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Im Zeiten wie diesen kommt Virgin ein besonderer Stellenwert zu, gilt die Company mittlerweile doch als Garant für hervorragende PC-Umsetzungen. Und die Engländer werden ihrem Ruf auch diesmal gerecht!

Dune II Erneut bekommen wir es mit einem Werk aus dem Programmierstudio des Westwood-Teams zu tun, dem wir bereits „Eye of the Beholder" und „Legend of Kyrandia" verdanken. Mit dem vorzüglichen Vorganger hat das kriegerische Wirtschaftsstrategical ausser der Qualitat und dem „wüsten" Szenario aus Frank Herberts SF-Saga allerdings wenig gemein, auf Adventure-Elemente wurde diesmal komplett verzichtet. Im bombastischen Intro erführt man, worum es tatsächlich geht:

Der galaktische Imperator veranstaltet einen Wettbewerb, bei dem der beste Spice Produzent als Siegesprämie die Herrschaft über den Wüsten planeten Dune erhalt. Es bleibt dem Spieler überlassen, für welche der drei teilnehmenden Dynastien (Atreides, Ordos und Harkonnen) er sich ins Rennen um das futuristische Wunderelixier begibt. Die einzelnen Sippen unterscheiden sich durch ihre militarischen und wirtschaftlichen Fähigkeiten, aber die Aufgabenstellung ist für allen gleich:

In 27 Einzelmissionen muss die an „Sim City" erinnernde, aus der Vogelperspektive gezeigte Ernte landschaft beackert und gegen die beiden Digi-Konkurrenten verteidigt werden. Zunächst erfahrt man dabei das jeweilige Etappenziel, welches anfangs einfach aus der in Credits ausgedrückten Menge an Spice besteht, die man in die Silos schaufeln muss. Dann setzt man ganz ähnlich wie bei Maxis' Stadtebauklassiker per Maus seine Kraftwerke, Lagerräume, Raffinerien, Fahrzeugfabriken und Militarbasen in den Wüstensand; im weiteren Spielverlauf kommen dazu noch Radarstationen, Raumflughafen oder Forschungszentren, die für teure Credits gebaut und unterhalten werden dürfen.

Dune II Während die Erntemaschinen weitgehend selbstandig arbeiten, erfordern die diversen Infanterietruppen, Panzer, Sandbuggys und Trikes etwas mehr Aufmerksamkeit. Mit ihnen „erfährt" man sich das a la „Civilization" erst nach und nach sichtbar werdende Gelände, ausserdem braucht man seinen Werkschütz dringend zur Bekämpfung der von Mission zu Mission immer aufdringlicheren Mitbewerber. Daneben sorgen zufallsgesteuerte Sandwürmer fur Ärger, aber unlosbar sind die Aufgaben deshalb keineswegs selbst wenn die jederzeit befragbaren Berater nun wirklich keine grosse Hilfe darstellen. Der Sound war bereits bei unserem Pressetestmuster von gewohnter Gute, die Verkaufsversion soll gar eine deutsche Sprachausgabe enthalten.

Was Grafik und Menu/Maussteuerung anbelangt, hat sich gegenüber dem PC-Original wenig geändert, die (32 farbigen) Intro-, Zwischen- und Menubilder machen immer noch wesentlich mehr her als die eigentliche Spiellandschaft. Die Animationen sind nicht weltbewegend, und das Scrolling ruckelt wie eh und je, ein flotter Turbo-Amiga wäre daher sicher angebracht. Aber derlei kleine Schwächen nimmt man gern in Kauf, wenn das Gameplay so ausgefeilt ist wie in dieser interplanetaren Stratego-Wüste! (C. Borgmeier)

Amiga Joker, May 1993, P.97



Amiga Joker
1 MB

Dune II Logo  CU Amiga Screen Star

He who controls the Spice... Controls the Universe. We thought that this sounded like a job for Tony Gill, so we gave him a bucket and spade and sent him outing digging for worms in the sands of Dune!

I Dune II f you ever thought that wargames were boring, be prepared to change your mind. Beneath an alien sun on a far-off planet, the elite troops of three rival houses are preparing to hurl themselves against each other in deadly combat. You may pick which of the houses you wish to command, and then you must manoeuvre your troops and plan your overall victory.
Once the enemy finds your base he will keep you under constant attack, and you will find that events will accelerate and hours will pass in a flash as you frantically juggle with all of the options available to you.

The desert world of Dune first appeared in the book of the same name, written by Frank Herbert. The book became a beloved classic for all sci-fi fans as it conjured up a world which was both unbelievably fantastic and yet convincingly possible. It was a world of unending sand dunes with no trace of water. Here the fearless inhabitants harvested the spice and wore airtight clothes which trapped their sweat and recycled each precious drop. These Fremen tribesmen knew how to survive on this blistering ball of heat and dust, and to prove their manhood they would take part in the sport which men marveled at throughout the galaxy.

Moving out from the safety of the rocky outcrops they would stand in the open dunes and thump the ground, deliberately attracting the giant worms which moved beneath the sand as effortlessly as sharks in the sea, causing them to rise up out of the depths beneath them. Then with hooks tied to ropes, they would ride these horrors across the desert using their own strength and makeshift reins to prevent the terrifying mounts plunging back into the depths.

The worms of Dune have a mouth whose teeth-ringed maw is capable of swelling men, tanks and aircraft. From the moment man or machine moves onto the surface of the sand the resultant vibrations act as a dinner gong to any passing monster. The prize that the spice gatherers seek is great, but the danger is equally high.

Dune II has its roots in games such as Powermonger, Empire and Sim City. As with all empire building games, your task is to use the income from your money making enterprises (in this case spice gathering) to fund the creation of new weaponry which can be used to attack your rivals and hence increase your sphere of influence. This is a well-worn and popular game genre, but it tends to be played in a sedate way and involve lots of tables containing endless facts. There have been some attempts to inject some passion and excitement into the basic idea and they have had their successes (e.g. Mega-Lo-Mania), but this is a serious attempt to turn up the excitement control to fever pitch. The game controls are simple to understand, and the first few levels of the game provide an easy introduction which anyone should be able to complete without giving more than a glance at the slim game manual.

The beauty of this game is that there is no one strategy which must be followed to conquer the opposition. You are free to replay levels continually until you devise a strategy which works. You could choose to scout the surrounding desert and find the enemy camp before they can build up their forces, then risk an early strike and hope to overwhelm him; or you could hold back, bide your time, and wait until you have built up enough heavy weapons before you risk poking your nose out behind your fortifications. Whatever you do, you can be sure that the computer-controlled opposition will give you a real run for your money. Once you wake the sleeping tiger he will harry you constantly.

The game has a similar objective to that of Powermonger, but there the comparison stops. Powermonger may have looked good, but it was an awkward and ultimately frustrating game. Dune II has the looks and the depths you will want, but the gameplay and the controls are as smooth as silk. The interface has been carefully designed to be easily understood and used intuitively.

A further complication to your plans for world domination is that you can only build on firm foundation. The sands of Dune are crisscrossed by rocky outcrops and it is on those that you must lay the concrete platforms and erect your factories and Spice Refineries. Simple rules let you know where you can and cannot build, but even these can be ignored – at a price. A fool builds his house upon the sands, and you may join him if you feel you must, however, you will suffer a constant drain on your money as you pay to repair the foundations. You may only expand your base by building cheek by jowl with existing buildings, however that means your troops have a long track back from the war zone for repairs and reinforcements. What you need is a mobile construction site which you can drive across the desert, (watch out for Mr. Wiggly!) and set up shop within shelling distance of the enemy. Once you have a forward post in operation you can hopefully churn out heavy units faster than he can replace them.

You may decide you joined the expedition to be a soldier and not a construction engineer. Why spend your time, and valuable credits, building a spaceport when there is one for the taking just over the next hill? If you use your forces to pound the opposition into a position where they are on their knees, your troops simply have to move onto the occupying area for it to become your own. Of course you will have to spend a bit of cash on redecorating, perhaps a lick of paint and some new curtains, but after all you would expect some outlay after your Devastator tanks have spent an hour lobbing 190mm shells through the windows. Smash and grab tactics work well unless you have managed to persuade Fremen tribesmen to act as mercenaries for you. These tribesmen are fanatical fighters and will serve you well in any battle, but they do have the teeny-weeny problem that once they get their teeth into something, they won't stop while one stone is still standing on top of another.

This is the game old-time war-gamers would have died for. It has real-time action with intelligent troops. Place your forces strategically and then leave them to do the business while you are occupied in another corner of the battlefield. The pace is frantic once the balloon goes up, and the addictive gameplay makes it very difficult to hit that Save Game option and leave the battlefield until another day.

It is the deceptively simple gameplay, coupled with the atmospheric sound effects and maddeningly calm voice of the computer which lifts this game out of the war-gamers cul-desac and onto the motorway.

CU Amiga, July 1993, p.p.66-68

It fell to cult director David Lynch to attempt the seemingly impossible task of bringing Dune to the big screen, and it is generally agreed by the book's devotees that he failed. He had Agent Cooper from the Twin Peaks series play the part of the hero, Paul Artreides. And who could not forget (or forgive!) his decision to cast the pop star Sting as the villain? (Ah well, not every story can have a happy ending). However, that ill-fated attempt is not quite the end of the story.

When George Lucas had to shipwreck the robot comedy duo - R2D2 and C3PO - he picked a desert planet which had more than a passing resemblance to Frank Herbert's creation. Watch the movie again and you'll see huge skeletal remains of what can only be a sand worm amidst the dunes. When we first meet Han Solo he is heard boasting that he had served his time on the Spice Run. Compare the description of Emperor's Sardaukar Troopers with the similarly heavily armoured troopers under the command of Darth Vader.

Our heroes returned to the same desert world in the Return of the Jedi, where they almost became lunch for a sandworm which surfaced under their floating 'ship of the desert'. More than one poor soul disappears down that ghastly mouth during the action.

A veritable Napoleon you may be, but you can't be everywhere at once. Luckily, whichever house you choose to command, each has its own fairy godmother, known as a Mentat, who is always on hand to offer advice and keep you updated on the latest developments on and off the battlefield. The evil hissing voice of your computer is just right, and it is a dead ringer for the late James Mason.

Cyril, mentat of the House of Artreides

Cyril is the Mentat for the House of Artreides. Golden haired, and with a book under his arm that he has got brains as well as looks. This is the sort of guy your mother wanted you to be.

Radnor, mentat of the House of Harkonnen

The twisted brain of Radnor is at the disposal of the House of Harkonnen. This guy has no hair at all which means he is either a mad scientist or soemeone who has playing Dune II for far too long.

Ammon, mentat of the House of Ordos

Ammon is your guide from the house of Ordos. Dark haired (which is never a good sign) he is obviously a bit of a smoothie and very sneaky.

Three ancient Houses have entered the battle for the control of the planet.

House of Artreides
Intelligent and noble, they have an unusual devotion to duty. They are noted for their skills in diplomacy and tend not to strike the first blow. They are about to discover that turning the other cheek only gets you a broken jaw.

House of Ordos
Noted for their trading and merchandising skills, the ruling princess of this clan have little conscience and gain their power through subtle and underhand moves involving sabotage and terrorism. Only their great wealth has protected their reputation being smeared by their long history of trickery and deception.

House of Harkonnen
The terrible Harkonnen House is a dynasty of cruel people, led by a ruthless princess. Promotion is not awarded in the Harkonnen society, it is taken. If a subordinate kills his superior, then he assumes that position and is respected for his action. This house does not appear to be attempting to win the contract by simply harvesting more spice than the others, they have decided to annihilate the opposition.

For each of the three houses you select, there are 10 campaigns, giving a total of 30 war games. Each house has a preference for certain weaponry and you will usually have a sprinkling of their favourite armoury to get you started. The skill levels are graduated to lead you gently into the gameplay, so you won't have to fight the game controls as well as the enemy tanks.



This is the game that old-time, war-gamers would have died for.