Dune is an adventure strategy video game released in 1992 that is based on Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel of the same name. Cryo Interactive created it, and Virgin Interactive published it.
Dune combines action with economic and military strategy. The game casts the player as Paul Atreides, with the ultimate goal of driving the Harkonnen from Planet Dune while managing spice extraction, military, and, later, ecology through the native Fremen tribes. As the player progresses, his troops are outfitted with weapons ranging from “cryo knives” to atomics, he can tap into Paul’s latent psychic powers, and he meets characters from the book such as Chani and Liet-Kynes.
It was one of the first floppy games to be converted to CD format, and it included footage from David Lynch’s film, voice-acting for all speaking roles, and greatly improved 3D-rendered traveling and location screens. This version, which combined Amiga graphics with PC-CD extras, was also released on the Sega CD / Mega CD console.
Stéphane Picq and Philip Ulrich composed the audio track, which was released by Cryo (formerly Exxos) on the album Dune: Spice Opera.
The plot is largely based on the plot of Frank Herbert’s Dune novel: the protagonist is Paul Atreides, son of Duke Leto Atreides and Lady Jessica. Emperor Shaddam IV made an irresistible offer to the House Atreides: mine the spice from the desert planet Arrakis, which was occupied by their long-time adversaries, the House Harkonnen. Duke Leto accepts the offer not only for the wealth provided by spice trading but also for the sake of defeating the Harkonnens.
The game is a hybrid of real-time strategy and adventure, as seen through Paul’s eyes at all times. While the strategy component is the game’s foundation, character dialogue and a linear plotline give the game more depth than most strategy games. The player is also required to complete some mini-quests that involve talking to characters and traveling to different locations, which adds a small adventure game element to the game.
A balance must be struck between military and spice mining power. While a strong military force will provide a quick response to the Harkonnen, the game will be lost if Spice is not mined quickly enough to keep up with the Emperor’s demands. However, if too much emphasis is placed on spice mining, Harkonnen troops can ambush a sketch and capture all troops inside. They can be rescued only if the sietch is freed. Because the game is about as much resource management as it is about military conquest, balancing both is essential for success.
Dune has two intertwined gameplay layers: an adventure layer akin to dungeon crawler games and a top-down strategy layer akin to 4X games. The player can toggle between these two layers at any time in order to complete completely different sets of activities required to win the game.
The adventure layer allows the player to travel short distances, whether inside structures (such as the Arrakeen palace or a sietch) or out into the desert. The strategy layer depicts the entire planet Arrakis and allows you to survey (and later control) Paul’s assets in the Spice-mining effort and the battle against the Harkonnen.
The game runs in real-time, tracking both the time of day (with corresponding changes to the in-game visuals) and the number of days since the game’s inception. The passage of time is critical, and it moves at the same rate regardless of which layer is being examined.
The game’s gameplay evolves in response to the story’s evolution. As the plot progresses, more and more options become available, mirroring Paul’s gradual maturation as a Fremen leader and a threat to House Harkonnen and the Emperor.
Paul begins the game at the Arrakeen palace, his family’s new home on Dune. Moving around the palace to meet and converse with his family members and trusted advisors in the early game introduces the player to the game’s setting.
Conversations in Dune are only to a limited extent interactive, with the player able to select responses to advance the plot – but most dialogue options simply command the other character to divulge pertinent strategic information or to carry out some relevant action in the game world. Duncan Idaho, for example, could be asked to provide a detailed report on the current state of the Atreides Spice-mining operation or to send a shipment of Spice to the Emperor. A few characters can be summoned to accompany Paul on his journey.
Soon after, Paul is dispatched by his father, Duke Leto, to contact the local Fremen tribes and persuade them to work for House Atreides, which lacks its own military and spice-mining forces. Travel to those Fremen switches must be accomplished by Ornithopter, which can be done by selecting a destination or a general direction and flying in a straight line. Certain points of interest can be seen from the air while flying. Characters who are currently following Paul may increase the likelihood of spotting such locations. On the “select destination” map, every visited location (or one whose position was reported by a character during dialogue with them) is shown. The travel sequence can be skipped, but the flight time is calculated and the in-game clock is advanced when the destination is reached. When Paul reaches a Fremen sietch, he may speak with the local chieftain in an attempt to persuade the Fremen to join the Atreides. Though most chieftains will agree right away, some will need more convincing, and Paul will need to do something specific or raise his reputation score before they will agree to work for him.
The strategy layer is unlocked once at least one tribe has been recruited. This layer enables Paul to send his troops to any known location on the planet. It also includes a small interface for examining the spice availability in each sector of the map (once Spice prospectors have been recruited as well). Finally, any Fremen tribe can be ordered to pick up spice-mining equipment (which increases mining efficiency) if it is available in their current location or to search nearby switches for such equipment. Tribe movement between switches occurs in real-time. Tribes will automatically begin mining Spice at their current location and will continue to do so until the Spice is depleted. Spice is automatically transported to the Atreides’ stores in Arrakeen, necessitating no logistics.
When the Emperor’s spice reserves begin to grow, he will begin to make demands for spice shipments. These are received in the palace’s communications room and must be completed within a certain time frame, or else the game will end with the Emperor invading Dune and destroying the Atreides. Because each shipment requires manual confirmation, this adds a gameplay dimension in which the player must calculate how frequently they must return to Arrakeen (Atreides Palace). Duncan can be instructed to send more or less than the requested amount of Spice (assuming it is available) in order to preserve spice or delay the next request. Spice can also be used to buy more mining (and later military) equipment from Smuggler camps, which will be marked on the map as the game progresses.
As the story progresses, Paul will discover more sketches and gather an increasing number of spice-mining tribes. The Harkonnen will eventually attack one of the switches and capture one of the tribes, at which point Duke Leto will go on a retaliatory suicide mission and be killed. This scripted event advances the game to the next stage, which is the formation of a military force to defend sietches and, eventually, to take the fight into Harkonnen territory. To begin, Paul must complete certain plot objectives by visiting specific locations and conversing with specific characters, most notably Stilgar. Once the requirements are met, Paul can direct tribes to shift from spice mining to military training. To increase combat efficiency, such a tribe can be outfitted with any available weaponry rather than mining equipment. Military tribes can also train to improve their prowess and morale, especially if Gurney Halleck is instructed to stay at the sietch where the military forces are training. Once ready, military tribes can be dispatched to scout out and attack Harkonnen fortresses. To win, attacking tribes must outnumber and out-equip the Harkonnen defenders of a fortress; otherwise, they may be destroyed and/or taken captive. Morale is also an important factor in a military tribe’s effectiveness, and Paul himself can influence the outcome of a battle by traveling to the battle site and issuing generalized combat orders (cautious vs. aggressive). This is extremely dangerous for Paul, and it is possible that he will be killed in the battle. If a battle is won, Paul may be able to question the previous commander of the fortress for more information and possibly free any tribes held captive there. A captured fortress will be transformed into a new sketch over time.
The ultimate goal of the game is to destroy all or most of the Harkonnen fortresses, bringing you within striking distance of the Harkonnen palace, Arrakeen, which is located near Dune’s north pole. Then, in order to launch the final assault and win the game, a massive army must be assembled.
We might have the game available for more than one platform. Dune is currently available on these platforms:
Text instructions (how to play on Windows)
- Click on the download button below. It should redirect you to your download (a .rar file). Make sure you download the file properly and that your internet does not disconnect while downloading.
- Extract the “Dune_DOS” folder to your desktop. You will need software such as WinRAR to do this.
- Download DOSBox and put a shortcut for DOSBox onto your desktop.
- Open the “Dune_DOS” folder and then open the “Game Files” folder.
- Drag the file called “DUNEPRG” on top of the DOSBox icon and the game should now launch in DOSBox.
- Enjoy the game!