ByNicholas Montegriffo, writer at
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Nicholas Montegriffo

20 years ago, video game history was made when Command & Conquer: Red Alert hit the scene.

It's 1946. Humanity is reeling from the aftermath of the most brutal war in history. While the world struggles to recover and rebuild, trying to find ways to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again, a Jewish/German scientist decides to take matters into his own hands.

Using a top secret device he was engineering for the US government, Albert Einstein travels back into time in 1926 to kill Adolf Hitler and prevent WW2. He succeeds in disposing of the young Adolf, but unforeseen consequences ensue.

The timeline of the 20th century takes a dark twist when, unchecked by the events of WW2, Stalin's USSR becomes highly aggressive and expands, invading the free countries of Western Europe. As the West-European countries resist the Russian invaders, the USA also looks to intervene.

And so, in spite of the intrepid time-traveller's best intentions, a new World War starts after all. And the rest, as they say, is alternate history.

Soviets on the Scene

Command and Conquer: Red Alert brought a whole lot to the RTS table that inspired its successors for years to come: simple and responsive user interface, well-balanced factions that played differently, and a huge variety of fantastic maps.

I personally played the series to death, and loved its blend of deep strategy and tongue-in-cheek attitude, what with all the super-science, cheesy dialogue and black humor. The latter is especially true for the Soviet side, with their tendency to, uh, remove major characters when they became too influential.

But one of the most memorable things about the series was its wacky B-movie story, told through FMV cutscenes featuring some deliciously hammy, scenery-chewing performances from some of your favorite celebrities. These tasty cuts of ham and cheese have become a beloved tradition of the franchise, and we'd like to celebrate Red Alert's birthday with a platter of our selected favorites.

Tim Curry as Anatoly Cherdenko

Here's the legendary actor in Red Alert 3 barely able to contain his giddy glee as he declares his escape to the one place unsoiled by capitalism...outer SPAAAAAAACE!

Udo Kier as Yuri

The franchise antagonist succumbs to death by dinosaur, ushering a shiny, sexy Soviet new age.

Gene Dynarski as Stalin

Witness Uncle Joe's happy dance and subsequent doom at the end of the original Red Alert.

Ric (Nature Boy) Flair as Commander Hill

The wrestling Legend bizarrely mugging as Commander Hill...WOOO!

George Takei as Emperor Yoshiro

The Star Trek star drops some truth bombs on the USA, showing what he really thinks of 'American fools', who are apparently 'made of stupid.'

And the fanservice...sooo much fanservice

Happy Birthday Red Alert!

May God and The Specter of Communism bless you.


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