Dune II may forever be remembered as the first game to workably combine the logistical challenges of strategic command with the quick-paced chaos of combat action. Unlike Virgin Interactive's original Dune, an adventure which recounted the story of Paul Atreides, Dune II is a mission-based strategy game set in the barren expanses of Frank Herbert's famous desert world. With the goal of collecting the most spice (and thus earning harvesting rights for the entire planet), players choose to lead one of three competing galactic dynasties: the mysteriously destined House Atreides, the elusive House Ordos, or the ruthless House Harkonnen. Similar technologies, structures, and units are available to all three, but to each with different balances of strength versus speed and durability versus expense.
Although the real-time nature of this strategy game presents players with a constant flow of action to command, the path to victory can be considered in three main steps. The ultimate objective is to collect spice, so a base must be built to deploy harvester units to the dangerous desert wastelands. Spice can only be harvested from sandy areas, where worms prowl, and buildings can only be constructed on rocky areas, so the layout of a base may itself pose challenges. Second, suitable defenses must be enlisted to protect these delicate harvesting operations, from both the indigenous giant sandworms and the attack forces of competing Houses. Finally, to secure victory in most later missions, competing Houses must be completely eliminated from the map, which calls on players to develop and command their own attack forces to decimate their enemies' bases.
The planet Arrakis (also known as Dune for its sandy landscape) is the only place in the known universe where Melange (more commonly known as the Spice) can be found. The Spice is the basis of interstellar travel and thus the standard of the Imperial economy. To increase productivity, The Padishah Emperor has invited three powerful Houses (Harkonnen, Atreides and Ordos) to compete against one another economically and bring up spice production. Competition among these houses begins peacefully but soon turns ugly as they battle each other with armed troops, advanced weaponry, and spies. The planet itself is also hostile, with dangerous sandworms inhabiting the spice fields.
Dune II is often considered the first mainstream modern real-time strategy game and established many conventions of the genre. Even though set in Frank Herbert's famous Dune universe, the game is only loosely connected to the plot of any of the books or the films based from them. Controlling either of the three Houses, the player must fight a number of battles against the other Houses. In the early levels, the goal is simply to earn a certain number of credits, while in the later missions, all enemies must be destroyed.
The single resource in the game is the Spice, which must be collected by harvesters. The spice is converted to credits in a refinery, which are then spent to construct additional buildings and units. There are two terrain types: buildings can only be constructed on stone, while the Spice is only found on sand. However, units moving on sand attract the large sandworms of Dune, who are virtually indestructible and can swallow even large units whole. As levels progress, new and more advanced buildings and units are made available, including structures like a radar station, a repair facility or defense turrets and, for units, various ground troops, light vehicles and tanks. Each House can construct one unique special unit, and, after building a palace improvement, can unleash a unique palace effect.
After a mission is completed, the player can select the next mission on a map of Dune. This choice determines the layout of the next map to be played, but has no effect on the overall campaign.
The story of the planet Dune has produced a legendary book, a legendary movie, and, of course, a legendary game! I am quite sure that if you've come to this page, you've already been a victim of this game! Countless sleepless nights, sleepovers, missed dates... What Wolfenstein 3D was to first-person shooters, Dune 2 is to real-time strategies. I can safely say it's the mother of all modern RTS games.
The main concept is well known: watching from a bird's-eye perspective, your job is to build a functional base using the facilities on offer, and create an army worthy of defeating the opposing force(s). You can choose any of the houses Atreides, Harkonnen or Ordos. Each faction has their own set of weaponry, buildings and special weapons. This is perhaps what makes the game extremely interesting and addictive. With each mission you gain access to new buildings and weaponry. Your job is to conquer the entire planet Dune.
As you can see from the screenshots, the graphics aren't spectacular when compared to modern-day games, but in 1992 such complexity, cutscenes and well-implemented, functional graphics were rarely seen. The music and sounds deserve an A+, no objections there. If this review did not convince you that this game is just phenomenal, I advise that you download it and see for yourself. You'll thank me later!
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