My very first strategy game I ever played was Dune 2 on our Amiga PC. It blew my mind. Before that most of the games I played were all about controlling your character or characters and death was the end of the game or time to load a save, suddenly I was thrust into a world where you oversaw a whole army and many of your soldiers were not going to be coming home.
For those who are not familiar with it which I would assume to be anyone significantly younger than me Dune 2 was released in 1992 and ported to the Amiga in 1993 by Westwood Studios who would later go on to make the more famous Command and Conquer series. It was loosely based around Frank Herbert’s sci-fi series (which if you have any interest in sci-fi and have not read I highly recommend it) and took a lot of its style from the David Lynch adaption of the novel which is a long watch but if your gonna see it make sure you see the directors cut. The game features three different houses (factions) to choose to play as the Noble Atreides the Insidious Ordos and the Evil Harkonnen.
The Atreides and Harkonnen are major players in the books but the Ordos were created for the game. Each house had the same basic units such as infantry and their own specific units such as the Ordos Deviator, a tank that fires nerve gas rockets that cause the enemy to switch sides this was a lot of fun and made the Ordos my instant favorite.
The gameplay itself was basic RTS fare but for the time was amazing. You selected which territory to attack on a world map then would build your base, harvest spice and defeat the enemy. You had to watch out for your harvesters as the sandworms of Dune would be very happy to destroy them if you were not paying attention. A nice touch was the fact you had to put concrete slabs down first before placing a building or else the building would take damage. As the missions progressed you would slowly unlock more units until you had a full roster something that is standard in RTS games even today.
It took me many months to finish the game as any of the houses because I kept swapping to the other houses to see the difference. By the time I finally finished the game I was ready for more strategy games but unfortunately for me, that was the only one amongst all our floppy disks and I was forced to just start the game again to get my fix. The game by the way was on 5 floppy discs and trying to keep track of those when you had an older brother using the same computer was an absolute pain.
Years later in 1998 Dune 2000 was released and was a remake of the original game, the story had changed but the feel of the game was there but with the added bonus of Westwood Studios amazing and cheesy full motion videos to tell the story. John Rhys-Davies played the Atreides mentat who gave you your missions and as a fan of his previous work, this blew my mind to see him in a game. This would have been my favorite RTS that year if not for a little game also released in 1998 called Starcraft but talking about that game definitely deserves its own post.