BFTP: Warcraft II Tides of Darkness
Growing up Blizzard was synonymous with the word computer in my household. Warcraft, Diablo II, and StarCraft were all games I cut my teeth on as a kid though Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness was the game that introduced me to other Blizzard titles and made me the gamer I am today. Before Warcraft became World of Warcraft, the largest and most popular massive multiplayer game to date, it was a real time strategy title that made its first appearance on DOS in the form of Warcraft: Orcs & Humans released in 1994. The game was a success and a sequel followed one year later, Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness for DOS and a Mac version was released a year after the Dos version. Tides of darkness picked up where the last title ended, the Ork hoards are threatening to invade Azeroth and the human alliance must defend their lands from the hordes.
A more updated version known as the Battle.net edition, which I’m more familiar with than the DOS version, was released in 1999 that included Tides of darkness and its expansion pack the dark portal, which added Blizzards multiplayer matchmaking service battle.net as well as new maps. I recently picked this version back up and played through several missions of both, Ork and human campaigns. The games mechanics were fairly standard as you’d create a base, harvest resources, build units and upgrade them then escort special characters, rescue troops or eviscerate an enemy base.
While the gameplay certainly wasn’t groundbreaking, it was accompanied by an enjoyable fantasy setting, clear and crisp animations and generally fun to sit down and play. While the human units you could command ran the standard fantasy fare of swordsman, archers, knights on horseback and mages, the Orcs had more memorable units. Such as an axe throwing goblin, a fire breathing dragon, a two headed ogre that punched enemies to death, suicidal goblins strapped with explosives and a turtle mounted with a torpedo launcher, to name a few.
Characters sound effects were especially memorable such as repeatedly clicking on certain units would infuriate them causing them to say things like, more work? , at once sire, are you still touching me?, the town is under attack!, zoog zoog! In fact due to the nature of constantly clicking and units repeating these phrases, my parents were introduced to my obsession with blizzard titles by constantly asking what a, “zoog zoog” was. The games graphical style really can’t be overstated as it was a traditional 2-d RTS though the charm of the characters, attention to detail and the bright color pattern really add to the feel of the title.
I have the 1999 Battle.net edition of the game on cd as I assume most people do and it runs smoothly on my Windows 7 64- bit system. Unlike some of blizzards older titles, the games installer appears automatically after popping the disc in and is ready to play in minutes. For anyone who wants to see what Warcraft was like before the WoW phenomenon, or to revisit a quality RTS title which after 16 years is still playable and enjoyable.