Dune 2: the Battle of the Sequels

Judging by my Twitter feed and my buddies who are trying to get me to see a movie in a theater for the first time since Rise of Skywalker, “Dune 2” is an exciting thing.

I agree! I played a lot of _Dune II: The Battle for Arrakis_ on my buddy's Genesis. We rented it several times based on my recommendation and loved it. We also rented the David Lynch movie based on my recommendation on a snow day when we were in Jr. high. I had never seen it, but had read the book at that point. My friends were much more cautious about my movie recommendations after that. So let's talk about the _Dune_ RTS series instead of how my childhood friends tolerated certain parts of my personality.

It's pretty easy to argue that _Dune II_ is an important progenitor of the modern real-time strategy genre that would be refined by the likes of _Warcraft_, _Starcraft_ at Blizzard, and _Command & Conqueror_ by Westwood themselves. Modern game design influences of _Dune II_ are more readily seen in MOBA games and tower defense games that are more friendly to mobile touch-based input.

In the years before Kevin J. Anderson negotiated the license to start writing new serialized Dune books , the Dune video games significantly influenced Dune cannon in the same way that influential Star Wars contributed it its cannon during the 90s. This was significant as I think both properties were kept alive in the nerd hobby consciousness through their use as an inexpensive Sci-Fi IP license.

_Dune II_ did a good job simplifying a control scheme for a three-button controller. You could not drag-select units, but you didn't have to by design as unit caps were low. The C-button panned the camera across the map. This is the definitive version of the game vs. the PC version, because this is the one I played and I've never played the PC port.

_Dune 2000_ is a remake of _Dune II_. I tried it and it was only OK.

_Emperor: Battle for Dune_ was better, but still didn't grab me in the same way. I got it in a bargin bin and played some of the single player campaign. Michal Dorn uses his Worf voice playing the Atrades mentat. The other things I liked about it are how there are sub-factions that you can select for your house on "turn zero" of the game. You can recruit Ix, the Spacing Guild, Sardaurkar, or the Tilaxu. The best part is that some heavy and expensive units have shields and other units can carry Lasguns and if you use the Lasgun on the shield, both units explode. This remains a cool thematic and also tactical choice.

In conclusion, here is a [YouTube overview of the series](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lJulKIDw9Y) that I have not watched. I discovered it when I went to go pull my favorite Genesis soundtrack to wrap up with. That playlist is here and it rules.



I remember enjoying the single player mode on "Emperor: Battle For Dune" which included a campaign map split between the three houses, each house took a turn attacking territories on the map, resulting in a in-game battle. Ownership of certain campaign territories applied particular bonuses. Most RTS I'd played prior to that Contented themselves with a an entirely scripted single player campaign made up of a handful of scripted story missions. To this day I prefer the "Risk-like" approach of having a sort of meta-game board for the single player portion of a strategy game, but you don't see it too often.

I was hesitant to share Cryo’s Dune’s Dolbyfield Enhanced soundtrack in the mixtape thread over there but this feels like a better opportunity! Headphones and spice consumption are both heavily recommended.


I voted Dune II. The strangest part about Dune II is how little it has in common conceptually with the game it came after. It is as if Super Mario Kart had been called Super Mario World 2 and everyone rolled with it. If I remember correctly, both Dune games were kinda developed in parallel and it just so happened that the Westwood one took longer to ship and so it got the sequel status?


I really like the SciFi Dune/Children of Dune series. It‘s not a game, but this is a fair response to my post. "I’ll allow it" in my best Jaffe voice.

Somebody else has the same kind of brain that I do:


Dune 2 was the first RTS I ever played on the Amiga but the thing I associate it with now is from a Maraoke GDC party a few years ago. An older local guy who I'm guessing was not familiar with the game came up to the stage from behind the bar to do a song. He delivered a perfect Sinatra-like rendition of New York, New York with lyrics changed to be about Dune 2 (“These Harkonnen fools…” etc.). Maybe you had to be there but it was amazing. Anyway, Maraoke is a really fun event and Ste Curran would be a good podcast guest too @exodus