Emperor: Battle for Dune

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search

A Real Time Strategy game set in the Dune universe.

Released by Westwood Studios in 2001, Emperor: Battle For Dune is a sequel to Dune II and Dune 2000 covering the War of Assassins as the three fractions House Atreides, House Ordos, and House Harkonen fight for control of Arrakis and various subfractions, the Fremen, the Ix, the Tleilaxu, the Sardaukar, and the Spacing Guild add a level of customization and move the plot along.

The Padishah Emperor is dead, and the Spacing Guild presents the three great houses with a challenge: All out war for control of Arrakis, with the victor being crowned the new ruling house.


Tropes used in Emperor: Battle for Dune include:
  • Abnormal Ammo: While their equivalents in other houses simply use automatic rifles, the basic Ordos trooper in employs a chemical projector. Also, the Inkvine Catapult, which heaves sticky, toxic, and flammable gunk.
  • Action Bomb: The Ordos Saboteur. Emperor also gives them an airborne version, the Air Mine, which rather than simply blowing up on contact with an air unit, instead unleashes a Macross Missile Massacre. They also have an "Eye in the Sky" scout unit, which when detonated air-drops a saboteur to the ground below it, potentially directly into an enemy structure. There's also the Ix Infiltrator, which is essentially an Attack Drone version of the Saboteur.
  • Alliance Meter: Of a sorts. You can undertake specific missions to earn the trust of any one of the five sub-factions, each one giving you access to Elite Mooks with various capabilities. Though the Spacing Guild always turn against you by the game's end. There are limitations, however. Certain factions will not ally with others in the campaign, but in multi-player you can select any two before a match.
    • Specifically, the Tleilaxu and Ix are outright hostile to each other, while the Sardaukar and Fremen often clash with the former as well. That's not to say you can't have Sardaukar/Fremen and Tleilaxu allies, but be careful which missions you pick; some will require you to attack your allies' faction, which breaks your alliance.
  • Alternate Continuity: Emperor is treated as sequel to Dune 2000 but there are some differences between the two continuities. Emperor Corrino's death is depicted as it takes place in the Ordos ending of Dune2000 but it is mentioned to have taken place in Kaitain. The House leaderships are also Retconned to their Emperor incarnation, which isn't too hard to achieve since we never saw them in Dune 2000.
    • Of course, the whole series is an alternate continuity to Book-Dune and the 1984 Movie
  • Exclusively Evil: The Harkonnen. Due to them being a Planet Of Jerkasses, the Fremen cannot be made to ally with them in Emperors campaign.
  • Artificial Human: The Gholas, used by the Tleilaxu and Ordos.
  • Attack Drone: The Atredies' Anti-Air defense drones.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: The Atredies and Ordos can use APCS, but they're not that awesome. The Atredies one can use an Invisibility Cloak while not moving though, and the Ordos one is a very nimble Hover Tank. Both are armed with rocket turrets for anti-vehicle defense.
  • Badass Army: The Sardaukar and the Fremen, both of which have to be convinced of your worthiness before they'll help you.
  • Big Damn Heroes: A slightly different one of these occurs in each house's ending. Atreides Minotaurs get backup from an Ornithopter squadron, Ordos laser tanks from a Kobra artillery barrage and Harkonnen assault tanks from air-dropped Devastators.
  • Cain and Abel: The Harkonnen princes Copec and Gunseng. Copec poisons their father Rakkan and takes control of the house. The commander must choose who to side with, ultimately resulting in that brother being crowned emperor. The other? Well.. This is really more Cain and Cain. Gunseng, the youngest, isn't really any less evil than his brother. He's just marginally more low-key about it.
  • Chainsaw Good: The Harkonnen Buzzsaw is a huge circular saw blade with a cockpit and mounted machine guns. To say nothing of what it does to infantry, it can be used to break up spice fields, disrupting your enemies' economy.
  • Civil Warcraft: One mission in the Harkonnen campaign between Copec and Gunseng.
  • Cold Sniper: Fremen Warriors. The Fedaykin use sonic pistols a la the 1984 film instead.
  • Command and Conquer Economy: Spice mining.
  • Construct Additional Pylons: Nearly every level necessitates you building your own base, and then further building additional windtraps to provide power for all your structures. Your territories can be attacked by the other houses, in which case you are able to make use of existing bases you may have built yourself previously.
  • Cool Plane: Ornithopters, aircraft that use actual flapping wings to achieve flight.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Spacing Guild is played this way.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted, with units degrading in performance as they are damaged -- except for the Harkonnen; as one of their advantages, units function at full ability up until they are destroyed, likely to compensate for their lack of a Healing Factor or medic-type units.
  • Cutscene: Very well done for its time.
  • Deadly Gas: The Ordos make use of Sickly Green gas-armed infantry and Sentry Guns.
  • Doppleganger Spin: The Ixian Projector can create seemingly harmless duplicates of any unit, in order to fool an enemy. In truth, while they rapidly lose health and disappear upon taking damage or colliding with an enemy unit, their weapons are fully functional. Projectors thus become Game Breakers once you have access to Harkonnen missile tanks.
  • Dual Mode Unit: House Ordos' heaviest tank, the Kobra, can do this.
  • Emotionless Girl: The Ordos mentat, although she does not seem to be a construct like the mentat from Dune 2000.
  • Expy: Numerous characters are intentionally modeled after the David Lynch movie. The Atreides mentat's appearance and mannerisms resemble Thufir Havat. Rakan Harkonnen is a less insane version of Vladimir Harkonnen. Gunseng is Feyd-Rautha while Copec is a more psychopathic Rabban from the movie.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Gunseng is unusually respectful of the rules for a Harkonnen. This may be why so few of the House troops side with him when it comes to civil war against Copec.
  • The Evil Prince: Copec Harkonnen. Gunseng as well, but he's less savage and focused on winning the war.
  • Experience Points: Your units earn them. Atreides infantry that reach maximum level can be sent back into their barracks; the unit is Lost Forever but all subsequently produced units of that type start with an extra level. Do this multiple times to be able to produce elite units on command.
  • Faction Calculus
  • Fat Bastard: Rakkan and and elder son Copec. Gunseng, not so much.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The Harkonnen are fond of this trope, with flamethrower-armed infantry, tanks, and Sentry Guns.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Post- Dune 2000, relations between the Atreides and Fremen are strained until an enemy assault on Caladan during a diplomatic meeting between the two helps them iron things out. Notable in that Duke Achillus himself fights on foot in the mission where this occurs, probably a big reason the Fremen decide the Atreides are worthy allies.
  • Firing in the Air a Lot: Harkonnen light infantry and Imperial Sardaukar does this in their cheer emote.
  • Flash Step: Guild NIAB tanks can "fold space" and teleport short distances.
  • Fragile Speedster: Ordos units, with the exception of their "Kobra" artillery tank.
  • Friendly Sniper: Atreides sniper infantry. To the Atreides, anyway.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The Guild NIAB tank in Emperor, generally thought to stand for "Navigator In A Box," which can be used if you ally with the Guild. They also have the non-usable NIAP, the "Navigator In A Plane."
  • The Fundamentalist: House Tleilaxu are "religious zealots who preach ceaselessly about the evils of machines." It both goes with and contrasts with the original novels: the Tleilaxu appeared as amoral traders of squicky technology. In reality, they were a religious order, hiding their true nature from the universe.
  • Genre Blind: House Ordos, of all people. They trust the Tleilaxu much more than the other factions.
  • Genre Savvy: House Ordos again. They have no other choice, considering that their military might doesn't even compare to that of the Atreides or the Harkonnen. Also, for all their trust towards the Tleilaxu, they are the only ones prepared when the Tleilaxu make their move.
  • Glass Cannon: The Ordos Kobra, a fixed-gun tank destroyer that can deploy itself to become a Sentry Gun.
    • There's also the Atreides Sonic Tank.
  • The Good, the Bad, and The Evil: The three main factions Atreides, Ordos, and Harkonnen respectfully.
  • Hannibal Lecture: The Guild representative gives one near the end of Emperor to Elara.
  • Hard Light: The subfraction house Ix allows you access to their projectors if allied.
  • Hate Plague: What the Ordos' "Chaos Lightning" super weapon does to enemies.
  • Hover Tank: House Ordos has a few, because of Deflector Shields they are practically Lightning Bruisers with one crippling flaw. Also both Ix units.
  • Humongous Mecha: Many of the Atreides armored units are Mecha, as is the Harkonnen Devastator. This may be a call back to Tiberian Sun.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Fremen units are perpetually invisible, unless badly injured. This is meant to represent their skill at moving and hiding in the desert. Invisibility is also employed by the Ix Infiltrator, the Atreides APC and all scout units.
  • Irony: The Tleilaxu seeing machines as being evil, while creating reanimated corpses and other biological monstrosities.
  • Kill It with Fire: A favorite tactic of House Harkonnen; they have both flamethrower infantry and flame tanks, both of which are capable of instantly killing infantry. The latter is also very effective against buildings. For whatever reason, Inkvine fluid also sets infantry on fire.
  • Language Equals Thought: The introduction to House Ordos.

In the language of the Ordos, there are no words for the concepts of 'trust' or 'honor'. There are more than three hundred for the concept of 'profit'.

  • Laser Sight: Atreides snipers.
  • Lightning Gun: Guild NIAB tanks and NIAP flyers use these.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: The powerful but delicate Atreides Sonic Tank. Fedaykin infantry also use sonic weapons.
  • The Medic: In Emperor Atreides vehicles lack a Healing Factor, so they get a dedicated repair vehicle to compensate.
  • More Dakka: Several examples, but the Harkonnen quad-barreled gun towers stand out.
  • Mouth of Sauron: House Ordos seems to be lead by a mini Hive Mind called the Executrix, with what appears to be a cyborg or Ghola as their voice.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Baron Rakan Harkonnen pretends to listen to Copec's version of the war. In truth, he has spies in Arrakis giving him an exact rundown of victories and losses.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Allying with the Tleilaxu gives you access to Contaminators, which convert slain infantry into more of themselves. The scary part as that they can also do this to vehicles with their Leech unit.
    • The Ordos intend to put Shaddam IV back on this throne... as a Ghola, a resurrected, conditioned duplicate of a formerly living individual.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: Ordos units with Deflector Shield are bound to overload when hit by laser weapons, destroying both the unit and the attacker.
  • The Plan: The Spacing Guild's challenge to the Houses proves to be one by the Spacing Guild in an effort to control the galaxy. They get Out-Gambitted by Elara and the player's House.
  • Playing with Syringes: The Spacing Guild, attempting to create a Physical God called the "Emperor Worm."
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Both the Fremen and the Sardaukar.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Copec only has hints of this until the sacking of Caladan when he just loses it upon learning that Duke Achillus died during the assault.
    • Gunseng... Really isn't much better at that point. At least he directs his violence at someone instead of just jumping around throwing a tantrum.
  • Required Secondary Powers: The Fremen Fedaykin wear earplugs to protect themselves from their own sonic weapons. In gameplay terms, this also means that opposing Fedaykin cannot harm one another at range.
  • Risk-Style Map: More dynamic than in earlier games. The computer-controlled rival factions can try to retake territories you've captured and you can defend them with most of the base you built carried over. Sometimes, the CPU will attack an area that you started off with control of, and you will have to defend a pre-built base. Also, the sub-faction units become available depending on which map areas you conquer. This adds replay value because you can either try to push into enemy territory and take their stronghold in as few missions as possible, or you can keep taking territories until you control almost the whole map.
  • Robotic Torture Device: Gunseng Harkonnen custom-orders one in the form of a surgical chair from the Ix. Depending on which side you take during the civil war mission, he can become its very first victim. You get to hear and see glimpses of what it does to its occupants, and they are not pretty.
  • Sand Worm: Of course. Keep your units off the sand whenever possible to avoid attracting them, as they cannot be killed and will destroy your units instantly. Watch for Worm Sign to know of their approach. Fremen units can move without attracting them and can even ride them, steering them into enemy units.
  • Shown Their Work: Emperor is full of references and nods towards the Duniverse, some of which are incredibly obscure. Whatever problems the game may have had, it is clear that the team in charge knew the story quite well. Not to mention the cutscenes, whose visuals closely match that of the film - even to the point of recreating some of the scenes.
  • Sigil Spam: Many structures incorporate their House's logo into their very architecture if not simply having it stuck on the side. This extends to units, such as the Atreides Minotaurus, a Humongous Mecha, the cockpit of which is shaped like an eagle's head and body.
  • Single Biome Planet: The titular world and damn near every other planet, including Sigma Draconis, the frozen Ordos homeworld.
  • Spawn Broodling: The Tleilaxu has two units that can do this, one is for infantry, the other for vehicles.
  • Standard Status Effects:
    • Burn: Harkonnen flame troopers and tanks.
    • Charm: Ordos Deviator tanks.
    • Confuse: Ordos Chaos Lightning superweapon.
    • Fear: Atreides Hawk Strike superweapon.
    • Doom: Essentially what happens to vehicles when attacked by a Tielaxu Leech. They can be saved by friendly Engineers.
  • Spider Tank: Calling it a "tank" is exaggerating, but the Ordos Dust Scout qualifies as a "Spider Recon Drone".
  • Suicide Attack: The Ordos saboteurs (justified that these are Gholas) and Eye in the Sky, and Ix infiltrator.
  • Teleportation: Spacing Guild Hover Tanks can do this.
  • Tripod Terror: The Harkonen Devastator which happens to be very big.
  • The Unfavourite: Baron Harkonnen frequently flip-flops between favoring his two sons in public. It's fairly obvious he's playing the two against each other; privately (according to All There in the Manual) he seems to consider Gunseng the most threatening of the pair and ends up sending him to Arrakis to oversee the spice production. He is then poisoned to death by Copec.
  • Uterine Replicator: Played with as the Tleilaxu's axolotl tanks.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The Mentats from Dune 2000 are never seen again.
  • Worker Unit: The ubiquitous, beetle-like Spice Harvester (presented exactly as they appeared in the 1984 film) and the Construction Yard. Carryalls also function as such, automatically ferrying harvesters to and from spice fields. Tyically these carryalls are entirely automated and uncontrollable (though they will automatically ferry a damaged unit to an available repair pad), but you may build more expensive Advanced Carryalls that can be given orders.