There are a few things worth noting about the overall flow of the game.
1) There is no "random map game" against the AI. There are over 30 campaign scenarios, and you can play against humans in various ways. Bear in mind that this is one of the very early RTS games, and the AI is not very effective, but this game was still way ahead of its time.
2) There are often different choices for a given campaign level. Whichever scenario you choose at that level, MAY effect your choices for the next level. The location of your next mission is indicated by an ARROW on the world map.
2.5) Your performance during one scenario MAY affect your options for the next level. 2 examples:
- How much money you end a scenario with may affect how much money you start the next scenario with.
- In GDI scenario 6, you are supposed to destroy a Nod building. The primary target is the Nod Airstrip. However, the mission briefing is garbled, and based on the best information available, the Airstrip is pretty far down on the list of potential targets. If you do destroy the Airstrip, you will skip mission 7 entirely.
3) There is no menu that allows you to pick up a campaign somewhere in the middle after completing some number of levels, and then quitting the game.
YOU MUST MANUALLY SAVE YOUR PROGRESS if you want to continue from where you left off at a later time. Accordingly, it is quite important to manually save your progress at the end of each level, generally just before completing the last task.
4) There is no difficulty identifying campaign levels, although it isn't as blatantly obvious as in later RTS campaign games. The mission briefing always tells you where you are going, so use that to identify the mission, eg. [side] - level [#] - [country] - (maybe) [city]
5) There is only one difficulty setting. You can change the speed at which the game runs, which does affect difficulty, but that's about it.