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|Artist(s)||Eric Ranier Rice|
|Release||October 24, 1996|
War Wind is a 1996 real-time strategy game in the vein of Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness. It was developed by DreamForge Intertainment and published by Strategic Simulations, Inc. It runs on Microsoft Windows and used DirectX 2.0. A sequel to War Wind, titled War Wind II: Human Onslaught, was released by DreamForge and SSI in 1997. Both games were digitally re-released on GOG.com.
Some sites list the release date of War Winds as Aug. 24, 1996 while others say Sept. 30, 1996. The most recent file on a War Wind CD bought in the U.S. in January 1997 was Oct. 10, 1996 (as is the date stated in its version 1.0 README.TXT), but this could have been an updated CD release.
Story and background
War Wind takes place on the world of Yavaun, where four races have co-existed for millennia. The Tha'Roon are the thinkers, leaders and overlords of the planet. They have dominated the other races on the globe. In particular, the Tha'Roon have enslaved the tree-like Eaggra, forcing them to act as their builders and engineers. The Tha'Roon accomplish this through their bullying and domination of the Obblinox, slow-moving but extremely strong silicon lifeforms specialized in cyborgs. Lastly are the reclusive Shama'Li, monk-like practitioners of magic, who desire to unify the four races.
The basic gameplay is very similar to other real-time strategy games such as the Warcraft series. A game starts with a clan leader, and usually some workers and a token defence force. The player must use these workers to build structures and mine for resources. Some unique features differentiate the game from others in the genre. For example, in order to get any combat unit other than mercenaries, a worker must be trained at a particular type of building. In order to receive a higher level combat unit, a lower-level unit must be promoted at a specific facility. Additionally, units can be individually upgraded in a variety of areas such as speed, strength, resilience, stealth, and vision. The purpose for these micro upgrades is to encourage more strategic conflicts, wherein a player must make the most of small numbers of units instead of building a large force and rushing the opponent.
Another unique aspect of War Wind is stealth. Many units possess the ability to conceal themselves in different ways. "Masked" units do not appear on the opponent's minimap. "Disguised" units appear as friendly workers to an enemy player. "Hidden" units do not appear on the minimap and look translucent on the main map. "Invisible" units appear on neither the opponent's minimap nor their main map.
Stealth is always broken, regardless of level, when a unit attacks or is attacked. It will not be restored unless the unit remains out of combat for a period of time. Additionally, units with vision upgrades have the ability to see through stealth, and clan leaders can see through stealth without vision upgrades. Certain spells, such as the Shama'Li's Seer or vision quest abilities, will reveal stealthed units. An additional level of stealth can be granted through the Tha'Roon spell MindShield.
Fog of war
As with most real-time strategy games, War Wind features a fog of war mechanic. The player can only see within a certain range of their units. Fog of war will conceal any unit completely and also mask any structures built. The fog does not conceal natural land formations, even those that have not been seen yet. There are also trees on the map which prevent units from seeing into them. However, once a unit enters a tree, he can see just as far as he would normally be able to.
War Wind is strongly focused on single-player play. The player can choose one of four campaigns (one for each race). Each campaign has seven battles, and advances the story through cut-scenes and in-game dialog. Each race has a notably different goal.
Each race also has different units, structures they can build and radically different abilities. While this became standard for the genre after StarCraft (released two years later), in 1996 this was something of an innovation. Earlier games (such as Dune II) featured different sides with different attributes, but not to the dramatic extent found in War Wind.
Another innovation for the time is the ability to bring upgraded units from mission to mission. This ability to transfer a modded unit forces players to consider their choices, and put more stock into which modifications are used and keeping that character alive. This is meant to contrast with the typical convention of the genre that a unit can be easily replaced if lost.
Units for each race
The roles are respectively: Clan Leader, Basic Worker, Advanced Worker, Mercenary, Warrior, Advanced Warrior, War Machine, Scout, advanced Scout, mages, and Advanced Mages. Additionally there are Hero Units that do not fall under any one Category and are unique to assorted missions and scenarios.
|Clan Leader||Minister||War general||Prime Maker||Shadow Dancer|
|War Machine||Jump Troop||Colossus||Grenadier||Elemental|
|Advanced Scout||Assassin||Spy||Ranger||Grand Master|
|Advanced Mages||Psionic||Warlock||Arch Druid||Guru|
War Wind has unique monsters (sometimes referred to as "critters") that have no affiliation with any of the four selectable races. Generally, monsters will only attack when they are attacked first or they are "touched" by an adjacent unit controlled by the computer or the player.
- Bonca: perhaps the most seen monster in the game. Boncas are rhino-like, bright-peach colored, plump, six legged monsters with a stubby horn. They only attack when they are hurt or when nearby Fledglings are attacked. Shama' Li mercenaries are seen wielding spears riding on Boncas.
- Fledgling: Bonca fledglings are mischievous creatures that may deliberately attack your structures. They have low hit points, but if they are hit, they start squealing and calling for adult Boncas in the vicinity to protect them. Upon their call, nearby Boncas will charge at the offending armies. Note that once the fledglings stops crying the bonca will lose interest and run off.
- Dinge Vermin: This hidden monster resembles a furry wolf. Vermins occasionally come to a race's main structure to steal resources. They flee with the loot.
- Rubble Fiend: Disguised as a yellow rock, the Fiend stays stationary until a unit adjacently passes it. In a few seconds it will transform into a hulk of limping, animated rubble. Rubble fiends' speed is slow.
- Snipethorn: A small, white, anteater like creature with long range firing capabilities. The Snipethorn may approach you, and attack unprovoked using his long, snout. However, the Snipethorn will flee when you attack it, but will resume attacking when you stop.
- Slink Weed: A dark green, slimy lizard like monster. The Slink Weed uses its three tongues, and a fat tail for attack. They usually attack unprovoked. It can easy be mistaken for a tree. The 'Weed' unit, of the Eaggra race is seen riding these. The Weed units are hired as Mercenaries from the Watering Hole (Inn).
- Ionic Brakus: A small, bipedal creature that is able to disable mechanical vehicles and buildings with its ion pulse. More of a hindrance than anything. They have a very durable carapace and are therefore tough to kill.
- Foul Fess: A tentacled, shapeless monstrosity created by pollution. Highly dangerous, as they are able to siphon the lifeforce of units that they kill. Only appear in highly industrialized areas.
- Mondra'Heath: A colossal dragon-like creature with six limbs and many horns and tusks adorning its head. They only make their lairs around sites of great spiritual importance (such as those revered by the Shama'Li). This creature is completely immune to magic.
- The Countenance: More of a natural disaster than an actual living creature, the Countenance is an enormous face that randomly forms and rises from the planet causing obstruction or, worse, destruction to anything that happened to be standing on it or near it. Effectively indestructible, though purportedly there are ways of getting rid of it.
- Gas Clouds: Another natural disaster, These color-coded clouds will inflict damage either to units (Red) or vehicles and structures (Green) While they don't deliberately hunt units they are not slowed or stopped by changes in terrain .
The game was a finalist for Computer Gaming World's and CNET Gamecenter's 1996 "Strategy Game of the Year" awards, both of which ultimately went to Civilization II. Gamecenter's editors called it "easily the deepest real-time game to date."
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- The Gamecenter Editors. "The Gamecenter Awards for 96". CNET Gamecenter. Archived from the original on February 5, 1997.