Herzog Zwei

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Herzog Zwei is a Mega Drive/Genesis game by Technosoft, published in 1989 (released in the United States in early 1990). It is one of the first real-time strategy games, predating the genre-popularizing Dune II, and considered one of the best two-player Genesis games, combining arcade-style play of Technosoft's own Thunder Force series with a simple, easy-to-grasp level of strategy. It is the sequel to Herzog, which was only available on the Japanese MSX personal computer.

Herzog Zwei (pronounced ['hɛətsok tsvai]) translates from German to Duke Two. It offers either single or 2-player mode. Single-player mode has the advantage of being in full-screen, but has the disadvantage of weak AI, which the computer opponent compensates for by having available many more units than the player. The multiplayer mode is only possible via a split-screen setup, in which the competing players can observe the other's activity, making discreet maneuvers or surprise attacks difficult to execute.

The mechanics of Herzog Zwei make it a game with a slower feel than most modern RTS games, making for more thoughtful play. It was not a huge success, due to its lack of marketing, relatively early release on the Genesis platform, and its non-arcade genre on what was considered an arcade game console. Scores for the game were generally very low from professional reviewers, but, long after its release, it achieved cult status and is often found on several "best of..." lists of video games owing to its precedence in the real-time strategy genre, as well to the increasing understanding of finer points of its gameplay.

A sequel was planned for Sega's 32X platform, but with the subsequent failure of that console, so, too, died the plans for a third Herzog title. With Technosoft closing its doors in 2001 and the status of the intellectual property being unknown, the future of the series is likely sealed. The overall usage of the Blast Processing chip allowed the game to skyrocket beyond the potential of any 32X game.

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SEGA Genesis
Game year: 
SEGA of America, Inc.
Developed by: 
Technosoft Co., Ltd.
Herzog Zwei - Cover Art Sega Genesis
Also known as: 
"ヘルツォーク・ツヴァイ" -- Japanese spelling

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