Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War – Dark Crusade

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Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War –
Dark Crusade
DC Box Art.jpg
Developer(s) Relic Entertainment
Publisher(s) THQ
Designer(s) Relic
Composer(s) Inon Zur
Engine Impossible Creatures Engine (modified version)[1]
Platform(s) PC
Release date(s)
  • NA October 9, 2006
  • EU November 3, 2006
  • AUS October 29, 2006
Genre(s) Real-time strategy
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution 1 DVD

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War – Dark Crusade is the second expansion to the PC-based RTS game Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War developed by Relic Entertainment and published by THQ. Based on Games Workshop's popular tabletop wargame, Warhammer 40,000, Dark Crusade was released on October 9, 2006.[4] The expansion features two new races, the Tau Empire and the Necrons. Including the Imperial Guard from Dawn of War's first expansion pack Winter Assault, this means a total of seven playable races in this expansion.[5]

Unlike Winter Assault, Dark Crusade is a standalone expansion that does not require prior installation of Dawn of War or Winter Assault to play, allowing the user to play as all seven factions in both single player Skirmish and Campaign modes.[6]

Parallel to the release of Dark Crusade, THQ also released a triple pack of Dawn of War, Winter Assault, and Dark Crusade, dubbed Dawn of War Anthology. The case is embossed with images of all the faction leaders of the campaign dressed in their respective wargear.

Gameplay[edit]

Khorne Berzerkers attacking an Imperial Guard listening post.

As with previous Dawn of War titles, Dark Crusade is focused on the conflict part of gameplay; in order to obtain more resources players must fight over them.[7] Each player starts off with a base and wins by fulfilling mission objectives. There are multiple tiers of technology, with each allowing for more powerful units and upgrades.

The Tau fighting the Necrons for a Control Point.

Units[edit]

The number of units a player may field at one time is determined by population and vehicle 'squad caps'; these limit the number of infantry troops and vehicles a player may have on the battlefield. Squad caps may be increased using methods differing between races. Most units have a melee attack and a ranged attack. Units are often specialized to be better using one attack type. All units also have stances; these affect how the units respond to enemies. There are six types of units: commanders, infantry, heavy infantry, daemons, vehicles, and Titans.

Commanders are hero units, and can usually only be built once. If they perish, they may be rebuilt. A sub-class is the semi-commander unit, which has many abilities like the commander unit but may be built multiple times. Infantry are foot soldiers, and may either be regular or heavy, with heavy infantry being much tougher than normal infantry. Vehicles are heavy weaponry and transports, and include tanks, artillery, troop carriers and walkers. Titans are end-game units, wich usually require the highest tech level and a captured relic. Titans appear as all the other unit types depending on Factions. like Commanders they can only be built once and may be rebuilt.

All units, aside from titans and most heroes, builders and vehicles, come in squads. These are groups of infantry that are commanded as a single entity. They may be reinforced with additional members, equipped with special weapons, or be attached to hero units. Some squads have special abilities, such as grenades, teleportation, and stealth, unlocked with research or leader units. Unit longevity is determined by their health and morale points, which govern a squad's fighting effectiveness. Both are reduced by weaponry; morale recharges independently or due to unit abilities, while health is increased by healer units or repair, with some units also able to heal themselves. The Necrons have the ability to reassamble themselves and spawn again.

Multiplayer[edit]

Players may either connect directly by IP connection, or play on their LAN.[8] There are eight game modes available for online skirmish play, such as Annihilate, which requires the player to destroy every enemy buildings capable of unit production or Sudden Death, which causes a player to be eliminated if another captures one of their strategic points. Multiple game modes may be enabled, calling for multiple winning conditions. Due to its nature as a standalone expansion pack, the player may only play as the Tau or Necrons in multiplayer. They may enter their original Dawn of War CD key to gain access to the original four races. Likewise, a Winter Assault CD key is needed to access the Imperial Guard.

Campaign[edit]

The expansion features a "Risk-based strategic layer",[9] a campaign including a "meta-map", similar to that in Westwood Studios's Dune games as opposed to the programmed, linear storylines of previous versions. Due to this lack of linearity, there is no plot aside from the opening cinematic; rather, as the player conquers various opposing factions the game provides a narrative specific to whom the player has conquered. If the player wins the campaign, a cinematic is played that depends on which faction the player was controlling.

The player may pick a faction to play as, and then engages in turn-based combat with the other A.I.-controlled factions. There are multiple provinces, which are conquered by fighting a regular skirmish match over them. These may either give a special bonus or supply special 'honour guard' units, which are powerful, non-trainable versions of regular units. They may only be made on the main battlefield overview screen, and, like provincial reinforcements, cost planetary requisition, a resource gained on a per-turn basis based on how many provinces the player controls. Honour guard units transfer over provinces and may be used repeatedly. There are also seven 'Stronghold' provinces that function as bases for respective factions; these are made like more traditional campaign games, with multiple secondary and primary objectives that vary from faction to faction.

The Tau commander, equipped with a majority of wargear upgrades.

Also, a race's commander unit may be upgraded with special "wargear", unique, customizable upgrades that vary by race. These are awarded at battle milestones, ranging from a certain amount of kills to conquering many provinces.

Campaign scenarios are persistent, meaning that all player structures are 'saved' when a game is won. For example, if a player builds a base and conquers a province, only to have a neighbouring faction attack aforementioned province, the player will start out with his previous base, with the exception of having no technology researched. Also, the CPU always starts out in the same spot, rather than being random. If you build a defense around the CPU's starting point and it's too close, it will be removed at the beginning of the defense match. Players may also choose to garrison provinces with units that are instantly available should the province be attacked. These are bought with planetary requisition.

Setting[edit]

Races[edit]

All five of the pre-existing factions gain new units, and two new playable races are available.

Tau Empire[edit]

One of the two newer races, the Tau are unique in multiple ways. Tau warriors and vehicles are powerful in ranged battles, but lack melee prowess; their commander even lacks a melee attack entirely. Many tau units tend to be relatively fragile, few in number, and expensive. To compensate, they fight alongside the alien Kroot, using these primal warriors as auxiliaries. Also, they are the only race with a 'choice' in their final technology choices; two final tier buildings are presented, which provide different end-game units and technologies. Only one may be chosen. The Tau also do not have any standalone defensive structures or minefields. However one of their Heavy Infantry; the Broadside Battlesuit, can be entrenched and use its shoulder mounted railguns, effectively making them into turrets.

Necrons[edit]

The Necrons are unique, as they do not require requisition to build their army. All units are in and of themselves free of requisition point cost. Power is the only resource Necrons need, in order to perform research, construct buildings and to construct and reinforce squads. However, capturing Strategic Points and building Obelisks (the Necrons listening post) on them will increase the speed of research and building, and will also expand the population cap. The Necron Monolith, their home base, is restored as more buildings are built, while also unlocking new units (similar to the Zerg in StarCraft), and functions as the only vehicle- and troop-producing building. When fully restored it becomes mobile (albeit very slow, though it can teleport) and is armed with powerful weaponry. Many Necron units have the ability to resurrect, and most will leave persistent corpses on the battlefield that may either self-resurrect after they die or be restored by specialized Necron units (this resurrection can actually allow the Necrons to go over their population cap).

Necrons were previously seen in Winter Assault at the end of the single-player campaign, but noticeably stronger.

Notable characters[edit]

Dark Crusade features some reappearances by characters in past games, such as Farseer Taldeer and Warboss Gorgutz 'Ead 'Unter, who were featured in Winter Assault and Shas'la Tau Kais who featured in the first person shooter game Fire Warrior now as Shas'O Tau Kais the Commander of the Tau involved in the Dark Crusade.

Campaign[edit]

The events of Dark Crusade take place on the planet of Kronus, a world on the eastern fringe of the Imperium, where the local human population un-easily co-exists with the nearby Tau Empire. An ancient Titan Hellstorm Cannon firmly entrenched in Victory Bay and the need to aid the local human population are the very reasons the Imperial Guard arrive on Kronus to "liberate" them from Tau rule. It is also an ancient Necron tomb world, whose inhabitants are starting to awaken. Eldar from Craftworld Ulthwé soon arrive to stop the Necron threat from growing. In addition, Kronus happens to be a world with hidden relics, left behind from the Horus Heresy, that are significant to the Blood Ravens and the Word Bearers Legion. There is also a local Ork population in the southern jungles who quickly mobilizes against the new threats after becoming united under a new warboss. Faced with such opposition against the thriving colony, The Tau Ethereal Aun'el, knowing the world must be kept, orders the Fire Warriors into battle against the other factions.

Canonical Ending[edit]

The Game has various endings for all the different factions, but Relic has stated the Blood Ravens defeated the Necrons, Eldar, and Imperial Guard. Through the dialogue in Dawn of War 2, it is apparent that the Blood Ravens were able to conquer Kronus and return control of it to the Imperium. Davian Thule also bears scars in Dawn of War 2 which he received during the final battle with The Necron Lord Of Kronus during the events in Dark Crusade. Also, Tarkus received Terminator Honours after his struggle against the Necrons and Tau during the Dark Crusade. The Blood Raven ending reveals that the Blood Ravens went through one of their greatest trials after the Dark Crusade was over; the Inquisition launched a thorough investigation into the Blood Ravens after they fought the Imperial Guard. Though not necessarily canonical, if the player beats the Space Marines as the Imperial Guard, it is shown that the Guard discovered documents detailing secrets about the Blood Ravens' history that didn't match up with their official past known by the Imperium, thus leading the probing investigation by the Inquisition.

The Dividing of the Ork Clans

The Warboss Gorgutz, who survived the battles of Lorn V in Winter Assault, began his new Waaagh! in the Ork-infested Green Coast on Kronus. As is often the case with the Orks, Gorgutz's Waaagh! was formed by uniting several weaker clans under his banners, which were used as symbols of his authority in his stronghold. The Blood Ravens used this dissent by destroying Gorgutz's banners, causing the clans to begin fighting against each other and defying Gorgutz's reign. The Blood Ravens ultimately slaughtered their way through the infighting clans and kill Gorgutz's personal guard. However, he took his revenge on the Space Marines that bested him by detonating several warheads, killing his own minions and several fighting Blood Ravens. In the confusion of the explosions, he escapes through a cave and is able to flee Kronus on a hidden space ship, returning once more in Soulstorm. If defeated in Soulstorm, he flees the system in a similar manner.

The Necron Catacomb's Collapse

The Necrons, the original rulers of the planet Kronus, emerge from the center of the map in the Thur'abis Plateau. The Blood Ravens descended into the caverns beneath the plateau to discover a huge network of catacombs hidden within, holding innumerable amounts of Necron soldiers. Despite the dark and fearsome location, the Blood Ravens fought their way through the catacombs, destroying Necron beacons (Which could cause different effects on the player or his enemies, such as reviving fallen Necrons or causing the player's vehicle units to turn on him/her) as they worked their way into a key structural point inside. Davian Thule placed a powerful explosive device which caused the catacombs to collapse, thus ending the Necron threat on Kronus.

Farseer Taldeer's Gambit

Farseer Taldeer constructed her attack force from the northwestern reaches of the planet Kronus, and rather than risk her own Eldar warriors in her stronghold's defense, positioned herself between a splinter cult of Chaos Space Marines and a small force of dissatisfied Orks that broke off from Gorgutz's Waaagh! However, in doing so, she backed herself into a corner controlled by three Webway Gates that allowed her access to the rest of the Eldar army in space. The Blood Ravens fought their way through their old enemies, defeated the Ork and Chaos threat, and were able to hold the Webway Gates to prevent any possible escape from Taldeer. The Eldar Farseer chose to sacrifice her own life in order to allow her troops to flee, seeking refuge on the planet. The ultimate fate of Taldeer is later left as a subject revisited in Dawn of War II: Retribution.

Governor-Militant Lukas Alexander's Last Stand

The Imperial Guard, having set their stronghold near a Hellstorm cannon that had once been a part of an Imperial Titan, named their starting location Victory Bay, fully believing that they could regain control of the planet. The Blood Ravens, however, were able to fight their way through the heavily defended Imperial stronghold, eventually taking control of the Hellstorm cannon itself and sparking a revolution in dissident Imperial troops. They gathered their troops and fought their way through the heavy defenses held by Lukas Alexander, and were able to end the Governor's reign on Kronus. In the after battle report, it is mentioned that the Blood Ravens held Alexander in the highest regard, especially since he had stayed absolutely loyal to his orders and in defending Victory Bay. Despite his loss, Alexander and his Imperial troops were commended and honored for their bravery in standing up to the Blood Ravens assault (with the exception of the treacherous 5th Company, who were all executed without mercy for betraying their regiment, even though they joined forces with the Space Marines after Anton Gebbett, the Commissar attached to their company, was killed).

The Fall of Or'es Tash'n

The Tau began their campaign on Kronus by landing their task force in their planetary capital of Or'es Tash'n, which had been built on the ruins of the Imperial city of Asharis. A stronghold of sizable proportions, O'Kais used both his own Tau units as well as the Kroot and their other allies to create a powerful defense in the city. Using the city's own communication tower, they were able to keep tabs on the invading Blood Ravens until the plaza was captured by the attacking Blood Ravens and the Comm tower's detection stealth capability was turned against the Tau. After a difficult struggle in which the Blood Ravens had to fight their way through Kroot and Tau alike, the Blood Ravens were able to kill the Ethereal Aun'el, effectively crushing the morale of what remained of the Tau forces. Shas'o Kais, the Tau Commander, fled Kronus in order to return the defeated leader's body to the homeworld of T'au, and the surviving Tau were either killed in the ensuing rout or evacuated from Kronus, leaving Asharis to the Space Marines.

Eliphas the Inheritor's Sacrifice

The Chaos Space Marines of the Word Bearers Legion, under orders of their leader, the Chaos Lord Eliphas the Inheritor, were able to rip open a hole in the Warp and construct a gate around it to keep it stable. This allowed Chaos Daemons to pour through the rift and corrupt the land beneath their feet, as well as construct large pillars designed to use Chaos magic and sacrifice any willing or unwilling beings that ventured too close. In the defense of the Warp Gate, the Chaos Commander Eliphas the Inheritor decided to allow his troops to defend their own sections of a long, twisted path to the gate instead of focus on the defense as a whole. However, because he was unable to command his defenses effectively, the Blood Ravens were able to cut their way through the bloody gauntlet of Chaos Space Marines and demolish the Warp Gate. Eliphas, having failed his daemonic masters one too many times, was sacrificed as a failed subject.

Eliphas returns in Dawn of War II Chaos Rising as part of the Black Legion due to an unexpected level of fan popularity.

Voice Cast[edit]

  • Brian Dobson
  • Paul Dobson
  • Brian Drummond
  • Tim Lewinson
  • Scott McNeil
  • John Novak
  • Nicole Oliver
  • Lee Tockar

Development[edit]

Dark Crusade uses the same engine as the original Dawn of War game, which allowed game developer Relic to focus most efforts on revamping the single-player campaign and balancing out the two new races.[10] By E3 2006, the two new races were demonstrated through an in-engine feature, though no playable version was showcased.[11] New units were unveiled regularly after August 11.[12] The first available playable build was released on September 18 to GameSpot.[13] Dark Crusade exited the development stage on September 21, and was expected to be shipped worldwide by October 9.[14]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 87% (based on 41 media outlets)[18]
Metacritic 87% (based on 34 reviews)[17]
Review scores
Publication Score
GameSpot 8.8/10 (great)[9]
IGN 8.7/10 (great)[16]
PC Gamer US 79% (good)[15]

The expansion was praised as an "excellent real-time strategy game",[9] with its non-linear single-player campaign, stabilized multiplayer and additional features, and was selected by IGN[19] and Gamespot[20] as the best expansion pack of 2006. Most were quite surprised by the quality and size of the expansion,[18] stating that the large amount of new content "[breathed] new life into the game".[9] Critics cited the excellent balancing between races, saying it had a positive effect on both single-player and multiplayer.[21] Aside from new units and races, changes to the gameplay mechanics, such as reworking of the elite unit system, were well-received, as critics felt that the changes "forced players to actually think about using real combined arms tactics in multiplayer and contributed to more games decided by genuine strategy and skill rather than just who can spec out the proper build order."[21]

Some critics stated that the game's weak points included its complexity; some reviewers disliked how much micromanagement was required to effectively field one race against another, saying that this complexity was detrimental to the game. As one reviewer mentioned, "...when I stop having fun, I stop playing."[15] The learning curve was also stated as being very steep for an RTS, due to each race being different.[22] Another thing critics disliked was the player's inability to 'zoom out' with the in-game camera; this sometimes got in the way of large battles, and was especially noticeable when playing as or against the Tau, as their long-range weapons often resulted in them engaging their targets off-screen.[23] While general consensus on the revamped single-player campaign was positive, some critics felt that it was not particularly challenging; they found that the AI was strategically weak, and there were no random elements in most skirmish missions that would enhance replayability.[24] The usage of a random auto-resolve feature to determine which races won which territories was seen as a downside; also, one critic found that the AI attacked his homebase very rarely, and that they would attack insignificant zones regardless of the opportunity to capture more significant ones.[25] In terms of new additions, some critics felt that the races, in particular the Necrons, were overpowered.[15]

Mods[edit]

There are a number of user-created mods that have been created to enhance the game. In many cases, these mods add new units and bring the gameplay closer to that of the table top game.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.bit-tech.net/gaming/pc/2004/12/02/warhammer_40000_dawn_of_war_developer_qanda/1
  2. ^ PEGI. "Dark Crusade rating on PEGI". PEGI. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  3. ^ Relic. "Dawn of War system requirements". Relic. 
  4. ^ Gamespot (2006-09-21). "Dark Crusade goes gold". Gamespot. 
  5. ^ Greg Kasavin (2007-10-10). "Dark Crusade review". Gamespot. 
  6. ^ Micah Seff (2006-09-21). "Dark Crusade goes gold". IGN. 
  7. ^ Joe Leibowitz (2006-11-08). "Dark Crusade review". 
  8. ^ Matthew Bassos (2005-06-01). "Dawn of War review.". 
  9. ^ a b c d Greg Kasavin (2006-10-11). "GameSpot video review". GameSpot. 
  10. ^ Greg Kasavin (2006-05-01). "GameSpot E3 preview". GameSpot. 
  11. ^ Greg Kasavin (2006-05-01). "GameSpot E3 demonstration". GameSpot. 
  12. ^ "New unit unveiled". GameSpot. 2006-09-11. 
  13. ^ Jason Ocampo (2006-09-18). "GameSpot exclusive Dark Crusade hands-on". GameSpot. 
  14. ^ "Dark Crusade goes gold". GameSpot. 2006-09-21. 
  15. ^ a b c Dan Stapleton (2006-11-13). "PC Gamer score". PC Gamer. 
  16. ^ Dan Adams (2006-10-09). "IGN review". IGN. 
  17. ^ "Dark Crusade (PC: 2006): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  18. ^ a b "Dark Crusade Reviews". Game Rankings. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  19. ^ "Dawn of War wins IGN's best expansion of 2006". IGN. 
  20. ^ "Dawn of War wins Gamespot's best expansion of 2006". Gamespot. 
  21. ^ a b Allen 'Delsyn' Rausch (2006-10-12). "Gamespy Review". Gamespy. 
  22. ^ Joshua LaTendresse. "Games Radar Review". Games Radar. 
  23. ^ Joshua LaTendresse. "Games Radar Review". Games Radar. 
  24. ^ Allen 'Delsyn' Rausch (2006-10-12). "Gamespy review". Gamespy. Retrieved 2007-12-09. 
  25. ^ Dan Adams (2006-10-09). "IGN review". IGN. 

External links[edit]