Recreated for the new millennium... The Classic Dune II returns
Will You Sieze Control Of Dune?
- Challenge your friends in head-to-head Internet combat, battle over Local Area Network (LAN) in multiplayer mode, or play against the computer.
- Choose from three (3) different sides to play: The noble House Atreides, the insidious House Ordos, or the evil House Harkonnen.
- All the favorite units from the original; Deviators, Sonic Tanks, Ornithopters, Devastators, and many more.
- New 16-bit high color graphics, special effects, music and cinematics that bring you deep into the world of Dune.
- Mercenaries, smugglers and Fremen enhance missions through oppositions and alliances.
- Trade the coveted Spice Melange for reinforcements with the intergalactic Merchant's Guild.
- Over 40 missions - updated and revised from the originals.
~ from the back of the box
The hype around Dune 2000, which was actually released in 1998, was that it was a remake of the original Dune II. It was reaching its 5th anniversary by then and its legendary, genre-defining status in the gaming world was second only to Doom. In my eyes, Dune 2000 plays more like a sequel than a remake but the truth is that it is probably somewhere in the middle.
Graphically, the game got a huge facelift. Sprites and background art are far more detailed, making the not-too-shabby original seem like a barren wasteland by comparison. The presentation is also a lot sleeker, with FMV video and a much appreciated overhaul of the graphical interface. The cutscenes are very entertaining too. They introduce each stage, replacing the static screens and text dumps of the original. Each house's Mentat (a human computer in Dune lore) is played by recognisable actors - or at least competent SAG card holders. If you've ever sat through Command & Conquer's intros, you'll know they can occasionally err on the side of cheesy and Dune 2000 is not different. The cinematic quality is high for a 90's video game, and often nods directly to the 1984 David Lynch movie from which the series is based. You won't see Sting in a codpiece, but recognisable costumes and sets do pop up for the most observant of you. Plus, it's always good to see John Rhys-Davies unleash his anunciated thespian abilities.
The gameplay is pretty much the same, though scenarios and maps offer far greater variety. By using Westwood's own Command & Conquer engine, you can now see cliffs, bridges and other terrain types beyond 'desert' that make you think more about navigation. This alters each stage just enough to make them feel brand new. A fremen leader that needs protecting by House Atreides will hide in a cave opening of a cliff edge, his allies swarming around him. Much better than simply summoning them to your aid in the original, which had a general lack of thematic story moments such as this.
The biggest difference, however, is in the interface. You can now select up to 50 units at once - a far cry from the one of the original. This isn't a troop you send into a fight, but an army deployed into battle. And now the chaos on-screen can become a glorious spectacle of explosions as the commentator tries to keep up, struggling to announce each of the deaths as they happen. Enemies and scenarios have been drastically tweaked to account for this. They are tougher, more aggressive and more plentiful. And more fun as a result.
Upon release, this game wasn't so well received. Not as bad as that WarCraft 3 remaster from Blizzard, but bad enough to be considered a disappointment. 3D graphics were making their mark, and when put aside screenshots of Dark Reign or Populous: The Beginning - released that same year - it looked archaic by comparison. Even StarCraft's 2D artwork - which also came out in 1998 - surpassed it in the looks department. That game dominated the genre back then, being a more complex RTS than a remake of Dune II ever could be. Looking back at it 23 years on, both games should be considered classics. Those arguments made by those overly critical critics don't hold so much water for today's gamer looking for a nostalgic fix. Dune 2000 remains one of the most enjoyable RTS games of its type and I doubt anyone who actually plays it would disagree.
There is still a rabid fanbase for Dune 2000, with a number of fan-made projects to get it running on modern system. The package I put together uses a patch to allow the original game to run, even adding support for higher resolutions. Arguably the best way to play is through OpenRA, an interpreter for the Command & Conquer engine that supports a number of games in that series too. You can download this program from their website, and I've included the compatible Dune 2000 files alongside my package if you want to play it this way. I must warn you; the opening cinematics aren't viewable this way, and I'm not so keen on the drastic change in presentation so I would personally use it for multiplayer skirmishes only. Enjoy!
To download the game, follow the link below. This exclusive installer runs natively on Windows thanks to a patch by FunkyFr3sh v1.06p rev.42. Manual included. DN3_OpenRA.rar included for use with OpenRA. Tested on Windows 10.
File Size: 552 Mb. Install Size: 726 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Dune 2000 is © Westwood Studios
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me