Gaming Consoles & PCs All About the Command & Conquer Red Alert PC Game By Michael Klappenbach Writer Former Lifewire writer Michael Klappenbach is an IT professional and an expert on games and gaming equipment. our editorial process Michael Klappenbach Updated November 23, 2019 Consoles & PCs Xbox Buyer's Guide Tweet Share Email Command & Conquer: Red Alert is a real-time strategy game and second release in the Command & Conquer series, having been released in October of 1996. it is also the first game in the Red Alert sub-series that takes an alternative path/story of the main Command & Conquer series. Red Alert is set prior to the events in Command & Conquer in an alternative history where the Soviet Union has invaded Eastern Europe and started a new war against the remaining European countries and the United States. When the game was released in 1996 it was praised by fans and critics alike for its intuitive user interface and gameplay that was ahead of its time. New, groundbreaking features introduced with the release of Command & Conquer Red Alert included the ability to queue commands, create and assign multiple units into a single group by a simple drag and select, as well as multiple factions with different strengths and weaknesses. These features have since become standard for the genre. Command & Conquer: Red Alert also featured both a single player story campaign and was one of the first games to feature competitive multiplayer modes. The single player campaign contains varying paths to victory depending on which faction is being played. The single-player campaign features live-action sequences that have become a staple in nearly all Command & Conquer games. The multiplayer mode in Command & Conquer Red Alert is a basic skirmish mode where players select a faction and face off against up to eight other players. Free Command & Conquer Red Alert Command & Conquer Red Alert was originally released for Windows 95/MS-DOS as a full commercial/retail release by Westwood Studios. Westwood Studios was purchased by Electronic Arts and subsequently closed a few years later. Electronic Arts still holds the copyright to Command & Conquer video game series. In August of 2008 Electronic Arts released Command & Conquer: Red Alert as freeware to coincided with the release of Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 and the 13th anniversary of the start of the C&C series. Electronic Arts no longer offer Command & Conquer Red Alert or any other C&C game for free on the promotional download site created in 2008, but they have allowed it to remain as freeware. It is currently offered for free download from a number of third-party fan sites with the most reputable ones being Redalert1.com and CnCNet.org. In addition, the original multiplayer hosting service is no longer supported but CnCNet.org does offer to host for Red Alert as well as a number of other Command & Conquer games that have been released as freeware as well. The services offered by CnCNet.org are completely free and are funded by donations. Additional information on this service, how to install and available games can be found on their site by following the links detailed below. About the Command & Conquer Series The Command & Conquer series of real-time strategy games contains a total of 20 titles which include both full releases as well as expansions. The first game in the series, Command & Conquer was released in 1995 and the last Command & Conquer Tiberium Alliances, was released in 2012. Electronic Arts have gone on record saying that the series will continue but as of 2015 the future of the franchise is still somewhat of a mystery. The most recent activity/development on the series was for Command & Conquers: Generals 2, but that was halted back in 2013. The latest rumors surrounding the series have suggested that Electronic Arts has given up on the series despite the popularity of CNCNet and the number of games hosted and played there. It is not out of the question that the series could come back and if you are interested to find out the latest news, rumors, mods and more be sure to have a look at CNCNZ.com which offers some great Command & Conquer related info, news, and content. Games in the Command & Conquer Red Alert Sub-Series The Command & Conquer Red Alert series of games includes three full PC titles and five expansions released from 1996 through 2009. The games follow an alternative history that was created when Albert Einstein traveled back in time in 1946 and eliminated Adolf Hitler. While the intentions were good and World War II with Germany was averted, it ultimately led to the invasion of Europe by Stalin and the Soviet Union in the 1950s. It is this backdrop and conflict that is told in the series and is primarily a conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union. The series is well known for it's unique and sci-fi based units and technology as well as dual single player campaigns and robust competitive multiplayer mode.