they have the Cash Bounty General power, that passively fills their coffers with every enemy they kill, as wells as the scrap drops from enemy vehicles that can just be a straight-up cash reward.
    • China can train Hackers, which trickle in cash slowly but can level up to produce more cash and can be trained en masse and garrisoned in an Internet Center.
    • Averted in campaign missions where the AI doesn't have those: after a while they just... run out and stop attacking.
  • The Paladin: The... Paladin tank is able to protect itself and allies by shooting down missiles that get too close. The laser is slower than the firing rate of most units though.
  • Photoprotoneutron Torpedo: The Particle Cannon.
  • Pillar of Light: One of the coolest features of the American Particle Cannon is how you can direct the laser to "draw" on the map. Nothing like writing your opponent a message in the smoldering ruins of his base.
  • Piecemeal Funds Transfer: How the hackers of the Chinese faction hack in money to fuel your war machine. As they gain experience, they find ways to increase the size of the pieces!
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Play as the only female general of the American faction and your Particle Cannon turns a lovely shade of pink as opposed to the blue color that the rest of the United States employs.
  • Point Defenseless: Averted. Given a proper antiaircraft or antimissile defense, ground vehicles that normally succumb to aircraft and missiles can become a battlefield powerhouse.
  • Poisoned Weapons: One of the GLA's turfs is biochemical warfare. Namely, with weaponized mixes of anthrax and liquid chemicals. But for someone who's into this trope, look no further than the dastardly Dr. Thrax.
  • Power Glows: Max veterancy units get red tracers for their weapons.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Most units have at least one of these, especially the heroes.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Gen. Kwai, the Large Ham he is.
    Tanks! Build! More! TANKS!Gen. Kwai
  • Punny Name: PRC Tank Gen. Ta Hun Kwai. Broken Mandarin for "He (is) very fast."
  • Refuge in Audacity: The whole plot involve an Al-Qaeda inspired organization managing to wage open war on America and China AT THE SAME TIME, using out of date weapons and converted civilian vehicles that wouldn't even scratch their intended targets in real life.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Not to the instantaneous extent of prior C&C games, but still on par with other RTS games.
  • Resource-Gathering Mission: One of the first GLA missions has you steal humanitarian aid packages as they are being escorted around the map or airdropped.
  • Rock Beats Laser: See Rule of Fun, put simply, against most of the American units, the Real Life versions of what the GLA uses would be about as effective as throwing rocks.
  • Robot Roll Call: Drone technology is America's specialty. Typically, they're installed into American ground vehicles for a small fee, in exchange for added versatility and drawing attention away from the parent vehicle.
    • Surveillance Drone: The Scout Drones.
    • Attack Drone: Both the Battle Drone if you like machine guns, and the Hellfire Drone if you like missiles. The Battle Drone also pulls double duty as a repair bot for your tank.
    • Spy Drone: The Spy Drones and the Sentry Drones. The former kind is the stealthy, Support Power equivalent of the Scout Drone. The latter kind takes a little bit of all three drone classes and puts them together in a nifty, buildable, controllable ground vehicle package.
  • Rule of Cool: Many, many, many units (like the Dragon Tank, the Marauder Tank and the Laser Crusader) can only be fully explained by this. The Nuke cannon goes into full-blown pure awesome.
  • Rule of Fun: The American units tend to be a lot weaker than they are in real life, whereas Chinese and GLA units tend to be several times strongernote . This is done to prevent the USA factions from curb stomping their enemy in every match, which would be neither fun nor balanced for players playing the other two factionsnote .
  • Ruritania: There is a Central Asian country called Aldastan where numerous PRC and GLA missions take place. Judging from the names of the cities, it incorporates bits of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and must have been formed sometime before 2020s when the game takes place. Considering the instability of some Central Asian Republics (Tajikistan being near the top), we may see this trope become Harsher in Hindsight.
  • Secret A.I. Moves:
    • The Stealth General AI can build Terrorist Bikes in addition to the normal ones. Human players however cannot see the button for this and thus not do it.
    • The campaigns in Zero Hour have two Generals which were prototypes to the actual Dr. Thrax and Prince Kassad, with their own special goodies. Dr. Thrax has Toxin rebels who have the camouflage upgrade (both Thrax and Juhziz normally lack any stealth capabilities sans Demo Traps and Jarmen Kell) while Prince Kassad has a few snipers (read: Pathfinders) guarding his first base.
  • Secondary Fire:
    • Rangers start with assault rifles and can be upgraded to use flashbang grenades instead, which fire slower but do more area damage to infantry (and clears out buildings).
    • The Scud Launcher has high explosive warheads to use on buildings and clusters of units, and anthrax warheads for anti-infantry area denial. The player can switch them up at will.
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: A jam-packed battalion of units will succumb to a nuclear explosion, but many buildings can withstand it, even at ground zero (making the Scud Storm the deadliest of all superweapons, as the damage from multiple missiles gets around the GLA's Multiple Life Bars schtick). However, with the exception of the Nuclear Missile silo (unless the optional "one of each superweapon" build-limit is disabled before beginning a skirmish/multiplayer game), there's no limit to the number of other tactical nuclear weapons you can build at once, particularly in the case of the Nuclear Cannon.
  • Sniping the Cockpit: Jarmen Kell, the GLA Hero Unit, can snipe pilots out of vehicles, leaving behind the unoccupied vehicle that can then be captured by a friendly infantry grunt. The Chinese Nuke Cannon (nuclear artillery), with neutron shells selected does the same thing but on a larger scale, killing infantry, drivers, and pilots, and leaving vehicles as sitting ducks, ready for the taking (or making a convenient roadblock).
  • Spy Ship: The GLA Bomb truck can serve this purpose, as it can be disguised as any vehicle (allied, hostile, or one of the neutrals that are there to be turned into Action Bombs by the Terrorist unit) and is only revealed when detonating, which doesn't have to be done manually. Even better against AI opponents, who don't react at all to the random passenger car that's running over their infantry one by one.
  • Stealthy Mook: The Pathfinder snipers for the USA, who remain hidden even while firing. Jarman Kell can shoot from buildings without revealing himself, while Rebels can be upgraded to be invisible when not attacking.
  • Stock Sound Effects: Generals reuses a lot of sound effects from Red Alert 2.
  • Support Power: The first C&C to field all three types. Of note is the General Powers system, which works not by making stuff or by completing a mission objective, but by earning points and using said points to gain new powers.
  • The Starscream: Dr. Thrax, if you go campaigning. He intends to usurp control as GLA leader.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors:
    • Many of the units are extremely effective against a particular type or two, but get absolutely demolished by everything else.
    • Entire generals get this. Tank-obsessed Kwai falls flat against the EMP of Alexander's turtling without any artillery to back him up, Infantry-rusher Fai is up a creek against toxin-abusing Thrax, who himself can't do much to Kwai's Tanks or Granger's airpower. Granger himself can't do much against Fai's horde of miniguns. Early maps in the General's challenge face you against generals you naturally stomp over, while the last few are the ones you have the most trouble against.
  • Tank Goodness: Anything with the word tank on its name, while Zero Hour's Gen. Kwai is built around this trope.
  • Tanks, but No Tanks: Technically, armored vehicles like the PRC Gatling Tank, the GLA Marauder Tank and the USA Microwave Tank are simply an up-armored self-propelled anti-aircraft Gatling gun, a turretless assault gun and a lethal, mobile version of the active denial system, respectively.
  • Tech Marches On: The main attack helicopter for the USA is the Comanche. The games take place sometime in the 2020s. When the games were released in 2003, the Comanche was still undergoing test flights with the intention of eventually being deployed as a support vehicle to the AH-64 Apache. In 2004, the Comanche program was canceled by the U.S. Army, and its budget was reallocated to UAV development.
  • Technicolor Toxin: GLA's toxins are, in ascending order of lethality, Green, Blue, and Purple.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: The GLA's agenda. You're actually told in the GLA campaign that their motive is to drive out who they feel are imperialist aggressors, though beyond this their precise goals are unclear. Many real life terrorist organizations had an ostensible goal of liberating their homeland from foreign occupation, so the GLA is not without real life precedent.
  • Trash Talk: Every opponent general The Generals Challenge taunts you with insults. But hey, this is a Command & Conquer game. Expect the obvious.
  • Trick Bomb:
    • Besides Frickin' Laser Beams which destroy missiles, USA aircraft can be refitted with chaffs in order to confuse enemy missiles. Pain befalls those who encounter aircraft which have both.
    • The PRC ECM Tank is, put simply, a walking Trick Bomb: about half of all the enemy missiles caught within its effect radius will be grounded, which saves its general the trouble of paying dearly for his vehicle losses.
    • The GLA use anthrax biochemical gas bombs which put Universal Poison to full effect.
    • The USA Superweapon General faction with its EMP missiles. Because of its paralyzing effects, it usually spells "crash time" for fliers.
    • Phlebotinum Bomb: There are two types, both fielded by the PRC. The first is the air-dropped EMP bomb, which incapacitates anything but infantry. The second is the neutron warhead in flavors of artillery shell or land mine, which only kills infantry, including those hiding inside vehicles and buildings.
  • Tube Travel: The aptly-named GLA Tunnel Network, which involves building separate entrances that are somehow connected the instant the entrance is completed no matter the distance or location on the map.
  • Unexplained Recovery: One mission with Black Lotus drops another one if you lose her with no other explanation.
  • Uniqueness Rule: Unlike other games in the series, there's no upper limit to how many superweapons a player can build, with cost and space being the only limiting factor. However, with the Zero Hour Expansion Pack, superweapons can be limited to only one building.
  • The Unfought: The Chinese in the campaigns of Zero Hour, as the GLA campaign primarily focuses on beating back the American armies with one mission dealing with the rogue Prince Kassad. The closest thing the game gets to confronting the Chinese is the introduction in the final GLA army where they take over their base in a cutscene. Averted in the base game where the GLA fight the Chinese and American armies in equal measure.
  • Universal Driver's License:
    • The pilots that drop from a veteran US vehicle can transfer their level to the next vehicle they're sent in, no matter if the original or target use jets or wheels.
    • Neutralized vehicles can be captured and piloted by any infantry unit, including GLA workers.
  • Universal Poison: Anthrax. But from the way it's handled, it might be mixed with other liquid toxins. However, this takes silly proportions when vehicles and buildings can be poisoned to death from Scratch Damageunless there's a corrosive aspect to the formula as well. There actually WAS a corrosive component to the GLA's brand of anthrax. But the patch fix removed that, making it useless against vehicles.
  • Units Not to Scale: Averted with the humongous aircraft carrier and battleships. However, due to pathfinding issues, these realistically large ships only appear in a select few missions and are unbuildable. The rest of the units play this rather straight (transport vehicles look they they could fit one, maybe two infantry units inside).
  • Variable Mix: The background music changes based on how well you're doing or if you're fighting or not.
  • Videogame Flamethrowers Suck:
    • Far from it. While incredibly short in range, Dragon Tanks have staggering potential against infantry. In numbers, they can stop tanks, too, assuming they're using the Wall of Flame ability.
    • Flamethrowers, toxins streams and flashbangs are a One-Hit Kill against any infantry inside buildings.
  • Villain Has a Point: The final missions of the Zero Hour GLA campaign point out the apparent hypocrisy of in-universe America maintaining a stockpile of biochemical weapons. note . They end up stealing twenty truckloads of bioweapon samples from a facility on US soil. In an Ironic Echo of the (now proven false) real-life US pretext for the Iraq war, the cutscene before the final mission shows a pro-GLA news anchor describing this action as "raiding [America's] weapons of mass destruction".
  • Warmup Boss: General Granger is usually the first opponent you fight in Generals Challenge mode. Unlike all other opponents in this mode, he doesn't use any support powers and never builds any superweapons. Additionally, he gives you noticeably more prep time than any of the other opponents.
  • We Need a Distraction: Lampshaded by Jarmen Kell when cornered, as he may indeed say "Quick, a distraction!"
  • Weaponised Landmark: The Baikonur Cosmodrome (used to launch the Sputnik satellite) gets captured by the GLA and used to launch a missile at the US.
  • Weaksauce Weakness:
    • Troops garrisoned in buildings are impervious to attack, and can bring substantial firepower to bear against enemies, racking up experience while safe from retaliation and getting run over. But just one shot from a flamethower, toxin sprayer or flashbang and they all die instantly.
    • The GLA's Stinger Site bears the dubious honor of being weak to rocket attacks (like all buildings) and to the aforementioned anti-infantry weapons (killing all three soldiers leaves it entirely helpless, and they respawn slower than the cooldown on the weapons).
  • Would Not Shoot a Civilian: The USA and PRC wouldn't. The GLA would. See Knight Templar above. That said, you can run over civilians while playing as any faction without getting called out for it.
  • What Do You Mean,
    • It's Not Political?: Take just about any faction unit at all: lots of its quotes are subtle messages of, well... overblown fanaticism.
    USA Paladin: Enemies of the free world!
    GLA Rebel: Our way is true!
    PRC Red Guard: Foreign devil!
  • Worker Unit: No Construction Yards here, but bulldozers, transport helicopters, trucks and certain men who need shoes from the Black Market.
  • Wretched Hive: The GLA's main stronghold is Kazakhstan. The majority of the USA campaign and a large portion of the PRC one takes place there, and there capital is Astana. Aside from that, they also maintain de facto control of Aldastan, a fictional Central Asian nation made from the union of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
  • You Have Given Your GLA Workers Some Shoes: Because that's, quoting the description for it, what "they've been asking for".
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Good ol' US Dollars (and power).
  • Zerg Rush: The Generals challenge battle against Gen. Kwai has you enduring a near-constant stream of his improved tanks. The PRC, in general, favor this tactic, too, where their grunt infantry and tanks gain a Horde Bonus if gathered in groups of five or more.
    • The Angry Mob functions like this too, you can mass them together and start a literal riot against your enemy.


Video Example(s):


The Dragon Awakes

The opening cutscene for the first China mission in C&C: Generals has the Global Liberation Army launch a terrorist attack on the Chinese capital of Beijing in the midst of a military parade, culminating in the city's destruction from a stolen nuclear warhead.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / SuicideAttack

Media sources: