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SummaryBest Dune to date, and very impressive as a game
The GoodThere are two things that come right to mind when talking about the game. First, the gorgeous graphics, which turn the otherwise sterile looks of Arrakis into a beautiful, dry planet, with a day-night cycle, populated by well designed characters and some impressive locations. The CD version earns, along clips directly from the 1984 movie and voice overs, new FMV travel screens which change seamlessly according to the terrain - rocks or sand - which is much better than the sprites in the floppy version. The second part, the music by the honorable Stéphane Picq is perhaps the best music ever put together for a videogame. Honestly. As mentioned before, the CD version includes voice-overs, and lip-synching is incredibly accurate. and it was one of the first games to feature them. Compare with some 3D titles released not so long ago, and it makes the whole process even more impressive.
Finally, a mention goes to the game mechanics. Balancing spice production (extraction and prospection), military advance (training and conquering territories from the Harkonnen) and ecology quickly becomes the main aspect of the game, with some adventuring section that lead to plot advancements.
The BadIt isn't an adventure game, but it resembles one. It isn't a RTS, although you command troops. It isn't one RPG, but your character actually influences the game world and gains abilities. However, while trying to do all these things, it gets too light on all of them - which ends up being quite ironic, as most newcomers find the game to be too overwhelming. The game also lacks a bit of replay value, unless you've played first the floppy version and then the CD version to check the movie clips or voiceovers, or just to mess around with the effects of ecologics.
The variation between the book and movie plots, combined with some changes by the developing team can also be a let down for purists, but let's face it: no other game has come closer than this one.
The Bottom LineFor those who have not read it, Dune is a massive space-opera, and any attempt to capture the socio-political environment of the original novel usually falls short by limitations of the medium. However, the game presents some interesting twists: larger Fremen groups will only work after Paul's charisma (which changes according to successful attacks on the Harkonnen and ecology progression) and there's some animosity between Northern and Southern Fremen, and they cannot work side by side for long.
In brief, Dune is a fantastic experience for the book/movie fan, and a lot more faithful than the RTS series which other than the visual stuff have nothing to do with the original work. The mentioned shortcomings don't damage the value of the game at all, which results in a great gaming experience, including visuals, sound and gameplay. A must see, like the book or not.