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ZOOM Dark Reign 2

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(Win95/98/Me/XP) (UK Retail Box) (DARKR2PR)

Pandemic Studios / Activision


- Animated blood and violence




Reign on the Battlefield of the Future

In Dark Reign 2's apocalyptic future, an ecologically unstable Earth has fallen under the rule of a repressive world police force, the Jovian Detention Authority. Charged by Earth's elite with protecting their exclusive 'dome' cities, the JDA is locked in an ongoing battle to pacify the masses of urban 'Sprawlers' who dwell in the toxic, irradiated world outside. It is not until the occurrence of a single, catastrophic event, however, that the Sprawlers unite their unconventional technologies and weaponry to engage the JDA in the violent drama of Earth's final chapter. The battle unfolds on land, sea and air, and gamers can take up the cause of either side, fighting through 20 challenging day and night missions.

Real 3-D Terrain:
While competitive RTS games rely on 2-D voxels, sprites or bitmaps, Dark Reign 2’s full 3-D engine supports multiple levels of elevation, line-of-sight restrictions and spectacular graphic effects. It also utilizes Intel’s MRM (multi-resolution mesh) technology, adjusting performance to make full use of your machine’s processing power.

Unprecedented Battlefield Control:
The game’s squad management interface includes special team groupings and team placement to allow unit control from anywhere on the map. The building manager feature allows you to manage the status of your buildings from any location.

New Strategic Options:
Dark Reign 2’s 3-D battlefield delivers different strategic scenarios, including day and night missions, inner-city battles, extreme weather, and the ability to control vital chokepoints.

Multiplayer Enhancements:
Superior multiplayer features include robust Internet play, cooperative play, team play, alliances and a full 3-D map editor. Instant replay mode allows you to review past battles from any angle and even trade replays over the Internet.



Modern dome constructions were first built around 2250 and were primarily giant, food-producing greenhouses. Within a few years, as earth's air quality began to deteriorate more rapidly, wealthy residential areas began enclosing themselves in domes and eco-bubbles. These structures also served as a physical barrier against a rising tide of street violence and urban unrest. By the close of the twenty-third century, the first dome "cities" began to be assembled, some as large as ten miles in diameter. They contained housing, commerce, entertainment, and a large compliment of regular security guards.

BACKGROUND: Global Commonwealth

It was in 2314, with the threat of ecological apocalypse looming, that the earth's major nations united to form the Global Commonwealth. In doing so the participating countries combined their national governments and pooled their dwindling resources in the hopes of addressing the world's pollution, violence and food supply problems with more sweeping solutions. While the surrender of national sovereignty was a major step, it was clear that cooperative, focused action was essential if civilization was to be saved from catastrophe.

Initially, the Commonwealth succeeded in several of its aims. Food distribution systems, while still overburdened, were stabilized. Small dome communities in large urban areas were replaced by massive new dome cities, capable of housing millions of people each. The domes afforded clean air and a safe, regulated environment for their residents. Perhaps most important, a permanent outpost was established on Jupiter's moon Io to serve as a penal colony for the scores of marauding urban gangs that were being rounded up and imprisoned. In 2320, the JDA (Jovian Detention Authority) was founded to run the colony and oversee the transfer of convicts to Io.

BACKGROUND: Jovian Colonies

On the moons of Jupiter there are several colonies. These have been founded as centers for rehabilitation for people on earth who have proven themselves to be dangerous to society. The colonies are administered by the JDA. The first colony chartered by the Global Commonwealth in 2314 was Io Prime. Two other centers exist on Io: Esdraelon and Arcadia. Calisto's colony is centered around JDA president Edward Dalen's new masterpiece of construction, the Calisto Detention Center. CDC is important because it is the main launch port and central convict processing station for the system. In the colonies' remarkable rehabilitation centers, hardened criminals are shown the virtues of discipline and hard work and are thereby transformed into worthwhile, productive people, ready to use their experience to help mankind colonize the stars.

BACKGROUND: Jovian Detention Authority

The Jovian Detention Authority was founded in 2320 by the Security Board of the Global Commonwealth to administer the transfer of dangerous felons from earth to the new rehabilitation colony on Io. The removal of violent offenders and misfits to the Jovian colonies was started as a humane way to deal with the rising tide of street-level violence that at the time threatened to engulf the entire planet. This program not only helped to insure the safety of earth's law-abiding citizens, but it also offered a second chance at a worthwhile life to those deemed unfit to live peaceably in human society. Under JDA leadership, a variety of self-improvement and skill-building programs were soon introduced to the colony's convicts, including mining, quarrying, and chemical processing. These new programs proved extremely beneficial, for not only did they help keep prisoners focused on value-reinforcing tasks, they also provided a wealth of essential raw materials to earth's industries.

Despite these new measures, crime and civil unrest on earth worsened as increasing numbers of people turned their backs on the laws and behavioral norms of their societies. Respect for the rule of law and the authority of the state rapidly disintegrated. This was due in part to 23rd century earth governments' misguided insistence on maintaining the inefficiencies of democracy in their failing attempts to restore stability to an overpopulated and underfed planet. The Global Commonwealth itself was formed as result of the realization by the earth's leaders of the ultimate failure of the democratic construct. Stern law enforcement and a structured re-focusing of the earth's resources would be necessary if the human polity was to avert disaster. Restoration of order was the first priority, and it quickly became apparent to the members of the governing council of the Global Commonwealth that the highly efficient JDA was the organization best suited to assist in identifying and containing the world's most dangerous criminals. By 2339, JDA outposts had been established near most of the world's great population centers.

BACKGROUND: Bombay Nuclear Disaster

In 2447, a Cronian ditel rocket carrying several tons of nuclear waste material bound for deep space disposal malfunctioned and crashed over Bombay, killing several million people in the first few months. A great panic swept through Asia as the full effect of the disaster was realized. Food stores across the continent and around the world were contaminated, and within a year hundreds of millions of people died from starvation, radiation poisoning, and related complications. The incident could have had even more serious consequences had JDA president Edward Dalen not taken quick action to curb bread riots, re-distribute unaffected food supplies, and restore general order. One unfortunate effect of the disaster, however, was a heightened resentment between the citizens of the dome complexes and the slothful, violent people who chose to dwell on the outside. This was because the food stores of those wise enough to reside inside the domes were relatively unaffected. As a result, Domes across Asia and the Americas were attacked and pillaged, their residents murdered. One army of fierce rebels marched out of the Caucasus as far west as the great dome of Bosporusus, but brave regiments of JDA troops held the line there and turned them back.

BACKGROUND: Exploratory Corps

In the wake of the Bombay nuclear disaster, JDA president Edward Dalen became convinced that it might one day become necessary to evacuate earth. A new program was initiated by which the residents of the four Jovian penal colonies would be granted their freedom in exchange for exploring and colonizing new worlds for Earth's inhabitants. The rehabilitated prisoners had experience living off world and were now looking forward to an opportunity to serve mankind.


The year is 2506. Earth is a wasteland. Despite remarkable advances in genetic and environmental engineering, the weight of pollution and overpopulation has nearly exhausted the planet's facility for supporting human life. Not everyone suffers, however. The elite of society have constructed agricultural and residential 'domes' in which a relatively safe and comfortable living environment is sustained artificially. Outside these domes, the great majority of humanity lives in vast 'Sprawls', exposed to the toxic air and the harsh solar radiation from which the whispy remnant of Earth's ozone layer can no longer protect them.

Despite these hardships, life for this challenged majority goes on, and society has reinvented itself to conform to the new realities of life on Earth in the 26th Century. The human polity has gradually reorganized into tribal groups which act variously as social infrastructures, religious groups, militias and trade cartels as the need arises. While not enjoying the physical advantages of the residents of the domes, denizens of the Sprawls have proven highly inventive and adaptive, and depending on the observer's perspective could in many ways be considered more advanced than the dome-dwellers: necessity has dictated that they innovate in order to survive, and they have risen to the challenge.


Windows 95/98/Me/XP: DirectX 7.0a (included), Pentium II 233, 64 MB RAM, 550 MB hard drive space plus 100 MB for the Windows swap file,100% DX7a compliant 4MB 2D card or 3D card and drivers, 100% DX7a compliant true 16 bit sound card and drivers, 4x CD-ROm drive, 100% Widnows 95/98 compatible, mouse or trackball and keyboard.

Multiplayer: Internet (TCP/IP) and LAN (TCP/IP) play supported.

Reviews: by Marc Saltzman

"Activision has also traipsed into the equation with Dark Reign 2, a sequel to its celebrated three year-old clickfest, complete with a brand spankin' new 3D engine. Was it worth the wait? Can it compete against the bevy of similarly structured titles? Does it help push the genre forward? Despite a few annoying technical and gameplay quibbles, the answer to all three questions is a resounding yes."

"The game itself hasn't changed much over the years, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it's the gameplay that's the only thing that outshines the game's inspiring visuals. Gamers must mine Taelon to fuel the construction of buildings (along with solar cells to add power); defensive and offensive units are created (each with its own set of strengths and weaknesses), and players must strategically use the map and the right units in order to kick some serious ass. As touched on earlier, there are other objectives instead of unadulterated annihilation, including some very tough timed scenarios (specifically, JDA's level 9 and Sprawler's level 6!). Each side is well balanced, so there's no real advantage either way to playing as the JDA or Sprawlers."

"Other weaknesses with the game include inconsistent pathing AI (sometimes it proved clever, other times, idiotic), a lag when reading a new music track off the CD and a handy online manual that doesn't work (says the path is invalid). Hopefully, most of these failings can be fixed with a patch.

"That said, Dark Reign 2 is arguably the PC strategy game of the year to beat. Kudos to Pandemic Studios and Activision for fusing an advanced game engine, beautiful visuals, an easy-to-use interface and intense gameplay into one immersive solo and multiplayer experience. Reign o'er me, we say."

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