Alongside the WingCommander series, one of the first games to use FMV properly, to enhance the atmosphere rather than run the show. But that was a side issue. It possessed almost perfect gameplay balance; the conventional massed firepower of the GDI against NOD's excellent fortifications and superb raiding weapons.
Sold well over a million copies and established the RTS as a genre. And had one of the best ending sequences ever, for those people who defeated the 13 NOD missions (which got impressively difficult, towards the end, but the reward was worth it).
None of this, however, excuses perhaps the most awful pun in RTS history. The evil forces of the brotherhood of NOD trained their infantry in a building which was known as the "Hand of Nod"