Perhaps the single most overrated strategy game EVER.
Dune II gets more undeserved praise than any other game ever released. This naturally leads us to ask: Why is it so overrated? The answer is complicated, but I think we can figure it out.
GRAPHICS/SOUND -- Allegedly this game was groundbreaking in the visual department at the time, but I do not see it personally. I admit that I did not first play Dune II until many years after its release, but I have played many strategy games of roughly the same time period and see nothing special about Dune II. I must conclude that anyone praising the blocky little graphics of this game bases their evaluation on tech specs rather than actual artistic merit.
As for sound, it was so moving and impressive that I have absolutely no memory of it whatsoever.
GAMEPLAY -- But hey, visuals aren't what really matter, so long as the thing PLAYS great. Well guess what? Dune II doesn't. It's a simple action game with minor strategy elements thrown in, period. Seriously, if this is considered to be a strategy title, then Galaga and Defender must have been groundbreaking RTS games as well. I won't even comment on the laughable AI.
Dune II would have been a forgivable offense had its underlying concept not caught on like bubonic plague in the 90s. Alas, we got a massive flood of similar games that exchange depth and real strategic/tactical thinking for fast-paced action and brain dead mouse-clicking. A few of these titles (Warcraft II, Age of Empires) were good, but these were exceptions and not the rule.
I must conclude that those who praise the gameplay are low in skill and/or self-esteem when it comes to strategy gaming. Why else would you indulge in this simplistic arcade action and then call yourself a strategist?
The Bottom Line
Dune II has all the strategic depth and graphic splendor of an Atari 2600 game, with none of the fun.