Dune 2: The Building of a Dynasty

Developer: Westwood Studios
Publisher:  Virgin Interactive

The grandaddy of the RTS genre created by the now defunct Westwood Studios (thanks a lot, EA) was a landmark achievement back in the day, sure there were other games similar to it before it like Stonkers and Herzog Zwei, but nothing quite like this.

In Dune 2 you control one of three different military factions who are sent to the desert Arrakis to mine the rare and valuable spice Melange, though this is really just a backdrop for the action, sure the cutscenes look great and even feature voice acting (impressive for a 1992 release), but the game doesn't really have anything resembling a plot.

I also enjoyed the weird techno songs featured in the game, I've never really heard anything quite like it, but they fit the game's mood rather well.
The game itself though is still really fun as you build huge bases and construct bigger and badder armies with each passing mission and the final battles are absolute chaos with you versus three different armies who allied themselves against you, but don't worry, for better or worse the A.I. in this game isn't the best so you should be fine.

Although you get to pick between three different factions the differences between them are a bit too subtle, as you'll only really notice them in the last few stages, I also found it annoying how you're forced to click every unit individually instead of choosing a group and then giving out the orders.

On the technical side of things Dune 2 could use some improvements, but the basic formula itself is still fun, especially when you play as the Harkonnen and you unlock the Death Hand, which is basically a nuclear missile that can level an entire base in one hit.

Protip: The Harkonnen are overpowered.

Pros:
- The first RTS game to use the formula we all know and love
- Good soundtrack
- The Cutscenes are pretty impressive for the time

Cons:
- Having to pick each unit individually is a chore
- Factions are unbalanced

Final Grade: B


The game's packaging is pretty easy on the eyes (excuse the wear and tear on my copy). It makes smart use of the artwork found in the actual game, depicting a soldier with some windtraps in the background the box art feels very fitting for the game.

The Instruction manual is a very simple notebook, this could be to either save costs or to give you the impression that these are the notes you take as an army commander... I choose to think it's the latter. 

In it, you'll find some basic exposition of the game's plot and very detailed information for every unit and structure in the game so it does make for a good (if short) read.

Finally, my version also came with a Virgin games catalog, that's always a nice nostalgia trip.

Packaging Grade: B

10 comments:

  1. So you are grading the package also now? By the way it does look nice, I would probably give it an A.
    About the game, is it in any wau similar to the Playstation's General Commandos?

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  2. I've always graded the packaging as well. when I don't grade the Packaging it means that either I don't own the full packaging or that the game never received a physical release.

    As for commandos, believe it or not I never actually played that game

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  3. Guess I will check out your older posts then.
    Anyway I have a request if you are willing to accept it. You see, my girlfriend and I played two games called Cradle of Rome and Cradle of Persia and we liked them, she likes those kind of games. Can you review one of these games? I know they are not your style, but I know she would be happy if she saw you reviewed them.

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  4. I'm afraid I've never played Cradle of Rome, nor do I have the game (yes, I own many games I've never gotten around to playing).

    But I own and have finished the original Prince of Persia Trilogy, so yes, I wouldn't mind reviewing them

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  5. Actally I think you can get those games online off of The Pirate Bay, look for them.
    About the Prince of Persia, I played some and I am looking foward for your review.

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  6. Ah, sorry, but I don't play Pirate games, every game I review has to be a game own

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  7. Oh, ok then. Still looking foward to the PoP Trilogy review.

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  8. It looks pretty cool.

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  9. "(thanks a lot, EA)"

    INDEED. My personal favourite RTS was Red Alert 2 (I still remember calling my mates up, then hanging up to go reconnect the 56k modem...) and what came afterwards, thanks to EA, was atrocious. Grr.

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    Replies
    1. EA has a history with buying and killing great developers: Bullfrog, Origin, Pandemic, Westwood and I wouldn't be surprised if Bioware became the next studio to join this list

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