Monday, August 22, 2011

Game of the week: Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness for Macs

Long before modern gamers were playing World of Warcraft, an earlier generation of video game fans was introduced to the fantasy world of Azeroth in 1994 through the real-time strategy game Warcraft: Orcs & Humans.

That original Warcraft game was a solid vehicle, but the series from Blizzard Entertainment really showed its potential and shined with the game's sequel, Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, available for both PC platforms and Macintosh computers by 1996.

This game was basically a campaign war game and had several different modes. The player could enter campaign mode and play either as the orcs or the human forces against the opposing side run by the computer. Also, the player has an editing tool to create his or her own maps and can then go to war on those maps against the computer.

Gameplay consisted of a single player mode or a mode for multiple players, in which case the player could go online and face off against other opponents. Despite this game being more than 15 years old, Warcraft II still has a sizable following online that consistently battles against one another.

Combat might be the main function of this strategy game, but it is not the only one. Players also have to spend quite a bit of time building up their resources before they can go to war, or during the middle of a war. This includes cutting down trees for wood and digging into mines for gold. Then the wood and gold is used to build buildings and troops.

The main difference between this game and its predecessor is that Warcraft II allows for battle on water. Yep, you can build your own ships and send them off to war against the enemy. That being said, there were several other cosmetic changes from the original Warcraft game, the most noticeable one being a better user interface.

Warcraft II did well with reviewers of the mid-to-late 1990s, and it was popular among gamers. It's popularity was enough for Blizzard Entertainment to release multiple add-on packages for Warcraft II as well as the eventual creation of many sequel and related games. Just think, without Warcraft II there might not have ever been a World of Warcraft.

When comparing the PC and Mac versions of this great game, there is little difference in actual gameplay, though a slight edge might be given to the Macs of the time for slightly better graphical capabilities.

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