I’m have “issues” with this game, yes it was the first real time strategy game, and it is undeniably fun to play, but IMHO too many liberties have been taken with Frank Herbert’s universe. I can’t decide whether this game is based on the movie or the book (I have read the book and seen the movie and I would go with the latter) but it seems that the game is more of an adaptation than it is based on the Dune universe. I think this was done to enhance gameplay – for instance the Ordos don’t appear in the movie or the book (it has been a while so maybe I’m wrong) although I did read while doing research for the game that they do appear briefly at some point, possibly in one of the later books. There are a couple of other little things that I could bitch about but I think you get the general idea (yes i’m anal, no I don’t care).
Sooooo on to the review
For those of you who have never read the book or seen the movie: This is the story of a planet named Dune. A pretty inhospitable place which is only important because it is the only source in the universe for the spice Melange. Spice is the most valuable substance in the universe; it can prolong life and makes space travel possible, so whoever controls spice – controls the universe.
In the game you take control of one of three groups or “houses”, the Peaceful Atreides, the savage Harkonnen, or stealthy Ordos. You must battle the other houses across the face of Dune, all the while harvesting spice which can in-turn be converted into credits. So the more spice you harvest, the more units and buildings you can buy. However, there is one other obstacle to your efforts, the “sandworms”. These are huge creatures native to Dune that like nothing more than to emerge from the sand and grab a unit or two. The only protection against the worms is solid rock, so no buildings can be built, and no unit can be sure of being safe on the deserts sands.
Playing the game will be easy to those who own Command and Conquer or WarCraft as the controls are almost identical – press the M key to move, the A key to attack etc. Unfortunately you can’t give orders to more than one unit at once like you can in later games of this type, but this isn’t such a big deal, if anything it makes you concentrate less on rush attacks and more on tactics. The AI is good considering that this was the first real-time strategy game, and the enemy does surprise you at times – especially on the later missions when the game gets really hard. I should also mention the in-game help section in the form of you advisor or “Mentat”, whenever you need information on any part of the game just click the Mentat button and ask away.
This is one of the few games of its type that I have played all-the-way thru (the others being StarCraft and total Annihilation.) If you’ve never played the game before I ask you not to be put off by the fact that it’s old, I can think of 5 other real time strategy games that, although they where released later, come no where near the standard of Dune 2.
Just try to ignore all the “new” things that have been added by Westwood