DUNE 2: BATTLE FOR ARRAKIS
By Dennis "CallMeBackdraft" Aspers on July 27, 2019
For all that is holy in this world, could someone please fix the damn air conditioning? What do you mean there is nothing you can do?!? Get your tools, go into the Tech Room and make sure cold air starts flowing trough the ducts again. it isn't that hard, is it now? How is it even possible that a newly installed top of the line hyper fancy air conditioning system, that was specifically installed no more than 2 months ago, broke down? What do you even mean it didn't break down? it is clearly not functioning because everything in this facility is melting, INCLUDING ME!!!!
This was whose doing? Bob Ross? SADHONKER I TOLD YOU NOT TO LET HIM GET CLOSE TO ANY IMPORTANT STUFF!!!! So what if he moved that lever, just flip it back and get this stuff going! This is just a nonsensical discussion we are having here. wait, where is that lever anyway? Hold on, that's Bob on the TV. is he holding our lever? Is that him using our lever as a paint brush?!? Sadhonker, go to that studio now, get that lever back and fix this damn air conditioning while I take our readers on this week's trip, Don't worry dear readers, I haven't forgotten about you and due to this recent heatwave and the issues we are having we are at least conditioned for the game I wanted us to (re)visit this time around. Let's get our slightly overheated asses back to the year 1992 and get boots down in the sands of Dune 2: Battle for Arrakis.
As we've seen before in our visits of the games of yesteryear, a good movie or a good novel does not necessarily make a good game. The Dune game series, however, is one of the exceptions to this rule, especially the game in the series that we are visiting today. Dune 2: Battle for Arrakis was the first Real-Time-Strategy game in the series based on the 1984 Movie Dune by David Lynch, which in its own right was based on a Sci-Fi novel with the same name by Frank Herbert. And boy, did this game leave its mark on the gaming world; it was a commercial success and while not being the first RTS game ever, it created a format for RTS games that is widely used and copied in RTS games even till this day.
Especially, but not exclusively, in Westwood's own future RTS games some of this game's mechanics like fog of war (map that is invisible until discovered), mouse based micromanagement and resource gathering economics basically are still the same as they were all those years ago. Hey, why change a winning formula, am I right?
In BFA (Battle For Arrakis), we take the role of a commander for one of three houses: the Atreides, Harkonnen or Ordos, and will fight for control over the planet of Arrakis and its interplanetary sought after resource known as Spice. To do this we have to create bases and start gathering the valuable drug mixture from the hot sands of the planet. Apart from this, we'll also have to defend our base from not only the other 2 competing houses but also from one of the staples of the Dune Universe, gigantic sandworms that take no issue with gulping up complete infantry battalions or any of your vehicles.
Talking about infantry and vehicles; each of the houses have their own specializations and have their own technological tree, making it that while playing as any of the three houses, you'll have to change tactics based on the opposition and your own capabilities as a house. Where the Harkonnen depend on heavy artillery and heavily armored units with their devastator tanks, the Atreides have chosen Sonic weaponry. The Ordos, on the other hand, have specialized in creating a nerve gas that when fired from its tank messes with the allegiance of enemy units to make them fight for the Ordos' cause for a limited period of time.
One of the other hallmarks that was concocted by the creators of BFA was the ability to create Mobile units that can be moved across the sands and into the other areas of the map and then deployed as fully-fledged buildings, which provided you with a way to easily increase the size of your base. These units are slow however, slower than Sadhonker's mind on beer during a heatwave, so while moving across the sands they are at a huge risk of being gulped up by the ever looming Sandworm, which has no qualms whatsoever with taking out the most expensive unit you can build in one fell swoop.
As is the case with most RTS games, at the very top of the technological tree are the superweapons. And, as with units and offensive tactics, each of the houses also have their own variety of superweapons, The Harkonnen will built powerful but inaccurate Death Hand Missile battery, the Atreides will call on their alliance with the Fremen (natives of Arrakis) to send out a large battalion of infantry over which the player has no direct control and, last but not least, the Ordos go for the more tactical approach and send out a saboteur which moves fast and is able to destroy any building in mere seconds.
As previously stated Dune 2 BFA created some of the hallmarks of RTS game for years to come, be it a resource gathering economy, multiple factions, mouse micromanagement, mobile units that deploy into buildings or a simple way of building your base and units. Any and all of these mechanics would be seen in a multitude of RTS games not only those made by Westwood themselves but also series like Warcraft.
For now, it is time for us to head back to our HQ and see if Sadhonker was able to persuade Mr. Ross to give us back our lever so we can activate our Airconditioning system again.. Yo Sad.HOLY BALLS! It's freezing in here!!! What the hell happened here?! More to the point, where the hell is Sadhonker? Come one, everything is iced over and slippery as all heck. Oh god, no! He actually tried using his machete as a make-shift lever. Okay guys and girls, I'm gonna need to find a way to fix this. It's always the same with that guy; while trying to fix one extreme he promptly sends us straight into the opposite extreme. Oh well, for now I say t-t-t-tata and until next time, when Sadhonker will take you out on a road trip again, provided he didn't accidentally get himself frozen solid in these arctic temperatures.
DUNE 2: BATTLE FOR ARRAKIS