All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


Frank Herbert's Dune

Score: 50%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: DreamCatcher Interactive
Developer: Widescreen Games
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Dust effects in video games are one of the biggest slow down factors for computers, and it's a bit ironic that someone decided to make a game that was based on a planet that is completely covered in sand. Trying to run Frank Herbert's Dune on 1024 x 768 is virtual suicide. The only other sane option is to play it on 640 x 480, making it look almost like a first generation PlayStation title. Also sucking the life out of this game are the character designs. It would have been better if they had copied them right out of the movie, because the people in this game lack that visual punch to get anyone's attention. But on the upside, there are a few nice particle effects here and there, but nothing good enough to take my mind off of Rabban's retarded looking mohawk.

Definitely not as bad, but also not much better, are the sounds. The voice acting passes with a C, much to my ears' delight, with the sound effects scoring around a low B. Not much to scoff at, but nothing to get excited over, either. The music, (not by Toto, alas), is bland, and you'll forget about it as soon as you turn the game off.


Frank Herbert's Dune suffers from a recurring identity crisis. Never is it truly clear whether it is supposed to be adventure or action. The levels and overall speed of the game show it off as an adventure title, but the weapons and lack of 'covertness' demand an action-oriented approach. Whether they tried to touch on both elements on purpose or not is a question left unanswered, but it is clear that they didn't get too far with either of them.

The game kicks off as Paul Atreides and his mother reach a Fremen community somewhere on the desert planet of Arrakis, but known to the locals as Dune. It follows the plot accordingly to around the end of the movie, so there won't be any real plot surprises for the Dune fans out there. From this little village located inside a large rock formation, Paul will devise and launch a series of missions on the evil Harkonnens who are harvesting the spice on Dune. After each mission, you will return to this place to get new equipment and mission orders. Basically, it's a large, cumbersome, 3D menu that you maneuver your character through, and something that they definitely could have done without.

The missions would all be almost exactly the same if it wasn't for their different settings. The basic premise of each one is to go from point A to point B, unlocking a few doors along the way, and generally avoiding as many people as possible. Puzzles usually run along the lines of trying to find the code for each locked door, or sometimes to spice it up a bit, you have to find a key. Nothing here will do any serious brain damage.

Covertness is your best friend in this game, even though it is almost impossible. The level design just doesn't allow it. A lot of places force you to get in a fight in order to pass. You have the ability to flatten up against the wall, but this becomes a hindrance when a fight is going on. The walls seem almost sticky, and if you get too close, you'll automatically flatten up against it. Getting into a fight usually means losing over half your life and most of your ammunition, and that's just with one person. Your main weapon, a knife, is absolutely useless in open combat, but can kill people in one hit if they don't see you, and most of the guns have a rate of fire so slow that guards will be all over you after the first shot.

Enemy AI is sometimes non-existent, and sometimes they seem to break their programming and surprise you. Most of the time they are just mindless drones, though, put here and there to slow down your progress. Trying to figure out just exactly what they react to will cost you a few lives as gunfire, no matter how loud, doesn't seem to bother them most of the time, but movement will have them on you faster than you can say 'Feyd-Rautha Rabban'.


Getting through the entire game without dying more than five times would be a miracle, and getting through without being seen is literally impossible. It's not the puzzles that will keep you coming back, it will be the fact that you'll keep dying because it is simply unavoidable. Frank Herbert's Dune isn't hard, it's just tedious.

Game Mechanics:

A mouse-and-keyboard control style is implemented here. By using the arrow keys (you have no other choice), you send Paul running around the place. Whichever direction you push, he will go. You can also wheel the camera around with the mouse, and combining the two schemes allows for easy and fluid movement. Very little aiming is required, and the only requirement is that you be pointing in the general direction of your target. The right mouse button locks on to enemies, and the left will shoot. Only when there are a lot of people around does this get cumbersome, but usually when there are a lot of people around, you're going to die anyway.

Frank Herbert's Dune is arguably the worst Dune game ever (yes, including the original Dune). The plot is sound, but the gameplay, the very foundation of the game, is flawed enough to completely compromise it. Both action and adventure seemed the goal of this title, but never did the two meet, or even come close.

-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/ME/XP, 400 MHz Processor, 64 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM Drive, 16 MB DirectX 8 Compatible Video Card, DirectX 8 Compatible Sound Card

Test System:

Windows 98, 1.4GHz AMD Athlon, GeForce 2 mx 32MB video card, 40 gig hard drive, 56x CD-ROM, 256MB DDR Ram, Sound Blaster Live! sound card, T1 Internet connection

Windows Diggles Windows Earth 2150: Lost Souls

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated