War Wind II: Human Onslaught
The first War Wind took the best elements of Blizzard’s Warcraft II and mixed them in with a few original ideas of its own. It managed to create something with more depth and attention to detail than other offerings at that time. Unfortunately, it lacked the flair and artistry of Blizzard’s legendary game, and the races were obscure and sometimes hard to identify. The sequel attempts to fix these issues.
One major complaint about the original was the difficulty in recognizing the different units. Identifying a unit and its functions, especially in a fight, was a real challenge, so this sequel introduces the “human” element. Humans on Earth uncover a mysterious tablet in the Arctic. While running tests at a research camp, the humans unintentionally activate the tablet. With a blinding flash, the camp and its occupants, some scientists and a military escort, are transported to the alien world of Yavaun. Now, decades later, some humans are still searching for a way home.
There are four factions in War Wind II. After the first war, the original four races merged into two separate factions, The Overlords, which consist of the Tha’Room and Obblinox, and the S.U.N. faction which is the Shama’Li and Eaggra races. The remaining two factions are human. The Marine faction is the offspring of the military personnel caught in the transport event and they believe it’s their destiny to rule this new world. The Descendants are the fourth faction, and consist of the scientists and technicians brought over with the Marines; they hope to gain the knowledge to find a way home.
Each faction has its own unique units, abilities, and goals throughout the campaign. The play of each of these factions is quite distinctive right down to their final objectives. During the campaign you may even be given the chance to choose a different final objective. With 46 missions shared among the four factions, replayablity is one of the game’s brightest points.
As with the original, the game has a lot of depth. Units can be trained; some of them are even naturally talented, allowing them to get further training and skills. Each unit has a diversity of variables like, rate of fire, movement types, and visual range. Most have an impressive number of actions that can be performed compared to other games of this type. You can also set the stance of your units from aggressive to evasive. Heroes have been carried over from the original and players now have a selection to choose from. Also, units can be carried over from scenario to scenario.
War Wind II also offers some good unit controls, such as setting away points, formations, and others. However, most of the benefit for these options are lost as the AI seems to relish in getting stuck, or taking the absolutely worst path imaginable. On the other hand, units seem to respond to a buddy getting hammered, which is great except when the friendly fire option is on. The game overall seems a bit dated and still lacks that visual style to distinguish itself from the other ten million generic alien real-time strategy games. It’s a good revision over the first game, but not exactly a memorable classic.
System Requirements: Pentium 166 MHz, 32 MB RAM, Win 95