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aka: Dune: He Who Controls the Spice Controls the Universe

Description official descriptions

Based on the legendary Frank Herbert novel of the same name and visually inspired by the 1984 David Lynch movie, Dune is a strategy-adventure hybrid where the player takes the role of young Paul Atreides, the son of Duke Leto. The Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV has given the Atreides House the rights to manage the extraction of the most precious substance in the entire universe - the Melange, commonly known as Spice in the desolate desert planet Arrakis (Dune), the only place in the universe capable of producing the substance. While everything indicates the offer is a trap orchestrated by their enemies the Harkonnen, the Atreides family agrees on moving, as he who controls the spice, controls the universe.

The player arrives in Arrakis with the mission of contacting and convincing the Fremen tribes residing in sietches (desert settlements) near the Atreides palace to harvest the spice. Harvesting is the most important part of the game, required to purchase equipment from the smugglers and appease the emperor. To speed up the process of harvesting, the player can equip the tribes with harvesters to increase production and ornis to protect them from the gigantic protectors of the planet: Shai-Hulud - the sandworms.

However, the spice doesn't last forever and new sietches must be prospected before having a mining crew assigned, but the player cannot run Southwards forever, as the Harkonnen enemy controls the North of the Planet, dangerously close to the Atreides Palace. Soon after the initial batches are sent to the Emperor, the player will have to actively deal with the Harkonnen, who will try to take control of player Sietches. For those, Fremen tribes can be assigned to military training with Gurney Halleck, but before doing such work Paul must have a certain reputation, gained by the control of Arrakis.

As the game advances, the player will untap Paul's latent powers, as well as meeting other characters from the Dune universe, such as Duke Leto, Jessica, Thufir Hawat, Duncan Idaho, Harah, Chani, Stilgar and Liet Kynes, the mastermind behind the ecological plans on Dune - the ultimate goal.

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Credits (DOS version)

43 People (38 developers, 5 thanks) · View all

Designed by
  • Cryo Interactive Entertainment
Directed by
Team Manager
Adlib music uses HERAN system (c)
Music available on CD edited by
  • Virgin Music
Original Design
Special Advisor
Cover Artwork
Sky Pallettes
Graphics Tools
[ full credits ]



CD version

A CD version adds support for more sound cards, number of new rendered screens that can be seen in the introduction and some 3D animations available during ornithopter flight. There are also clips from the David Lynch's movie available in the Dune-O-Pedia book. All dialogues are fully spoken. There is also a new in-game option available from the main interface where the player can adjust sound, music and speech settings, make a selection of text language (English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Fremen), choose type of music (classic or from CD in order or shuffle mode) and choose type of text presentation (in the bubbles or as subtitles).


The guy you see on the original release box covers, is Paul Atreides as played by Kyle MacLachlan, right out of the movie.


In the early nineties, there was a non-interactive demo of Dune circulating on Bulletin Board Systems. It showed a very similar sequence to what was the introduction to the final game (a number of animated characters' portraits over variety of backdrops.)

In this demo, the character of Paul looks very different from what he looks like in the game. He does not resemble Kyle MacLaughlan, and is quite a bit skinnier. It can be assumed that this demo was released before the final licensing terms were worked out with the movie's published.


The game should not have existed: during the end of 1990, the project was officially abandoned by Virgin Games, who then hired Westwood to work on a Dune license-based strategy game... A few months later, Cryo, who had secretly continued working on it, succeeded in convincing Virgin to release it (although the game was then much simplified on Virgin's request). That's why Dune and Dune II have nothing in common.

The battle images were inspired by the worldly famous CNN pictures of the Gulf War (green skies with explosions...). Many Fremen pictures were inspired by real famous people like Kadhafi, Khomeyni, Salvador Dali, Salman Rushdie.

Very much more details about Dune's creation can be found in French journalist Daniel Ichbiah's book, La saga des jeux vidéos.

Limited edition

A limited edition box (UK only?) had a cover that opened down the middle to reveal a pop-up style sandworm head.


Spanish version by Polylang Ltd and Italian version by Graffiti.


First of all, there was a Dune novel written by Frank Herbert.

After the book, a movie showed up in 1984. Why is this so important!? Well, the game Dune mady by Cryo is based 100% upon the movie. The story, dialogues, weapons, terrain, friends and foes, characters, all are based upon the movie. If you ever saw a movie, you'll notice how most of characters resembles to the actors who played in a movie.

For example, you play Paul Atreides, and you character looks almost exactly like Kyle MacLachlan who played in Dune. As well as some other characters do.

Beside that, CD version of a game posses some movie cut-outs, only you can imagine a movie shown in 160x120 or 320x240 on a full screen, and covered with black net to speed the process.

However, Westwood's Dune II has nothing to do with either a novel or the movie, nor is it a sequel to this Dune. Instead, they took just a small resemblance as a battlefield and global story of rule and dominate across the sand barriers. They also added House of Ordos, and that is just one of the proves they crushed the balance over Dune.

Some, though hardly all, of the characters presented in the game are depicted (uncredited) as played by the actors who performed the same roles in David Lynch's 1984 film adaptation of the book. These include: Francesca Annis as Lady Jessica Atreides, Sting, Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides, and, in some versions, Virginia Madsen as Irulan Corrino (in footage taken straight from the movie!)


This game's soundtrack, composed by Stephane Picq and Philippe Ulrich, was released on audio CD by Virgin Records (catalog no. CDVE 911), also including some extra tracks that didn't feature in the game. The CD is called Dune: Spice Opera and the artist is listed as Exxos. Unfortunately, the audio CD went out of production in 1994, and is now almost impossible to find. It is highly sought after by many people.


  • Amiga Joker
    • Issue 02/1993 – Best Genre Mix of 1992 (Readers' Vote)

Information also contributed by hydra9, Lev Epshteyn, MAT, Mickey Gabel, Pseudo_Intellectual and Yeba

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 380


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Tomer Gabel.

SEGA CD, Amiga added by MAT.

Additional contributors: MAT, formercontrib, Patrick Bregger, mailmanppa, Victor Vance.

Game added November 4th, 1999. Last modified March 3rd, 2023.