This is an action game which is commonly seen as the great-grandfather of all ego shooters. It was the year 1992 when this virus, disguised as Shareware, was travelling across busy schoolyards and noisy scene parties, spreading from drive to drive. The shooting orgy by American star programmer John Carmack had an irresistable appeal to the teenagers who hadn't yet been cauterised by mass-produced imitations of this ego perspective, and the extra episodes which were available for sale made John Carmack a millionaire overnight.
You'd think that a sequel to a fairly popular game would be at least known to people. With Return of Medusa, Starbyte managed the impossible: making their sequel completely obscure. So far that nowadays it is a hot contender for the title of "most misclassified game". Because it is not actually a role-playing game!
At least not primarily, but we'll get to that later. In an absurd twist of events, the evil goddess Medusa, whom the player defeated in the first part, is not actually dead, but has escaped to the future where she has once again conquered most of the realm. In typical pulp villain fashion, she cannot resist gloating to newly crowned king Cirion, who promptly follows her through the time tunnel to take her on once again.
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!