After deploying your Construction Yard, you must provide sufficient power to all the buildings in your base by building Power Plants. Available power is monitored by a power meter in your sidebar. Low power (insufficient power) slows production and gradually degrades your buildings such that you must spend credits to repair them.
As well as slow production and building degradation, low power can also take certain defensive structures 'offline' altogether —such as radars and Tesla Coils— thus reducing your ability to defend your base. During intense gameplay, incoming attacks may specifically target your power plants in order to disable your base defenses. At this point, players must make rapid sacrificial decisions to sell certain disabled structures in order to lower their base power requirements and get remaining power-dependent base defenses back online.
Gameplay thus revolves around collecting and retrieving ore, expending credits wisely and making sure that your base is sufficiently powered and equipped with enough soldiers and vehicles to either repel attacks and/or launch strategic and pre-emptive strikes to reduce the frequency and likelihood of future attacks.
In single player mode, missions are strategically won when you are able to overwhelm the enemy by forcing him to spend all his credits repairing and replacing base defenses. Eventually you are able to destroy his base defenses faster than he can replace them and when the enemy's base is weak enough, you can simply launch a massive attack and destroy his base completely.
At other times —and especially so in multiplayer mode— missions (or matches) are won by simply launching an attack on the enemy base before he is sufficiently prepared to defend against such an attack. Such a tactic is known as 'rushing' with the most popular (and infamous) type of rush being a 'tank rush'. Here the objective right at the outset of a match is to expend all your time and resources building five or six tanks as quickly as possible which you then immediately throw at the enemy base and attempt to destroy his construction yard (the most valuable structure) thus preventing him from expanding his base.
Production and Non-production Missions
In each mission in the single player mode, the player is presented with an objective which he must achieve, an overview of which is revealed in the full motion video preceding the mission. The player is trained how to manage resources and to recognize the particular strengths and weaknesses of the various game units through a series of production and non-production missions.
Production missions are where you manage and expend credits to produce buildings, units and vehicles in order to create the firepower to achieve your objective. This may involve building a base from scratch or starting with a partly prebuilt base and building that up.
Non-production missions typically involve using a predetermined squad of infantry and vehicles which you must use wisely to proceed through a hostile territory and achieve your objective. Although your squad may be sent reinforcements, your goal is to make sure that enough key units of your squad survive long enough to complete the mission.
Single Player Mode
In single player mode, the game takes you through a 'what if' kind of story where Albert Einstein invents a time machine that allows him to go back in time and remove Adolf Hitler from the course of history. The space-time continuum is forever changed and World War II evolves as a scenario where Joseph Stalin's Soviets are fighting against the Allied forces. This back story is revealed and developed in an introductory FMV preceding each mission in the game although the story remains somewhat divorced from the actual gameplay.
Players choose at the outset of the single player campaign which side they wish to play as (Soviets or Allies) and the campaign unfolds in a series of approximately 13-15 missions, each of which the player must win to advance to the next. As the game progresses, more and more of the technology tree associated with the particular faction the player chose is revealed allowing him to build better and more powerful units, vehicles and structures.
Each side in Red Alert has its strengths, weaknesses and eccentricities. Generally, the Allies provide a light, fast offensive, sneak attack kind of strategy with an emphasis on more traditional military emplacements, e.g., pillboxes and gun turrets, as well as better naval support units. Meanwhile, the Soviets tend to lean towards a slow and heavy, defensive strategy with an emphasis on wacky, pack-a-big-punch kind of units, e.g., heavy tanks and Tesla Coils as well as better air power.
Red Alert provides a number of multiplayer modes including Skirmish (player vs. computer battle mode), Multiplayer by Modem/Serial connection and Internet Game, the latter of which vastly popularized online RTS gaming and led to the creation of the PGL and microcelebrity Red Alert players such as DeepBlue.
Red Alert 1 is Now Freeware
Woohoo! To mark the 13th anniversary of the release of the original Command & Conquer (a.k.a., Tiberian Dawn), EA has released Command & Conquer: Red Alert as freeware. For more information, please see how to install and run Red Alert on Windows XP...