Top 10 Best Command & Conquer Games RankedThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
The Command & Conquer series is one of the undisputed kings of the RTS genre.
Many gamers consider the first game(released in 1995) to be the first RTS game conceived. The series has contributed a great deal to the genre and has been responsible for a lot of its popularity among PC gamers.
C&C is a series which has brought us such iconic units from the marauding mammoth tank and flying gun-wielding rocketeers (Jango Fett impersonators), to the surprisingly effective attack dogs and vicious war bears.
One of the more enjoyable elements of the games that makes them stand out is the humorous live-action video sequences throughout campaign mode and their memorable personalities like Tanya and Yuri who stick with us to this day.
The dialogue is also a highlight of the series, with rocketeers ‘riding high’ and commanders who are all so keen to let the enemy know that they have a present for them. The personality of each game shines through and adds an extra level to the already stellar gameplay of the games.
It’s a tough series to rank but I’ve managed to rank my top 10 picks for the absolute best C&C games out there. I know you’ll probably disagree with some but I hope we can at least agree on a couple here.
10. Command & Conquer
The game that started it all.
The game that introduced us to the now-infamous GDI and Nod factions, that got us all so excited for the release of Renegade all those years later, and that we have to thank for spawning one of the best RTS franchises around.
Yes, C&C was certainly a classic. But considering it among the future games of the series, unfortunately it has to settle with 10th place due to outdated visuals and lackluster gameplay.
Especially compared to the upgrades and improvements of the rest in the series.
That being said, C&C is still really fun to play and especially so if you want to see how it all began or try out the “original game” that’s cited to be the first of the RTS genre.
A particular noteworthy aspect of the game is the all-too-realistic screams of the grunts as they are gunned down.
The small details like that really do contribute to what it is about the C&C series that makes it so compelling and makes you want to play more.
It isn’t just about gameplay, but the whole package.
Units that talk to you and have dialogue. There’s engaging maps, interesting units and factions with plenty of unique visuals. Overall a great game, just maybe one that may not hold up without some nostalgia factor.
9. Red Alert
The original game of the Red Alert series, and the one that was responsible for the epic piece of game music by Klepacki that is Hell March. Red Alert has a lot of praiseworthy features and deserves merit purely for giving way to such an entertaining series of games.
With surprisingly pleasing visuals even to this day, Red Alert holds up well among the torrent of RTS games that have come since its release back in 1996. And that is seriously commendable when you think about it. Quite a testament to the game’s solid gameplay and aesthetic design.
Nostalgia also plays a huge part in the enjoyment of this game which is why it isn’t higher up on this list. But the hilarious live-action campaign videos are worth playing through this game alone.
Add to that the wide selection of unique units and interesting maps and you’ve got the recipe for an excellent RTS game.
8. C&C Tiberian Sun
4 years after the original game that sparked the whole series, the sequel Tiberian Sun was released.
Tiberian Sun built upon the solid game mechanics of the original and added many new units plus plenty of cool features such as a night and day lighting system which added novelty to an already unique game.
Tiberian Sun also added other visually impressive features for its time, such as the illusion that the game was 3D with its isometric look.
This made it seem that there were multiple levels to the terrain and this visual upgrade really helped to take the series to the next level. I think it paved the way for future games to follow suit and build to the point to where the unit models and whole environment were 3D, like in Red Alert 2.
Urban warfare meant that you could do battle in cities and take refuge behind structures or simply slug it out in the streets too, which added some neat realism.
On top of that, Tiberian Sun was a pioneer when it came to introducing destructible scenery into the mix. Meaning that for the first time you were able to take out that bridge to prevent your enemy advancing any further.
A game with a soundtrack that I still enjoy listening to today – in fact, I’m listening to it now as I write this – C&C Generals took the series in a different direction which was a more gritty, realistic take on the RTS genre.
This was achieved by using real armies as inspiration for the 3 factions.
Whether you preferred the cerebral GLA with their hit-and-run approach (sending motorbikes into their base loaded up with bombs was always a highlight), or the ever-reliable USA forces with high-tech laser weaponry and heavy duty weapons… or even the vast Chinese army complete with flame throwing tanks and an armored vehicle heavy compositions.
Generals has you covered with all of these.
Great visual effects such as the quads and motorbikes skidding around and getting airborne from mountains add to this game as well. Not to mention upgrades to your vehicles from supply crates and promotions. Generals took the series to new heights.
The aforementioned soundtrack is an absolute joy to listen to as you pit your wits against your opponent. It really is an underrated aspect of RTS games because the soundtrack makes a huge difference.
Plus the sound effects for all of the units are deeply satisfying by making you feel like you really are a general looking out over the battlefield.
6. Red Alert 2
While it’s a shame to put Red Alert 2 out of the top 5 of the best C&C games, I can’t let my nostalgia for the incredible game get the best of me.
Red Alert 2 is simply a classic of the RTS genre.
A game that made it easy to sink hundreds of hours into it with no desire to stop playing. The developers at Westwood really hit this one out of the park and made a hugely entertaining strategy game.
The combination of wonderfully exaggerated dialogue from the units (I personally enjoyed the cheerful rocketeers and the gravely mammoth tanks) and excellent, fast-paced gameplay with destructible environments was exquisite.
Blowing up bridges to stop your enemy from reaching your base with those menacing mammoth tanks, or flying over rocketeers to pester their poor defenseless harvester, Red Alert 2 was full of fun and tense moments.
When you add super weapons to the mix you have a wildcard element to what can otherwise be very cagey, strategic affairs, and the pressure of knowing your opponent could be about to nuke your base really forces you to think fast to avoid being wiped off the face of the earth.
5. C&C 3 Tiberium Wars
A modern entry to the classic C&C Tiberium series, Tiberium Wars took what was great from the original games and made it better. Which can’t be said of the sequel C&C 4 unfortunately, but that’s another story.
With a dark and gritty setting, made all the more eerie with the vastly improved graphics and especially given the large gap between games, Tiberium Wars was a stellar entry to the series which brought a lot of modern and futuristic units to the table.
The addition of the alien Scrin faction gave the game a welcome change of pace and mixed up the gameplay satisfyingly enough, while allowing for epic battles between the 3 factions.
This was the game in the series that invited modern FPS lovers the opportunity to jump on board the C&C train and see what all the fuss is about.
The complete overhaul to the graphics and gameplay really made it an accessible RTS game for newcomers to enjoy, yet also remained faithful to the series by not straying too far from the original formula.
4. Red Alert 2 Yuri’s Revenge
This is an example of a DLC expansion pack that adds a whole lot of value to an existing game.
Yuri’s Revenge is worth buying over the original considering the huge changes and additions made to almost everything.
The most obvious addition of this expansion is Yuri and in his psychic mind-control minions and machines.
With an entirely unique aesthetic, Yuri’s faction was full of spiky buildings and units with special psychic abilities which of course adds another dimension to the gameplay. And yet another thing to contend with when fighting with the classic Allied and Soviet factions.
Adding 2 entirely new campaigns for both the Allied and Soviets, Yuri’s Revenge doesn’t forget about the other factions and even gives them exciting new units such as the speedy robot tank and useful siege choppers.
For sure an expansion worth playing that I know anyone would enjoy.
3. C&C Renegade
Taking a classic RTS game and turning it into a decent FPS game is no easy feat.
Tet the C&C franchise pulled it off with the first renegade game.
For the first time in the long history of C&C spanning 7 years up to the point at which Renegade was released, you were able to step into the shoes of the commander and see the Allied and Nod forces through his perspective. A novel concept.
The shift from top-down perspective to a POV from one of the most iconic units in the series was revolutionary and was received as a breath of fresh air.
From the first line in the trailer where the protagonist addresses the viewer (a long-time fan of C&C games) that he’s ‘got a present for ya’, you knew it was going to be a cult classic.
2. Generals Zero Hour
An update to Generals, it would be easy to dismiss Zero Hour as nothing more than an expansion that adds some more content to the main game.
However, unlike many other expansions which do just that and add nothing of real value to the series, Zero Hour introduces a whole new way to play the game – 9 in fact – in the shape of individual generals for all 3 factions.
The original game pales in comparison to Zero Hour when you consider how much more the expansion caters to individual play styles.
If you enjoy the stealth element of the GLA for example, then Zero Hour allows you to take that to its extreme and allows you to specialize in that area(at the expense of other elements).
This system was well-balanced for the most part and the campaign which required you to figure out how best to deal with each individual general really added depth to the strategy game.
1. Red Alert 3
Improving dramatically upon the Red Alert formula which was already near-perfect, Red Alert 3 brings a lot of new stuff to the table and deserves a ranking here as #1 on this list.
It decided to innovate upon the classic Red Alert series while dragging it into the modern era with gorgeous visuals.
Adding a plethora of new units and a whole new faction into the mix in the intriguing high-tech Japanese-inspired Empire of the rising sun.
By adding co-op to the campaign mode you could also play through this game with a friend for the first time which was definitely a welcome addition to the series.
While some argue that the game was an exaggerated version of the previous game and that they tampered with a winning formula, Red Alert 3 is a polished interpretation of the highly entertaining series and is worthy of praise for modernizing the entire series, even if it was at the cost of some authenticity.