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Assistant: Did you find him?
Einstein: Hitler is... out of the way.
Assistant: Congratulations, professor! With Hitler removed—
Einstein: Time will tell. Sooner or later... time will tell...
Red Alert's intro

The Red Alert series is a spin-off of the original Command & Conquer, using the same engine and gameplay as the Tiberium saga to tell a story of time-travel, Tesla-powered Communists, and parachuting bears. Plausibility can take a backseat, now.

The premise of Red Alert (Westwood Studios, 1996) is simple: in 1946, operating out of a laboratory in Trinity, New Mexico, Albert Einstein uses a time machine to travel to Landsberg, Germany in 1924 and removes Adolf Hitler from history. While this prevents the Nazis from rising to power and keeps Germany docile, unfortunately it leaves Josef Stalin with no obstacle to the Soviet Union's expansion. This sparks an even worse version of World War II during the 1950's as the Allies try to withstand the endless hordes of the Red Army, backed by deadly Tesla-based technology. But thanks to Einstein’s chronosphere and one nameless European commander, the Soviets are defeated.

Red Alert 2 (Westwood Studios, 2000) is set during the 70's, when the supposed puppet-Premier of the USSR leads a world communist alliance in a surprise invasion of the United States, with the help of the mindbending psychic Yuri. Though once more the Allies rally to win the war, Yuri has his own plans and steals a time machine in an attempt to conquer the past. He's thwarted, but the time travel shenanigans aren't finished.

In Red Alert 3 (Electronic Arts, 2008) Soviet scientists conclude that the Allies keep winning due to possessing Albert Einstein's technology, and so they build their own time machine to remove the physicist from history. This has the unintended side-effect of allowing a third faction to emerge, the Japan-based Empire of the Rising Sun. By the 1980's all three powers struggle once more for dominance, using some of the most insane arsenals ever imagined. And to make things more over-the-top, Tim Curry is the Premier of the USSR.

Please note that this page is for tropes that cover multiple games in the Red Alert series. Please add tropes relating to one specific game to that game's page.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Action Bomb: M.A.D. Tanks in Aftermath, Terrorists and Demolition Trucks in 2, and Yari Minisubs in 3
  • The Alliance: The Allies. They become more American-centric in the second game, as US mainland is invaded by the Soviets. Things go back to normal in the third.
  • All Theories Are True:
    • The Red Alert series uses Tesla coils in ways that were once thought possible.
    • Similarly, one of the major themes surrounding Red Alert 2 questions what would happen if Soviet Psionics research yielded results.
  • All There in the Manual: The novelization, game manuals, various developer blogs, in-game database entries, and official website provide information that wouldn't be revealed during the cutscenes or gameplay.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: An engineer raid in any of the games can easily see half your enemy's base fall to you in one fell swoop.
  • Alternate History: Red Alert being the result of Hitler's removal from the timeline. Furthermore, the game was meant to be a prequel to the Tiberium series, while its sequels take place in further alternate timelines due to more time travel.
  • America Saves the Day: Played with, as this is often averted, inverted, or subverted. All Allied nations receive fair representation.
    • In the first game, most plot points indicate that America isn't even involved in the war; Word of God reveals that they didn't officially involve themselves until the European Allies were already about to win it. They were still doing an extensive lend-lease campaign like in the real WWII, though, as evidenced by the Allies' use of American tech like the M1 Abrams as their medium tank and soldiers carrying M16 rifles in cutscenes (despite the game being set in the '50s). Allied units use American accents, suggesting American involvement in the lower ranks.
    • Toyed with but inverted in the second game, where the Soviets seem to hold America responsible for their loss in the previous war and invade them, forcing America to turn to the European Allies for assistance.
    • In the third game a large number of units and characters are British and the US President is an incompetent and paranoid George Bush parody who ends up doing more harm than good in the long run. Of course, that may be because he's secretly an android created to serve as a Manchurian Agent to the Empire of the Rising Sun.
  • Anyone Can Die: The Soviet campaigns have characters suddenly dying at moment's notice for various reasons. In the end of the first game's campaign, one of the only two survivors is you.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Abound in almost all missions that feature major cities and/or landmark structures. The most Egregious example is probably the final Allied mission in Yuri's Revenge, where the 1000-or-so-kilometer distance between Tierra del Fuego and the Antarctic Peninsula is compressed into about 1.
  • Base on Wheels:
    • The Mobile Construction Vehicle, a literal base on wheels. It unfolds into the Construction Yard, which can then be used to produce any building in the game.
    • In the third game, the Soviet Sputnik and the second function of the Allied Prospector are largely the same. The Empire's base building is completely based on this - each building comes as a "nanocore" vehicle and unpacks at a designated position into a building.
  • Beard of Evil: Kane, Yuri and Cherdenko.
  • Big Bad:
    • Stalin in the first game. His invasion of Europe starts the main conflict of the game.
    • Premier Romanov in the second (or Yuri if you're playing as the Soviets), followed by Yuri to both factions in the expansion.
    • Cherdenko and Futuretech in the third game.
  • Big "NO!": Many. As befits the pilot of a Humongous Mecha, Kenji gets one with an echo in Uprising.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • In the second game, McBurger Kong, a spoof of McDonald's and Burger King.
    • The MiG aircraft in the third game is called "Mikevich-Guroyan", instead of the real life "Mikoyan-Gurevich".
  • Bond One-Liner: The Desolator from Red Alert 2 and the Shock Trooper from Red Alert: The Aftermath. Ironically, the Spy, who is a Shout-Out to James Bond himself, doesn't use them except in Red Alert 3 when bribing enemy units:
    "Come on, fight for the winning team!"
  • Bottomless Magazines: Pretty much all the units, except some aircraft which have to return and reload. Lampshaded by the Sickle and Rocket Angel:
    Sickle: "Come on, we have lots of ammo."
    Rocket Angel: "Unlimited ammo!"
  • Bowdlerise: The early games were subject to some changes to avoid an M rating in Germany. Most commonly was the tactic of calling all infantry units cyborgs and changing/removing sounds and effects that would suggest otherwise.
  • Broad Strokes: About the most charitable way to describe the continuity between the games.
  • Camp - So much of it. Red Alert 1 was pretty serious, but the camp set in with Red Alert 2, based off cheesy Red Scare movies from the 1950s, although the overall tone was still fairly believable outside of some of the fantastic tech. Red Alert 3 took it even further and cartoonier - it is pretty much the Adam West Batman of the Real-Time Strategy world.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The references in Red Alert that tied it into the Tiberium saga as a prequel are ignored in later Red Alert titles. Red Alert 1's hardcore fanbase was displeased. Word of God states that while Red Alert remains a prequel to Tiberian Dawn, Red Alert 2 is the result of more time traveling shenanigans, making Red Alert 2 an alternate alternate future.
  • Casting Gag: Barry Corbin, who plays General Carville in The Aftermath and RA2, is basically reprising his role as General Berringer from WarGames. There's even an explicit Shout-Out during one of the Ant missions ("I'd piss on a spark plug if I thought it'd do any good!").
  • Civil Warcraft:
    • Often in the second game, especially when Yuri's Mind Control is involved.
    • Many times in Red Alert 3. Twice for Soviet, first for Krukov's supposed betrayal, though it was later revealed Cherdenko is the one who framed him, second for Premier Cherdenko's event. Surprisingly (at least to the players), the Allies also got one against President Ackerman. The Empire don't get any until the expansion, at least in the Allies campaign and Challenge mode.
  • Cloning Blues:
    • The Cloning Vats of RA2 and Yuri's Revenge,
    • Yuriko of RA3 being cloned several times, powering the Empire's ultimate ultimate weapon with many of her doubles. In Uprising she heads out to destroy a facility which has the sole role of mass cloning her.
  • Color-Coded Armies: The Soviets are red and the Allies blue, with certain justifications due to their political structure. Yuri's armies are colored Purple. In Uprising, the Allied subfaction FutureTech uses White. The Empire of The Rising Sun (Japan) is orange (red and white were already handed out).
  • Convenient Color Change: When a building is captured.
  • Cool Airship: Kirovs.
  • Cool Boat:
    • The Allied Cruiser deserves special mention. And the boats get progressively more awesome as time goes on. The Helicarrier of Red Alert 1 would be here, but for some reason it's just set to be available at tech level -1, thus preventing its construction, though the player is only one variable away from being able to use them.
    • In Red Alert 3, you have the Empire's Shogun Battleship, which is essentially a more balanced version of the first game's Cruiser. It can ram into enemies for heavy damage too!
  • Creator Provincialism: Strongly averted in the first game, where nearly all the Allied cast are Europeans—it's not clear whether the USA is even in the war, as opposed to sending volunteers—and the three Allied sub-factions for skirmish missions are Britain, France and Germany. In later games, the Allies are still a broad mix of volunteers from various nations; their units have a wide variety of accents.
  • Crippling Overspecialization:
    • Tanya's absolutely devastating to infantry and can instantly destroy any building she gets close to, but is utterly useless against vehicles. Yuri's Revenge gave Tanya the ability to blow up vehicles as well, but she still had to get close enough to plant charges, whereas they moved faster and could usually fire while moving.
    • Also, several country-unique units in Red Alert 2, such as the Sniper and Tank Destroyer, the latter being most infamous in that it literally is only good against tanks. Even against buildings, which you'd expect them to be competent against (given that all other units effective against tanks usually do well against buildings too), they will only do chicken scratches to.
  • Cutscene: One of the early games to use live-action FMV to advance the game plot, the series at least does not overwhelm the game itself. Continues to be a key element in the Tiberium and Red Alert games, if only for tradition.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • The Chronosphere in Red Alert 1 is shown teleporting many vehicles to the battlefield. In-game, it can only teleport one unit at a time every few minutes or so, and even then the repositioning lasts only a short period of time before the unit teleports back to where they were.
    • In 3, the King Oni is shown to be Kaiju-sized in the cutscenes, although it is much smaller in game. Also, in one scene, it is shown leaping up and punching a Kirov out of the sky, but in game, King Onis have no anti-air capabilities except the special ones piloted by Emperor Yoshiro and Kenji.
    • In many of the earlier games, after-mission cutscenes would show units doing feats that cannot be replicated ingame (The Chronosphere example above is one; a helicopter one shot-killing a tank is another).
    • In one cutscene for the first Red Alert a Tesla Coil is seen destroying a helicopter in one blast. In game, Tesla Coils can't even target airborne units! Though they can destroy Helicopters in one blast - if someone lands one beside the coil.
    • In Yuri's Revenge the Psychic Dominators shown in the opening cutscene are able to mind control entire sections of continents. To prevent it from being an enormous Game-Breaker by giving Yuri's faction the ability to instantly control every unit and structure on the map if one is activated even once, in the game it can take over 9 units at most and cause a lot of base damage.invoked
  • Death from Above:
    • In Red Alert, the Soviets have the advantage in the air, with MIGs, YAKs and the Hind attack helicopter. The Allies only have the Apache anti-armor helicopter.
    • In Red Alert 2 the Soviets lack their previous arsenal, but they instead gain the Kirov zeppelin bomber, a Mighty Glacier. The Allies have the Harrier VTOL attack plane.
    • The Soviets in Red Alert 3 have a satellite that can pull enemy vehicles into orbit, and drop them back down later. There's also Kirov Airships, Devastator Warships, and the innumerable different bombers. Harrier pilots actually say this when attacking.
  • Deflector Shield: The Soviet Iron Curtain device, which works by adding a vibrating layer of metal particles to a vehicle's armor. Infantry are immediately vaporized by it.
  • Denser and Wackier: Red Alert 1 didn't have much camp to begin with, and 2 keeps some seriousness while introducing GIs that talk in almost the same voice as the famous Terry Bogard, the USA as the rest of the world may probably remember it, the all-communistic Soviet Union units and their buildings loosely based off Saint Basile's Cathedral, and that's not counting Yuri himself note . And then 3 shows up, complete with the armor-equipped bears and a Japanese schoolgirl whose mind could easily kick Yuri's ass, if he was still around...
  • Developing Nations Lack Cities: Tiberian Dawn (set all over Africa and Europe) and Red Alert (Europe) only have small buildings and huts that can at best look like a small village, and don't really show the player invading large cities (although the pre-rendered cutscenes do show more urban environments). Averted in later games where the graphics and game engine had improved enough to represent more realistic cities.
  • Diesel Punk: The soviets, utilizing steampunk-inspired machinery (as detailed below) powered by tesla-coil based electrical devices, internal combustion engines, and occasionally, nuclear reactors.
  • Dirty Communists: Naturally. Though in the first game the Soviets were more or less stand-ins for Those Wacky Nazis, portrayed fairly seriously and even being introduced using poison gas on civilians. Later games would see them increasingly boasting of spreading Glorious Communism™ around the world and becoming cartoon characters.
  • Easy Communication: If attacked outside their range of response, some units in the earlier games will just stand there getting shot.
  • The Empire: The Soviet Union (especially under Stalin, & more literally under Romanov) and the Empire of the Rising Sun.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • In the Yuri's Revenge expansion to Red Alert 2 the Soviets and Allies team up to fight Yuri.
    • In Red Alert 3 during the Allied campaign when the Empire of the Rising Sun attacks the Allies and Soviets call a ceasefire to destroy the Empire, and proceed to betray each other at about the same time.
  • Energy Weapon:
    • The Allied Prism and Spectrum laser technology in Red Alert 2 and 3 respectively.
    • One Soviet mission in Yuri's Revenge puts you on the moon of all places. As the lack of a breathable atmosphere poses a problem for your infantry, you instead get jetpack-cosmonauts with laser guns.
  • Evil Laugh:
    • Tanya may not be on the "evil" side, but just listen to her maniacal laughter as she mows down swathes of enemy infantry with Guns Akimbo. Sociopathic Hero, much?
    • Crazy Ivan from Red Alert 2
  • Expy:
    • The original Red Alert was simply a morality-flipped version of GDI and Nod acting as, respectively, the Soviets and Allies with some minor changes to both, though differences quickly arose. By The Aftermath, though, the Allies and Soviets had become much less like their Tiberian counterparts. Tesla Coils are effectively Obelisks of Light, Mammoth Tanks were almost unchanged between their Soviet and GDI versions, and the Allies had a stealthy unit, the Phase Tank/Transport, with rockets in The Aftermath (and, debatable, also the Chrono Tank). However, they soon started getting units with no Tiberian Dawn counterpart or that were utterly unlike their Tiberian Dawn counterpart as early as The Aftermath as well. By Red Alert 2, both factions bore relatively little resemblance to their Tiberian counterpart, with airships, Prism Tanks, and the segregation of anti-tank and anti-aircraft infantry.
    • In the first game, Tanya appears to be wearing Nod-style fatigues (grey urban camouflage trousers).
    • Red Alert 3 borrows a few things from Tiberium Wars, such as separate production queues for each production building, cranes (though here only the Soviets have access to them), repair drones, and units that deploy into outposts.
  • Faction Calculus:
    • Allies (subversive) versus Soviets (powerhouse) in the original Red Alert. Except on the sea, where it's inverted.
    • The multiplayer countries have less differences between their in-faction counterparts (unlike in the sequel), but they are still there: Russia has 10 percent off all the constuction options, Ukraine gets the fastest ground units, England is equipped with the strongest armor, Germany is granted with the best firepower and France is top with its' quick fire rate. The unplayable Allied countries (Spain, Turkey and Greece) are all balanced, but are less powerful overall.
    • Allies (balanced) versus Soviets (powerhouse) versus Empire (subversive) in Red Alert 3. Again, inverted on the sea, where the Empire is the powerhouse.
  • Faction-Specific Endings: Almost every game features endings for each of the playable factions, via separate campaigns that often share early plot points. Each Expansion Pack or sequel that advances the plot Cuts Off The Branches that result in a non-Allied victory, leaving the Allies as the victors. No Canon for the Wicked, indeed.
  • Fanservice: Ms. Fanservice aplenty from RA2 onwards, occasionally flirtatious. Female skimpy outfits are the norm and far from subtle in RA3
  • Fanservice Pack: There's Agent Tanya, a female commando who serves as the Allies' Hero Unit. In the first game her sex appeal was limited to some exposed midriffs, then the second game cast B-Movie bombshell Kari Wührer in the role, replaced Tanya's tactical vest with a tank top, and played most of her scenes for fanservice. By the third game she's literally played by a former Playboy centerfold and looks it. Amusingly, she also went from brunette to redhead to blonde during this transition.
  • Full Motion Video: The live-action cutscenes are a hallmark of the series (aside from Generals), and C&C is probably the only franchise that still uses them.
  • Garrisonable Structures: Introduced in Red Alert 2, and a series staple ever since.
  • Gatling Good: The Sentry Gun in Red Alert 2, then Yuri with his own Gatling Turrets and Gatling Tanks.
  • Gratuitous Russian: While the intro cutscene in the first game contains fairly accurate German, the Russian text is relatively or straight gibberish, not to mention this trope goes all the way through the series.
    • For instance, the end cutscene of Allies' mission 2 shows a sign "АПОСНО! НЕ ВИХОА"note , the more correct translation of which, in context, would be "ОПАСНАЯ ЗОНА! ВЪЕЗД ЗАПРЕЩЁН"note .
    • During a fade-to-black clip in RA3, a sign which reads "Изменение"note  would be seen, although it would have been a better idea to write it as "Измена"note .
    • Foreign Cuss Word:
    • One of the books in Stalin's study reads as "БРЭТ ЖОПА"note , while the Tesla Armor is marked as "БИТЧ"note .
    • Sometimes, it's avoided in the spoken form, but thanks to the accents, not by much. For instance, after you complete all Ukrainian missions, Retaliation has general Topolov saying "За Россию! За женщин! За русских женищин!"note  while he gulps a glass of vodka after every sentence. Premier Cherdenko from RA3, portrayed by Tim Curry, mentioned that he won't say the player "до свидания"note  because they won't meet again (yet there is a proper word for that situation in Russian, "прощайте"note ). The series keep messing the word "comrade" the way it was used in USSR note , though, no matter whether the actors attempted to speak Russian or not.
    • Westwood have managed to get a proper Russian-speaking actor for one of the Red Alert 2 cutscenes, though: when General Vladimir gets spotted in a closet by a navy admiral, the latter says: "Нет, нет! Я нашёл его!" note . It's not clear what the "No, no!" part means in the storyline's context.
    • Kind of averted again during the Soviet campaign in Yuri's Revenge. Before the third mission, Romanov throws an issue of TYME magazine on the table, the cover of which reads as "Поимка! note  Американский президент унижается ниже Российского ботинка. note ". Surprisingly enough, the sentence is correct both grammar and word-order wise, but however, not only in sounds slightly odd to a native Russian speaker (especially the "poimka" part), the language itself doesn't have the country adjectives written with a capital letter note .
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Adviser aka Kane in Red Alert 1. Did not do much across the game, but sets onto the stage at the end of Soviet Campaign.
  • Heroic Dolphin: Used by the Allies in the second and third games.
  • Historical In-Joke:
    • The Cuba crisis in Red Alert 2 and Red Alert 3.
    • The iconic acknowledgment "We will bury them!" (uttered in both sequels) paraphrases a famous quote by Nikita Khrushchev, who presumably never gets to be Stalin's successor and Premier in this timeline.
    • The Soviets' takeover of mainland Europe and attempted invasion of Britain in Red Alert 3.
    • The American sneak attack on Japanese-controlled Pearl Harbor in Red Alert 3.
  • Historical Villain Downgrade:
    • The Soviets after the first game, where this is averted. The first game gives what many accounts would consider an accurate depiction of Stalin's regime, but in the next two games they increasingly become a joke as their campiness is played up and their threat level downplayed.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Compare the amount of female characters (not counting the civilan ones) in the original Red Alert with Red Alert 2 and then Red Alert 3. And the latter actually includes some really hot babes.
  • Human Resources:
    • In Red Alert 2, you can gain funds by sending infantry back into the Cloning Vats. In the add-on game Yuri's Revenge, the antagonist faction has a building specifically for this purpose, called a Grinder.
    • The Grinder returns as a Soviet structure in Red Alert 3, where it's called the Crusher Crane. If you're feeling more charitable, it can also repair vehicles.
    • Red Alert 2's editable INI files refer to the recycle-value of a unit as "soylent", in a fun bit of referential humor.
    • Yuri's power plants could also improve their output if a soldier (One of Yuri's army or a mind-controlled enemy) was forced inside. However, this is a temporary boost, as the soldiers can leave the power plants again.
  • Hurricane of Puns:
    • In RA3 Uprising, everything the Cryo Legionnaire says are cold-related puns of commonly used terms and Bond One Liners such as "It's snow time!" and "Let's kick some ice!", this said imitating Schwarzenegger's voice, who acted as Mr. Freeze in the Worst Batman Movie Of All Time. The name of the unit itself is a pun of an Allied unit from RA2.
    • Tesla Troopers with electricity puns such as "Here is your electric bill", " No Resistance" , "Like a Christmas tree", "Why so negative?".
    • This started with the Shock Troopers from the first game's add-on pack, The Aftermath. "Extra crispy!" "Fully charged!" "Shocking!"
    • The RA2 Desolators spout nuclear and environmental puns, such as "Here Comes The Sun!" and "It will be a Silent Spring." Given the nature of the Desolator and the timeframe of the game, this could even be a Historical In-Joke.
  • Idiot Ball: The Western Allies in the RA verse apparently decided that rather than, say, occupying, disarming, dismantling, and forcibly reforming the old Soviet Empire and its satellites after defeating them in the bloodiest war mankind had seen at the time, it would be better to reconstitute it, place Alexei Romanov in the Kremlin, and then back off while ignoring Soviet rearmament and moves to reconstruct the old Stalinist alliances. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?? To be fair, we more or less made the same mistake in our own history with Germany after World War I, and we know what happened then. Considering the RA-verse Allies wouldn't have that same template, this may be justified.
  • Invaded States of America: Red Alert 2 is all about this. Several missions in Red Alert 3 are also about invasions of the US mainland.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Einstein originally invented the Chronosphere, a teleportation device and Time Machine, in 1946 with the purpose to erase Hitler from history and prevent World War II. In the alternate timeline that results from this, he develops the same technology anyway, although initially it can only be used for transport. He builds another Time Machine later on, which is secretly reverse-engineered by the Soviets in RA3 to remove him from history when they are about to lose the war.
  • Just a Stupid Accent:
    • The Soviets in all Red Alert releases. Also the Japanese in Red Alert 3. All the briefing and communication videos are in English. Some of the units sometimes say things in their native language though.
    • Taken to humorous extremes in Red Alert 3 when Tanya is able to lure the Soviet ships at Cannes into a trap by speaking English with a fake Russian accent. Perhaps everyone just speaks English in this timeline...
  • Kaizo Trap:
    • In the penultimate original Soviet mission, blindly following your objective (destroy or capture the Allied Chronosphere) would make you fail - you have to destroy all Allied presence in the sector first before doing anything with the Chronosphere.
    • In Red Alert 3, at one point you must prevent President Ackerman from reaching a specific objective point without killing him. Once you destroy the objective point (attempting to simply kill him yourself is itself a Kaizo Trap), he uses his own Chrono technology to warp over to an airstrip in an area you might not have thought to cover and attempt to flee.
    • Red Alert 1: Its entire cast is killed one by one usually through poison or fits of rage, until the player character and that mysterious advisor are the only ones left.
    • Red Alert 2: One character orchestrates the murder of two others, and it's up to the player to stop the first through brute force before it's too late. The player character and the campaign's mission advisor are the only ones left.
    • Red Alert 3: Similar to the previous game, one character frames another, and causes yet another to disappear. The player must survive that first character's betrayal through brute force. Only the player character, the campaign's mission advisor, the faction's Hero Unit, and the three co-commanders are left.
  • Kill It with Fire: Flame tanks, flame infantry, firebombing, flame towers. Of course, flame weapons are more devastating to infantry than to armor.
  • Large Ham:
    • Stalin in Red Alert 1 will often switch between chillingly scary to making grandiose speeches. "A continental soviet Union is OUR DESTINY!"
    • Premier Romanov in Red Alert 2 is made of glorious ham.
    • Red Alert 3 has Tim Curry, Jonathan Pryce, J.K. Simmons, and George Takei, and David Hasselhoff in a cameo, all building a merry World of Ham.
  • Legacy Character: Tanya. Somewhat vague thanks to every campaign in the Red Alert series taking place in its own alternate universe, but her RA3 unit profile makes it clear that "Tanya" is a title that is passed down from one woman to another (whose real names are all classified) through the ages.
  • Lighter and Softer: The first Red Alert had you massacre an anti-Soviet resistance or fight to stop Stalin from nuking London. Red Alert 2 had several landmarks razed, Chicago nuked and a General killed by a suicide bomber, but on the other hand also mind-controlled squid and tanks that pretended to be trees. Red Alert 3 let you fire armored war bears out of a cannon, take orders from Premier Tim Curry, and assassinate your own American President who may or may not be an android spy and treat it like it's no big deal.
  • Lightning Gun: All those Soviet Tesla weapons.
  • Military Mashup Machine: Pick one from the list, and it's probably here somewhere.
  • Mission Briefing: You get them in front of pretty much every mission in the series. Red Alert 3 is particularly egr...notable, in that it gives you three for every mission: first the live action cutscene, then the world map briefing, and followed finally by a mission map briefing.
  • Monumental Damage: Often, in every game.
  • Multinational Team: The Allies, whose in-game units include American, Australian, Korean, British, German, Spanish, French, Dutch [...] nationals with their respective accents.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • Aside from Kane himself, some of the units bring up this trope, most of them being units that are incredibly apt at wiping out large amounts of particular enemies.
    • From RA2 and RA3, many of the Soviet units. The Apocalypse Tank, Desolators, Reapers, Harbingers, Terror Drones...
  • National Weapon:
    • The Allies and Soviets have two each: Tanya and the Chronosphere for the Allies, the Apocalypse Tank and the Iron Curtain for the Soviets.
    • A few more seem to have popped up for the Allies between 2 and 3: IFVs, Aircraft Carriers, Mirage Tanks, and dolphins.
    • The Kirov has similarly been immortalized by the Soviets.
    • The King Onis, Shogun Battleships, and Tankbuster got the most publicity out of the Empire of the Rising Sun's arsenal.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: The Iron Curtain in the second and third games temporarily makes a few buildings or vehicles immune to all damage. It kills infantry, though.
  • Non-Damaging Status Infliction Attack:
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2:
      • Allied Chrono Legionnaire's attack doesn't deal any real damage. It just stunlocks its target in stasis and after a certain period erases it from existence.
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3:
      • Cryo weapons don't deal any damage to the target, only freezing it in place:
      • However, frozen units have HP to One, so even basic infantry attacks will instakill them.
      • The Cryo Legionnaire is designed to exploit this: its main attack slowly freezes enemies in a cone, and it can use a jump pack to trip up infantry units. But jumping onto frozen units instakills them.
      • Loading the Cryo Legionnaire into an IFV gives it a cryo beam that slows and freezes targets. If a flying target stays in the beam too long, it will drop to the ground.
      • The Guardian tank's alt-fire is a Laser Sight that disables its gun, instead making the targeted unit take more damage from attacks.
      • Loading an Attack Dog or War Bear into an IFV replaces the IFV's attack with an anti-infantry stun.
      • The Rocket Angel's Paralysis Whip alternate attack prevents a ground unit from moving or attacking, but does no damage.
      • The Hydrofoil's Weapon Jammer prevents a vehicle, aircraft or turret from firing, though groups of Hydrofoils have a tendency to focus their jammers on the same target. The Fridge Logic in not having a ground- and air-mounted version of such a Game-Breaker is actually addressed in-universe with tank drivers and fighter pilots demanding them, the scientists replying that they can't have the gun and the jammer at the same time.
      • The Terror Drone's Electro-Ray alt-fire prevents a ground vehicle (or Power Armor) from moving, but not attacking.
      • The Hammer Tank's Leech Beam can only target vehicles and buildings, healing the tank, but if a vehicle dies under the effect, the tank gets a secondary weapon based on the dead vehicle's weapon (an Anti-Infantry vehicle gives a gatling gun, an Anti-Armor one gets a second cannon, artillery gives a very long-ranged weapon, etc.).
      • Tesla Troopers and Stingrays' attacks can be used to keep Tesla Towers running in case of a power outage.
  • Non-Entity General: Lampshaded in Red Alert 3, where near the end of the end of the Soviet campaign, a Conscript suggests that due to your success in taking it, New York City will be renamed "Commandersgrad" implying the non-entity-commander is actually named "Commander".
  • Our Presidents Are Different:
    • President Dugan is a President Target, Personable and Iron in certain amounts.
    • President Ackerman is Lunatic-Paranoid and borderline Evil, with shades of The Extremist Was Right.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep:
    • The Soviets have become progressively sillier, cartoonier villains as the series ran its course, going from fear-inspiring Nazi counterparts in Red Alert 1 to near laughable villains by Red Alert 3 - along with the rest of the universe, though. Uprising undoes it a bit, having a bit of seriousness (particularly the Soviet campaign).
    • In-Game, Mammoth Tanks and their counterparts have become progressively less threatening over the series - while they were always vulnerable to good micro, by RA3 they were utterly helpless against aircraft and could be disabled by (none-too) tactful application of a freeze ray.
  • Power Glows: Starting with Red Alert 2, any unit that makes it to Heroic (max veterancy) status will find their weapon fire glowing red, either in the form of a large red muzzle flash, the projectiles themselves glow, or the explosions they create are bright red. Heroic-level Grizzly, Rhino, and Apocalypse tanks launched two miniature nuclear shells per barrel, and Heroic-level V3 Launchers and Dreadnoughts launched V3 rockets with small nuclear warheads. Kirovs also got tesla bombs, at least doubling the area of effect with a blue electrical glow.
  • Psychic Powers: Yuri is capable of mind control, and the Empire of the Rising Sun's hero unit in Red Alert 3 has powerful telekinetic powers. Yuri pulls a psychic possession over a telephone at the beginning of Red Alert 2 With the aid of a special building, he can mind control an entire hemisphere!
  • Psychic Radar: Thanks to Yuri, you too can employ psychics to monitor your battlefield and predict the movement of enemy troops!
  • Purple Is the New Black: Purple armies have a reputation of treachery in the series. Even without Yuri's mind control shennanigans, if an army is purple in Red Alert 3, chances are, they're commanded by someone who has betrayed you.
  • Red Scare: The USSR are the main villains of the series.
  • Ret-Gone:
    • The Chrono Legionnaire from Red Alert 2 had a gun that would erase people from the space-time continuum. Storyline wise, this happened to Hitler and Einstein.
    • During the time-erasing process, the target can't take damage from anything else; removing your own buildings from spacetime temporarily allows them to easily survive direct hits from nukes, though your poor Legionnaires still get melted.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: See Lighter and Softer, above.
  • Rule of Cool: Of course. Increasing from sequel to sequel, and culminating in Red Alert 3.
  • Russia Takes Over the World: The first game is set in an Alternate Timeline where Einstein uses time travel to prevent Hitler's rise to power, leading to a Soviet conquest of Europe. Later games see the Soviets attempt to take their conquest global.
  • Schizo Tech: The original Red Alert is set during the '50s, but features Apache helicopters ('86), the M1A1 Abrams ('80), and Hinds ('72). Red Alert 2 is set during the '70s but could pass for the modern day.
  • Sensual Slavs: Lieutenant "Vinter in Moscow iz cold... but purrrhaps zis vinter vill be... different?" Zofia in 2 and Lieutenant Dasha Fedorovich, played by Bosnian-born Ivana Milicevic, in 3.
  • Serial Escalation: The first game takes place in an Alternate History. Word of God states that Yuri's Revenge takes place in an alternate alternate history. Red Alert 3 takes place in an alternate alternate alternate history.
  • Serious Business: What constitutes Canon is probably the most Serious Business in any fan community of an RTS game.
  • Shout-Out: Numerous, specific examples are covered by the work's pages.
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke:
    • Actual nuclear bombs to do little more than wipe out a few buildings in Red Alert
    • Downplayed in RA2 and averted in RA3. Nuclear weapons themselves do no exist, but each faction's equivalent superweapon can wipe out whole bases.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: Red Alert 1 was a rather serious game, excepted for a few units and the plot. And then the games get progressively sillier (in contrast to the Tiberian series, which does the opposite), culminating in Red Alert 3, where you see war bears and cannons that fire infantry from one side and mecha from the other side.
  • Smooch of Victory: From RA2 onwards, after winning the campaign, most of the female characters look forward to expressing their gratitude to the commander in private.
  • Soviet Superscience: To be fair, however, the West has some pretty impressive technology of its own.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Army: Almost every single unit mentioned can be found in one or more of the Command and Conquer games. Despite being set in the 1950's, Red Alert still manages to provide exotic weapons, such as the teleporting Chronosphere and chronotank, weaponized Tesla coils, and force field generators.
  • The Starscream:
    • Just about all of Stalin's cronies in Red Alert 1 are plotting to overthrow him, often for good reasons. Nadia, who is actually a Nod agent, eventually succeeds at the end of the Soviet campaign, before immediately being shot herself by the Advisor.
    • Yuri in Red Alert 2 and Yuri's Revenge was using Romanov as a puppet to establish lordship of the planet. When the Allies win, he goes rogue entirely and builds his own faction.
    • Subverted in Red Alert 3: Cherdenko tricks the player into thinking Krukov is the Starscream - then it turns out Cherdenko himself is the Starscream. President Akerman also, as it turns out, becomes the Starscream, though only because he thought he was doing the right thing. Or because he was an Empire robot. One of the two..
    • Subverted with the Empire: Tatsu is baited as the Starscream to his father for the first half of the campaign but the two eventually reconcile their differences after Emperor Yoshiro hears the Awful Truth about the Empire's origins.
  • Steampunk: The Soviets in Red Alert, especially 2 and 3. More specifically, Tesla Punk, since they don't use steam power, though they certainly do use the steampunk style.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Destroying a bridge will cause all units on it to fall in the water and die. Destroying a transport ship will also kill all units that were inside.
    • Tanya's Soviet counterpart, Boris, is supposed to avert this since he KNOWS how to swim. But Boris decides to be lazy and self-righteous by believing that he's always entitled to getting an Amphibious Transport sent to him whenever he needs to get across water.
  • Super Soldier:
    • The Desolators of Red Alert 2 and 3: Uprising, bonus points since they are uncrushable, in Red Alert 2 they are heavy armoured elite soldiers armed with radioactive cannons which meltdown infantry and light vehicles with ease, their secondary is the ability to contaminate an entire area with nucler radiation powerful enough to keep killing units even after the desolators have moved out, in Uprising they are portrayed as terminal ill sadists in armored life-support suits capable to withstand insane amounts of damage and pain, they use as weapons sprayers which look like gas dispensers, that release vile jets of chemical waste capable to meltdown any kind of infantry, including the female heroes, in the most horrific way, their secondary attack launches a corrosive core which slow down units and make vehicles and structures highly vulnerable to their primary weapons, sounds cool eh?
    • The expansions to Red Alert featured Volkov, a 1950s Soviet Cyborg and his dog, Chitzkoi. Volkov had enough firepower and durability to take on a battleship (this being one of his missions!).
    • Uprising also features the Steel Ronin, who are disgraced Imperial commanders in armored life support suits, although these guys are armed with energy-bladed naginatas that can cleave through tanks and entire ranks of infantry.
  • Supervillain Lair:
    • In Yuri's Revenge, Yuri has a secret island, a family castle in Transylvania, and even a moonbase. Lampshaded with Yuri's castle when Premier Romanov makes fun of it briefly ("He is like monster from movies") before he gave the Soviet commander the order to destroy it.
    • In Red Alert 3, the secret Futuretech research facility takes place in a haunted castle lair, and Premier Cherdenko and President Ackerman have their own as well, the former inside a volcano, the latter around Mount Rushmore.
  • Support Power: Trope codifier for Type One support powers, choc full of every type in most games in the series.
  • Take Over the World: The Soviets want this in all three games, as do the Empire in the third. Depending on how you interpret what the Vice President says in the Allied ending, maybe the Allies too.
  • Tank Goodness:
    • Each side in Red Alert (all the ones, just about) get a signature killer tank: The Mammoth Tank in RA1 (yes, a simple Palette Swap of GDI's machine); the more evolved Apocalypse and the Tesla Tank of the Soviets in RA2, along with the Allies' Prism Tank and Mirage Tank; the Allies' Battle Fortress in Yuri's Revenge; and not only do the Apocalypse tank, Tesla tank and Mirage tank make a return for RA3 but the Allies gain an amphibious naval destroyer as well as discussed earlier. The Tesla Tank is now a speedboat with spider legs for walking on land. Even discounting the King Oni, the Japanese still have the Wave-Motion Gun tank.
    • Averted for the Allies in Red Alert, who didn't really have any cool tanks. Unless you count the teleporting one with rockets. In the Counterstrike expansion pack, the Allies where about to get a stealth tank that shoots missiles, but unfortunately it was cancelled, and only shows up in a (Soviet) mission.
  • Techno Babble: Lots of it. Repeatedly lampshaded, as the scientist characters generally fill in the generals on the technology while the player is being briefed. Since the generals can make neither head nor tail of what they're being told however, they cannot go on to explain to the player. ( [After lots of rambling about physics] "Yes, but what does [The Iron Curtain in Red Alert] actually do" "It makes units invulnerable" "Thank you")
  • Tele-Frag: Using the Chronosphere in Red Alert to teleport infantry will automatically kill them. In Red Alert 2 and 3, the Chronosphere can also be used to teleport tanks onto water or ships onto land, thereby destroying them. Additionally, in RA 3 Chronosphering tank A to a spot occupied by tank B results in the destruction of tank A.
    • Averted in two cutscenes in Red Alert 1. The first example is the intro video where Einstein travels back in time and kills Hitler. The second example is during the Soviet Campaign where the Allies use the Chronosphere to rescue Einstein from a firing squad.
  • Teleportation Rescue: In the Soviet campaign of the original game, Soviet troops capture Albert Einstein, and in order to use him a Trick-and-Follow Ploy, they bug Einstein and spread the rumor that they're about to execute him. The Allies extract Einstein directly by teleporting him with the Chronosphere, the bug promptly cluing the Soviet high command on its location.
  • Temporal Mutability: According to its creators, this is what Einstein's use of the Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act boiled down to. When he Ret Goned Hitler from history to prevent the original World War 2, all he did was create an alternate timeline in which several Weird Historical Wars replaced it. The original Einstein from "our" history (kinda) returned to his laboratory in Trinity. Which makes it even more sad in a way. He didn't really undo the genocide of the Jews, and he unknowingly condemned an alternate universe to even more mayhem, in which his Alternate Self ends up getting Ret Goned too.
    Einstein: Time will tell. Sooner or later, time will tell.
  • Temporal Paradox:
    • Overuse of the Chronosphere creates Chrono Vortices, which are literal paradoxes and can kill anything.
    • Subverted in Red Alert 3: The Soviets use Chronosphere technology (developed by Albert Einstein) to eliminate Einstein himself before he can invent it. However, in the Doctor's absence the technology that made the timesplit possible is instead built by a Mega-Corp called FutureTech.
  • Tesla Tech Timeline: Tesla himself is only mentioned once in the entire series, and never shown, but boy do the Soviets love to use Tesla coil-like weapons and inventions.
    • Tesla coils show up in all the alternate timelines of Command & Conquer: Red Alert - not as transformers, but as the Soviet Union's advanced base defenses. The expansion packs then added infantry and vehicles armed with portable Tesla Coil weaponry.
    • The second game has the USSR develop Tesla technology to the point that their basic power plant is the "Tesla ractor", and a Soviet mission involves turning the Eiffel tower into a giant tesla coil to defend against enemies.
    • The third game's events are caused by the Soviets travelling back in time to assassinate Albert Einstein. Their time machine is basically a cockpit surrounded by tesla coils, and that's before you get into the spider-legged speedboat with tesla coils for weapons.
  • Themed Cursor: When you have an unit selected, your cursor becomes a sonar-like pattern when hovering over passable terrain, a "no" symbol when over impassable terrain and a crosshair when over enemies.
  • Time Machine: Einstein builds one to kill Hitler, then the Soviets build one to kill him. Supposedly the Chronosphere, but it acts more like a teleporter. All There in the Manual for the first game says it stops time and thus allows units to move to a new location before restarting time, though that doesn't resemble what appears on screen at all. FMVs shows it as opening a hole vehicles can walk through. Einstein actually says in Red Alert 2 that the Chronosphere is a device for teleporting objects, " . . . Through time, und through space." It does both at the same time, or none at all. (The exception being the time machine from Yuri's Revenge)
  • Time Travel: The series relies heavily on this, with all three games including it in some form. Between Yuri's Revenge and then Red Alert 3 we're up to two alternate timelines from an alternate timeline.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Seriously, the series by now has something in the range of 2 separate timelines from the first game, two from the second, two from that game's expansion, and then three from the third game, with a further three paths from THAT game's expansion. Even more brain-busting, Red Alert led to Tiberian Dawn by way of the Allies winning both Red Alert 1 and 2 - Red Alert 3 is made by way as a divergence at the end of Red Alert 2. Add to that the events of Yuri's Revenge which is its own separate divergence and has the nice consequence of there being two "commanders" (the player) in different places at the same point in the timeline, although the divergent timelines are merged at the end.
  • Title Drop:
    • At the end of the installation program for Red Alert, Kane declares:
    Kane: He who controls the past, commands the future... he who commands the future conquers the past.
    • Also in Yuri's Revenge, Yuri states "The entire world and all of its history is mine, to Command and Conquer".
  • Units Not to Scale: Instead of complaining that the Allies managed to get an aircraft carrier in a lake, the Soviets should wonder what sort of lake can easily fit well over fifty of them side-to-side.
  • Videogame Caring Potential: Once you get a heroic unit, you are going to want to keep them alive. Plus, you definitely get attached to the commandos, given all the one man (or woman) army missions you'll go through.
  • Villain Decay: The Soviets coming across as more and more goofy and stupid each game makes them much less threatening. In the third game, they completely displace the Allies as the viewpoint faction, dominating the promotional artwork, the main menu, and even claiming the tutorial itself near its end.
  • Villainous Legacy: Joseph Stalin built the Soviet Union into an unstoppable military machine, and while he dies at the end of the first game, his successors continue his legacy of world conquest. This is especially pronounced in the case of the psychic Diabolical Mastermind Yuri, who reveals that he used to be a student and personal friend of Stalin.
  • Villain Protagonist: The Soviet and Imperial campaigns, although the Soviets get less terrifying and more campy over the course of the games, and the Imperials are straight camp right off the bat.
  • Wave-Motion Gun:
    • The Empire of the Rising Sun's artillery in Red Alert 3, outright called Wave Motion Guns, and their floating fortresses use tri-barreled versions.
    • The Allies' spectrum cannons used by spectrum towers and mirage tanks.
  • Weaponized Landmark:
    • Red Alert 3 is the trope namer. Mt. Rushmore houses a laser, and its faces shoot lasers.
    • Red Alert 2 had, in the Soviet campaign, the Eiffel Tower used as a giant tesla coil.
    • Shortly after, in the Soviet mission in Washington, try get close to the Washington monument. It shoots lasers!
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Stalin in Red Alert and his cronies try to pass themselves off as well-intentioned, particularly in his cronies' Starscream-esque moments.
    • Likewise Premier Cherdenko and Emperor Yashiro in Red Alert 3, while President Akerman explicitly becomes this.
  • World of Ham: Goes full-force since Red Alert 2, turning the storyline into pure Allied Forces-to-Soviet Union Combat, and the ham ball doesn't even get smaller in the sequel!
  • World War III: The second game is an alternate (that is, actually-existing) World War III in the 1970s, taking place after the alternate World War II in Red Alert, and retconning its connection to the Tiberian series. Red Alert 3 is an alternate alternate World War III, coming in at the end of the alternate World War II with the Allies enjoying their victory, erasing the events of RA2.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Ore and Power.

Alternative Title(s): Red Alert


Attack Dog

Alert, well-trained German Shepherds with lethal bites. Can sniff out enemy spies.

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