Red Alert is a strategy game based on the idea that Albert Einstein built a time machine, went back and killed a young Adolf Hitler, and in doing so accidentally turned the Cold War into a very hot one. So C&C: Accidental Soviet Invasion Factory is a serious game ... unless you stumble across the first expansion's secret campaign, called "It Came From Red Alert," at which point it turns into a wacky B-movie.
If you consult the game's weird, unorthodox paperback tutorial (our research suggests it's called a manual?), you'll notice Morse code messages at the bottom of every page.
"I swear, if this is about Ovaltine ..."
Most readers would assume that it's merely meant to add to the manual's military vibe, but anyone who decided to put aside their fun new game and instead translate 94 pages' worth of Morse code would be rewarded with a story about Allied forces stumbling across a lethal army of giant, radioactive ants.
"WHERE ARE YOUR LASER SPIDERS NOW?!"
Note that the little story gave absolutely no hint as to how to proceed from there, although obviously you hold down the shift key while clicking on the speaker icon in the options menu. If you were somehow lucky enough to have a kid at school tell you this and not dismiss him as another con artist like the guy who told you how to see Lara Croft's boobs, you'd get to experience a hilariously straight-faced four-mission campaign wherein the Allies battle giant, sometimes fire-breathing ants.
"In hindsight, science really should have saved that name."
You have to survive a tense initial mass attack, rescue civilians, gas ant nests, and then hunt down and exterminate the lightning-spewing queen ant and her larvae deep in the bowels of an abandoned Soviet laboratory. It's like the developers heard Starship Troopers was coming out and said, "Hey, let's make the official video game for free, but not tell anyone."
"Also, let's make it better than the movie."
This was the late '90s, when the internet was still a hodgepodge of misinformation which many gamers couldn't access anyway, so countless players would never have had a clue that this campaign existed. And while today it would be sold as 15-dollar DLC with more bugs than the ones you kill with tanks, back then they just threw it in because they thought it would be fun. We guess the lesson is that greed is the real giant killer ants.
Jacopo della Quercia is the author of two books loaded with Easter eggs, so please check them out and tell him about the ones you find on Twitter.
For horrors developers buried in their games, check out 7 Creepy Video Game Easter Eggs We Wish We Never Found and 7 More Creepy Video Game Easter Eggs You'll Wish We Never Found.
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