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Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness (DOS)

90
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4.0
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Written by  :  Roedie (5226)
Written on  :  Jun 01, 2001
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars

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Summary

Warcraft II has aged well

The Good

I'm not the first person to write a review for this game, other reviewers have pointed out the quality of the music, interface & graphics and I agree with them. Even today the cartoonish graphics are a joy to watch; notice the Christmas lights on Orc buildings during winter missions. Also, compare a Grunt from Warcraft II with a rifle infantry soldier from Red Alert (which appeared one year after Warcraft II) and you'll realize how well Warcraft's graphics have aged. Moreover the voices of the units (especially the Orcs) are great, Zog Zog & Swobuh!

Warcraft keeps things basic; there are only three types of resources and a limited number of units, but you'll really know their different strengths and weaknesses. No unit will ever become obsolete or replaced by another unit. Units do get upgraded. The units are balanced, there is no super unit with which you can easily win a mission. Footmen can easily destroy a Catapult, Catapults take out Guard Towers, Guard Towers are a great defense against Dragons and Dragons kill Footmen. So your army will need to consist of almost all available units in order to win. By the way some of the units have great magical spells like raise dead and the spell that turns an enemy soldier into a sheep or pig.

And oh yeah, the mission editor is easy to use (but why did it require Win 3.1 when the game ran in DOS).

The Bad

  • Both sides are almost identical, so once you've completed the Orc campaign, the human campaign isn't that much fun to play (playing with the Orcs is more fun anyway).
  • Units do not always respond to your commands and there are some pathfinding problems. Especially getting your naval units somewhere involves a lot of mouse-clicking.
  • In the campaigns, your computer opponents always seems to start with a lot of gold and a well fortified base. In the final missions this enables the computer to send wave after wave of dragons / gryphons when your just getting started, frustrating.
  • Mouse scrolling goes to fast.
  • Bad A.I. An easy way to win the game is to wait until your computer opponent has mined all the gold from the mines near his base. It then keeps sending unprotected peony (easy kills) to mines near your base until it runs out of gold. Also your units perform a lot better on the battlefield when you control manually.

The Bottom Line

An RTS game from the dawn of the genre that's still fun the play despite the approximately 3.5 million RTS games released after it. Really addictive. Although I've often told myself "I've had it up to here with this game", I always enjoyed playing it when I came back to it after a couple of weeks.