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In its first offering, Warwind presented the apocalyptic war of four different factions for the control of the planet Yavaun: the Tharoons, former planet leaders, willing to keep on their supremacy over the other clans; the Oblinox, originally Tharoon servants, a violent military order; the Shamalis, a kind of mystic humanoid aborigine like tribe, both despised and feared by Tharoons because of their magic potential, willing to unite all factions, and the plant like tribe Eagras, former Tharoon slaves, fighting for freedom.
The sequel, WarWind 2: Human Onslaught, still takes place on Yavaun, but this time Shamalis and Eagras joined forces to form the Sun (Servants Under Nogarom, the Creator), and Tharoons and Oblinox united to become the Overlord. With the accidental arrival of humans, these two indigenous warring tribes discovered two new mighty foes. After discovering a mysterious stone in South Antarctica, a mixed team of scientist and marines were suddenly transported across space to Yavaun. On arrival, most but a handful were decimated by Tharoons. Some survivors escaped and their offspring split in two groups. The Marines, considering the planet as their own, want to conquer it at all costs, and the Descendants of scientists want to find a means to fly back to Earth.
Yavaun has a rich wild fauna. Unlike many strategy games, the planet comes alive. Animals feed, move, fight, water cascades stream and butanium deposits (fuel for your vehicles) smoke and bubble. Some species are either indifferent or can be friendly with some protagonists (herbivorous doncas). Most of them are hostile and never cease to harass your troops (venomous snipe thorn, aggressive wild apes, slink weed, diseased rats, etc...) Landscapes are varied and made of cliffs, bush rocks, open ground, and water. Very often, natural obstacles force you to follow a limited number of dangerous paths along which many unwelcomed parties are hidden.
The interface is pretty straightforward. You select a unit by clicking once, and a second click activates the action icon. Training and research allow you to update the various units. Resources are necessary for buildings and units. Workers can collect plants and crystal rocks to increase these Resources. Butanium is the fuel to power your mechanical units. An important novelty to this game is the stance; the behavior of your units can be predetermined when encountering hostile forces (aggressive, neutral, evasive or reactive). The addition of many new units greatly enhances the game: e.g. marine techie may supply bombs which can be stealthily carried away and set up by frogman, a nice way to bypass strong enemy defenses. Within each camp, you can pick up leaders whose characteristics are vastly different and heroes with special talents will appear to support you.
Depending of the chosen camp, besides custom scenarios, four different branching campaigns with over 46 scenarios are proposed. As in the first version, you can keep your favorite units to start the next mission. These precious units will get powerful upgrades, collect artifacts and will attain the necessary level to win the next stage in a campaign. Therefore, unlike many real time wargames, you cannot expect to win a campaign by simply assembling a huge force to smash your enemies while blindly losing your most potent assets. The only drawback of that game is the lack of aggressiveness from your foe when playing against computer. Of course, if an enemy unit is attacked by yours, it will strike back but, in most circumstances, they will never actively search for your units. Given the sheer number of units, buildings, potential upgrades, stances, the learning curve of Warwind 2 could appear steep, but S.S.I. helps you to overcome these hurdles. Besides online help that can be read anytime, you are supplied with a voluminous detailed game book. But the most useful help comes from a well designed tutorial marine campaign delivering practical step by step support.
Graphics of both terrain and units are gorgeous in SVGA resolution and are much more detailed compared to the original game. I especially enjoyed playing with marine grunts whose appearance were inspired by space marines from the Alien 2 movie. Sound is extremely pleasant and varied, and the music is very efficient to immerse you in the weird exotic atmosphere of Yavaun.
While playing solo is a tough challenge, the full strength of the game is felt in multi-playing either via TCP/IP, IPX, modem or a serial connection. A good point is that only one CD-ROM is needed for two players on a LAN network, an additional copy of the game being required for three to four players.
Warwind 2 is facing tough competition from juggernauts such as Total Annihilation, Dark Reign or Age of Empires. But the solid background of Warwind 2, the diversity of units, potential upgrades, the unusual mixture of technology and magic should give S.S.I. and Dreamforge some success.
Written by Daniel Roth
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100% Microsoft Windows 95 compatible computer system (including compatible
32-bit drivers for CD-ROM drive, video card, sound card and input devices),
Dedicated Website: Warwind 2 website
DistributorsIn North America:
Web site: MindscapeIn Europe: