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SummaryThe ultimate temptation over C&C... NOT!
The Good| What Little Good Can You Get |
Probably the strongest point in this game is the music which is simply amazing. A little on the drawback that it is using midi format (on the contrary to Command & Conquer that used wave files, even if mono), which may make it sound a little not-wanted on certain sound cards. It perfectly creates the atmosphere of a battle between Humans and Orcs, each side has four unique themes that vary during gameplay (that's actually much less track you could find in Command & Conquer), and frankly, they don't get boring at all. They fit the building schemes, planning attacks, or fortifying defenses situation quite formidably. Aside that, there are few shorter themes such as victory or defeat themes for each sides and briefing (I think there was a music during briefings, can't quite remember). Quite like the music, sounds are well tunes and usually funny (especially if you keep clicking and by doing that, annoying the current unit to extract certain displeased answers), and it all kinda seems to fit the so-called epic atmosphere. Sort of make you like the game if you can place yourself on the stand of Lord of the Rings fans, but otherwise, it doesn't all quite satisfy as the real-time strategy.
| 2 Become 1 |
Two for a price of one, or perhaps less, this Battle.net Edition was never actually released as standalone (you get both Tides of Darkness and add-on Beyond the Dark Portal games on one disc), and it's a neat touch, especially since these are not DOS version but Windows 9x and hence you can experience ancient battle of this once amazing RTS (bah, don't remind me, I could never actually find much amazing things about this one, and that wasn't just 'cos I was a huge fan of C&C franchise, but because Blizzard never made any serious games, so you can't get serious while playing them... must've been the art tactic) from pre-dawn times. Needless to say, this game will run almost flawless on your Windowses as it is a port of rather old game with nothing enhanced but perhaps sounds, but can't even vouch for that with certainty. But if you're a multiplayer maniac like I'm not, you may appreciate that Blizzard made a Battle.net Edition out of their WarCraft II saga.
The Bad| Serious Joke |
The 8-bit graphic in this game was really amazing, but looked too perfect, thus creating the atmosphere of a cartoon and not of a battlefield. More like a blank paper with lots of neatly pictured trees, units, and structures. Proportion of pretty much everything is fully off-the-scale and looks ridiculous. Perhaps if only units would be visible on empty terrains, but this way, couple of orcs or humans would together be as large as some castle, not to mention that all units were larger than trees, and that normally meant that everyone with ranged weapon can neatly shot over the forest (not through, but over it, and score a perfect hit). The balance of units was completely ridiculous making both sides fully equal on every corner. Each unit from one side would correspond to the unit of another, thus Orc Grunts could be upgraded just as Human Knights, Troll Axethrowers could throw axes as far as Elven Archers could fire arrows, Orc Catapults could fire as far as Human Ballistas, reconnaissance flying units, ships, it's all too equal (Command & Conquer had that made much better making Nod and GDI only too different in firepower balance and thus you were forced to come up with alternate strategies and knew you might have a chance of winning even if you don't have clearly more units). Westwood corrected that from their Dune II which was the first to come, but Blizzard obviously didn't learn anything from their first RTS game, WarCraft I, and just repeated the same mistake with enhanced graphic (or whatever you can call it, enhanced unto crap). The story is presented in a pretty lame way thus only interacting with you through the mission briefings, sometimes giving you certain hero units at your disposal where you don't have to go base against base (that was later enhanced in add-on so that you have more hero units and control them more often, which was pretty much the only upgrade to WarCraft II worthwhile). Cinematic, although very old, were quite amazing, I won't dispute that. However, there's so little of them (a typical Blizzard's method), so that aside from opening cinematic all others are like 10 seconds in length with a little longer ending ones, perhaps up to 30 seconds or a minute. But hey, they managed to squeeze all that on a single CD-ROM so I guess they achieved some money saving for themselves. Blizzard has yet to learn on their real-time strategy field, but hand on the heart, they definitely rule in action role-playing games and their storytelling and variety of pretty much anything in there is amazing. The only decent WarCraft they probably made is the one they haven't released due to seemingly looking old as they stated. Bah, oldness doesn't mean much if the game is great. WarCraft I still beats all its successors.
The Bottom Line| A Deal of a Notime |
You get a fine deal of two games in one package and above all that, it's for Windows platform. If you missed it back in 1995 while it was (I dunno why, but) popular, this is your chance of meeting the world of warcraft that undoubtedly meant a lot to lots of players out there. But if you're expecting some serious game out of it, don't be too shocked when you run it. As much as it tends towards something good, it's not that worthwhile, and battles last far too long, of course, not as long as those in StarCraft, Blizzard just doesn't want to make anything simple and enjoying. Anyway, if you're more into gameplay than into anything else, this might be a good one to try, with a few bugs in the graphic every now and then, but not too much to bother you. Until Blizzard starts getting more serious, like it was with Diablo franchise, it will always seem like a Disney to me, a bunch of cartoony characters with hectic personalities and no story to lead anyone ahead. This game is a fun to try, for the sake of nostalgy to see how feeble-minded once players were, but other than that, it's a no-no.