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Dune – The first act [RETRO-1992]

RETRO – It may sound strange, but if you want to load a programme that best recreates the atmosphere of the original Frank Herbert novel and David Lynch film, then you should get your hands on 1992’s Dune 1. Cryo Interactive’s best game to date blends adventure and strategy in great proportions, with a twisty, atmospheric twist – a must-have for any Dune fan’s collection.

 

When I picked up Science et Vie Micro (roughly the French equivalent of PC World, a computer magazine) in the library of the French Institute in 1992, I was surprised to find that the magazine, which is hardly devoted to games, devoted several pages to Dune, a quasi-focus on Cryo. Of course, the enthusiasm was understandable: the French games industry had not been very good, but Dune was one of their most ambitious projects, both in terms of visuals and gameplay, even at international level.

 

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Disgruntled stars

 

But the French have now had problems acquiring various rights. Although they had obtained the licence for the adaptation from Dino de Laurentiis’s film company, the actors who starred in the Dune movie had to have their individual consent to be portrayed, so the hapless makers had to approach them one by one and negotiate with them.

Most of the stars showed very little enthusiasm, so apart from a few actors (Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides, Francesca Annis as Paul’s mother Jessica, ‘in the play’), the main characters had to be drawn as completely different characters. Fortunately, the end result was very pleasant: since the story of the game did not follow the novel or the movie to the letter, it was not too disturbing that most of the characters looked different from the actors.

 

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“One day a messiah will come…”

 

The game puts you in control of Kyle MacLachan’s Paul Atreides, son of Prince Leto. There, we pick up the storyline from the novel and the film, when Paul’s family is sent by the Emperor to the planet Arrakis (Dune) to oversee the mining of the most valuable substance in the universe, spice. As Paul, our first and most important task is to visit the secret base of the local natives, the Fremen, and persuade them to mine spice for us in service of House Atreides. To do this, we will be aided by the legend of the ‘messiah’, a man the Fremen are convinced will one day come and lead them to true freedom.

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Instead of more complex connections in the dialogue, we were given only one or two options: for example, we could ask Gurney Halleck to accompany us, or the warriors at the Irish base, and in the first half of the game we have no choice but to persuade the Fremen who join us to grow spices, carry out small missions and convince those who initially hesitate.
Initially, we need to extract enough spices, and we also need to make sure that the Emperor’s (increasing) demand for spice deliveries at certain intervals is met. If we fail to do this, the emperor’s elite soldiers, the Sardaukars, will come and slaughter everyone.

 

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A guerrilla fight for the spice

 

After the spice production begins, events accelerate even further as the Harkonnen attack the planet and kill the opposing Prince Leto. Paul and I have to organise a resistance against the Harkonnen with the help of the Fremen, so from now on we can train our brave natives to fight.

– BadSector(1992)-


Publisher: Virgin Games

Developer: Cryo

Style: Adventure, strategy

Release date: 1992 (DOS, Amiga), 1993 (Sega CD)

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