Developed by Technosoft, Herzog Zwei is the sequel to the original Herzog that came out on home computers. The German named game (which translates into Duke 2) was released in 1989 and then later again in 1991 in limited quantities, and tasks the player with building a military force in what became to be typical Real Time Strategy fashion in an attempt to destroy the enemy base. The game could be played against the computer or against another human player via split-screen play, which while providing each player view of their enemy tactics, still kept the action moving at a fast pace. The game is often regarded as the first real-time strategy game, and was a major influence on Dune II.
Building an Army
In a different approach than many modern RTS games, the player controlled a Bi-pedal walking Mech/Flying Jet hybrid that was used to build, order, transport and deploy all of the units. The player had to manage variables such as their available ammo, damage, and fuel (which depleted faster if the player was carrying a unit) all the while commanding an army of tanks, surface to air missile launchers, infantry units, as well as support vehicles and boats on certain missions. To make things even more complicated, the player's Mech could be destroyed by enemy units (SAM launchers being notoriously deadly) or by the other enemy Mech itself. If the player were to be caught carrying any cargo when it was destroyed, the cargo would be lost, and the player would be transported back to their home base. Thankfully being sent back to base was a quick process that shortened any down time to a minimum.
Each unit cost a certain amount of resources, which would automatically be replenished overtime. If the player needed more resources, they could always capture one of the many sub-basses scattered across the map. These sub-bases were important, as capturing one not only providing the previously mentioned bonus funds, also provided a new place to pick up and deploy units, as well as a place to re-fuel and re-arm the player's Mech. Of course there were risks to expanding, as it not only spread your units thin (a unit number cap of 50 units was set for both players), but the sub-bases could also be captured by the enemy, which meant defenses needed to be set to keep the enemy at bay. Of course those defenses took away from your total available units, which placed a greater emphasis on good and effective strategy and less on steamrolling the enemy with accumulating a massive military.
The unit types within the game are as follows: Infantry, Motorbike, Supply Truck, Armored Car, Tank, S.A.M., Gatling Gun, and Boat.
Unit Cost: $500
The infantry unit is pretty weak in terms of offensive power, but it also serves an important purpose. The infantry unit is the only unit that can capture expansion bases, which provide extra deployment points. Infantry units also require no supplies.
Unit Cost: $950
A very quick unit that specializes in movement over power and armor. Relatively cheap, but the downside is that the armor and weapon power is relatively weak. A good harassment tool.
Unit Cost: $1,500
A unit with no defenses of its own, the supply truck is the games basic support unit. It automatically seeks out units with low supplies and replenishes them. An additional way to help your units in addition to doing it yourself.
Unit Cost: $1,300
The basic light attack unit of the game, the key strength of the armored car is the high amount ammunition it carries, even though it sacrifices that for overall power. At about half the cost of the tank, it makes a great unit for a quick strike.
Unit Cost: $3,200
The backbone of any Herzog Zwei military attacking force, an army of tanks is a scary sight for any base defenses. High armor and high weapon power, the downside comes from mobility and cost.
Unit Cost: $4,300
Surface to Air Missile launchers (S.A.M.) are a great way to keep enemy Jets at bay. The missiles are very powerful, often killing an opponent in a few hits. A good expansion base defense. However, they have no ground attacks what-so-ever.
Unit Cost: $3,400
Only available on maps with water, the boat is often overlooked as a great way to attack an enemy's main base. it has a lot of supplies, and decent attack power. Plus they can only be attacked by nearby land. The boat is limited by the amount of area it can attack from.
Unit Cost: $15,000
The most costly unit in the entire game, the gatling gun is the best main base defense unit an army can have. Not only is the primary ground fire very effective, but it also has missiles much like the S.A.M. (though they travel slower than the S.A.M.'s missiles). The cost may be prohibitive, but the trade-off is worth it, just make sure they aren't destroyed.