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Video Game / Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn

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World Domination in a box

We are going to have to act, if we want to live in a different world.
— "Act on Instinct" (OST Version)

The first game in the greater Command & Conquer series, and the originator of one of its two storylines, Tiberian Dawn was released in 1995 by Westwood Studios and originally known simply as Command & Conquer, before later being given its subtitle. Set 20 Minutes into the Future, it is a Real-Time Strategy game with a smattering of sci-fi elements such as alien crystals, stealth technology, and orbital lasers. A terrorist organization operating from various Third World nations known as the Brotherhood of Nod harnesses the power of Tiberium to challenge the rest of the world on equal footing, under the leadership of the charismatic and enigmatic Kane. The UN-backed Global Defense Initiative, a military coalition dedicated to restoring order and containing the spread of Tiberium, manages to hold the line and defeat Nod, killing Kane in the process. The game was followed by a plot-free expansion pack, The Covert Operations, a multiplayer-only sequel named Sole Survivor, and Renegade, an FPS set during the final days of the conflict from this game that boasts an active modding community and a small but dedicated fanbase.

In late 2018, Electronic Arts, current owner of the C&C franchise, announced they were working with Petrogylph Games, a studio formed by Westwood Studios veterans, to remaster Tiberian Dawn, alongside a remaster of Red Alert. Both games were released as the Command & Conquer Remastered Collection on June 5, 2020, nearly 25 years after the release of Tiberian Dawn.

EA declared the game freeware in 2007, and can be downloaded freely from CNCNet, whose distribution comes patched with support for modern PCs and access to their own fan servers. Failing that, there's also OpenRA, an open-source Fan Remake of this game, Red Alert, and Dune 2000 that rebalances and modernises the game, adding in features from later Command & Conquer games.

Shortly before the release of the Remastered Collection, EA released the source code for this game and Red Alert under GPL 3.0.

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

This game contains examples of:

  • A.I. Breaker:
    • The AI can become crippled and unable to rebuild if it no longer has a Construction Yard. A really cheap strategy that was invented to exploit this weakness is to load an APC full of engineers and make a suicide run into the enemy's base with the sole intent of capturing and selling off said Construction Yard. Afterwards, capturing/destroying the Tiberium Refineries will pretty much reduce the mission to a leisurely cleanup job.
    • The AI rebuilds a destroyed building in the place it originally occupied. This allows the player to prevent the computer from rebuilding merely by parking a single unit, even a lowly rifleman, where the building once was. Even the sole exception (where one final GDI mission has the AI construct an Obelisk of Light in a Tiberium patch that you're harvesting) can still be blocked by parking a unit in its intended location.
      • The AI also can't rebuild a building if its units are standing where the building is supposed to be. Which means that if you destroy a building and park a tank on a nearby cliff and make sure it isn't attacking anything, the units that will emerge from the destroyed building will try to keep shooting at the tank, not move at all, and prevent the building from being rebuilt.
    • Another cheap tactic is to use the "wall trick" which involves building sandbags all the way to the enemy's base and then closing it off with Concrete Walls. AI Harvesters won't be able to get by (even sandbags will block them) so they will quickly be starved of resources. This became so well known that it was intentionally left in for the remaster.
  • Armchair Military: The player is implied to be literally this. The opening cutscenes features channel hopping showing a combination of news reports, soap operas, and commercials broken up by transmissions from GDI and Nod, which means EVA transmits through TV signals. Kane addresses the GDI commander directly, noting that he knows where you live.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Enemy tracked vehicles will not waste time trying to shoot at your riflemen and will opt to run them over instead.
  • Artificial Insolence:
    • Units tend to move towards the location of the unit they're ordered to attack rather than attack it at maximum range. Particularly visible with artillery units, who routinely get shot by the very defenses they're supposed to outrange.
    • Vehicle units tend to swerve around infantry they should be running over when ordered to move in a straight line.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The AI will always try to take the shortest route to attacking your base... even if that route goes through a Tiberium field and is lined with base defenses. Harvesters in particular are so infamous for this behavior that they quickly reached memetic status in the fandom, to the point that EA made the announcement that the 2020 remaster wouldn't touch harvester pathfinding a part of their marketing pitch.
    • AI pathfinding in general still had a long ways to go back then. Units told to move past an obstacle (like a wall or cliff) would first move in a straight line to the destination until they hit the obstacle, then edge along it all the way to their destination, which tended to take far longer than the direct route. They also didn't adapt their pathing on their own while chasing moving targets; if you didn't repeatedly click on the target, your units would move to where the target would've been before it changed course, then plot a new path.
    • The AI can't even deal with sandbags in their own base, which really goes to show how effective the "wall trick" was in this game.
  • Artistic License Geography: Plenty, but perhaps the most striking is the city of Białystok, presented in the game as a small hamlet inhabited by peace-loving peasants. The kicker? In 1995, Białystok was the capital of a voivodeship, with circa 270,000 citizens and a large light industry sector. Alas, poor Poland. Although considering how the report on Białystok's supposed destruction by the GDI is in-character bullshiting from the Brotherhood of Nod, it is possible they were misrepresenting the size of the city and its demographics on purpose.
  • Automatic New Game: Regarding the original version included in The First Decade and Ultimate Collection: The first time the game starts up, it skips the title screen/menu entirely and plays the TV-surfing intro cinematic that briefly flashes the GDI and Nod logos before asking the player to select a side.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Flamethrowers and grenadiers have a tendency to cause more damage to your own forces than to the enemy, even when they're not exploding upon death. This can be averted if the commander bothers to space them out .
  • Biblical Bad Guy: Very subtly implied with Kane. During the end credits, an ancient carving depicting a man killing another man is shown being dug up and displayed in a museum.
  • BFG: The Commando fires a silenced .50 caliber assault rifle. Left handed, apparently.
  • Bittersweet Ending: GDI is victorious, Kane is (apparently) dead, and the Brotherhood is defeated (for now). However, tiberium continues to spread out of control and eventually ravages the planet and wipes out a good chunk of humanity. The horrors of a tiberium-contaminated world would eventually be explored further in the sequels, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun and Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars. With the former showing how tiberium has terraformed Earth into a crapsack death world and the latter in particular putting heavy emphasis on the stuff's extraterrestrial origins.
  • Bond One-Liner: "That was left handed."
  • Boring, but Practical: Both sides have units that may not be much to look at, but they get the job done. The Medium Tank and Light Tank are not very fancy, especially compared to the Mammoth and Stealth Tanks respectively, but they're cheaper, available sooner, and will have no issues crushing your opponent in large enough numbers.
    • In the early game, there's the humble Minigunner. They're cheap, and enough of them will crush their opponents, until your enemy busts out the tanks to crush the minigunners.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • In the campaign, the AI can rebuild its destroyed buildings anywhere, whereas the player can only build next to existing structures.
    • The AI harvester brings back about 20k credits compared to the player's 700 credits per full harvester. That way, the computer can replace one harvester that was lost if the other one (in later missions it usually has two) gets through. That makes cutting off its supply of resources a more difficult task.
    • The player can only use Nod's nuclear strike once, but the AI has no such limitation.
    • In Nod campaign missions, the GDI AI has much greater control over its airstrikes than you can ever hope to do: Bombers will track their target if you try moving it out of the way, and can outright move on to another target if they destroy the first one, and the next... In short, the AI can aim the bombers like actual units instead of an area-targeting superweapon.
  • Came from the Sky: The events of the game are triggered by a meteorite strike near the Tiber river, which drops off some Green Rocks. GDI wants to contain it, while Nod wants to exploit it to evolve humanity.
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: Zigzagged. While basic units (Minigunners, Engineers, Harvesters...) are identical, Faction Calculus is present, in a stark contrast with its main rival of the time, Warcraft I and II. And of course, gaining access to the enemy's units requires only a single Engineer.
    • GDI relies on heavy, conventional platforms while Nod relies on light skirmishers and experimental weapons. A rare example of the good guys being the Powerhouse.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: In the good ending for the final mission of the GDI campaign (if you finish off the Temple of Nod with the Ion Cannon). Do so, and the cutscene will show Kane embracing the Ion Cannon strike and stretching his arms out in a rather familiar pose. However, it's actually subverted in a sense that Kane is actually the villain of the story.
  • Cutscenes: Once per mission and one of the innovative pillars of its appeal and success, the game filled two CDs with FMV in a time when the floppy disk was still a prominent medium.
  • Deadly Gas: Chem Warriors use a sprayer full of toxic waste (a byproduct of refining tiberium). It instakills enemy troops (and some civilians in the relevant mission) at the cost of sometimes mutating them into a visceroid.
  • Death from Above: GDI has the Ion Cannon, can call A-10 airstrikes, and build Orca VTOL attack fighters. Several Nod missions are meant to counter, steal or reverse this hardly-checked advantage.
  • Despair Event Horizon: At the beginning of GDI mission 12, you're treated to some disturbing imagery of the effects and death toll of tiberium in the world. The real icing on the cake, though, is Dr. Mobius's grim press conference revealing the danger that tiberium poses to humanity:
    Dr. Mobius: Tiberium is a new life form. Quite simply put, it seems to be adapting to Earth's terrain, foliage, and environment to suit its own alien nature. If this is the case, ladies and gentlemen, we are facing a killer beyond that of our most turbulent nightmares. It is not in exaggeration to state that the future of the entire planet may be in jeopardy. May God have mercy on our souls.
    • This scene can be especially jarring considering that Dr. Mobius was somewhat of a comic relief character up to this point, and he's briefly mentioned in the intro as being expected to refute claims that tiberium is dangerous.
  • Developing Nations Lack Cities: Maps with civilian populations 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.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: In one of the GDI endings (if you destroy the Temple of Nod without the Ion Cannon), Kane walks down a corridor and is suddenly crushed by falling debris. Subverted because he is alive and well in the next game.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In the final GDI campaign mission, General Sheppard informs you that Kane is surrounded by his own "crack militia". In hindsight, this is implied to be the Black Hand, an elite subfaction of Nod that plays a much bigger role the storylines of later games like Tiberian Sun, Renegade, Tiberium Wars, and Kane's Wrath. Here, they're just a standard Nod army like all other missions but Kane's Wrath would later see them as a playable subfaction with unique units and abilities.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • This is the only game in the series without a skirmish mode; even if the computer was added to a game it did not have a base. A skirmish mode was added in the Remastered Collection.
    • This game had a lot of gameplay mechanics that were either ditched or were not present in later installments, such as being only able to build right next to another building and not differentiating between defensive buildings (which could be built farther away but do not generate "build" areas or allow building of new things) and normal/production ones. This specifically led to the "Sand bag wall" exploit. Speaking of sand bags, this is the only game where sand bags and chain-link fences pose an obstacle to vehicles whereas in all following titles, vehicles could simply flatten them by driving over them.
    • Engineers cannot be used to instantly repair friendly buildings in this game, relegated to only capturing enemy ones. For that matter, this is the only game in the entire franchise where Engineers would use the generic infantry voice lines. Even Red Alert would give Engineers their own unique voice lines, well before they ended up doing the same for every unit period by Red Alert 2: Yuri's Revenge.
    • Nod uses an Airstrip to 'produce' vehicles by flying in completed units instead of building them directly on the field with a weapons factory. From the first Red Alert onwards, all factions, even Nod in later games, use an evolution of the GDI weapons factory, the War Factory, to construct vehicles at field bases, while airfields and anything similar in nature only serve to produce aircraft and occasionally provide radar.
    • In terms of the story, this is the only game where Nod isn't overtly religious, although it's implicitly there from the start going by in-game cutscenes (particularly the Biblical names of Kane, Seth, and the Brotherhood of Nod itself) and the presence of the Temple of Nod as the final stop in Nod's structure tech tree.
    • Nod's goal seems to be simply to become a world super power. There's no hint of Kane having further goals he's working towards through Nod. He's simply trying to get one over GDI.
    • On a related note, Kane seems to be more of a Generic Doomsday Villain whose goals (apparently) involve destroying random world monuments, wiping out civilian villages, experimenting with tiberium on prisoners, and killing thousands of innocent people...just because. However, later games (like Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars) would see Kane more fleshed-out as an Anti-Villain character with somewhat more reasonable motives but still destructive actions.
    • Nod uses regular military units, with a heavy implication that their early-game tech is them scrambling to acquire whatever they can get their hands on that will work. Their light tank is an M2 Bradley, an infantry fighting vehicle, refitted with a tank cannon, and their method of constructing vehicles is by building an airstrip to have them delivered via cargo plane. Their soldiers wear regular military BDU and use regular guns. They field Apache Longbow and Chinook helicopters. They have more fantastical units like the flamethrower and stealth tanks, but those tend to be higher-tier units that only show up in the endgame. In later games, Nod's arsenal will always be far more sci-fi looking, with Nod infantry even in Command & Conquer: Renegade (which is set near the end of the conflict from this game) being armored and masked up to look like the kind of guys Cobra would hire, while GDI would keep the more conventional-looking units (their obsession with Humongous Mecha in place of traditional armored fighting vehicles during Tiberian Sun notwithstanding).
    • This would be the only era where Nod would use the same EVA as GDI (aside from the Firestorm incident, where Nod would have to hijack an EVA unit due to CABAL going rogue). Later games would have the Brotherhood's AI advisor take the form of a deep, masculine voice.
    • The EVA is also missing a handful of lines from later games, perhaps most notably in that it refers to training infantry as "building" just like all other production, another thing which even Red Alert fixed - this one being so memetic that even the Remastered Collection didn't fix it. "Establishing battlefield control, standby" at the beginning of a mission would also not be implemented until Tiberian Sun.
    • This is also the only game where you only get one shot with a Nuclear Missile and that's it. The Nuke is also more powerful than later versions, able to destroy a Construction Yard in one hit and annihilate a considerable portion of a base with no warning whatsoever. Later superweapons generally are unable to destroy the heaviest buildings on their own, players would receive a warning and a countdown timer when a superweapon is built or fired, and superweapons can be fired multiple times after another countdown.
    • When the Commando destroys buildings, infantry still pop up like it was destroyed any other way, usually resulting in a cheap shot or two at said Commando, which ultimately makes them much less useful for their intended purpose of quickly taking out bases. Even Red Alert 1 would immediately fix this with Tanya's structure destruction having a much lower chance of leaving survivors - and on the minimal chance that someone did survive, Tanya would just shoot them before the flames cleared out because of her much quicker delay between shots.
  • Easter Egg: In the 2020 remaster at least, the Fun Park mini-campaign can't just be picked from the Mission Select screen; you have to unlock it first by finding the hidden trigger. The only hint for newcomers that the campaign even exists is the always-visible achievement you get for completing it.
  • Expansion Pack:
    • The Covert Operations adds a pack of missions and several hidden levels.
    • Red Alert was conceived to be one and it shows, but the developers realized the potential for a full-fledged standalone game.
    • The console ports are also halfway to this, as they include a unique set of new missions for both sides, three GDI and two Nod ones for the PlayStation port (as well as a sixth secret mission) and another two each for the N64 one.
  • Exposition Break: Both campaigns have a short educational video explaining how Tiberium works inserted in one of the mid-game briefings. Played straight in the GDI campaign, but in the Nod campaign Kane snarks over what he claims are its many inaccuracies.
  • Fanservice Extra: The blonde female news anchor who narrates the epilogue cutscene shows some impressive cleavage for a reporter on live television.
  • Flamethrower Backfire:
    • Flamethrowers explode when shot, likely killing other nearby infantry. They can also explode in a chain reaction from other exploding flamethrowers.
    • Nod's Flame Tank also explode in a similar fashion, although the other tanks that would surround it generally will barely feel a scratch from the flames.
  • Fog of War: Unexplored areas are covered in black shroud, but exploring them once gives you permanent vision over the area.
  • From Beyond the Fourth Wall: Possibly done during the 5th GDI mission when EVA's connection with GDI command is severed following the backlash from Nod framing them for destroying a town, forcing a re-route through multiple cities before getting a single response out of Las Vegas, which was where Westwood Studios was based at the time.
  • Future Copter: The Orca fits the bill with its twin turbine engines and sleek cockpit.
  • Glass Cannon: The Nod Recon Bike does a good job at moving fast and destroying vehicles and buildings with its twin Missile Launchers. The only problem is that it tends to die really quickly when it has to fight tanks. What's even more sad is that the Stealth Tank has the same problem: It's great at destroying things so long as they don't shoot back with anti-vehicle weapons.
  • Guide Dang It!: Unlocking the Fun Park mini-campaign in the 2020 remaster is simple enough, but clicking on the four inconspicuous decorative bolts around the primary buttons in the main menu is not a particularly intuitive thing to do.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: If a unit doesn't carry explosive weaponry, it's incapable of getting past sandbag walls that, according to the build menu icon, really are only waist-high. And not even the heaviest tank can get through a chain-link fence without blowing it up first. Only got an APC with a machine gun? Your engineers will never get to that building on the other side of the fence then.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: After a mission in which you (playing GDI) save a town from being wiped out by Nod, there is a cinematic featuring a reporter in front of a scene of destruction saying that the town was wiped out by GDI. It then cuts to a green-screen in a studio, where Big Bad Kane begins to give orders on the distribution of the propaganda video before noticing another running camera and shooting it.
  • Joke Character: The Technicians. They are apparently civilian (?) workers that appear from buildings you sell/lose. They have a measly little pistol that barely damages anything and they're more frail than Kleenex.
  • Kick the Dog: Nod's not above laying waste to villages full of innocent people and blaming it on GDI.
  • Kill Sat: The Ion Cannon is an experimental orbital energy weapon that GDI has developed in secret. In gameplay terms, it will one shot certain buildings, such as power plants, and will heavily damage most others. Finishing the Temple of Nod off with it in the final mission grants a unique cutscene where Kane embraces the light from it, as opposed to being crushed by debris if destroyed conventionally. GDI denies they're developing it early in the game, but go public with it if the player uses it to destroy the Temple.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Mild example: the scene mentioned above in Is This Thing Still On? takes place in a green-screen studio, likely the same one used to film this game's cutscenes. Kane as director is a nod to his actor, Joseph D. Kucan, being the director of all the game's live-action cutscenes.
  • Live-Action Cutscene: Although FMV was a popular trend in The '90s as the result of the new CD-ROM format allowing the space for it, this game (along with Wing Commander) is considered one of the few to have executed it effectively, and it would remain a trademark of both Command & Conquer and the spinoff Red Alert series for the duration of their production, long after virtually all other games had abandoned it (in favor of first pre-rendered, and subsequently in-engine cutscenes).
  • Logo Joke: The Nintendo 64 port opens with the N64 logo appearing in wireframe and fading into color, before a Commando runs up, plants C4, and blows it up. Westwood Studios' logo then appears as part of a fake installation sequence mirroring that of the PC original.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The first Commando-centric mission. Unlike later games, the Commando fires rather slowly, doesn't regenerate health, and is kinda fragile. Also, buildings destroyed by C4 still have a chance to produce wounded infantry just as if they were destroyed normally, resulting in the very likely scenario of your Commando losing half his health before he gets off the first island. Save Scumming is very useful in these situations.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: In one Nod Covert Ops Mission, your objective is to use Chem-Warriors to devastate a civilian area in order to fabricate an incident where GDI was responsible for a chemical leak that killed innocent bystanders. However, if you destroy just one GDI structure, you'll fail the mission as it will provide evidence to an attack by Nod.
  • Mascot Mook: This game is the reason behind almost any official artwork of the Tiberium Universe featuring at least one Mammoth tank.
  • Mighty Glacier: As a rule of thumb, GDI units are slower but more individually powerful than their Nod counterparts. No other unit epitomizes this trait better than the superheavy Mammoth tank, a quad-treaded behemoth that moves slower than most infantry units but can survive massive damage while laying waste to anything in its path with twin cannons and missile racks and even has Regenerating Health when under half-HP.
  • Missed Him by That Much: A zig-zagged example in Nod campaign ending. After the player hacks into GDI's Ion Cannon and destroys a world monument of their choice, an anchorwoman will report afterward that the respective leader of that country was safe in another location at the time of the attack. Unfortunately, she'll also report that hundreds of innocent people were not so lucky.
  • Monumental Damage: In the Nod ending, after some TRON-style Hollywood Hacking, the player can choose between razing The White House, the Eiffel Tower, the Houses of Parliament or the Brandenburg Gate with GDI's Ion Cannon.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • In the GDI ending, the Brotherhood is cornered at Sarajevo and broken apart, with its leader "killed." Notably, Kane can be killed in two ways. If you destroy the Temple of Nod with the Ion Cannon when it is the last enemy building on the map, Kane will embrace the light from the cannon strike as it engulfs him. If you destroy the Temple conventionally, Kane will be crushed by falling debris. The faceplate and burned skin in the sequel reveal that the Ion Cannon ending is the canon one. This was confirmed in the remaster through an achievement awarded for finishing off the temple with an Ion Cannon strike.
    • In the Nod ending, Nod hijacks the GDI Ion Cannon, and you get to destroy either the White House in Washington D.C., the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Houses Of Parliament in London, or the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, discrediting the Global Defense Initiative and General Sheppard.
  • Mythology Gag: The "installation" intro video for Remastered states that EVA is running version 9.26.95 - September 26th, 1995 being the release date of the original game on DOS.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: There are no ambient sounds so muting the music will get you this effect especially in scripted baseless missions.
  • No Canon for the Wicked: The GDI victory is canon. However, there is evidence that at least some of the Nod campaign happened, as it's mentioned in one of the cutscenes before your choice of the eighth GDI mission that Nod has responded to GDI's funding cuts by launching a full-scale attack on Africa, the setting of the Nod campaign. It's further hinted in Renegade that the Nod campaign happened at least up to mission 8, where Seth is executed after his attempted betrayal of the Nod player character, since Seth's preserved corpse can be found in Renegade's final mission.
  • Pyrrhic Victory:
    • Played straight with GDI if you destroy the Temple of Nod without the ion cannon in the final mission. According to the anchorwoman's news report, doing so will result in her saying that the battle was fought over a long time and both GDI and Nod suffered heavy casualties.
    • However, this is subverted if you do destroy the Temple of Nod with the ion cannon. The anchorwoman afterward reports that the final battle only lasted a few days and, while Nod still suffers heavy casualties, GDI and civilian losses are at "technically acceptable levels".
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Subverted in the cutscene where Kane briefs you on the next mission while toying with his Beretta 92, including pointing it at the camera/you for emphasis. The gun is almost immediately shown to have no magazine inserted, and Kane racks the slide before he does the pointing, so even if there was a bullet in the chamber, it'd be empty now. You still shouldn't point a gun at anything you don't want to shoot, but then it's Kane we're talking about, so it's actually quite in-character.
  • Regenerating Health: Harvesters and Mammoth Tanks self-repair slowly, up to 50% health.
  • Retronym: Originally titled simply "Command and Conquer." Some official documents on the original discs already contained references to the name "Tiberian Dawn", so it may have been an internal project name that simply never appeared on the box.
  • "Risk"-Style Map: The Commander can choose the missions in two separate continents depending on your side, Africa for NOD, Europe for GDI. The map is simply an artificial facade of a Campaign Tree, but you can see other areas on the map being contested or conquered by the factions.
  • Save Scumming: You'll probably find yourself doing this in the commando levels to avoid taking damage from those soldiers that may or may not pop out of the buildings you demolish.
  • Scratch Damage: Averted, as seen in this video. The technician's pistol deals one point of small arms damage per shot, but the flame tank possesses an armor class of "heavy" which reduces small arms damage by half. So when the calculation is worked out, the technicians would be dealing 0.5 damage per shot, but the game rounds this down to the nearest So by the end, the technicians are all burnt to a crisp and the flame tank has suffered no damage whatsoever.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: At the end of the GDI campaign, one of Kane's surviving commanders panics and tries to run, but a more stoic eyepatch-wearing faithful kills him before he can get far.
  • Secret Level: A mini-campaign pits the player against dinosaurs in the expansion. This add-on was created at the height of the Jurassic Park movie craze.
    • The Special Operations on the Playstation 1 and Nintendo 64 versions of the game. Special mention goes to "PATSUX", the infamous Commando romp mission which was previously only accessible via console commands on the Playstation version of the game.
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: Depending on whether playing the campaign or a skirmish. While devastating, it's still technically a small area of effect. Skilled players can defend against them by spreading out the base over a large area.
    • In the campaign, there's only a few situations where such a strike is launched, allowing for prior preparations. What's worse is that the Nuke can only be used once whereas the Ion Cannon can be used indefinitely.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: A perfect example of the trope is seen in the channel-surfing video intro.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Kane is holding a chess piece during the briefing of the 9th Nod mission.
  • Spiteful A.I.: Here's a fun trick: build a wall of Advance Guard Towers or Obelisks then attack a harvester. Your opponent will attack with every single unit on the map, and probably an Ion Cannon, airstrike and nuke.
  • The Starscream: Kane's second in command, Seth.
  • Stock Scream: Death sounds of infantry troops are often taken from audio library.
  • Tank Goodness: Special infantry packs a good punch if massed, but can and will be stomped by tanks. With bulkier and mightier tanks, GDI have the drop on Nod here, more than in the sequels (GDI would rely on mechas during Tiberian Sun)
  • Technologically Advanced Foe: The Brotherhood of Nod, thanks to channeling their ginormous wealth in Tiberium into their R&D department. At first in the GDI campaign you start off fighting only their conventional, light guerrilla forces, and then suddenly they bust out the Recon Bikes, Obelisks of Light, Flame Tanks and the Stealth Tanks. Subverted, however, when GDI eventually rolls out the Orcas, the Mammoth Tanks and the Ion Cannon.
  • Uniqueness Rule: The player's Temple of Nod only had the capability to launch a single nuke (it was a lot more powerful than nukes in the later C&C games though). GDI's counterpart, the Ion Cannon had no such limitations, and the AI player in the campaign could launch one whenever the player reached given checkpoints in the map.
  • Updated Re-release:
    • C&C 95 Gold, a Windows 95 version with improved VGA resolution released in 1997. It still maintains the original gameplay, but the UI graphics are adjusted to the new 640x400 resolution, which was then further updated to higher resolutions with the unofficial 1.06 patch.
    • The Command And Conquer Remastered Collection updates both Tiberian Dawn and Command & Conquer: Red Alert to 4K resolution, both ingame and cutscenes, adds all the expansion packs, including the previously console exclusive missions, unlockable bonuses, remixed soundtracks, and updated gameplay features, such as queueing unit production. The classic graphics and gameplay controls are available for purists with the former being accessible by simply pressing the spacebar.
  • Version-Exclusive Content: Both the Playstation 1 and the Nintendo 64 versions of the game came with sets of unique missions - the Special Operations - that could be activated from the main menu of each respective version: the PS1 version came with six of them (3 for the GDI, 2 for Nod + the Secret Level PATSUX - aka the one where you start with a dozen Commandos and Laser Orcas) while the Nintendo 64 version came with 4 of them (2 for GDI and 2 for Nod). These were eventually recreated for the PC version of the game and included in the unofficial patch 1.06, before the Remastered Collection included them officially. For Remastered Collection players: PS1 Spec Ops = '97 Spec Ops; N64 Spec Ops = '99 Spec Ops; PATSUX = S3cr3t M1ss1on
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: While individual flamethrower infantry can be useful, they do not work well in groups. Their attack is small short-range attack, which can hit friendly targets within the same group of five infantry simply by being on the back ranks.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: In the original version, the light vehicles you can build as GDI were called "Hum-Vees". The 2020 Command & Conquer Remastered compilation changed that to the generic "Light Scout". One of the first mods released for Remastered is changing the vehicle's name back to "Hum-Vee".
  • Would Hurt a Child: Part of Nod's propensity for dog-kicking includes torching orphanages.
  • You Have Failed Me: The game indicated that this was how the Brotherhood of Nod handled incompetent officers, with Seth, Kane's second in command, warning the player in their first meeting that if you failed, you died. Seth, it is worth noting, starts seeming wary of you (noting that "you are rapidly becoming Kane's favorite") as the campaign progresses and continues sending you on difficult missions with faulty intelligence. He eventually tries to send you on an outright Suicide Mission against the Pentagon (all the way across the ocean from the African theater where you're fighting). Then Kane introduces himself by executing Seth mid-sentence, pushing his corpse out of the chair, and promoting you. Disloyalty is even worse than incompetence.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Kane presents himself as a third world messiah and liberator, GDI is the military arm of the United Nations. Nod Kicks The Dog and kills civilians "who are either affiliated with GDI or don't agree with their religious dogma" from the start.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Tiberian Dawn


Ion Cannon

The Ion Cannon is an orbital satellite-mounted weapon system capable of firing a destructive energy beam onto a target with deadly precision, making it the most powerful and advanced weapon in the Global Defense Initiative's arsenal.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / KillSat

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