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Video Game / Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun

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EVA: Welcome back, commander.

"I've seen the future. Our Tiberian future. And as you watch this battle just beginning to unfold, I've already seen the final act. It is my destiny to lead the way for all mankind..."
Kane to General Solomon

Tiberian Sun is the second installment in the Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series. Set in 2030, tiberium is now spreading unchecked, forcing humanity to flee to the arctic or desert regions that can at least slow the substance's progress. As governments break down and GDI does its best to bring order from the chaos, Kane reappears to lead a reunified and invigorated Nod into battle once more. A crashed alien spaceship and an extraterrestrial artifact called the Tacitus hint at a larger purpose behind Tiberium, but ultimately Kane's attempt to use a missile to increase Tiberium's spread is thwarted with the man's death (again).

Released in 1999, the game notably raised the cutscenes profile of the saga, featuring for the first time renowned mainstream actors such as James Earl Jones and Michael Biehn. The Scrin technology makes its first appearance in this game, as well.


An expansion pack was also released, called Tiberian Sun: Firestorm, in which Nod's battle AI, CABAL, revolts and leads a cyborg uprising, forcing GDI and the remnants of Nod to unite to defeat him.

Tiberian Sun and its expansion were released as freeware by EA in 2010. Official Download.

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


This game contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: In Sun, Umagon is a mutant soldier who sure knows how to fight. She's even a field unit in at least one mission.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: In Firestorm, CABAL quickly goes rogue.
  • Arm Cannon: Cyborg soldiers have chainguns on their right arms. Cyborg Reapers have cluster missile launchers on theirs. The Cyborg Commando has a plasma cannon.
  • Audience Surrogate: The players are meant to identify with either Michael McNeil in the GDI campaign or Anton Slavik in the Nod campaign, negating the Non-Entity General approach of the other games.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The backstory handles GDI mechs like this. Not as maneuverable (except in rough terrain!) or cheap as Nod's tanks, and have poor leg workings.
  • Badass Creed: One of Nod's mottos is "PEACE THROUGH POWER!!" This becomes creepy and terrifying in the end of the Nod campaign, where Slavik captures and mistreats McNeil (offscreen) while he's tied to a chair, then shows him a view of a Nod missile vaporizing the GDSS Philadelphia into a glowing mist:
    McNeil: NOOOOOOOOOO!!!
    Slavik: Peaceful, isn't it?
  • Big "NO!": Michael McNeil's response when Slavik has captured and tortured him, and he witnesses the Philadelphia Station being destroyed by Nod's nuclear missile(s).
  • Bland-Name Product: Several of the building names.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece:
    • In the last GDI mission you get the chance to use classic Mammoth Tanks from Tiberian Dawn, which still prove useful. The Forgotten also uses them.
    • The Juggernaut artillery unit in Firestorm is the result of taking a triple-barreled cannon from an old battleship — useless now that the seas are choked with Tiberium-mutated weeds — and mounting them on mech legs.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Jake McNeil joins the enemy side in the Nod campaign out of envy at his brother Michael and some suggestions from Oxanna. In the canon GDI campaign, he was also stated to be at Hammerfest when it fell to Nod, so it's entirely possible that he was also a mole there, and received the additional You Have Outlived Your Usefulness treatment from Nod when they failed to push GDI out.
  • Cool Ship: The GDI command vehicle, the Kodiak.
  • Cool Train: Nod's competing command vehicle, the Montauk, when it's riding through existing tunnels rather than drilling its own.
  • Crapsack World: Tiberium has become so widespread and devastating that most nation states have collapsed or are in a constant state of anarchy and the remaining human population has escaped to arctic and desert regions of earth where tiberium at least spreads slower. Tiberium has even started to spread on water and this has made the planet entirely reliant on air transportation to survive. The world is also constantly being ravaged by sudden and deadly Ion Storms that make the planet even more inhospitable for life. The environment has also suffered immensely and most of Earth's original flora and fauna is already dead and replaced with new tiberium based lifeforms. The gameplay actually reflects this, see Everything Trying to Kill You below.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: CABAL's Core Defender, a massive bipedal robot which can withstand obscene amounts of firepower; It wields a powerful laser cannon from each arm, capable of shredding most any ground unit in one shot; two for the Mammoth Mk. II. EMP also doesn't work, and using it prompts an Evil Laugh from CABAL. There are creative and easier ways outside the box to deal with it, such as Dropped a Bridge on Him (or from under him) or Firestorm/ Laser Fence.
  • Deadline News: Oxana Kristos, who had been declared dead by her former colleague in the news studio (working for the traitor Hassan), casually sits down next to him on live TV. He's startled, but she tells him to "Please, continue"... then shoots him moments later.
  • Deadly Gas: Nod's secondary superweapon is a missile full of Tiberium waste gas, which corrodes structures and vehicles, and poisons or mutates enemy soldiers.
  • Death from Above:
    • In one cutscene, a squadron of Nod Banshees strafes - and destroys - a prototype Mammoth Mk.II. It serves dual duty in the game: as a "Mission Failed" cutscene for GDI and a "Mission Accomplished" one for Nod. During the GDI campaign, it gets played if you fail to destroy the facility where the Banshee prototypes are being manufactured; for Nod, it plays if you find and destroy the Mammoth Mk.II prototype.
    • A second cutscene has an advancing Nod armor column suddenly immobilized by an EMP blast; shortly after that happens, a wing of Orca Bombers comes in to blow them to smithereens.
    • Certain air units will occasionally use this exact phrase when told to attack a target.
  • Doom Troops: The malevolent A.I. CABAL's cyborg faction in the expansion pack Firestorm seems to invoke this. Much of its armies consist of shambling, rotting corpses with cybernetic upgrades, and its "Reaper" units are robotic scorpion-man hybrids with skulls for heads. They're mainly used to destroy civilian settlements and to capture people so they can be processed to create more soldiers.
  • Drill Tank: Nod uses subterranean units such as the Subterranean APC, the Devil's Tongue flame tank, and the Montauk command vehicle, although only the first looks like a recognisable drill tank.
  • Drop Ship: Used as a special unit in Tiberian Sun. Bonus points since the game stars Aliens's Michael Biehn as the player character in the GDI cutscenes.
  • Easter Egg: In the last Nod mission, there is a civilian building called the "Xmas Tree Farm", which itself is already pretty funny. Destroying it causes CABAL to exclaim "SCROOGE!" at the top of the screen. It also yields a money crate for the effort.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The Nod campaign ends as Kane launches a world-altering missile to completely turn the world into a Tiberian landscape. He likely killed off all non-mutated terrestrial life by doing so.
  • Enemy Mine: GDI and Nod vs CABAL in Firestorm.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Visceroids, Tiberian Fiends, Tiberium Floaters, Veinhole Monsters constantly destroy vehicles and buildings and the gas they produce kills infantry, Tiberium is poisonous to infantry, ion storms cause lightning strikes and cause your planes to fall out of the sky and crash, etc. etc. On the one hand, this does realistically evoke the story's feel of a Crapsack World going to hell and anarchy because of the effects of Tiberium; on the other hand it is actually possible to win one-on-one skirmish battles without ever even seeing the enemy, because the enemy was just overwhelmed by all the third-party nasties on the map.
  • Evil Gloating:
    • Kane gives a good one to Mike McNeil after breaking through the Hammerfest defenses in Tiberian Sun and stealing the sonic crystals, leaving behind a broadcast in which he glibly informs him that the sonic tank "will make an excellent addition to my collection", and that "oh, and sorry to hear about your brother, McNeil... I hear he died a very slow and... painful death..."
    • There is also Vega's video to GDI, where he taunts GDI and executes Commander Tao.
  • Evil Laugh: CABAL likes to do these during missions in Firestorm.
    CABAL: Cybernetic lifeforms will always be superior.
    EVA: Missile launch detected.
    CABAL: Kehahahahahahahaha!
  • Evil Sounds Deep: CABAL has a very intimidating lowered voice. Justified for being a computer A.I. who was programmed that way.
  • Fantastic Racism: There is quite a lot of hostility between the mutant and human factions, who deride each other as "blunts" and "shiners" respectively. Nod in particular regards the mutants as abominations and sees no problem with slaughtering them for their own ends (despite such mutation being the very real consequence of the spread of Nod Tiberium worshipping).
  • Free Wheel: When some vehicles explode.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Nod has upgraded to using lasers for all of its base defences, including the huge Obelisk of Light. In Firestorm, CABAL is defended by experimental Super Prototype enhancements of this such as the Obelisk of Darkness (which can hit air units) and the Lightning Obelisk (which can rapid-fire).
  • Futuristic Pyramid: The Nod HQs are all built in large, technified pyramids. They're actually converted ancient pyramids rather than purpose-built ones, as they're in Egypt and Central America specifically, and can't be built in skirmish mode.
  • Game Mod: A particularly spectacular one in the case of Twisted Insurrection, with full-length campaigns and even a third faction.
  • Gem Tissue: Mutants are humans who have been altered by exposure to Tiberium to the point they have Tiberium crystals growing out of their skin.
  • Getting High on Their Own Supply: General Vega is a South American Nod warlord and druglord who deals in a Fantastic Drug known as "Eye Candy", of which he is clearly his own best customer. In the Nod campaign, he hijacks an alien ship while high and crashes it. Another Nod general comments that even if he survives the crash, they'll kill him anyway for his monumental fuck-up. In the GDI campaign, Vega chooses to kill himself with an overdose because GDI forces are storming his base and an angry Kane has both excommunicated him from the Brotherhood and ordered a nuclear missile strike on Vega's base to show his displeasure.
  • A God Am I: Played with by Kane in the climax to the GDI campaign.
    McNeil: You're not God, Kane!
    Kane: No, I'm not God... but I'm a close second.
  • Good Running Evil: At the start of the Nod campaign, GDI is secretly running Nod as a puppet government. The initial goal is to break free and restore Nod to being an independent evil organization.
  • Hero Unit: GDI has Umagon, Ghost Stalker and Mutant Hijacker (in the campaign). Nod has the Cyborg Commando.
  • Hufflepuff House: The Forgotten (mutants) in Tiberian Sun act as a third faction, reached out to by GDI and manipulated by Nod. Their units are, appropriately enough, cobbled together from odds and ends and include old vehicles left over from Tiberian Dawn.
  • Human Shield: In the final GDI cinematic Kane holds Umagon hostage when Michael McNeil storms his HQ to rescue her. She manages to break free after an outside explosion shocks the building.
  • Humongous Mecha: GDI has abandoned its line of tanks in favour of walkers and Mini-Mecha. CABAL has the huge core defender.
  • I Am the Noun: Kane's "I am the future" from Red Alert gets a Call-Back in the final GDI cutscene where Kane is about to destroy the world with a Tiberium missile when GDI commander Michael McNeil comes in to save the day. Kane is still shouting his drivel about being the future incarnate when McNeil impales him with a Tiberium shard.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: McNeil stabs Kane with a shard of Tiberium in the ending of GDI's campaign.
  • In Spite of a Nail: No matter which campaign is played, there will be an alien craft in Vega's territory, the GDI base in Hammerfest will fall, and Kane will create a mega Tiberium missile. The difference is that in the Nod campaign, Slavik manages to retrieve the ship's contents, Hammerfest remains in Nod hands (and is used as the staging ground for their missiles to destroy the Philadelphia), and the mega missile is fired off. But in the GDI campaign, McNeil recovers the ship's contents, Hammerfest is eventually retaken (albeit Nod making off with the Disruptor sonic crystals before they're forced out), and the missile becomes scrap metal. Oh, and Umagon gets captured in both campaigns, although both the causes and aftermath of the captures are different.
    • Also, Slavik would be rescued from death at Hassan's hands, as he appears in Firestorm.
  • Isometric Projection: Evolving from the traditional 2D top-down view of its predecessor.
  • It's Personal:
    • Michael McNeil's animosity with Kane, after the latter murders his brother in the Hammerfast raid.
    • Anton Slavik's rivalry with McNeil, after the latter captures and humiliates him and his team.
  • Large Ham: Everybody in the Nod campaign.
  • Leave No Survivors: During the first Nod briefing, commander Anton Slavik asks CABAL what the conditions for a favorable outcome against the renegade General Hassan's forces in the present engagement would be. CABAL's response: "They all die!"
  • Lensman Arms Race: Capturing or otherwise denying the enemy their advanced weaponry happens in both campaigns, along with the obligatory field-testing.
    • In the GDI campaign, Nod attacks Hammerfest in an attempt to secure their Disruptor sonic crystals, and Mack has to shut down Nod's Tiberium-based missiles and main Banshee launch base.
    • In the Nod campaign, Slavik has to destroy the Mammoth Mk.II prototype. He also gets to test out Tiberium-based weaponry which Kane has developed.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: GDI deploys a new addition to their arsenal: Sonic weaponry. In the GDI campaign, McNeil spends some time getting it back from Nod, who stole it after Hammerfest fell.
  • Mysterious Veil: Umagon initially uses a veil to disguise her nature as a mutant, but in truth it's not all that effective. When meeting Mike McNeil, she takes it off in her first scene after determining that she needs GDI's help, while after killing a Nod soldier on live camera, they don't need to expend much effort to digitally remove it and expose her identity.
  • Near-Villain Victory: In the final GDI mission, you are on the clock to stop Kane's missiles from acquiring their target and destroying the Philadelphia space station, leaving him free to launch his world-altering missile.
  • New Era Speech:
    • Kane gives one of these in the Nod ending. Turns out his idea of a new era means turning the entire planet into a Tiberianized death world.
    • Anton Slavik also gives one at the end of the Nod campaign in Tiberian Sun: Firestorm after assuming command of Nod, in which he outright states that "a new era has begun".
  • No Canon for the Wicked: Played straight in Sun, although it was the first game to try moving away from this, as both campaigns hit many of the same plot beats with the difference lying in how they play out (e.g. who recovers the crashed UFO, whether Hammerfest remains in Nod hands or is pushed back out after taking it). Firestorm was the first to actually avert this in the series, as the two campaigns are a Perspective Flip to each other, both sides having to sort of work together at the end to take down a common enemy in CABAL. Slavik's appearance in Firestorm also presents an interesting use of this, as the first few missions of the Nod campaign, wherein Slavik is rescued from an execution attempt and ultimately deposes Hassan before Kane announces his return, and a later mission where he is captured by GDI and broken out, might have to be canon regardless - it all depends on whether the complete lack of mention of either of them in the GDI campaign means that this specific power struggle in Kane's absence and Slavik getting captured don't happen in the "true" canon, or that the GDI storyline is simply skipping over dirty business.
  • Non-Entity General: The original Tiberian Sun is probably the sole example in the main series to avoid the abstract player character approach: the cutscenes clearly let you know that if you play as GDI, your name is Michael McNeil, and when you play for the Brotherhood, you technically control Anton Slavik. It also at least implicitly undoes this for Tiberian Dawn, as General James Solomon is supposed to be the commander you played in that game. And that's only the original Tiberian Sun, since Firestorm gets back to its roots, complete with Slavik addressing you in the Nod campaign.
  • Nostalgia Level: One mission has GDI revisiting an old base site, with the classic buildings still standing. In another mission, Nod faces its old nemesis, the first Mammoth Tank, which can be used by GDI too.
  • Not Bad: When Michael McNeil saves the day, stops Kane, and gets the girl, Umagon concedes "Not bad for a blunt" before kissing him.
  • Overly Generous Time Limit: In the final Nod mission, you are given a little more than three hours to position three ICBM launchers on the map in order to destroy GDI's orbital command station before it can locate and destroy the World Altering Missile. Taking your time to build a force large enough to completely wipe out the highly defended GDI base — which isn't a mission requirement — and placing the ICBM launchers at your leisure afterwards takes an hour at most.
  • Perspective Flip: The Nod version of events which also happened in the GDI campaign - how the alien craft crashed in Vega's territory and Hammerfest Base fell - could be this. The GDI campaign is silent on those two points, with McNeil stumbling on the former's crash site and learning about the latter's fall after the fact, but the Nod campaign implies that Vega was high on drugs and "borrowed" the craft from Kane before crashing it, and Hammerfest was undermined from within by Jake McNeil.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: General Solomon is the one who led the attack on Kane's Sarajevo temple, the final mission of the first game.
  • Public Execution: Nod forces are fond of doing this to suspected traitors. In the Nod opening cinematic, commander Anton Slavik was himself about to be publicly killed by injection before a faction of the Black Hand rescues him. The television program (called "Today's Execution" along with its own hosts) implies that this is a regular occurrence as part of the Brotherhood's "bread and circus" tactics. Anton later slits the throat of the rogue General Hassan after his capture in front of a spectating crowd.
  • Recursive Ammo: Nod's primary superweapon is the Cluster Missile which, upon detonating over the target and causing damage, releases several dozen small bombs that will fall around the original target and can devastate a sizable chunk of someone's base.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction:
    • The Black Hand goes rogue after Hassan tries to execute Slavik. After a brief civil war, Slavik wins and reunites the various factions just in time for Kane to return.
    • In Firestorm, CABAL splits from Nod as they themselves desperately try to avoid splintering again.
  • Revive Kills Zombie: Inverted; walking through Tiberium fields damages and eventually kills regular infantry, but heals mutant units (including cyborgs).
  • Sensor Suspense: Tiberian Sun had the Mobile Sensor Array which, when deployed, could track enemies hidden by Fog of War, as well as Stealth and Subterranean units. The suspense part can even come into play with subterranean units, in that you can't tell whether what is about to pop up is a flamethrower tank or an APC loaded up with Cyborgs intent on murder.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • In Salvage Operations (One of the middle Nod missions) you're suppose to navigate through enemy territory to retrieve the Tacitus, which is located at the crash site of the alien warship. However the Tacitus is actually being carried on the train at the beginning of the level, and if you're quick enough (or just slowed the game's speed down to a crawl) you can tell all of your troops to attack it and chase it down. Destroying it's locomotive stops the entire train, long before it reaches the warship where the Tacitus is "suppose" to be. and due to the speed of your units and sparse enemy unit placements, they can often chase down the train with minimal casualties, making an otherwise frustrating mission a cakewalk.
    • In the final Firestorm Mission you're suppose to take out some radar arrays to disable the firestorm generator, allowing you to finally access Cabal's core. If you're playing as GDI however you can just use the ion cannon to target the firestorm generator behind the walls and instantly skip that part of the mission. Although if you rushed up solely to do this without knowing what happens next, you'll be in for a painful surprise.
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: Averted; the ranges of the Nod Artillery unit and its GDI counterpart in Firestorm, the Juggernaut, are very long by C&C standards, and many battles end up resembling World War I-style artillery duels.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Several to Michael Biehn's Aliens, notably the M16 Mk II Pulse Rifle is very similar to that film's M41A pulse rifle. A GDI soldier in one cutscene is even shown holding the M41A.
    • One Mammoth Mk. II cutscene homages The Empire Strikes Back (where, incidentally, James Earl Jones voiced Darth Vader) by highlighting its similarity to the AT-AT.
  • Slashed Throat:
    • Implied to be what happened to Commander Tao. There was a Gory Discretion Shot involved.
    • Hassan was dealt with in this manner during his execution.
  • Space Station: The GDSS Philadelphia, the orbital GDI command center for all its operations on Earth. Nod destroys it in their final mission.
  • Title Drop: During McNeil and Kane's confrontation in the GDI ending, Kane proclaims "I am the future! The Tiberian Sun has risen!"
  • Treachery Is a Special Kind of Evil: After Anton Slavik is rescued by the other members of the Black Hand from his would-be execution by General Hassan (who is secretly on GDI's payroll), he returns to the bridge of his command ship and confronts the guy who sold him out. The traitor can barely get out a single line because Slavik shoots him on the spot. He's proud to engage in war crimes for the cause, but Slavik despises disloyalty with a fiery passion. He later publicly executes Hassan himself.
  • Trick Bullet: One GDI mission in Firestorm has you put down some rioting civilians using riot troops armed with rubber bullets to subdue their leaders. This invokes Damn You, Muscle Memory!, because group-firing rubber bullets on the leaders as you're used to doing (rather than just using one trooper) will kill them and fail the mission.
  • Twist Ending:
    • In Firestorm. At the very end of the Nod campaign, it turns out that the missing Kane is still alive, possibly part of CABAL's neural network. This is never fully explained, as EA seems to have abandoned this plot thread in its sequels.
    • If you did not play the GDI campaign beforehand, finishing the Nod Campaign will suddenly introduce you to Kane in person, with half his face covered with a plate (you see him with this in the GDI ending too). He then "ascends" as the World-Altering Missile launches, disappearing into glowing light. What this means has never been elaborated on, as Tiberium Wars and Twilight have ret-conned what Kane meant by "Ascension".
  • Units Not to Scale: A weird example with GDI's Kodiak, which appears in-game in one mission in the vanilla game (where it's temporarily grounded by an ion storm) and one in the Firestorm expansion (when it crashes). In the first example it's the size of an average in-game building, in the second it's grown to about ten times that size.
  • Unwilling Roboticization: In Firestorm, CABAL attacks civilian settlements to harvest the people for his cyborg army. GDI is responsible for shutting down one of his processing plants during the campaign.
  • Veteran Unit: The concept is introduced here, franchise-wise. Hard to achieve and relatively minor improvements in return. Future games, however, would greatly improve on this.
  • Warm-Up Boss:
    • Hassan is one to Slavik, and can fit into the canon since the GDI campaign doesn't explicitly deny that the first few Nod missions ever happened.
    • For Mack, there is Vega. His island base is well-defended, but his forces pale in comparison to that of his boss Kane.
  • Wham Line: At the conclusion of the first part in the Nod Campaign, while the crowd is chanting "Kane lives in death!" "Kane LIVES!!"
  • You Call That a Wound?: Cyborgs can have their legs blasted off and still function properly. They can even regenerate back to full health in Tiberium, though losing their legs does slow them down.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • In Tiberian Sun's GDI campaign, Nod General Vega has just lost to McNeil and is beseeching Kane for reinforcements. Kane's response is to nuke Vega's entire island base.
    • In the Nod campaign, Anton Slavik implies something similar when General Vega steals Kane's UFO and crashes it, stating that Vega better hope he'll die in the crash, because Kane's wrath is certain.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In the second video to the Nod campaign, a prominent GDI general (Solomon) implies this trope to the double agent General Hassan, telling him he will be seen as useless if Slavik continues to gather support, and that "useless things have a way of disappearing".


Example of: