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 Home -> Reviews -> Emperor: Battle for Dune
Emperor: Battle for Dune By John "Award" Del Percio, July 9, 2001
Developer :Westwood
Publisher :Electronic Arts
Release Date :Late June 2001
Demo Available : No
Table of Contents

· Introduction
· Closer Look
· Facts
· Final

Wormsign Detected

There really is not much wrong with the game at all to complain about, so I suppose this will be one of the shortest third pages I've ever written for a review. I had a few things marked off to complain about, but the latest patch added the features I wanted (attack-move, and ability to jump anywhere on the minimap while having units selected.) Still, there are a few things that are worth mentioning.

I've noticed that at times, long range attack units don't fire when they have a target in range, needing a bit more in the way of babysitting for incoming invasions. It also would have been nice if carryalls did more of what they were supposed to. Their duty is to ferry your harvesters to and from the base when they are full, or in danger of attack by the enemy or worms (yes, the sandworms are really in here, and they're really big.) Unfortunately, while the carryalls do ferry your units around, the seem to be completely aloof when it comes to enemy attacks or worm attacks. I have lost more harvesters while a carryall was hovering directly above them than I wish to recall. At times I've even seen a carryall drop a harvester down directly in front of the mouth of an incoming worm after the radar detected a wormsign. Perhaps in a later patch I can play without pumping out more harvesters every few minutes.

There are also a few very minor stability problems with the game. A notice from another application popped up and minimized Emperor. When I came back the graphics were somewhat distorted. On two occasions, the game did dump to the desktop, and during the install I got an odd error message, and the install proceeded exceptionally slowly. I thought it just must have been a very large game, but the directory for it is just over 500mb. I have no explanation as to why the install was so slow. And for the last of the technical difficulties, it occasionally has trouble reading through the copy protection on my, rather common, Pioneer 16x DVD drive, though the copy protection in itself is annoying. Like Myst III, each time I reboot after having played the game, I get a "Windows is updating its setup files" message. I really don't like the thought of a game messing around with my setup files. Generally speaking, though, the game is fairly stable, and technically clean.

Finally, as a bit of an off-note, there is one little complaint I have with the speed the game runs at. Granted, I do have the resolution up to 1024x768, and I have all the graphics options enabled, but even on my system I got some incredible frame rate drop when a lot of units were in the screen, and I suffered some long load times. I can't begin to imagine what this would be like on a slower system. I really see no reason why the game should run that slowly, and I think it can probably be attributed to some heavily unoptimized code. While it is an annoyance at times, though, I don't notice it all the time, and probably if I weren't such a special effects nut, I wouldn't have the problem at all.

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