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Splinter Cell
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Dune 2
EmperorIn 1992, Westwood created with Dune 2 a genre that is among the most popular today: the genre of real-time strategy games. Although there had been a Dune 1 from Cryo Interactive, it was, despite nice graphics, soon lost in the mass of insignificant games because of its dull gameplay. The only thing both games had in common was that they were losely based on Frank Herbert's sci-fi bestseller "Dune". And although innovative ideas abounded in Dune 2, many gaming magazines didn't recognize the game's potential, namely that it was, in contrast to the usual turn-based games, much more action-oriented, and that once you had started playing the addictive effect set in immediately. But despite somewhat modest critics, the game's popularity spread among the gaming community like fire, making it one of the most played games of the year and thus triggering off the following boom of real-time strategy games.
What spiced it up:
Sand wormMany features of Dune 2 were unique at that time: e.g. constructing a base, upgrading structures and units, harvesting ressources (in this case the spice Melange), the Carry-all unit (which only exists in Westwood games), or scouting the environment to reveal more and more of the terrain clouded by black fog. Moreover, it was of no use to gather an army and then launch a full-scale attack on the enemy's base, since only the right mixture of different units led to success. And even with an elite army you had to remain cautious as not to fall prey to the ever hungry sand worms that sometimes devoured your favourite units in the last moment imaginable...

In 1992

very high


not any more


L. of Lore
C&C - TS
The three houses:
DevestatorThe motivating story that told of the epic fight between the good Atreides, the insidous Ordos, and the evil Harkonnen for the desert planet Arrakis and its coveted spice Melange, crowned the great gameplay. Each party had certain strengths and weaknesses and could make use of special units and attacks later in the game. The Atreides could produce the Sonic Tank and were supported by the Fremen; the Ordos could throw the Deviator, a rocket launcher with nerve gas weaponry, and the Saboteur into the fray; and the Harkonnen reduced everything to rubble with their heavy Devestator and their long-range missile. Westwood had implemented those characteristics into Dune 2 that were to become the company's most renowned features: the wonderful intro, extro and cutscenes, sometimes accompanied by speech, that had a positive impact on the game's atmosphere.
What was to come:
PalaceDespite all of this, Dune 2 is only one showpiece in the company's long history of successes. It all started with Eye of the Beholder (1991) which became highly popular, closely followed by hits like Legend of Kyrandia, Eye of the Beholder II (both 1992), Lands of Lore (1993), Kyrandia II - Hand of Fate (1994), Command & Conquer, Legend of Kyrandia III (both 1995), Command & Conquer - Red Alert (1996), Lands of Lore II, Blade Runner (both 1997), Dune 2000 (1998) as well as Lands of Lore III and the RTS hit C&C - Tiberian Sun in 1999. An end to this unparalelled series of successes is not in sight: with the action RPG Nox, Westwood has shown that they're still at the top of the industry.
© 2000 by CE