Last Updated on July 2, 2021
A development-hell port of Dune II: The Battle for Arrakis has finally completed!
Rewind to 1996. I’ve finished my (deferred) A-levels and it’s a long hot summer. When I’m not playing guitar or watching Euro 96, I’m playing games on an Amiga 1200 (in the midst of the home PC revolution). After a few months of K240 I swapped to a new strategy game – Dune II: The Battle for Arrakis, and was hooked.
A game of considerable depth and atmosphere and based on the Dune series of books, Dune II was a precursor to the Command & Conquer series (which I simply failed to take to when I bought that game 18 months later). Intelligent, with a tough-but-appreciable difficulty curve, Dune II remains memorable and influential among strategy game developers.
You can, then, imagine my surprise to discover that not only was there a partly-developed port of Dune II for the ZX Spectrum back in the day. Double that when, a few weeks later, it gets a release!
“This game has come a long way, it was programmed by Perestroika Software and made available in a beta version in 1997, then put away for many years, for popping up again in a newer version with a fully working and playable level 1 as participant in the “Your Game 5” contest in 2014. A fixed version was made by Demige in 2019 (added missing files v-a.obj, w-a.obj, d-a.obj, level load fixed), and in May 2021 it was made available for the public to download. [Now] a 100% full working version of “Dune II – The Battle for Arrakis” for the ZX Spectrum 128k, and with intro and levels it takes up 2 disks for the UK company Technology Research’s Beta Disk 128 system.”
You can play the ZX Spectrum version of Dune II: The Battle for Arakis online in a browser-based emulator, or download it. For physical systems you’ll need 128K.
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine and MakeUseOf.com.