War Wind II

a game by SSI
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 1 review
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Overview

Many years have passed since the First War of Yavaun, when four races battled for their individual goals. Though the Shama'Li failed to summon NagaRom, the all powerful creator who could reunite the warring groups, the Eaggra succeeded in achieving liberation from Tha'Roon oppression. Many Eaggra formed an alliance with the Shama'Li, and together they are called the S.U.N. (Servants Under NagaRom).

Meanwhile, the Tha'Roon had regained control of the Obblinox and the two races are referred to as the Overlord. Needless to say, the Overlords are kicking everybody's fannies all over the universe and now the Shama'Li are trying to summon NagaRom for help once again.

Of course, the Eaggra and Shama'Li mystics didn't realize that one of the Tablets of NagaRom was in the possession of human scientists on the planet Earth. When they summoned NagaRom it transported the scientists and a few Marines to their distant planet, and that is where the fun begins.

You'll of course need to read the enclosed manual/novella to understand all the background here, but the basic idea is the same as most any other strategy game—lead your regiments to crush the opposition, and while the storyline might sound interesting, the game isn't.

Gameplay & Controls

Stop me if you have heard this situation before: space marines have been transported to a distant planet and are now in a heated war with aliens. No, this isn't Quake 2 or even X-Com; unfortunately, it is War Wind II.

The gameplay on this particular title is not very intriguing or original; it's more like annoying. It is basically the same as every other strategy title except a lot more confusing. It seems like every button on your keyboard is now a hotkey. I know some people might enjoy the fact that you can hit the "T" button to build a watch tower, but I found it frustrating when I accidentally built something I didn't want, or ordered troops to attack when I didn't mean to. Yes, you can use the mouse, but be ready to click it three or four times before you get to the choices you want to build or attack.

Add to the control problem the fact that your units are not very smart, and you get the true breadth of the frustration factor—you have to babysit every unit on the screen or they will get stuck in a corner or in a small channel and will wait for you to guide them around it or will be wiped out while they're waiting.

One thing that SSI did do very well was to make it harder to go through different landscapes (i.e. trees, swamps). That makes it more realistic for those of us that like to go straight through everything—now we have to go around it instead. Open ground, however, shouldn't be a hindrance.

I found that the best way to play the game is to use the cheat codes that can be found here at GameFabrique and then sit back and watch the cinematic sequences. They are by far the highlight of the game. SSI took great pride in their movie trailers and they deserve a pat on the back. I just wish I didn't have to play the game to watch them. Plus, if you're shopping for a game, $50 for some good cut scenes is kind of steep.

Graphics

The graphics for War Wind II are old and outdated, and nothing can hide this. It reminds me of a game that came out a couple of years ago. What could that game be? Yeah, you guessed it, War Wind. The first one in the series. The one from 1995. I was deeply disappointed with the level of detail and how the units looked as they moved. I guess I am spoiled after playing Age of Empires and the like.

Audio

The audio is clear and crisp, yet very annoying. The first couple times that you hear "Bring it on," it is kind of nice. But after a hundred times it gets more than a little stale. I ended up turning the sound off because my wife was complaining about the people making too many stupid comments. When we played Warcraft, it was cute to hear the Ogre say something, but to hear a marine screaming the same thing over and over because you have to guide him around a turn isn't very enjoyable.

System Requirements

Pentium 90 (120 recommended), 100% Windows 95 compatible sound card, 16 MB RAM, 30 MB hard drive space, 4X CD-ROM drive, 2 MB SVGA video card

Documentation

The novel that comes with the game will answer every question that you could possibly ask. It is the largest manual I have ever seen -- over 100 pages long -- and is filled with everything from unit statistics to how to use the scenario editor. By the time you learn everything in the book you probably won't even want to play the game. The manual is more fun to read than playing the game anyway.

Bottom Line

War Wind II is boring and outdated; it seems to be basically the original War Wind graphics engine with some new maps and cutscenes. Yes, the cinematic cutscenes were very well made, but that's where the quality ended. When I first loaded War Wind II, the opening drew me in, but then the game threw me out. If SSI had spent as much time on the game as they did on the storyline, they would have had a big hit on their hands, but instead War Wind II falls short of being anything but a second-hand rerun, and in this reviewer's opinion only rates a 26 in face of its more modern competition.

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