- Platform: Windows 98 / Me / 95, Macintosh
- ESRB Rating: Teen
- Media: CD-ROM
WarCraft II Battle.net Edition is the continuation of the ruthless clash between the armies of the noble humans and the brutish orcs. From the initial, unexpected invasion of the Orcish Horde to the Great Alliance's quest to forever seal the Dark Portal that links their two worlds, you will experience the epic saga of the mighty battle to gain dominance over the kingdom of Azeroth. Along the way, you'll need to carefully manage your limited resources to successfully construct and rule your medieval empire while engaging in real-time tactical warfare over land, sea, and air.
Be prepared: The new solo scenarios are hard with a capital H-A-R-D. Even the most jaded orc or human will be challenged by the new levels, which thankfully dispense with the tutorial nature which made the early portion of Tides of Darkness somewhat tedious. In Beyond the Dark Portal, you start off with almost all of the technologies at your disposal, and you'd best be prepared to use them (strangely--and this is my only complaint about the expansion pack--you don't get everything right away, and some vital units are inexplicably unavailable in the early scenarios).
Apart from a new environment to represent the Orcish world, nothing has been added to the game. But there are some minor changes which affect gameplay, and require some new strategies to ensure success. The most notable change is the newfound emphasis on heroesspecial units whose survival is necessary. Many of these heroes appear in the circle of power missions found in Tides of Darkness, but others just fight alongside your troops with superior strength and endurance. They can be an excellent aid, but their death means failure.
The new custom maps are a diverse lot. For the most part, there is less emphasis on resource gathering than in the multi-player maps included with Tides of Darkness. This change has the benefit of making games less of a race-for-the-resources duel, allowing players more breathing room and time to plan strategies, as well as lessening the effectiveness of a brute-force attack at the onset of a game. Also included are a couple of strange maps for quick games: one with a football theme and one with a chess theme.
Fans of Warcraft II are split along two fronts: there are the single-players and then there are the multi-players. But whichever side of the fence you lean toward, this is a must-have. More challenging and more diverse than its namesake, Beyond the Dark Portal proves once and for all that you can never have too much of a good thing. --Ron Dulin/SpotMedia Communications
--Copyright ©1998 GameSpot Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of GameSpot is prohibited.
Unfortunately, BattleNet is nothing more than a haven for depraved, foul mouthed adolescents hell bend on making your online experience as miserable as possible. The unrelenting flood of obscenities, personal attacks, and graphic content, makes the game completely inappropriate for younger players, and intolerable for older ones. You don't even have to be playing a game to be accosted, it starts immediately in the main page chat window, as soon as you connect to the service.
This really is a shame, because this is such a great game, and a relatively small group of people have completely ruined it for everyone. There seem to be far fewer troublemakers on the games that charge a monthly fee, so hopefully Blizzard's new venture into online gaming, coming soon, I hope, will be better.
Despite being a great game, I cannot recommend this version....