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!
The history of one of the greatest computer game developers begins here: Graftgold! Riding on the first 3D craze and applying it to the current Star Wars hype, 3D Spacewars is exactly what the name suggests: a space shooter in 3D. Of course, on the home computers of the early 1980s, 3D usually simply meant to have flat enemy sprites in three or four different zoom levels which were switched on the fly to simulate changing distance. A technique which never really looked all too convincing, but whose signalling intention is clear enough.
Normality throws the player into a dystopian metropolis leaning towards the psychedelic. Right in the middle of it, you take over the role of a teenager in his fourties called Kent who finds himself in his flat which has gone under in total chaos. Due to the game being classified as appropriate for six-year-olds, there are no beer bottles, porn magazines or even a huge, filthy bong to be found. Instead, there is just a boob tube, a dripping faucet and a permanently nodding tumbler bird. The run-down gloominess of Neutropolis does not fit with the good-natured and carefree mind of the protagonist.