Frank Herbert's DUNE
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Published by: DreamCatcher Interactive
Developed by: WideScreen Games
Number of Players: 1
US: November 25, 2001
ESRB Content Descriptors: Realistic Violence
Also Available On: PlayStation 2
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Pentium III 500 MHz
128 MB RAM
32 MB DirectX-compatible video card
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In the year 10191, the Houses Atreides and Harkonnen are fighting a bloody battle for control of the sand planet Arrakis (Dune). It's only resource: Spice, giving those who possess it a very long life and greater powers. Two Atreides will survive the all-out massacre organised by Baron Harkonnen with the help of the Emperor: Jessica, the Duke's concubine and Paul, his son and heir to the throne. Dreamcatcher Games is putting you into the world of Frank Herbert's Dune.
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This latest adaptation of one of the most well known science fiction stories ever told focuses on the rise of the Duke Paul Muad'Dib, formerly known as Paul Atreides. After the murder of Paul's father Duke Leto Atreides by a rival aristocratic house known as the Harkonnens, Paul and his mother are forced into the all-encompassing deserts of Arrakis, better known as Dune. The story highlights Paul's ascendance among the Fremen as well as his fight to revenge his fathers death on the Harkonnens. Dune takes place in an incredibly intricate world, full of intrigue and science, religion and myth.
Dune features an especially awkward control system requiring you to switch between overly complicated keyboard controls and overly simplified mouse functions. For example the mouse is used primarily for using weapons, while all other functions take place on the keyboard, and there are plenty of actions at your disposal. From rolling to sneaking along walls, to jumping and climbing, Dune attempts to make use of a highly interactive environment. The awkward mouse controls combat detracts greatly from what may have before seemed like a fluid experience.
The camera motions are terrible as well. If left on auto adjust, the camera moves are jarring at best. Quick camera shifts may work well for cinematic scenes but when simply turning around in a room they become annoying. However it the auto adjust is turned off the camera must be adjusted manually by using the mouse. This once again forces you to one hand a variety of actions simply to be able to see where you are going. Worse than either of these options however is the fact that in certain sequences the camera is locked for cinematic effect. Early in the game you must navigate a spice field in an effort to avoid a sandworm. The spice creates a quick sand effect so its best to avoid it as much as possible. The camera however, gives you almost no forward view as it is focused straight on the sand worm. The sand worm looked great, but after dying a few times because I couldn't tell when the spice patch I was walking through would end, I was sick of it. Graphically the game maintained a good effort with some very nice environments but the people and weapon effects were pretty weak. The sound wasn't bad. I always appreciate voiceovers but I didn't feel it added much to the game over all.
Frank Herbert's Dune is set in an incredible world. Dreamcatcher unfortunately failed to do it justice.