Dune 2000 Review

Basically a port of the PC version, Dune 2000 is lackluster at best, because it is a port of a lackluster PC game.

For fans of Command and Conquer, Dune 2000 is the sequel to the real-time strategy game that started it all, Dune II. In Dune 2000, you play as one of three rival "houses" from Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi book series. You can select from the Atreides, Harkonnen, or the Ordos. Each house has its own strengths and weaknesses, just like the GDI and the NOD, from C&C. Basically a port of the PC version, Dune 2000 is lackluster at best, because it is a port of a lackluster PC game.

In Dune 2000, you're warring with the other houses over control of the spice mines, which, in typical real-time-strategy-game fashion, is the resource you must harvest to further your other causes, such as building the machines of war. Each house has its own technology tree that you must master to conquer the inevitable invading forces. Ultimately, you'll work your way through missions, steering you toward complete dominance of the planet Arrakis' spice mines. Besides warring with the other houses, you must also contend with nature's own monstrous sandworms and with religious zealots called the Fremen. Despite the game's basic competence at handling the real-time action, it is at its best merely average, and at its worst impractical.

The majority of the problems facing ports of almost any RTS game are caused by the controls, have been severely compromised to fit on a PlayStation controller. Although this problem isn't enough to make the game unplayable, it's enough to make it more frustrating. PC gamers are used to hot keys and key-specific commands. When these functions are buried deep in layers of menus configured to the PlayStation controller, they simply add to what is already a traditionally complex interface. Anyone who has this game for the PC will not likely be buying it for the PlayStation, but even PlayStation owners will find the controls overly busy.

Beyond the questionable control scheme, the visuals really highlight how ill-equipped the PlayStation is at handling what are supposed to be high-resolution graphics. While the little people running around the screen are, of course, supposed to be drawn to scale, they look like sprites rendered by an Intellivision. Similarly, the backgrounds also border on monotonous, due to the desert settings. The buildings you create and the machines you construct all suffer from a loss of detail, which is further enhanced by the fact that most people will be playing this game on a normal TV. Simply put, the game isn't very pretty to look at. Although gameplay is king when it comes to RTS's, the gameplay here is painfully average, which is only exacerbated by the fact that the graphics fail to liven things up. The game is interspersed with live-action FMVs designed to draw you into the Dune 2000 world. Expect a C&C level of quality, and you won't walk away disappointed. Movies, sadly, are not enough to save this game from bargain-bin status.

While there are 30 missions spread out among the three houses, only gamers with no other RTS recourse will find themselves playing this game, which is, in almost ironic fashion, far inferior to Westwood's own Command and Conquer series. If you think this game is unusual among console-based real-time strategies, it's not, as Blizzard's upcoming Starcraft 64 faces the same problems. At the present, however, Dune 2000 is its own worst enemy, and this game is suitable only for those with no other choice for some real-time action. This is rental material, at best.

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Dune 2000 More Info

  • First Released Aug 31, 1998
    • PC
    • PlayStation
    While some may take away from Dune 2000 a fleeting sense of nostalgia for the classic, most will invariably leave the game disappointed and wondering how a true sequel might have turned out.
    Average Rating1212 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Westwood Studios
    Published by:
    Virgin Interactive, Electronic Arts, Westwood Studios, Sold Out Software
    Real-Time, Strategy
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Animated Violence, Realistic Violence