A unique feature of patched retail releases of C&C3: Tiberium Wars, C&C3: Kane’s Wrath, and C&C: Red Alert 3 is the ability to run their respective executables with a parameter that allows running an older version of the games. This guide will explain this feature in detail.
The easiest way to run the games with the parameter is to create a modified shortcut to CNC3.exe, CNC3EP1.exe, or RA3.exe and add the -runversion 1.x parameter, where x represents the minor version number, like in the example below. You can check if you’ve done this properly by reading out the game version shown in the settings menu when the game loads.
For this to properly function, you need to have the appropriate .skudef files in the main game directory, shown below in the example of Tiberium Wars:
Applying the latest official patches will include all these .skudef files for the given language, with the single exception of the Kane’s Wrath 1.02 patch intentionally omitting the 1.01 .skudef due to a SecuROM-related bug (which prevented right-clicking system-wide), which the player can create manually at their own risk.
The second key aspect to this feature are the game executable files in .dat format in the RetailExe subfolder. The Steam and Origin releases only have the latest versions of that executable, and to enable old version launching capabilities, the old .dat files need to be manually inserted – they will require the original discs unless cracked versions are used, which can be found elsewhere on the Internet at the user’s own risk.
Note that the games will only function properly in singleplayer and LAN. Attempting to log in to the main multiplayer server (formerly GameSpy, now C&C:Online) will force the game to update, which was a way of ensuring that all players were on the same version online.