Blizzard Entertainment

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The word "sequel" usually means "take the same elements that made the first thing successfull and create a story that could possibly match the end of the previous episode". It is especially true with movies and as this industry rubs off on computer and video games, it is not surprising to see the same syndrome invading the computer gaming world.

Fortunately, Blizzard Entertainment did not follow this trend and will not just produce a rehash of the first Warcraft with new scenarios to earn quick money. Instead, they are developing a whole new product based on the same duality between Orcs and Humans but with so many improvements over the original game that the only common point between the two titles is the word "Warcraft".

Warcraft II features a multitude of new units like Dwarven inventors, dragons, Elven archers, battleships, griffons, zeppelins, etc...for combats on land, air and sea. Each unit was remarkably rendered in SVGA graphics as you can check for yourself on this page and if you look down at the other screen shots of the game, you will be dazzled by the backgrounds's details and the graphics's sharpness.

As mentioned above, Warcraft II uses SVGA graphics throughout the game including three-dimensional rendered cinematic scenes in the introduction and other intermediary scenes. The results are simply amazing! Just take a look at some of the landscapes to judge by yourself!! They look very realistic and the units apparently integrate themselves into the background with no difficulty at all.

This sequel will feature separate storylines for both Orcs and Humans as in the first game, but this time with 28 scenarios. However, there is a big difference between the two episodes. In Warcraft II, the player has the opportunity to customize the game with a map, scenario and unit editors to provide the players with unparalleled possibilities.

But one of the main improvements remains the multi-player capabilities through modem connections, direct links or networks with up to seven players playing at the same time. One very interesting feature of Warcraft II in the multi-player domain is their unique "spawning" technology that allows two players to compete head-to-head with only one copy of the program. It will be very useful for people with two computers at home who want to play with their friends or other members of the family without buying an extra-copy of the game.

Finally, for advanced players who are not afraid by real challenges, Blizzard will include an additional dozen veteran scenarios. The game will be available only on PC CD-ROM for Christmas 1995 but I have no doubt that other platforms will have their own version later in 96. A shareware version on CD-ROM will be available later in September with 6 scenarios and the possibility to command as an Orc or an Human leader. Like Pax Imperia 2, the shareware version does not include all the features, but it will bring you some of the excitement you can expect from the final release.

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