The grandfather of Real Time Strategy
It's been a good many years since I completed this game, so please forgive this review for being tainted by nostalgia. Dune 2 bears no resemblance to the the first game and instead takes elements from the famous book series to create a strategy game which is a prototype for Westwood's Command and Conquer series. You have the option of playing as one of three 'Houses'; Harkonnen, Atreides from the novels and the new House Ordos, each fighting against the other to control the spice fields of Arrakis.
Each House has a different fighting style, ranging from brute force to infiltration, and can produce different vehicles and troops once you have established a base and harvest the planets natural resource - spice. The mechanics of the game are the same as the later Command and Conquer series where each level you start small and gradually build a base and an army to win, then select a map area of the planet to fight over. This creates an enjoyable challenge that had me stuck for hours trying to win.
Aside from locations and names, the game carries nothing across from the novels, there no questioning of power and responsibility, ecology or anything of the sort. This is a shame, as instead you play out the role of a mindless brute!
This game has become pretty dated too, especially since it was updated with the release of Dune 2000. It is possibly the first RTS and as such the genre has been refined since, when I played I often found myself ending levels in a war of attrition with the computer who would eventually do something stupid allowing me to win.
The Bottom Line
A good if outdated game that was fun to play back in the day, though if you want real time strategy, then I'd recommend a more recent refined game such as Command and Conquer. If you're desperate to see a mangling of Frank Herbert's concepts, maybe play Emperor: Battle for Dune. If you want some old Dos game fun then sure give this a try, why not, it sucked away many a happy hour of my youth.