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Emperor: Battle For Dune
- Experience the Dune universe in 3-D in this strategy game
- Command three unique sides and five powerful subgroups
- Choose large-scale strategic advances or ground-level tactics
- Fight over four gameworlds
- Wage war online head-to-head and cooperatively
- Also available: Official Strategy Guide
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Emperor returns gamers to Dune, land of sand, home of the spice--and the first real-time strategy. This all-new game presents the Dune universe in full 3-D. As in the classic Dune 2, players can command three unique political houses: noble Attreides, evil Harkonnen and insidious Ordos. Five powerful subgroups add to the volatile political climate. There are four gameworlds to battle on, and players can choose large-scale strategic advances or ground-level tactics. Gamers can wage war online both head-to-head and cooperatively.
OK, it's a prequel but Emperor: Battle for Dune is based on a science fiction classic that advocates planetary war and intergalactic drug dealing. How can it lose? Especially when you consider that Dune II and the Command and Conquer series are testament to Westwood's capability in the RTS arena. Thankfully, after a long wait, they've turned out another oasis of a strategy game with Emperor.
Three great houses have been granted the right to war with each other in a bid to dominate production of the Universe's favourite tipple, the spice melange. Playing as the Atreides, Harkonnen or Ordos, you must strive to gain control over the Dune planet, its spice resources and, ultimately, the galaxy. Harvest spice and earn money to build facilities and resources, whilst usurping your rivals' own hold over spice production. Needless to say, your two rivals are out to do the same, so fold in some alliances to broker and break and you are presented with over 150 missions (50 for each house) of well-plotted and compelling saga. The move from 2-D to 3-D works brilliantly, with impressive camera zooming, panning and rotation, enhancing the building and battling scenes no end. Sound is generally good, save for odd units' cheesy mottos, which we'll dismiss as a nod to the film.
Emperor: Battle for Dune could easily have been just a grain in the vast RTS desert but Westwood have taken the significant elements of the Dune universe and woven them into a technically superb and innovative title, packed with missions, features and (even) great cut scenes. A treat for fans of both genre and story and for those wanting to ease their way into the gentle art of strategy and war. --Tae Mawson
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Firstly there are the three great houses:
House Harkonnen of Geidi Prime are a veil people knowing only hatred, their well trained, armoured and armed army is the only thing keeping them in power.
House Ordos of Draconis IV are a sneeky and untrustworthy mercenary people concerned only with the gaining of wealth, the regeneration powers of their units allows for damaged units to perform again as if they were never hurt.
House Atreides of Caladan are a noble people who take care of their men and allies, they are not however incapable of doing damage, their troops are trained to the higheat standard and more experienced units can even move in enemy territory undetected.
All houses are capable of winning and the differences compensate themselves. The other houses in the game allign themselves with whoever is nicest to them and offer two new units each, the sub-houses are the sarduakar, fremen, ix, guild and tleilaxu.
Secondly there are the graphics, a fully rotatable map with the ability to zoom in to see peoples teeth meant I was able to appreciate the quality of the graphics, sharp picture and a well mixed use of lighting and textures on a 3D landscape.
The terrain is different from normal games allowing buildings only to be placed on rock, not on sand, which is common sense really. Your harvesters collect spice which gives money to build units which kill people (always good) and sand worms wipe out anyone who stays on the sand too long. Very Command & Conquer style gameplay except in a sci-fi environment.
All in all, a good buy for all westwood, Command & Conquer, strategy and sci-fi fans a like.
The AI in skirmish games is vastly improved too. You can choose what style you want them to play, attacker, competant or defensive. I've not really messed too much with this but in defensive mode they build walls around their bases and keep most of their units close to their base rather than sending them all off on suicide missions to mine.
The best thing about the missions is you can get reinforcements from friendly neighbouring territories, something that always anoyed me that you couldn't do in previous westwood rts games.
My only gripe with it really is the terrible acting in the cut scenes when you play the missions! They really are dire!
All in all the graphics, sound and game play is superb but the video scenes are pants.
The Dune saga is a compelling setting for the war, much better than the usual USA vs. Russia fare. The full-3D is an excellent transition from the old C&C interface, instantly playable and so much more rewarding. The graphics are gorgeous, especially special effects like sandstorms and worms.
Cut-scenes are great, casting and attention to detail in them particularly good and faithful to the Dune universe, right down to the Sapho juice stains on the lips of the Mentats. (Dune fans will understand!)
The sub-houses are a great addition, as assisting one can eventually give an 'alliance' - the ability to build their units. All the units are very balanced and all lend well to strategic use, far better than Tiberian Sun. However, some units surviving from Dune 2 have undergone a number of changes. The Harkonnen Devastator, formerly a Mammoth Tank style machine, is now ridiculously slow and has become a weird 3-legged mech. Ordos Deviators are now shielded hovertanks (with great gas effects!). The Fremen are now fully-controllable units and very deadly (as they should be), not just computer-controlled cannon-fodder as before. Even the Guild Navigators inside their tanks and planes look true to the film. Unit voices are mostly excellent, although some are a bit cheesy and we don't really need to know that the Devastator driver "feels sick"! The main complaint in terms of the battles is the odd and downright stupid 'super' weapons. The Atreides use a 'Hawk Strike', a large bird image that scares off enemy troops. Hmm.......
Overall though, a top game for all RTS fans, and Dune fans will be totally immersed.
Most recent customer reviews
It was westwood's first strategie game with a 3D engine :)
A must of every dune fan, I think