Dune is an adventure strategy game, based on the novel by Frank Herbert. It blends an adventure component with economic and military strategy. The game loosely follows the plot of the novel as you play Paul Atreides as he tries to mine Arrakis for the spice Melange while fighting the treacherous Harkonnens.
There are two layers of gameplay. There is an adventure layer and also a top-down strategy layer reminiscent of a 4X game. The player can switch between these at will. As the game progresses, more and more options become available, which mirrors Paul’s growth as leader of House Atreides.
The game starts in the Arrakeen palace in Adventure mode, and Paul must talk to various characters to advance the plot. However, once he is sent by his father, Leto Atreides, to the first Fremen sietch, the strategy mode opens and the player can begin mining spice. The Fremen mine spice automatically but the player must explore more sietches in search of mining equipment. All this happens in real time. As the spice begins to accumulate, the emperor will send demands for shipments.
The player must carefully balance military power and spice mining. Having a strong military will enable the defeat of the Harkonnens much more easily, but neglecting mining means House Atreides will fail to keep up with the emperor’s demands, thus losing the game. The game’s ultimate goal is to destroy all or most of the Harkonnen fortresses, and to come within striking distance of the Harkonnen palace. Then a massive army must be collected in order to make the final assault and win the game.
- Dune was a commercial success, selling 20,000 units in its first week alone. By 1997, it had sold 300,000 copies.
- It was the first game to be issued with a printed cover sleeve over a Virgin Interactive box. This became the industry standard for games from then on. Previously, expensive boxes had been printed for each game, or a cover was glued on, necessitating extra steps.
- It was one of the first floppy games to be converted to CD format, which included footage from the David Lynch film, voice acting by the film’s cast for the speaking roles, and 3D-rendered travelling and location screens.
- While the game is technically based on the books, the graphics were clearly inspired by the movie. Paul Atreides looks very much like Kyle MacLachlan.
This was one of the first PC games I played. I received it from a class mate at school and really loved it. At first it seems just an adventure game but you quickly discover it’s also a strategy game. It can take several replays to get the hang of it (especially back then when I had no Internet to guide me) but at the time it was an amazing game. It’s a shame Cryo lost their touch around the second half of the 90’s.RedAvatar
To save the game: save inside the game. Then, press ESCAPE to unlock your mouse from the window and click on the little disk icon in the top left. This will locally store your save-games allowing you to return later and continue your save-game.
- Text: Arete
- Screenshots: RedAvatar
- PIB & download: RedAvatar
- Video: Jiseng So
- Box art: RedAvatar
- Documents: openretro.org
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Longplay – copyright Jiseng So