A beginning is a very delicate time. So, how to start? With some dunes, which shall be stabilised by planting grass on them? With megalomaniacal visions for a cinematic realisation of a highly sophisticated science fiction novel? At the source of a flood of real time strategy games, or one step further at the archetype, which got copied ad nauseam? All of this led, on more or less direct ways, to Dune 2000, a remake of its predecessor Dune II: Battle for Arrakis, with an updated interface, strongly inspired by Command & Conquer, and aesthetics that look like taken right out of Lynch‘s take on the space opera. A melange of many great examples, but does it live up to them? Does it dare to step out of its source’s shadows? Does it offer anything new? Or is it just an unoriginal rehash, simple cash cow cosmetics for a classic game? Let’s take a look!
Empire inspired a whole generation of programmers to do similar games. The concept is simple, yet addicting: Start with one city, build up an army and conquer the whole (unknown) world. That's it. Plain and simple. Maybe you've had this many times before, but certainly not often that well done!
Empire Deluxe stresses sea combat. There are far more ship types than different ground units or planes. Of course the cities are still the most important thing, but you have to get to all the islands first. And that's what you need a strong navy for. Cities aren't easy to defend anyway, because you can't fortify units in them. So an offensive strategy is more likely to be successful.