Command & Conquer: Red Alert is a 1996 real-time strategy video game in the Command & Conquer franchise, developed and published by Westwood Studios in 1996. The second game to bear the Command & Conquer title, Red Alert is the prequel to the original Command & Conquer of 1995, and takes place in the alternate early history of Command & Conquer when Allied Forces battle an aggressive Soviet Union for control over the European mainland.
Like Tiberian Dawn, the game has split routes for most missions. The objective stays the same but the map layout differs. The single-player campaign is complemented by live-action cinematic sequences.
Players can queue commands, create unit groups that can be selected by a number key, and control numerous units at a time.
Players mine resources (consisting of ores and gems, as the Tiberium mineral in the regular C&C series has not yet arrived on Earth), which are processed into credits to make in-game purchases including building structures, produce vehicles, training troops, and making repairs. Rare gems are worth significantly more credits, but unlike ores, they do not regenerate within the map. Players can build additional ore refineries and ore trucks to mine these resources faster, however excess unspent credits require storage in special ‘ore silos’ that can be constructed. Resource management, including acquiring ore quickly to build up one’s own forces as well as denial of ore to opponents, is often key to victory.
While building a base, a player has to construct power plants to keep up with the growing demands of electricity, otherwise high-powered installations such as radar and Tesla Coils will not function; so power plants are often the first to be targeted in a base attack. An opponents’ critical damaged structures can be captured with the use of engineers, allowing the player to produce units from that structure even if not part of one’s own faction (i.e. if an Allied player captures a Soviet war factory, they can produce Soviet units like the Mammoth Tank).
In addition to the single-player campaign and a multiplayer mode, Red Alert includes a map editor and the bonus software Westwood Chat.