The first Command and Conquer games were released in the mid ’90s, a time when games weren’t nearly as complicated as they are now. That made Tiberium Dawn and Red Alert very simple to jump into but can still pose a proper challenge when battling it out against other skilled players. The recent release of the Command and Conquer Remastered series has reignited the fire for many long-time fans and also gives a new generation a chance to jump into these classic RTS games.
This guide will give you some basic strategies to getting that first multiplayer win in Command and Conquer Remastered. Note that the first section of the guide refers to general gameplay tips that are relevant in both Tiberium Dawn and Red Alert, using any faction. I will be using general terms that apply to all factions to avoid confusion, for example, Harvester refers to both Tiberium Harvesters (Tiberium Dawn) or Ore Trucks (Red Alert). Also, many of the points in this guide are applicable to the single-player campaigns as well.
Basic Gameplay Tips
With the state of Command and Conquer Remastered at the moment, here is my first and most important tip to playing multiplayer… don’t. The reason I’m discouraging multiplayer games right now is because of the horrible lag most multiplayer games have, which makes this mode very close to unplayable right now. Mind you, not everyone is experiencing this issue but according to the forums I’ve visited, it would seem that a major part of the community is. Let’s hope they resolve this bug soon so you can start using the following tips.
Let’s start with early build orders. After deploying your MCV into a Construction Yard, you will build your first Power Plant followed by either a Barracks or Refinery. Generally, I build a Refinery first to get my economy started but if you are playing with little to no units, you may opt to build the Barracks first and get some units out to defend your base. You will want to build 2 Refineries early on, and once you get your War Factory up and have a tank or 2, you’ll want to build an extra Harvester for each Refinery. In my experience, you shouldn’t build more than 2 Harvester per Refinery as they will get stuck when they need to unload at the same time. This can be reconsidered later when the resources are further away.
Keep an eye on your power usage, I cannot stress this enough. If you are getting low on power, build another Power Plant before any other building. If your power drops below the needed level, you will suffer several effects including a slower building, radar going offline, and certain defensive structures like Tesla Coil and Obelisk of Light ceasing to function altogether.
It’s important to get your radar up early as this will give you access to the mini-map. If you’ve done some scouting in the early game, you will have ample warning when an enemy is on their way to you. Once your funds allow, you’ll also want to build a second War Factory. This will not allow you to build 2 units at the same time but rather speed up the build time for said units. Finally, when placing defensive structures don’t put them in the back of your base where the enemy will never reach them. If there’s a chokepoint at the forefront of your base, put them there, or at least close to your most important structures.
Infantry can be very useful as scouts in the early game due to their low cost. Should they run into an enemy and get killed, the loss is minimal. However, I rarely use infantry in the mid to late game. While they can deal large amounts of damage in groups, it’s just too easy for an enemy tank to run over entire squads before you have time to react. One alternate use for infantry is as anti-air defenses, aircraft are not that widely used in multiplayer matches so building expensive anti-air defenses can be a waste. However, positioning Rocket Soldiers around your base will work just as well and they can attack ground units too. Just keep in mind that the Tiberium resource in Tiberium Dawn is poisonous to infantry and will kill them when they walk over a field.
In my experience, naval and air units are not that popular in multiplayer games due to the fast pace and limited resources. I would suggest that you forget about these at the start and rather focus on land units. Once you’ve got the basics mastered, feel free to try some new strategies with naval and air units.
It’s tempting to just build a bunch your biggest and strongest unit to attack an enemy base but I always recommend using some units to counter infantry. Your enemy might just surprise you with a bunch of Rocket Soldiers, and every building you destroy will also release a few infantry.
A unit that’s easily forgotten but can be incredibly useful is the engineer. These can be sent into one of your own buildings to instantly repair it to full health and if you have a path to enemy Construction Yard, you can also send a bunch of engineers to capture it, leaving your enemy unable to construct any more buildings.
Ultimately though, the easiest strategy is simply to build more tanks.
A fantastic upgrade with the remastered collection is all the new hotkeys. Taking some time to learn these could give you that boost you needed. You can even assign a hotkey to a certain build option like the Power Plant. Pressing this hotkey once will start production and once production is finished you can press the hotkey again to select the building for placement.
The remastered collection also brought with it the ability to add units to the build queue whereas the original games only allowed one unit to be built at a time. This adds convenience and it also lets you keep your resources from piling up unused when your focus is elsewhere. Speaking of resources, an old strategy with these games that still apply today is to sell a building when it’s about to be destroyed. Since you’ll be losing the building anyway, you might as well get some cash for your trouble.
The game options will provide you with a full list of available hotkeys, all of which can be reassigned, but here are some that I found most useful.
- H – Centers on your Construction Yard. Useful if you need to jump back to your base.
- W, E, R, T – Jumps between the build tabs.
- CTRL + number – Assigns a control group to your units. You then just press the number assigned to them to select the units and double-press it to center the view on those units.
- CTRL + Function keys (F1 to F4) – Sets a location bookmark. Pressing the relevant function key again will jump to that location on the map. Useful to assign to where your harvesters are working or an enemy base.
- A – Selects all combat units in view. Shift A – selects all combat units across the entire map.
- Double-click a unit – Selects all units in view of the same type.
- Shift + click – Selects multiple specific units.
- X – Scatter units. Useful with infantry to help them evade a tank that about to run them over.
- G – sets units to guard, meaning they’ll attack any enemy within range. The AI isn’t clever enough to do this by default.
- CTRL + Attack button – Tells your units to force attack something. Useful to destroy bridges and also when using Cruisers (Allies in Red Alert). The Cruisers become very inaccurate over long distances and won’t adjust their sights, so they’ll always miss. You can then force fire to a random spot on the ground to try and hit the surrounding buildings.
- Shift + A – Selects repair tool.
- Shift + S – Selects the sell tool.
The different factions in these old games shared many of their mechanics, mostly related to how their bases function, but they still have their differences. Here’s a quick layout of the various factions in Tiberium Dawn and Red Alert to help you choose the one that best matches your play style.
The GDI or Global Defense Initiative was definitely the easiest faction to play in Tiberium Dawn. Their units were more powerful than those from NOD, although slower and more expensive, but that meant that simpler strategies could be used with this faction. They also have the Mammoth Tank, arguably the best unit in the game, which will make an incredible force when complemented with Rocket Artillery, or even just by themselves. The Mammoth Tanks also have missile launchers that are effective against infantry and Aircraft.
The Brotherhood of NOD instead relies on stealth and hit-and-run tactics with their smaller, faster, and cheaper units. This will be trickier for beginners but could be more exciting and rewarding in the long run. Their Recon Bikes and Stealth Tanks are some of the more popular units, and when you enter the late game you can also use Chem Warriors. These infantry function similar to the Flame Infantry but are also effective against vehicles. They also don’t take any damage from walking over Tiberium making them ideal units to harass enemy harvesters.
NOD benefits from stronger base defenses though with their Obelisk of Light. These towers will make your enemies think twice about attacking your base, just keep in mind that they need sufficient power to work.
The Allies is the good-guy faction from the Red Alert series. Their land units are much weaker and less expensive than those of their Soviet counterparts but they benefit from having stronger air and naval forces. However, most multiplayer games rely solely on land forces so their benefits in air and water aren’t that relevant.
However, should you find yourself with enough resources to build a naval fleet, getting a few Cruisers escorted by Destroyers could be a game-changer. These units are expensive though but Cruisers can fire on enemy bases from a great distance. The Allies also have access to the Thief, an infantry unit that can be sent into an enemy Refinery to steal some of their hard-earned cash.
Another benefit of playing as the Allies is that after building a Tech Center you will start work on a Satellite which will be launched after a few minutes and give you permanent vision over the entire map.
The most effective unit combo I found is Medium Tanks, complimented with Artillery and APCs to counter infantry. If you have some spare cash you can even fill your APCs with Rocker Soldiers who will be deployed when the APC gets destroyed. This can be a nasty surprise for the enemy, just make sure those soldiers don’t get run over.
The Soviet faction relies more on head-on land battles with their superior ground forces. Like the GDI, they have access to the Mammoth Tank which is pretty much all you need to take out any enemy. Additionally, the Soviets have Tesla Coils which are the strongest base defenses and will easily take out most land units with one or two strikes.
The Soviet air force isn’t useless, mind you. Their Miggs are hard-hitting aircraft that move at incredible speed. They have very little armor though and will be taken out by even basic anti-air defenses. Building an Airstrip will also give you access to the Spy Plane. This plane can be deployed every few minutes and will reveal portions of the map.
As mentioned, the Mammoth Tank is all you really need to dominate, but they are massively expensive. In the early game, you can instead use Heavy Tanks with V2 Rocket Launchers to take out those base defenses from a distance. You can also use Tesla Tanks for some added punch, just keep them out of harm’s way as they die quickly.