Sega has announced another classic game coming out of the archives for its "SEGA AGES" series, and this one is definitely a deep cut. Probably the first real-time strategy game, Herzog Zwei, is now available on the Nintendo eShop.
Predating Westwood Studios' Dune II, Herzog Zwei puts players in command of a giant mech which serves as the mobile command post of a military force. Genre conventions such as establishing and destroying bases, building up different units, and harvesting resources were established in this game, and its influence can clearly be felt in other RTS games such as the Command & Conquer and Supreme Commander series. The command mech is the linchpin of any offensive, transforming from fighter plane to transport to giant walker as the situation demands. The mech is needed to transport friendly units to staging points on the battlefield, establish air superiority against the enemy, and lead the assault on enemy bases across eight different maps. Players will need to balance unit durability and energy consumption. Without energy to move and shoot, your units stop being a fighting force and become target practice for the enemy.
For the SEGA AGES re-release, a number of improvements have been made. Players will now be able to save immediately and anywhere without having to memorize long, abstruse passwords. An all-new tutorial mode is available to help players quickly get up to speed, and new Weapon and Unit tables have been added to give players a quick reference for unit capabilities when planning out their next assault. The split-screen two-player mode is certainly coming back, but if you can't take your friends on in person, you can now go online for your RTS dueling pleasure. And if you happen to pull off a brilliant assault or manage to survive a personal Birkenhead drill, you can show off those moments with replay saves.
Herzog Zwei is available now at the Nintendo eShop for $7.99 USD/£5.99 GBP.