Written by  :  tbuteler (3156)
Written on  :  Jun 21, 2004
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars

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Strangely addictive, yet far from perfect...

The Good

This pre-RTS game shows that the strategy genre can offer plenty of depth and variety, without compromising exciting gameplay.

It offers some depth as it mixes RPG elements with the strategic management of the areas you control, and the fremen that you've rallied. Finding a balance between harvesting spice for the greedy Emperor, training an army to protect against the Harkonnen and seed vegetation on Arrakis is a complex task indeed - and you'll find yourself hooked at it.

Also, the universe it is based on is so rich and its characters so powerful that you can hardly go wrong with it - and the games makes use of the novel's characters to a great extent to try to create a compelling experience.

The Bad

Yet, it really fails to capture the most important aspects of the original story. Loosely based on the movie as well, the game uses elements from both sources superficially, and has some creative input of its own, and ends up with a story that doesn't touch you like the novel or movie do: dialogues are either vague or rushed; Paul's relationships with his parents, advisers, Stilgar or even Chani are completely superficial; the Harkonnens do not inspire the hatred or despise that the story really carries; the Fremen rituals are totally stripped down to the basic.

The story is also tremendously linear, and that can often frustrate the feeling of open-endedness that the strategic aspects tend to create.

Finally, although the action is quite exciting when the battle heats up, you'll often find that you're stuck with quite repetitive gameplay. Fun but repetitive - something that they could have avoided with the story or RPG bits, but failed miserably.

The Bottom Line

Fans of strategy looking for a game that offers something different from the real-time titles, and are willing to cope with this "entry-level" Dune setting. Fans of the movie or book shouldn't seek it for anything other than the strategic elements.