The Game: The Padishah Emperor has declared open season on the planet Arrakis – better known as Dune. With no rules and no limits, the Houses of Atreides, Harkonnen and Ordos are cordially invited to mine the precious Spice from Dune’s subsurface strata – and smash each other into smithereens with any and all weapons and technologies available. (Electronic Arts [developed by Westwood Studios], 1998)
Memories: Dune 2000 is an updated version of the Dune 2 computer game that has been around for a few years. I’ll warn you right now, and I’m only doing this because I feel it’s a valid warning…Dune 2000 is extremely addictive. It’s right up there with SimCity and the Ultima games – proving that complex computer games can eat up just as much time as any ultra-simple arcade-style action game.
But then I ran across the Playstation version of Dune 2000. It’s an outstanding port, almost identical to the PC-based version, but with a different and slightly distracting grpahic look. The PC game, as seen above, has a consistent, straight-overhead-looking-down viewpoint, whereas the Playstation version of Dune 2000 has a vaguely 3-D perspective in which the top of the screen is further in the distance than the bottom. The Playstation version requires the Playstation mouse, and even then, its controls are a little too sensitive. While it’s fun either way, I strongly recommend getting Dune 2000 for the PC – the keyboard commands enhance the game and make it easier in more intense rounds of the game. And I’ll throw in three words that make the PC version very attractive indeed: internet death matches!
The extras and perks of the game are also a bonus. Various intro movies feature such SF stalwarts as John Rhys-Davies (Sliders) as the Atreides Mentat, and Musetta Vander (who played the main guest role in last year’s The Disease episode of Star Trek: Voyager, in addition to at least one episode of Babylon 5) as the narrator of the opening sequence of the game. The music by Frank Klepacki is also a great motivator during play, with some especially dark, percussive pieces sounding a bit like Evan Chen’s music from Crusade. Overall, Dune 2000 seems to have more in common with Dune the movie than the series of “Dune” novels.
I heartily recommend Dune 2000 to you, with a single caveat: you’re going to be spending a lot of time playing it. Just ask my fianceÃ¨ – she introduced me to Dune 2000, and she’s had to pry me away from it countless times, supposedly for trivial tasks such as preparing and eating meals, bathing, washing clothes…