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Dune 2000 is a real-time strategy game in the same mould as the popular Command & Conquer series. In fact it was developed by those very same harvesters of spice, Westwood Studios.
The C & C strategy war series has been around for ages on the PC having accumulated a hard-core set of fans. Transition over to Playstation was always doubtful. I mean... surely these type of war games were for geeks, not the thoroughly modern man. Wrong! A whole new audience has been breached and judging by sales figures many fledglings are now highly addicted. It's the spice, you know! Now Dune 2000 enters the fold, determined to make tacticians out of the lot of you. So, when your ready... Atten-tion!
Those of you familiar with playing these type of war games will need no further introduction (an identical style of gameplay to Red Alert and Retaliation). Newcomers, however, may need a little more persuading. It's got soldiers... with guns and rocket launchers. Tanks, aircraft, barracks... an entire battlefield. Command your troops... conquer the enemy. It's sort of point and click. As engrossing as chess. As tactical as Risk. As much fun as... winning a war without any real casualties (only your pride). Missions may be played in solo mode, or get a link cable and go head-to-head!
Your standard Allies and Soviets have been replaced by 3 different houses: The honorable House Atreides, the insidious House Ordos, and the vicious House Harkonnen. Whichever House you choose to command always remember that the balance between power and efficiency should lead to victory.
The basic idea of the game remains the same... wage successful strikes to interrupt your opponents Spice production, while protecting your own. Oh, and annihilate all enemy presence. But beware, the untamed desert of Dune holds challenges beyond that of your enemies. Giant sandworms regularly leap out from the ground and can devour your army with little warning, greedy merchants of Choam will plan to interrupt your Spice production, and the back-stabbing Emperor may provide aid to a House that is not yours.
Remember, success requires gallant leadership, cunning tactics and formidable military prowess to win the Emperor's challenge: "Be the first to harvest the most spice and take control of Dune".
Let battle commence.
Sound and Vision:
The graphics within strategic wargames are usually termed as 'functional'. I completely disagree with this terminology. You name any other game that can cope with a couple of platoons of soldiers, a gathering of engineers, a squadron of transportation planes, a dozen tanks, a fleet of harvesters, plus twenty quads and bikes on the screen at the same time, all independently moving around.
Of course with so much troop movement going on there must be sacrifices and it must be said the landscape does lack depth and detail. However, this doesn't distract from the games theme because Dune (for those who saw the movie will know) is set in a barren desert region. Occasional hilltops and plateaus are essential to build your base upon, but aside from these there is little else that will catch the eye. This is fine by me as once the action heats up you will undoubtedly have you hands full keeping bith eyes on the enemies movements.
All of the vehicles and troops have their own look and personality, making it easier to tell the rocket soldiers from the engineers and the harvesters from the tanks. Everything moves smoothly and at different speeds, carrying out attacking and defending maneuvers independently of each other. It's possibly worth mentioning to fellow veterans that the resolution has been toned down a few notches from the Command & Conquer series of games. Why this is, I'm not quite sure. All I can say is that while the vehicles are not so detailed the annoying slowdown experienced in other Westwood PSX titles does not rear it's ugly head in single player mode (maybe I noticed it once in the entire game).
When constructing a base the buildings each have an individual design and shape, although house colors remain constant throughout. After playing the game for only a few hours you will quickly be able to determine which is your heavy war factory and which is the barracks.
The visual effects are quite good. When tanks sustain near-maximum damage a small puff of smoke warns of it's impending demise. Total destruction of a vehicle sees it explode leaving a scorch mark on the ground. Building gradually darken as smoke and flames take hold, while activating repair mode returns the smouldering ruin back to normal.
To complete the visual side of things Dune 2000 has it's fair share of quality FMV movies dispersed throughout the game, which help to keep the story going along nicely.
The sound effects have, once again, been borrowed from the Command & Conquer games. Each trooper and vehicle responds with an instant "Reporting!" or "Standing by!" to your every command in an accent relative to their house. The sound that a trooper makes when he is killed depends on the means of his death. A bullet will provide a short, sharp, "Uggh!". An rocket from a guard tower offers a surprised scream of "Yeeeaarrhhfuggaaahh... uggh!" There is also a sort of in-game 'commentator' who warns you when your base is being attacked and when each building under construction is ready to be located.
The music is okay but to be perfectly honest I always prefer to switch it off when playing these type of games. The reason being is nothing to do with the standard of tunes, more that I would rather be instantly alerted to my troops cries for help than be distracted by a catchy rhythm.
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