Review: Warcraft II
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
68040 or PowerMac System 7.5 or higher 256-color 13" display 2x CD-ROMShareware Fee: Free (demo)
Full Retail: (est. $50)
The war has been over for years. Fleeing across the sea from the evil Orcs, humans have made a new alliance, in a new land. Man has joined with the elves in a magical land, with the Orcs in close pursuit. The battle is coming again, and it is shaping up to be monumental in comparison to any other the human race has ever fought.
Warcraft II, the soon-to-be-released sequel to the strategy/role playing game Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment, is available online in a limited demo. The new version promises to be chock-full of enhancements and bells and whistles aplenty for gamers everywhere.
While play somewhat resembles that in the earlier version, you can now have up to eight players on a network, including versus and team play, according to Blizzard. Also available are two player modem and two player direct connect modes. In addition, you can play over the Internet, and after a third-party program is perfected, Mac users can compete head-to-head against users of the PC version.
The interface is similar to that of the original, allowing more options for customizing the look and feel, including the ability to change the map size, up to four times bigger than the original (this option must be forthcoming, however, as I could not find it despite searching for some time).
Game play allows for more building to take place, and includes a nifty feature called "Fog of War" map masking, to make keeping track of enemy troops more of a chore than the original. Speaking of troops, there are quite a few more troops which you can train, including naval vessels-destroyers, battleships, oil tankers, and submarines. There are also flying machines and troop transports. And that is just on the human side. The orcs have dragons, giant turtles, death knights and such.
While adding the boats and flying machines, and all those nifty new constructions and troops, they also increased the workload of your peons. While allowing you to construct as many Town Halls as you like, you now have to not only mine gold and chop trees, but now you must drill for oil, and build refineries.
If you haven't experienced "Quick Tips" yet, that annoying feature of some recent applications that gives you hints and tricks when you open the application (a-la Claris Works, or the evil Windows 95), you will notice its presence here, but it comes as more of a help than a hindrance. Or at least it seemed helpful, since I didn't bother to read the read me until days after I'd wiped out the demo.
Warcraft II, the full version, is supposed to provide more unique scenarios, and, according to Blizzard, the scenarios will contain a greater amount of "personality," with more of a storyline and a wider variety of mission objectives.
The demo doesn't allow you to do everything that will be available in the full version, but it does outline some nifty features that will make the full version well worth waiting for. For example, users with Power Macs can enjoy 3D sound, and some limited voice recognition, for entering cheat codes. A scenario editor will allow you to create scenarios, and there is even a sound effects editor which allows you to modify the game's sounds.
The demo is good, and wets the appetite for the upcoming release, which is supposed to be later this summer.
Blizzard has a nice web site at http://www.blizzard.com.
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