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Command & Conquer: Generals is a Real Time Strategy game set Twenty Minutes Into the Future, using more-or-less existent, in-development, or theorized technology. The Global Liberation Army, an Arab-ish terrorist organization Ripped from the Headlines after 9/11, has declared war on the People's Republic of China and the United States of America, forcing the two superpowers to cooperate against the militants. An Expansion Pack followed, Zero Hour, which introduced more missions, more units, and three specialized generals to choose from within each main faction. The game is canonically unconnected to the other C&C series, and in fact bears more resemblance to Ensemble's Age of Empires and Blizzard's StarCraft and Warcraft series.
Generals was met with instant controversy from both Media Watchdogs, who objected to the national stereotyping and the fact that you could play as totally-not-Al-Qaeda, as well as longtime Command & Conquer fans, who objected to their franchise's name being associated with an RTS that more strongly resembled a Blizzard game than traditional Command & Conquer gameplay. The game earned good reviews for delivering a solid, action-packed RTS, and was particularly praised for the General system, which allowed players to rise in rank during battle and unlock unique and possibly game-winning units and special abilities.
A reboot/sequel, was being developed by Electronic Arts and a new division of BioWare, "BioWare Victory" (headed by Jon Van Canegham), in a world where all of the politicians and diplomats got Board to Death at a Peace Conference by a newly reawakened GLA; development of the game was canned in 2014.
- Action Bomb/Suicide Attack: GLA's Terrorists, Bomb Trucks and all of the Demolition General's toys.
- America Saves the Day: Played straight in the main game and subverted in the expansion. After triumphing in the USA campaign, the GLA campaign sees the Americans humbled and kicked out of Europe, leaving the Chinese to save the day and rise to prominence as leader of the Eurasian Unity League.
- Artificial Stupidity:
- Any player unit being shot at from outside its guard range will simply stay in the same spot and be killed, unless you activate retaliation in the options menu. Then, they'll chase after whatever is shooting at them and generally run into more enemy units.
- GLA bomb trucks can disguise themselves as any other vehicle of any size and shape as long as there's no detector around. While stealthed, enemies won't auto-attack it, so you can not only leave a few around as scouts, but run over enemy infantry with no fear of retaliation.
- Even on Brutal difficulty, one of the Chinese AI's attacks is a wave of Red Guards and Tank Hunters without any vehicles, making them depressingly easy to kill.
- Attack Drone: The Battle Drones and the Hellfire Missile Drones. The Sentry Drone too, when you give them machine guns.
- Awesome but Impractical: A lot of units can go under this, due to Crippling Overspecialization. Case in point: the PRC Overlord tank and its elite counterpart, the Emperor tank. Armed to the teeth, they are literally landcruisers, but hey, these babies don't come easy: they cost a lot, are hard to maintain and are typically the first on any opponent's target list, are often slow and prone to Zerg Rushes, which doesn't make suffering the fact that they're easy to counter any lighter for the one in possession of these crazy machines. The Emperor version though is a bit better since it comes with a built-in Propaganda Tower (that automatically heals itself and all units surrounding it), and can be upgraded with a gatling cannon, effectively turning it into an all-purpose weapons platform.
- And by extension, some of the Support Powers. Here's one: the USA Propaganda Leaflet Drop. It makes enemies stop fighting for a mere minute, and it's not a total surrender. More often, pragmatic players would rather spend the Generals point on a MOAB. The B-52 dropping the leaflets, on the other hand, is quite the bullet sponge, which comes in handy if you need a distraction.
- The Chinese Nuke general can equip his MiG fighters with Area of Effect nuclear missiles. The problem: These MiGs don't cope very well with the damage they make, meaning that every now and then, your MiGs might shoot down each other... or other friendly aircraft caught nearby.
- Also applies to some degree to the USA's ultimate weapon, the Particle Cannon. Sure, it's fun to be able to break it out, but at the same time it is a very narrow-focused beam of light that doesn't do a lot of area damage compared to China's Nuclear Missiles or the widespread infantry-killing of the GLA's SCUD Launcher. However, it does have the shortest cooldown timer, and the fact that it can be redirected after firing makes it ideal for punching burning holes in defensive lines or to be unleashed on a tank blob at the most opportune moments.
- And to compensate, the Americans have the best level 5 general ability, the Fuel Air Bomb. And it gets better, as it can be upgraded into a MOAB (the most powerful non-nuclear bomb ever detonated) in Zero Hour.
- Awesome Personnel Carrier: The GLA Battle Bus. A 10-ton unarmed, but heavily armored rustbucket with seats for ten. If you think that's not enough, it can even apply scavenged vehicle armor scraps to itself for additional protection. The Battle Bus revolves around the concept of "there's no such thing as taking too many hits", for it has Two Life Meters. On its second Life Meter, the bus loses its tires becomes an immobile bunker.
- Literally, just about anything with these four traits: plenty of seats, some decent off-road speed, a robust fire-support (or self-defense) weapon and most importantly, fire ports for passengers.
- Humvees full of Missile Troops. Ask any competitive player.
- The Chinese also have an APC unit with 8 passenger seats (and if you count it, it only costs 200 credits if you count the eight soldiers it comes with). It's rather unimpressive, as it's slow, lacks a weapon, lacks fireports, and is not strong enough to make up for it. However, General Shin Fai's version comes with minigunners that can chop up light vehicles and infantry in seconds and allows the passengers to fire from it, as well as the Assault Helix helicopters.
- General Granger of the USA has a special version of the Chinook with a point laser defense system (that makes it missile proof) and built in fire ports as well.
- Back From the Brink: The GLA pull this off twice. The first, after getting their asses handed to them by the Chinese, and then again, after the United States does the same thing. They return the favor to both superpowers.
- Badass Army: Everyone. Except the Europeans. Apparently they don't even have armies.
- While all the armies count, the USA's forces are by far the best on a unit to unit ratio, and have a ton of technology and money. The downside is that their units are very expensive.
- The GLA deserves a special mention for battling two superpowers at the same time and damn near winning, despite using mostly outdated Cold War era weaponry and having next to no airforce or navy.
- The reboot/sequel meanwhile suggests that the Europeans would finally get their due.
- China meanwhile also deserves some credit. Compared to their American allies, the Chinese make extensive use of Cold War-era technologies and their offshoots, as well as human wave tactics. Still, it takes a lot of gravitas to make use of them in modern combat... and succeeding.
- Badass Boast: Guys like Col. Burton and Pathfinders have the knack of constantly telling you how well-experienced they are in their fields. Sometimes even in campaign set piece triggers.
- Beam Spam: The American AN/TWQ-1 Avenger Humvee is nothing but lasers. Let's have a look, shall we? Two anti-aircraft lasers, four point-defense lasers for shooting down missiles, and one ground-only targeting laser, which are colored red, yellow and blue, respectively, for your viewing convenience, of course. Now, take note: the Avenger can use all of them at once at multiple targets.
- Big Damn Heroes: The Chinese present themselves as this to Europe in Zero Hour after the US retreat, driving out the GLA "invaders".
- Black and Grey Morality: The GLA, for all their talk, are horrible people and arguably the most evil faction the series. But on the other hand, the "good guys" aren't entirely altruistic on their part. America for instance comes across at times as motivated by self-interest and opportunism just as much as "defending the free world." While the Chinese meanwhile don't seem to have second thoughts about torching or nuking their way to victory if they have to, nor do they have second thoughts about blowing up large portions of their own cities or handing tactical nuclear weapons to terrorist turncoats. It's even mentioned in the Zero Hour campaign that the Europeans eventually forced the Chinese to back down from nuking towns and cities infested with GLA terror cells. Also, one has to wonder how they're running their occupied portion of Kazakhstan if a general there defects and the GLA was able to convince mobs to burn down Astana and recruited several anti-China militiamen from an occupied fishing village in the first mission.
- Booby Trap: Plenty to go around with. Booby Traps, Demo Traps, Land Mines, Neutron Land Mines... you name it, Generals has it! With varying types of effects to boot!
- Book Ends: The game begins and ends with a Chinese military parade.
- Bottomless Magazines: Lampshaded by one of the Gatling Tank crewman's quotes.
I have many bullets to spare! -- Gatling Tank crewman
- Bowdlerise: Among the Command & Conquer titles, Generals was hit worst, which was subject to some changes to avoid an M rating in Germany. Most commonly was the tactic of calling all infantry units cyborgs and changing/removing sounds and effects that would suggest otherwise. With Generals this was done for everyone, even the generals and the reporters (but not all their clips were altered). And the terrorist was replaced by... a bomb on wheels. That can drive cars.
- Break Out the Museum Piece: A sizable chunk of the GLA's arsenal is comprised of jury-rigged Cold War-era weaponry. Meanwhile, the Chinese tend to rely on more "outdated" tactics and aesthetics compared to the Americans.
- Bunny Ears Lawyer: Most of the generals is Zero Hour are at just Ax Crazy, and worst, well...
- Alexander, Townes, Kassad and Leang are the closest that come off to normal people, though they're still egoistical, and Kassad is something of a narcissist. Granger is absurdly arrogant (but then again, he is a fighter pilot), but is otherwise fairly sane.
- Tao's sanity is questionable given his fondness of all things nuclear.
- Juhziz and Dr. Thrax are Laughably Evil Complete Monsters, Juhziz is obsessed with explosives. Dr. Thrax is obsessed with toxic chemicals, and also believes that radiation gives people superpowers.
- Car Fu: Crushing infantry with vehicles is featured as always.
- The Chessmaster: "Pinpoint" General Townes likes to pride himself on this nearly as frequently as he boasts the superiority of his laser technology. Of course, given that he only has this personality when facing you as a computer...
- China Takes Over the World: By the end of Zero Hour, the Chinese are pretty much running the show as the world's superpower, bringing war-torn Europe into its Eurasian alliance, while the US reverts to isolationism.
- Civil Warcraft: GLA turncoats cooperate with PRC troops in an attempt to backstab their former comrades. The GLA mission in Zero Hour, where the player must hunt down Prince Kassad and take his stealth technology. Also, technically, the last USA mission in Zero Hour as well, where you get GLA supporters against Dr. Thrax.
- Cold Sniper: GLA's Jarmen Kell and USA's Pathfinders.
- Colonel Badass: Col. Burton. He sets explosive charges, easily kills many targets (yes, including tanks) with an advanced automatic rifle and to maintain stealthiness, stabs infantry with a knife (and before patches were released to fix gameplay, he could stab grounded aircraft). And as is the custom for all Generals hero units, he knows how to stay out of plain sight.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The AI relentlessly takes advantage of this with its ground-based AA vehicles by positioning them just outside of your air units' response ranges where their AA guns will fire with impunity as your helicopters just hover, doing nothing.
- Converging Stream Weapon: If you look closely at the American Particle Cannon when it's charged, you'll see that there's several beams pointing towards one large dish.
- Cool Bike: The GLA gets scout motorcycles in Zero Hour which can be loaded with any infantry to make them more mobile, and let them climb up and down cliffs with ease. Oddly, they self-destruct if the rider leaves the motorcycle without a replacement.
- The Cracker: PRC's Hacker, Black Lotus and Super Lotus. By the way, they work for the good guys.
- Crippling Overspecialization: In Zero Hour, most of the generals suffer from this:
- Gen. Granger's air power is second to none, but he can't build even the basic American tank.
- Gen. Fai's infantry hordes can chew apart armor or aircraft, but will fall quickly to napalm, anthrax and flash-bangs.
- Thanks to patches after release, Dr. Thrax is only effective against infantry, leaving him up a polluted creek if he has to stop a tank rush.
- Speaking of which, General Kwai loves to use Tanks so much that he can't even use any artillery. So he's pretty much screwed if the enemy has built a very formidable defense line.
- General Townes will laugh off any attacks with missiles and vehicles. On the other hand, base defenses and infantry rushes are what gives him big headaches. Unplug his power grid and all of those fancy lasers become sitting ducks.
- In both offense and defense, General Alexis is not much in a straight up fight. But if she is given the chance to amass a lot of Aurora Alphas and Particle Cannons, then her victory will become a foregone conclusion.
- Prince Kassad is excellent at hiding and sneaking into enemy positions but totally sucks at fighting big battles out in the open and besieging enemy bases that are sealed up very tight against infiltration. He also has to steal tanks if he wants them.
- Curb Stomp Battle: The first mission of any factions campaign. First, the Chinese, after suffering a nuking by the GLA, launch an armored assault that wipes out the GLA forces around Beijing and takes their nuclear weapons stockpiles with very few losses. Then, in the GLA campaign, they launch their own armored assault, first destroying a small Chinese base mostly staffed by infantry with two bunkers with suicide bombers and technicals, then destroying a large Chinese base (complete with infantry, bunkers, tanks, and minigun turrets) in an armored assault, then finally blowing up the nearby dam, which drowns an entire Chinese armored battalion. In the USA's first mission, a large group of American tanks engages a large group of GLA ones and destroys all of them with zero losses on the American side. When another, equally large group of tanks starts moving towards the Americans, they're all instantly destroyed by an airstrike. The last one is pretty close to real life. During the Gulf War, not a single American tank was destroyed by an Iraqi tank, whereas the Iraqis suffered huge losses. The parallel was likely intentional since the mission takes place in Baghdad.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Generals goes from Command & Conquer style left-clicking to Warcraft/StarCraft style right-clicking. Fortunately the designers were kind enough to let you change to the "classic" controls if you wanted.
- Death From Above: Besides the Kill Sat below, the artillery bombardment/airdropped explosives/faction-specific superweapons.
- Depleted Phlebotinum Shells:
- Depleted uranium shells are an upgrade to PRC tank gun ammunition.
- The GLA counterpart gets a biological equivalent, which more than doubles a tank shell's previously near-zero lethality against infantry.
- Destructible Missiles: Missiles that are smaller than the PRC Nuclear Missile superweapon can be destroyed mid-air using an American point-defense laser.
- Determinator: Even after going through several civil wars and having their asses handed to them by the two superpowers four times, the GLA just. Don't. Freaking. Die.
- Dummied Out: General Fai and General Juhziz lack their own Challenges in the official release of Zero Hour. There were also plans for a USA and GLA Boss General as well (General Ironside and General Mohomar, respectively). They can still be found within the game files, and many mods have re-enabled these levels.
- Easy Logistics: The PRC somehow gets thousands of troops shipped to Germany in hours.
- Ejection Seat: When a USA combat vehicle expires, a Pilot will be ejected from the vehicle, assuming the vehicle's Pilot has seen enough combat to gain ranks.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: The Americans you're allowed to use are made up of nothing but elites or hi-tech regulars.
- EMP: Another Chinese specialty. Their ECM tanks can not only off the enemy structures but also shut down vehicles (in the case of aircraft, drop them from the sky) and jam missiles.
- Enemy Exchange Program:
- Notably the only game in the entire Command & Conquer franchise that doesn't use an Engineer to seize a building. Instead, you train your basic infantry to place flags on a building for a set amount of time until it becomes yours. The Black Lotus special agents can also do what the grunts can; only better.
- The developers also seem to encourage a lot of hijacking, seeing how the GLA have specialist Hijackers for the job. Zero Hour ups the ante on hijacking sprees with China's crew-killing neutron bombs.
- The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend: The USA fighting a rogue PRC general who allied with the GLA. GLA defectors working with the USA. GLA making use of USA hardware...
- Even Evil Has Standards: Most of the GLA considers Dr. Thrax's war doctrine to be beyond the pale.
- Evil Laugh: Dr. Thrax has a wheezing, phlegmy chuckle, while Shi Tao "the Nuke" has a dangerous giggle once his missile silos are ready to fire.
- Excuse Plot: This game has the least development to its story of any game in the Command & Conquer series, with only some cutscenes explaining what happens and no characters. It remains to be scene what the sequel will be like.
- Faction Calculus: The USA is somewhere between Balanced and Powerhouse, featuring a large number of above-average units with various special abilities. The GLA is Subversive, favoring stealth and poison. China, in a variation, fits the Horde archetype more closely than the Powerhouse, with their basic infantry and tanks receiving bonuses when in large numbers.
- Fast Roping: Using this method, the USA's Chinooks can lower a number of Rangers into an occupied building to clear out anyone garrisoned inside.
- Final Boss: In the Generals challenge, PRC ubergeneral Leiang "Tigress" Leang, who has a base combining all three factions' units and structures. You start the mission racing the clock before she hits you with a simultaneous Nuclear Missile, Particle Beam, and Scud Storm.
- Foreshadowing: Defeat Gen. Kwai in Zero Hour and he'll mention the Tigress squashing you like a bug.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: American laser technology. It's used for a lot of things. Took off on a humble start with the Paladin Tank's dual-purpose point-defense laser and the Missile Defender's Laser Sight in Generals. In Generals: Zero Hour, laser technology matured to give all American factions the anti-aircraft Avenger Humvee. Specialist Laser Army faction commanded by Gen. Townes uses Laser Turrets, Laser Crusaders and procured Avengers, while USAF Gen. Granger dumped Paladins for aircraft with multiple point-defense lasers.
- From A Single Standing Foundation: ...a reduced GLA building can be rebuilt. See Multiple Life Bars below for a detailed explanation on that.
- Game Mod: Quite a number of have been made for it.
- Shockwave is one of the most popular out there, restoring almost all of the content cut from Zero Hour. And it's GLORIOUS.
- There's also Rise of the Reds by the same people that made Shockwave, which has its own page. In a nutshell, Rise of the Reds is an unofficial sequel to Zero Hour, adding two new factions (the European Continental Alliance and Russia), as well as a plethora of new and redesigned units for the pre-existing factions.
- Garrisonable Structures: A very important mechanic that helped infantry be a lot more useful in this game than in prior installments.
- Gatling Good: The PRC have several units and base defenses made better with Gatling weapons, which spit lead faster the longer they've been firing.
- The USA A-10 Thunderbolt II and AC-130H Spectre also have Gatling weapons, but their firing rates consistent unlike their Chinese counterparts.
- Generic Doomsday Villain: The GLA are just a terrorist group that has no depth to them.
- Hypocrite: The GLA are this in droves. At first, they scream incessantly about oppression, imperialism, and how just they are. Other comments, however, underscore that they're basically ill-tempered, sadistic, sociopathic low-lifes to a man. Except for the lowly Workers, who are some of the single most hilariously down-trodden, abused schmucks in gaming history. This is prevalent in the 2nd mission where they steal relief aid from some peasants. Not to mention how they aren't above indiscriminately killing civilians (even nuking downtown Beijing in the first Chinese mission) in the name of their "just" cause.
- The Hyena: Dr. Thrax punctuates his mustache-twirling evil one liners with frantic giggling.
- I Love Nuclear Power: China love it. There's a Chinese General in Zero Hour who specializes in nuclear warfare.
- In Name Only: The gameplay is more like StarCraft than traditional Command & Conquer gameplay, although it draws a lot of elements from the Command & Conquer series, particularly Red Alert for actual units.
- Invisibility Cloak: Among some of the things: Stealth Fighters, Pathfinders, Radar Vans, Demolition Traps, and a whole Stealth General army.
- Kill It with Fire: The PRC have flamethrowers, incendiary shells and napalm missiles. They're capable of walling off approaches with constant firestorms.
- Kill Sat: The Particle Cannon, subverted. The Particle Beam actually fires up from a ground installation and reflects off an orbiting satellite. Then... it hits the battlefield.
- Knight Templar: The GLA troops call themselves "liberators of the poor oppressed peoples of the world" while stealing humanitarian aid from those very people and slaughtering entire villages and cities. The GLA tries to excuse the former by claiming they'll find a "better use" for those supplies.
- The GLA news anchor from Zero Hour, Omar bin-Gazali, ramps this up by praising the GLA and demonizing the USA and the PRC.
- Land Mine Goes Click: Careful, now. Make sure that you have your surroundings checked before capturing that building, because it's probably going to be set up with traps, and it'll be too late to fall back when one of these things beep.
- Large Ham: In the Zero Hour Generals' Challenge, you face against (nearly) all the specialized generals in succession, and in each mission they constantly taunt you with radio messages.
Gen. Alexander: Oh? What's that sound? And look, there's a light in the sky!
- Laser Sight: The Missile Defender's special ability to give him More Dakka.
- The Avenger Humvee's blue laser pointer does the same for helping other units rather than itself.
- Laughably Evil: Dr. Thrax, despite being a murderous sociopath that only seems interested in inflicting pain and misery on others, manages to make everything he says a Crowning Moment of Funny.
- Law of Chromatic Superiority: Maximum veterancy units get red muzzle flashes, tracers, explosions and/or jet trails for their weapons.
- Mad Bomber: The Terrorist and the Bomb Truck. GLA Gen. Juhziz, is this, compounded: everything he owns has bomb strapped to itself.
- Mad Doctor: Dr. Thrax. If you defeat him, he'll admit that he got his degree from a mail-order college.
- Master Poisoner: The notorious Dr. Thrax, one of the GLA's generals. Under his command, almost all of the units that normally use high explosives instead use a biochemical cocktail called Anthrax Beta/Gamma. He got his degree in bacteriology from a mail-order college, by the way.
- Meaningful Nickname: Dr. Thrax, Gen. Tsing Shi "Nuke" Tao and Gen. "Pinpoint" Townes.
- Metaphorgotten: One of the Tigress' taunts.
You find yourself at the end of your rope, and only now do you realize that the rope is on fire! -- Gen. Leang
- Misplaced Nationalism: Considering the first Generals game was released right during the buildup to the American-led invasion of Iraq, this game attracted a megaton of vitriol. The official EA discussion forum for Generals was full of people sounding off on how much they hated Americans and the United States, with every popular form of Demonization represented. The outcome of Zero Hour was likely designed to placate the anti-American crowd.
- Molotov Cocktail: GLA's Angry Mobs throw them.
- More Dakka: More or less what Chinese Gatling operators want the longer they're putting their weapon in action. The Gatling Tank crewmen invoke More Dakka. Hell, it's even in their selection quote: "Need a Bullet Barrage?"
Kick it into high gear!
—Gatling Tank crewman
- Motive Decay: The GLA's self described purpose was to drive the Americans and Chinese out of Central Asia and the Middle East. They actually succeed in this (somehow) in Zero Hour. They then proceed to invade Europe for no real reason. Yes, Europe. Not even the formerly Muslim held lands that religious extremists would want, like southern Spain or Greece, but frickin Germany.
- Multiple Life Bars: All GLA structures, except the Demo Trap, has two layers of Life Meter: the first is its original functional form (like most buildings) and the second is the remaining foundation (called a GLA Hole) that's still standing. If a GLA building's left unharmed long enough at its second Life Meter, it'll slowly restore itself into its functional form for free. Needless to say, this feature gives the GLA a lot of tactical leverage to survive attacks that only last long enough to level buildings without Multiple Life Bars.
- The GLA Battle Bus is the sole vehicle variant. See Awesome Personnel Carrier above.
- Mythology Gag:
- The Chinese Overlord Tank continues the Command & Conquer tradition of a Mammoth/Apocalypse tank, especially with its double-barrelled turret.
- The USA's Particle Cannon is basically a GDI Ion Cannon that can be controlled up to a point.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Dr. Thrax, Gen. Tsing Shi "The Nuke" Tao and Gen. Leiang "Tigress" Leang. The first one threatens you verbally, the next does it by demonstration of force and the third goes with a combination of both and a little hinting from Gen. Kwai.
- NGO Superpower: The GLA is shown to be this, being comprised of various cells in Central Asia and the Middle East.
- No Kill Like Overkill: While it's understood that anyone can pull this off, there's one in-universe case where Tsing Shi Tao starts off his scenario by routing most of your advance guard with his artillery. When the two surviving tanks try to flee, he drops a nuke on them.
- Noodle Incident: The Zero Hour manual is chock full of these. General Tsin Shi Tao (the nuke general) was the head officer in Mudanjiang when an unspecified disaster occurred that almost cost him his career. General Shin Fai (the infantry general) participated in the "Taiwan Conflict" and General Alexis Alexander (the superweapon general) was a logistical staffer in the "Second Korean War".
- The conditions that led to the creation of Aldastan (from the break up of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) is also unknown.
- Nuke 'Em!: The PRC, as a whole, and Gen. Tsing Shi Tao in particular. He specializes in nuclear warfare, and when he isn't spamming nuke silos, he's steamrolling you with nuclear-powered tanks firing depleted uranium, or MiGs and Helixes dropping tactical nukes.
- Occupiers Out of Our Country!: What GLA claims to be their motive. While the GLA aren't exactly occupiers, a good portion of the Chinese campaign involves driving every last of their cells out of China's soil.
- Once an Episode: Each of the three campaigns in Generals features a dam getting destroyed and the water flooding some poor schmucks downriver. Seems the developers liked showing off the effect.
- Organization with Unlimited Funding: Any side can be this, even long after the supply docks run out:
- USA has UN Drop Zones, which give a burst of cash every 2 minutes, although the plane that brings them can be shot down if the enemy knows where to look.
- GLA has Black Markets, which give a slow stream of cash, provide some tech upgrades, and can be camouflaged. Also, they have the Cash Bounty General power, that passively fills their coffers with every enemy they kill, as wells as the scrap drops from enemy vehicles that can just be a straight-up cash reward.
- China can train Hackers, which trickle in cash slowly but can level up to produce more cash and can be trained en masse and garrisoned in an Internet Center.
- Averted in campaign missions where the AI doesn't have those: after a while they just... run out and stop attacking.
- Patriotic Fervor: While the Americans are suitably patriotic, China takes this Up to Eleven, so much so that nationalism is even an in-game upgrade.
- Photoprotoneutron Torpedo: The Particle Cannon.
- Pillar of Light: One of the coolest features of the American Particle Cannon is how you can direct the laser to "draw" on the map. Nothing like writing your opponent a message in the smoldering ruins of his base.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Play as the only female general of the American faction and your Particle Cannon turns a lovely shade of pink as opposed to the blue color that the rest of the United States employs.
- Point Defenseless: Averted. Given a proper antiaircraft or antimissile defense, ground vehicles that normally succumb to aircraft and missiles can become a battlefield powerhouse. The Americans for instance make use of lasers and countermeasures for their point defense while the Chinese use gatling weaponry and ECMs.
- Poisoned Weapons: One of the GLA's turfs is biochemical warfare. Namely, with weaponized mixes of anthrax and liquid chemicals. But for someone who's into this trope, look no further than the dastardly Dr. Thrax.
- Power Glows: Max veterancy units get red tracers for their weapons.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Gen. Kwai, the Large Ham he is.
Tanks! Build! More! TANKS! -- Gen. Kwai
- Punny Name: PRC Tank Gen. Ta Hun Kwai. Broken Mandarin for "He (is) very fast".
- Refuge in Audacity: The whole plot involve an Al-Queda inspired organization managing to wage open war on American and China AT THE SAME TIME, using out of date weapons and converted civilian vehicles that wouldn't even scratch their intended targets in real life.
- Ridiculously-Fast Construction: Not to the instantaneous extent of prior Command & Conquer games, but still on par with other RTS games.
- Robot Roll Call: Drone technology is America's specialty. Typically, they're installed into American ground vehicles for a small fee, in exchange for added versatility and drawing attention away from the parent vehicle.
- Surveillance Drone: The Scout Drones.
- Spy Drone: The Spy Drones and the Sentry Drones. The former kind is the stealthy, Support Power equivalent of the Scout Drone. The latter kind takes a little bit of all three drone classes and puts them together in a nifty, buildable, controllable ground vehicle package.
- Rule of Cool: Many, many, many units (like the Dragon Tank, the Marauder Tank and the Laser Crusader) can only be fully explained by this.
- Rule of Fun: The American units tend to be a lot weaker than they are in real life, whereas Chinese and GLA units tend to be several times stronger. This is because having the Americans curb stomp their enemy in every match wouldn't be fun or balanced.
- Ruritania/Qurac: There is a Central Asian country called Aldastan where numerous PRC and GLA missions take place. Judging from the names of the cities, it incorporates bits of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and must have been formed sometime before 2020's when the game takes place. Considering the instability of some Central Asian Republics (Tajikistan being near the top), we may see this trope become Harsher in Hindsight.
- Slap-On-The-Wrist Nuke: A jam-packed battalion of units will succumb to a nuclear explosion, but many buildings can withstand it, even at ground zero. However, with the exception of the Nuclear Missile silo (unless the optional "one of each superweapon" build-limit is disabled before beginning a skirmish/multiplayer game), there's no limit to the number of other tactical nuclear weapons you can build at once, particularly in the case of the Nuclear Cannon.
- Sniping the Cockpit: One hero unit that can snipe pilots out of vehicles, leaving behind the unoccupied vehicle that can then be captured by a friendly infantry grunt. The Chinese Nuke Cannon superweapon does the same thing but on a larger scale.
- Spy Satellites: The first Support Power available to a player with a USA Command Center. In the cinematics, the snapshots it makes of everything on the ground is Deliberately Monochrome.
- The Starscream: Dr. Thrax, if you go campaigning. He intends to usurp control as GLA leader.
- Stock Sound Effects: Generals reuses a lot of sound effects from Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2.
- Support Power: The first Command & Conquer to field all three types. Of note is the General Powers system, which is works not by making stuff or by completing a mission objective, but by earning points and using said points to gain new powers.
- Tank Goodness: Anything with the word tank on its name, while Zero Hour's Gen. Kwai is built around this trope.
- Technicolor Toxin: GLA's toxins are, in ascending order of lethality, Green, Blue and Purple.
- Term Confusion: Mistakes aplenty, but here's some glaring ones.
- Terrorists Without a Cause: The GLA's agenda. You're actually told in the GLA campaign that their motive is to drive out who they feel are imperialist aggressors, though beyond this their precise goals are unclear. Many real life terrorist organizations had an ostensible goal of liberating their homeland from foreign occupaton, so the GLA is not without real life precedent.
- Time Stands Still: In at least one cinematic of the Generals campaign, especially when Stuff Blowing Up is involved. Complete with Orbital Shot.
- Trash Talk: Every opponent general The Generals Challenge taunts you with insults. But hey, this is a Command & Conquer game. Expect the obvious.
- Trick Bomb: Besides Frickin' Laser Beams which destroy missiles, USA aircraft can be refitted with chaffs in order to confuse enemy missiles. Pain befalls those who encounter aircraft which have both.
- The PRC ECM Tank is, put simply, a walking Trick Bomb: about half of all the enemy missiles caught within its effect radius will be grounded, which saves its general the trouble of paying dearly for his vehicle losses.
- The GLA use anthrax biochemical gas bombs which put Universal Poison to full effect.
- The USA Superweapon General faction with its EMP missiles. Because of its paralyzing effects, it usually spells "crash time" for fliers.
- Phlebotinum Bomb: There are two types, both fielded by the PRC. The first is the air-dropped EMP bomb, which incapacitates anything but infantry. The second is the neutron warhead in flavors of artillery shell or land mine, which only kills infantry, including those hiding inside vehicles and buildings.
- Tube Travel: The aptly-named GLA Tunnel Network, which involves building separate entrances that are somehow magically connected the instant the entrance is completed no matter the distance or location on the map.
- Units Not to Scale: Averted with the humongous aircraft carrier and battleships. However, due to pathfinding issues, these realistically large ships only appear in a select few missions and are unbuildable. The rest of the units play this rather straight.
- Universal Poison: Anthrax. But from the way it's handled, it might be mixed with other liquid toxins. However, this takes silly proportions when vehicles and buildings can be poisoned to death from Scratch Damage... unless there's a corrosive aspect to the formula as well.
- Variable Mix: The background music changes based on how well you're doing or if you're fighting or not.
- Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: Far from it. While incredibly short in range, Dragon Tanks have staggering potential against infantry. In numbers, they can stop tanks, too, assuming they're using the Wall of Flame ability.
- The War on Terror: A Post 9/11 Terrorism Video Game.
- Wave Motion Gun: The American Particle (Beam) Cannon. No, it doesn't use a laser.
- Wham! Episode: The final mission of the GLA campaign in Zero Hour. GLA not only beats the USA, they give them such a brutal defeat that the United States completely withdraws its troops from Europe and returns to isolationism. The GLA take over European cities, leaving only communist freaking China as the hope of the free world.
- Worker Unit: No Construction Yards here, but bulldozers, transport helicopters, trucks and certain men who need shoes from the Black Market.
- Would Not Shoot a Civilian: The USA and PRC wouldn't. The GLA would. See Knight Templar above.
- Wretched Hive: The GLA's main stronghold is Kazakhstan. The majority of the USA campaign and a large portion of the PRC one takes place there, and there capital is Astana. Aside from that, they also mantain de facto control of Aldastan, a fictional Central Asian nation made from the union of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
- You Have Given Your GLA Workers Some Shoes: Because that's, quoting the description for it, what "they've been asking for".
- You Require More Vespene Gas: Good ol' US Dollars (and power).
- Zerg Rush: The Generals challenge battle against Gen. Kwai has you enduring a near-constant stream of his improved tanks. The PRC, in general, favor this tactic too, where their grunt infantry and tanks gain a Horde Bonus if gathered in groups of five or more.
- Words like: Scud Launcher. Carpet Bombing. Tomahawk Missile.
- For example, Rocket Propelled Grenades can't hit airplanes or even decent helicopters, the Cold War era tanks the GLA and Chinese use can't fire while moving, American tanks are pretty much immune to said tanks' attacks, Raptors are incredibly fast stealth aircraft that can't be shot down anywhere near as easily as they are in game, real life Tomahawk missiles can be launched at enemies from hundreds of yards away, and aircraft have cannons in addition to their missiles.