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Emperor: Battle for Dune

aka: Dune 3, EBfD, Empereur: La Bataille pour Dune, Emperor: Schlacht um Dune
Moby ID: 3777
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Description official descriptions

Emperor: Battle for Dune is the true sequel to both Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty and Dune 2000. Unlike Dune 2000, it progresses the storyline and takes place after the Ordos victory in its predecessors, but with the same basic premise: houses Atreides, Ordos, and Harkonnen battle for supremacy on the planet Arrakis, the only location where the valuable resource known as Spice Melange can be found, but for the first time in the Dune RTS series, other locations are also visited briefly.

This time, all three factions have redesigned arsenals with more varied units. Other than a new 3D engine by Intelligent Games, Emperor: Battle for Dune introduces the sub-house system. In skirmish and multiplayer games, up to two (out of five) sub-houses can be chosen to lend their technologies to the player in the form of two unique units and a relevant structure which trains them. The singleplayer campaign is once again played on a meta-map, this time with defensive missions as well, and sub-houses may join the player in the fight. The Living Planet feature randomly spawns tornadoes. The AI's play style can also be chosen in skirmish and multiplayer modes for a more varied gameplay.

Each refinery now comes with a free carry-all assigned to the existing free harvester for faster resource gathering and defense. Also, each refinery can be upgraded with two extra pads which also come free with a harvester and carry-all.

True to a major Westwood Studios production, Emperor: Battle for Dune features live-action cutscenes between missions.

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Credits (Windows version)

364 People (350 developers, 14 thanks) · View all

IG (Design and Team Lead)
IG (Design Team)
IG (Additional Design)
IG (Art and Creative Lead)
IG (Art Team)
IG (Additional Artwork)
IG (Programming and Technical Lead)
IG (Programming Team)
IG (Additional Programming)
[ full credits ]



Average score: 79% (based on 34 ratings)


Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 43 ratings with 3 reviews)

A fairly decent strategy game, an innovative approach of Frank Herbert's work.

The Good
Above everything, what appealed to me in this game was its spirit. It was the first incursion of Westwood Studios in the world of 3D real-time strategy games - and a great one! Even by today's standards, I become stunned by some of the visual effects. Also worthy of note is the excellent work undertaken by the developers in capturing the spirit of David Lynch's film adaptation of the original novel - the neobaroque imponence of the buildings contrast with technology which is many centuries beyond our understanding.

In terms of gameplay, this is a regular strategy game, much in line with other Westwood franchises, most notably the C&C series. Build your base, raise your army and throw it against the enemy. The usual fun directed at C&C and Dune fans alike. Unlike its predecessor, Dune 2000, Emperor: Battle for Dune brings enough differentiation between the traditional Houses (Atreides, Ordos, Harkonnen) which force the player to adapt radically different strategies. Now, add to the mix five new sub-Houses (Sardaukar, Fremen, Ix, Tleilaxu, The Guild) and you have a huge party rocking in the battlefield.

The campaign goes beyond the usual linearity and brings us an interactive map which allows the player not to be restricted to the tactical work - you, too, can oversee the great strategic decisions of the three Houses which struggle for the control of the planet Arrakis. It allows you to choose which territories to attack and, from time to time, you will meet some unexpected missions which mean you are progressing through the campaign.

The FMV cut-scenes and music are worthy of a final remark.

The Bad
The game's flaws are most noted in the somewhat bad implementation of the interactive campaign map. Even if it is a welcomed innovation for Westwood games, it feels a bit forced sometimes. Besides, there is no clear advantage in doing anything other than racing against the enemy's capital. More territory will generally mean more trouble, as the enemy will be offered a much wider area to attack.

Single player aside, the game can feel extremely repetitive at times, due to the continuous desert/rocky landscapes of Arrakis. This is not, however, a strict developer's fault, as the game setting is, precisely, the battle for the desert planet Arrakis. In fact, and contrasting with its predecessors, the game brings us some more varied (but limited) landscapes through the home planets of each of the Houses' home planets.

Finally, and after you play the game for some hours, you will notice that, in the end, you will restrict yourself to the utilisation of a handful of units per House. Surely, the developers were very creative in the design of many of the units, but only some of them will be effectively useful, particularly in multiplayer gaming.

The Bottom Line
All in all, it is a worthy successor of the legendary Dune II. Although not as innovative, it brought a good deal of changes and deviations from the more classical Westwood style: interactive campaigns, sub-factions and structure upgrades being the most notable.

Not a landmark game, but a definite must-have for strategy and Dune fans.

Windows · by KaiserChicken (11) · 2007

Yet another C&C

The Good
Westwood did a wonderful job creating a 3D strategy game. On one hand, you have useful features and neat units, with great graphics. On the other hand, you don't have to use all of those features, and gameplay remains smooth and straight forward. The interface hovers above the battlefield without hiding anything, and you can easily build and order units and structures.

The Bad
You can smell Red Alert at each and every action you do; the Ordos tanks even have Russian accent! Gameplay is identical to each and every other Westwood strategy game, with similar tactics and controls, similar units, similar tech tree and similar structures.
Of course, every Westwood game MUST have that one unit that spoils everything, much like the Mammoth on Tiberian Sun or the Kirov Airship on Red Alert. Well, Red Alert has about a dozen units to ruin your day, ranging from an Ordos unit that acts as a nuke for 2000 credits, through the teleporting Guild NIAB Tank that can destroy your opponent's base in seconds and then run away to safety, to the IX Projector that creates an identical replica of one of your units for free.
It seems that every Westwood game must have such units. It's not like they break the game, or make one side better than the other; they simply make it tedious, turning it from resource management and tactics to "who will get the super unit first". I'm all for uniqueness, as unique units and interesting ideas make a game fun, but until Westwood learn to balance their units, I will stay with other strategy games.

The Bottom Line
Don't bother unless you're a big fan of Red Alert, C&C, etc.

Windows · by El-ad Amir (116) · 2001

interesting asymmetric factions, but single player is flawed

The Good
Having played the original Dune 2, its remake Dune 2000 and this game, it's definitely an evolution of the latter two whereas Dune 2000 was merely an updated remake. Emperor features quite a few interesting units and does seem to capture the feel of the Dune universe, at least in game.

Multiplayer will probably result in interesting fights due to the asymmetry of the three main factions and their sub houses, unfortunately I haven't been able to give it a try.

The Bad
The well-over-the-top acting between maps is a bit distracting, something I suppose you could expect from most Westwood RTS games. If done better it would help suspension of disbelief though, something that Emperor unfortunately doesn't really offer because of this and the problem below.

An interesting new feature that could've worked out very well if implemented correctly, is that a house invading your territory will - like you - have to roll in an MCV and limited starting units and actually build up its base from scratch. The flaw in this being that you can easily destroy that MCV with the scattered forces you start with, after which you have 'repelled' the invaders and won the map. In short, half the maps (the invasions) are over within about three minutes, which is quite a pity.

The Bottom Line
If you stumble upon a copy in the bargain bin, or like the Dune universe, give it a go.

Windows · by MiG_ (4) · 2009



The game had no editor, but because of the rising demand from the fans, Westwood patched the game, and released a map editor. They also released six map packs as an example to well built maps. After the editor was out, Westwood lost interest in the game and moved it's support to one of their fans known as Gabblehopper.


Beside Frank Klepacki (Westwood's house composer at the time), Westwood Studio brought another two music composers for Emperor: battle for Dune. This way, each of them composed music tracks for different houses, so that way they accomplished that each of the house, Atreides, Ordos, and the Harkonnen possess similar yet unique music style that marks a certain house.


We finally learn the name of the icy home planet of the Ordos: Draconis IV.

Plot (Dune 2000 spoiler!)

This game is a sequel to Dune 2000, but when finished with Ordos. In the last scene of Ordos House in Dune 2000, Lady Elara uses her Gob Jabbar to kill the Emperor, and that piece of animation is even used as intro for this game. By this, Westwood breaks the tradition of making add-ons and sequels as if the good guys have won in the predecessor.

Pre-order code

Those that pre-ordered Emperor: Battle for Dune, received special code that unlocks three units for multiplayer mode. However, Westwood Studios's plan was to make them available for all the others as well, but not so soon.


As of 2003, the game support has moved from Westwood to fed2k. Their website was www.fed2k.com

Information also contributed by Henry Aloni and Jornand de Buisonjé

Related Games

Dune: The Battle for Arrakis
Released 1994 on Genesis
Dune 2000
Released 1999 on PlayStation
Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty
Released 1992 on DOS, 1993 on Amiga, 1995 on Acorn 32-bit
Released 1992 on DOS, Amiga, 1993 on SEGA CD
D.O.G: Fight For Your Life
Released 1997 on DOS, Windows
Frank Herbert's Dune
Released 2001 on PlayStation 2, Windows
Elland: The Crystal Wars
Released 2022 on Windows
Dune 3 aneb Achtung! Die Kurve...
Released 1993 on Amiga, DOS
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom
Released 2003 on PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube

Related Sites +

  • FED2K
    Covers all the games based on the Dune universe

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Brolin Empey.

Additional contributors: MAT, Cochonou, phlux, Patrick Bregger, Plok.

Game added April 12th, 2001. Last modified December 2nd, 2023.