"all you gamers, get out there and relive this amazing title, or if you’ve never played, do yourself a favour and get it"
Warcraft II hit the shelves in April all the way back in 1996, that’s right, one of the big 3 old school Real Time Strategy games (the other 2 are Command & Conquer and Dune II) has turned 20 here in Europe and I wish to jog your memories if it was one of your favourites or inform you of what you missed out if you never played it.
Warcraft II was made by the game developers Blizzard who as you may know continued the series with Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and of course World of Warcraft, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Warcraft tells the story of the second war between the Orcs and the Humans and their respective groups. Campaigns are 15 missions long and players could lead either side to victory. But the cannon story was after the Orc victory over Azeroth (first game) they invade Lordaeron to finish off the last bastions of life in this new world, the Orcs are successful at first, establishing a foothold on the shores of Lordaeron before succumbing to 2 internal civil wars where the Alliance (humanity and its allies) take the initiative and push the Horde (orcs and their allies) all the way back to the ‘Dark Portal’ an interdimensional gateway back to their home world (which is dying, hence their invasion).
The alliance then exterminates one of the Orcish clans before capturing Orgrimm Doomhammer (Orc Warchief) and his remaining forces before finally destroying the Portal. As you can see it was and still is one hell of a story for a game.
Warcraft II was a typical RTS comprising of base building, gathering of resources and amassing an army of different units (mêlée, ranged, navel, aerial and spellcaster) and destroying the A.I. or online enemy, but also to mix things up had other missions such as rescue troops and/or forts and one of the harder types, escorting units through hostile territory.
Gameplay itself is the tried, tested and easy to use point and click system. When it came out it scored extremely well with all reviews and helped push Blizzard into the juggernaut that we know of now.
What set Warcraft II apart from the other RTS games of the time was the personalities of characters who were continued all the way to WoW, the massive plot and storytelling which was cutting edge in 96, finally and to be honest my favourite thing was the humour, keep clicking on the units and you get funny responses, each one of them was different and the random animals or critters wandering the map would blow up!
I can honestly say I’ve missed Warcraft II; I haven’t played it in over 10 years and loved getting stuck back into it. Sadly, Blizzard no longer supports it on its battle net, but it can still be found, as of this morning I checked Amazon and saw several vendors selling it as low as £10, there are also old gaming websites where it can be played or downloaded.
So go on all you gamers, get out there and relive this amazing title, or if you’ve never played, do yourself a favour and get it, yes the graphics might be dated, sound is rubbish by today’s standards, but it is a part of video gaming history and needs to be played, even now after 20 years.