An excellent RTS game, marred by repetitive AI
Warcraft 2, along with Command & Conquer and This Means War, was part of the second wave of RTS games to assault PC gamers senses.
The graphics are quite cartoony, and nicely detailed, without ever looking brilliant. Each character has a nice little face picture on the side panel, where you can issue commands like move, attack and unit specific commands like cast spell or harvest timber.
The storyline is quite nice, involving the humans running from their home nation after the story in Warcraft 1, and sailing across the seas. Unfortunately for them, the Orcs follow. War ensues, and it is your job to pick one of the sides and try to win.
The action is all in real time, with resource gathering, structure and unit building and attacking all needing to be taken care of. The units are a wide range, with most having melee weapons only, but the magicians and axe throwers/archers having range attacks. There are also a few token air units for each side which don't do a hell of a lot, and some sea units which help make the game more varied. While the two sides have different units, they are all fairly equal, like the axe thrower vs. the archer, or the ogre vs. the knight.
In terms of gameplay, Warcraft 2 is a little flatter than Command & Conquer, while still being good. Whereas in C&C the strategies seem to be quite varied, in Warcraft 2 it is mostly a case of learning how the computer acts which can be done within the first 5 or so missions, and then repeating the same strategy to counter it.
All in all, the game is definately worth getting, but if you can get C&C instead you'll probably find yourself playing that more.
The Bottom Line
Warcraft 2 is one of the most influential RTS titles of all time and has won numerous awards. The learning curve is excellent, but the slightly dodgy AI can put more experienced gamers off.